Re: Apologies for Life's Distateful Facts

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Posted by Mike ( on December 25, 2002 at 21:58:14:

In Reply to: Apologies for Life's Distateful Facts posted by Stuart Gilman on December 19, 2002 at 18:00:06:

Dear SG:

Firstly, your paraphrased quotations above are slightly misleading. One the one hand, Abdul-baha at various times does refer to the principle of "returning poison for honey"(paraphrase). Even in His Will and Testatment He states:

" Wherefore, O my loving friends! Consort with all the peoples, kindreds and religions of the world with the utmost truthfulness, uprightness, faithfulness, kindliness, good-will and friendliness, that all the world of being may be filled with the holy ecstasy of the grace of Baha, that ignorance, enmity, hate and rancor may vanish from the world and the darkness of estrangement amidst the peoples and kindreds of the world may give way to the Light of Unity. Should other peoples and nations be unfaithful to you show your fidelity unto them, should they be unjust toward you show justice towards them, should they keep aloof from you attract them to yourselves, should they show their enmity be friendly towards them, should they poison your lives, sweeten their souls, should they inflict a wound upon you, be a salve to their sores. Such are the attributes of the sincere! Such are the attributes of the truthful."

But this, as far as I can see, is in no way contradictory to the principle enshrined in the ordinances of the Kitab-i-Aqdas that an arsonist may be burned.

"Should anyone intentionally destroy a house by fire, him also shall ye burn; should anyone deliberately take another's life, him shall ye also put to death."..."Should ye codemn the arsonist and the murderer to life imprisonment, it would be permissible according to the provisions of the Book. He, verily, hath power to ordain whatsover He pleaseth."

The reason for there being no contradiction is that the first appears to be a call for the followers of the Blessed Beauty to strive to achieve INDIVIDUAL spiritual perfections that will serve to promote unity. The second quotation, on the other hand, is a principle intended to guide legislative bodies in their enactment of appropriate punishments, and as such is intended for the maintainance of COLLECTIVE social justice, order and unity.

There are of course numerous other examples of apparently contractictory statements in the Writings. For example, the principle that it would be better to be killed than to kill, and the principle that force is the servant of justice. Again it appears to me that the first is aimed at guiding INDIVIDUAL behaviour, whereas the second is aimed more at guiding humanity towards the development of mechanisms of COLLECTIVE security.

Perhaps the most salient example of such an apparent contraction is of course gender equality and women not being allowed to serve on the Universal House of Justice.

Didn't Shoghi Effendi use the simile of the Teaching of the Baha'i Faith being like a sphere wherein all Teachings, while at times apparenty contradictory are, however, all connected constitutional elements of an organic whole?

Finally, while I'm here I'd just like to add something concrete on the subject of how you should deal with your 'friend'. Firstly, I can see that this is a test for you. If I were you I think my priority would be the maintainance of unity between myself and my spouse. You know, If you disagree than perhaps you are both 'in the wrong'. Whereas agreement, even if you have to compromise a little and/or agree to do the wrong thing, will serve to maintain your unity and lead to the growth and consolidation of your relationship in the long run.

In addition, I don't think that I would personally feel quite as reluctanct as you seem to be to kick this person out of my house. It's possible that that's exactly what he needs.


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