A Change of Heart...I am No Longer Orthodox Baha'i

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Posted by Michael Zargarov on October 15, 2101 at 01:11:40:

To the Orthodox Baha'i Community
from your brother Michael Zargarov

My spiritual journey has taken me far...
from an Episcopalian upbringing,
to discovering the "Baha'i Faith" while a senior in high-school; through a period of further investigation and experimentation with Greek Orthodox Christianity, and later Sufi Islam; through deepened faith in Bahaâuâllah ·
and from there to a period of disillusionment before finding the Orthodox Faith.
Now it seems, that road continues,
because in reading the basic ideas of the
Secular Humanists and other Freethinker organizations,
I find them much closer to my own ideas than any deist organization.
Unfortunately, any variant on "Baha'i" must preclude true free-thought. We are to rely on the "holy writings" and the interpretations of a "Guardian". While a "mainstream" Baha'i I often thought that the Baha'i Faith was actually better off without the Guardianship. In teaching, there was no need to explain that we had a "pope". A nine-member "elected" body seemed much more modern. Now, however, after much thought and contemplation, I simply no longer see where I fit into a religious group, of any name, which questions or attempts to regulate my living my life as I feel it should be lived.
Indeed, the only place I've felt completely free to both "independently investigate the truth" and to simply "be me", is with the Unitarian-Universalists.
I first attended a UU church in Houston, having been ousted from the local Baha'i Center for admitting my homosexuality.
What I found, and have experienced since is so much more like my own idealistic notion of Bahaâi than anything I've ever seen or experienced within a "Baha'i" community.
Basically, I am a Universalist-Humanist, with agnostic/atheistic tendencies who chooses to celebrate my whole self, rather than fight to "overcome" or hide any part of that self.
"What is a Freethinker?
free-think-er n. One who has rejected religious authority and dogma in favor of rational inquiry and speculation.

Free Inquiry
We are committed to free inquiry and oppose any tyranny over the mind of man, any efforts by ecclesiastical, political, ideological, or social institutions to shackle free thought. (Though Orthodox Baha'i is better than the so-called mainstream group, its basis is still on "Authorized Interpretation". If, as we teach, humanity has indeed reached "maturity", what need do we have for any administrative order or ecclesiastical bodies e.g. "The Guardianship" or "spiritual assemblies"?)

Morality and Ethics
We are committed to universal moral and ethical principles that are founded on enlightened self-interest and reason. All human values should be grounded in a profound respect for life, personal freedom and the universe in which we live.

Reason and Science
We are committed to the application of reason and science to the understanding of the universe and to the solving of human problems. We oppose the denigration of human intelligence by seeking to explain the world in supernatural terms. (I've grown to feel that even reliance on the so-called "Learned" or a hereditary "Guardian" denigrates my own intelligence to make adult decisions. I've always disagreed with many of Shoghi Effendi's so-called authoritative or inspired interpretations of what Baha'u'llah meant. )

Separation of Church and State
We are committed to the principle of the separation of church and state. (This in itself contraindicates the Baha'i Faith whose ultimate goal is a world-wide, all-encompassing religious monarchy.) It is our goal to ensure that a plurality of worldviews has a voice in the public arena. (My voice, for one, is that of a freethinking, humanist, homosexual, liberal, Gypsy with Christian and Baha'i experiences, which contribute to a very original outlook on life.)

Recent events in the world have given me opportunity to reconsider where and who I am; what I believe and what I do Not believe.

There you have it.


Michael Zargarov (Proclaimed a Covenant Breaker by the UHJ)
Henan, China

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