Posted by Misagh (220.127.116.11) on December 25, 2002 at 12:52:07:
In Reply to: joining the faith is not as simple as you are led to believe posted by Stuart Gilman on December 25, 2002 at 07:04:18:
Wow, I wish I could sit down and type out an e-novel response to this... but maybe it's better that I didn't ;)
I'd like to examine each paragraph of the above post:
Joining the Faith is a far more difficult challenge than you are led to believe. Especially if your motives are truly religious and not social. If your motive is social with a little religion thrown in, you should have no difficulty. If your motive is religious, you may find yourself deeply challenged, especially as you study, learn, expand your knowledge of the roots of the Faith, its Evolution and numerous areas that lack clarity because of one reason or another.
Joining the Faith is indeed a challenege. A challenge we welcome and cherish each day. Because it is this challenge that allows us to grow.
Areas that lack clarity? True, but not because of anything inherently wrong with the Faith, but due to our inadequate understandings of truths.
As times change, new interpretations of original Baha statements must be made. And, times change so fast on every level - social, scientific, cultural, technological, etc - that no human person or body of persons such as the House of Justice can keep up.
A quote from the Will and Testament of Abdul'Baha:
"It enacteth all ordinances and regulations that are not to be found in the explicit Holy Text. By this body all the difficult problems are to be resolved..."
And a quote from Shoghi Effendi, the Guardian of the Baha'i Faith:
"...it is made indubitably clear and evident that the Guardian of the Faith has been made the Interpreter of the Word and that the Universal House of Justice has been invested with the function of legislating on matters not expressly revealed in the teachings. The interpretation of the Guardian, functioning within his own sphere, is as authoritative and binding as the enactments of the International House of Justice, whose exclusive right and prerogative is to pronounce upon and deliver the final judgment on such laws and ordinances as Baháâuâlláh has not expressly revealed. Neither can, nor will ever, infringe upon the sacred and prescribed domain of the other. Neither will seek to curtail the specific and undoubted authority with which both have been divinely invested.
(Shoghi Effendi, from a letter of 8 February 1934, published in ăThe World Order of Baháâuâlláh - Selected Lettersä pp. 149-50)"
New interpretations are not made. Shoghi Effendi was the latest Interpreter. The Universal House of Justice is a legislative body, enacting laws and guiding the believers towards the truth.
What would Baha'u'llah and Baha'i say about human cloning?
Genetic manipulation? Transplants? Cryogenics?
That is for the Universal House of Justice to decide in due time.
Another complication arises when you begin to study.
Then you will be challenged more than ever before.
True enough! But no one expected studying and understanding and *living* the Teachings would be easy.
I became a Baha'i far too soon. While encouraged to question,
I am limited as to what I am permitted to question. Not easy.
You are not limited in what you can question. God has given you free will to question whatever you like. Indeed, many answers to many questions posed in the past 159 years have already been answered, numerous times. However, sometimes it's difficult for people to a) find the answer, b) understand the answer, and c) accept the answer.
Some people question the infallibility of the Universal House of Justice. Or the Covanent. Indeed, solutions to any polemics concerning these and other things are available for study and reflection. Auxilliary Board members and Counsellors can and should help the believers resolve difficulties.
There's more I can say to this, but perhaps others will make some comments...
While permitted to accept the findings of science and reconcile
them with Baha'i, I am not permitted to accept certain findings,
I dunno what to say about this, so instead I'll ask: What aren't you permitted to accept?
When you are a Baha'i without declaring yourself to be a Baha'i,
without "signing your card" it is a much easier Faith. While
recommending that everyone 'join", joining brings a new set of
responsibilities and constraints. You exchange certain freedoms
for greater peace of soul and greatness of heart, but you lose a degree of intellectual freedom which for some, is worth the price,
for others, difficult.
I think Rob discussed the importance of being a part of the Administrative Order beautifully in an earlier post.
You're right Stuart, in that some believe they lose their "intellectual freedom" by becoming a Baha'i. That's truly a shame for them.
"O people of God! Give ear unto that which, if heeded, will ensure the freedom, well-being, tranquillity, exaltation and advancement of all men.
(Baha'u'llah, Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 92)"
"Mankind in its entirety must firmly adhere to whatsoever hath been revealed and vouchsafed unto it. Then and only then will it attain unto true liberty.
(Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 96)"
"The Ancient Beauty hath consented to be bound with chains that mankind may be released from its bondage, and hath accepted to be made a prisoner within this most mighty Stronghold that the whole world may attain unto true liberty.
(Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 99)"
"Consider for instance such things as liberty, civilization and the like. However much men of understanding may favorably regard them, they will, if carried to excess, exercise a pernicious influence upon men...
(Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 216)"
"If the learned and worldly-wise men of this age were to allow mankind to inhale the fragrance of fellowship and love, every understanding heart would apprehend the meaning of true liberty, and discover the secret of undisturbed peace and absolute composure.
(Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 260)"
"We find some men desiring liberty, and priding themselves therein. Such men are in the depths of ignorance.
Liberty must, in the end, lead to sedition, whose flames none can quench. Thus warneth you He Who is the Reckoner, the All-Knowing. Know ye that the embodiment of liberty and its symbol is the animal. Ę336Ę That which beseemeth man is submission unto such restraints as will protect him from his own ignorance, and guard him against the harm of the mischief-maker. Liberty causeth man to overstep the bounds of propriety, and to infringe on the dignity of his station. It debaseth him to the level of extreme depravity and wickedness.
Regard men as a flock of sheep that need a shepherd for their protection. This, verily, is the truth, the certain truth. We approve of liberty in certain circumstances, and refuse to sanction it in others. We, verily, are the All-Knowing.
Say: True liberty consisteth in manâs submission unto My commandments, little as ye know it. Were men to observe that which We have sent down unto them from the Heaven of Revelation, they would, of a certainty, attain unto perfect liberty. Happy is the man that hath apprehended the Purpose of God in whatever He hath revealed from the Heaven of His Will, that pervadeth all created things. Say: The liberty that profiteth you is to be found nowhere except in complete servitude unto God, the Eternal Truth. Whoso hath tasted of its sweetness will refuse to barter it for all the dominion of earth and heaven.
(Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 335)"
And now a question for all to think about: If man cannot understand how true liberty comes about by submission unto God's commandments, is this God's fault, or man's?
Take care all...
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