Posted by Brett Zamir (184.108.40.206) on May 02, 2002 at 19:04:38:
In Reply to: consultation at Assembly meetings posted by sergio ortiz on May 02, 2002 at 13:50:52:
"If after discussion," He ['Abdu'l-Baha], furthermore has written, "a decision be carried unanimously, well and good; but if, the Lord forbid, differences of opinion should arise, a majority of voices must prevail." (Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, p. 332, quoted at http://bahai-library.org/writings/shoghieffendi/gpb/331-335.html)
As this indicates, this is an ideal condition and not a necessary one (though it should be a common ideal condition). When people are actually seeking the truth, not taking offense at others' comments or taking things personally, and not attached to their own opinions, learning from women in soliciting others' feelings and opinions, etc. (though one should persist in frankly stating or seeking what they perceive to be the truth), this should be common. However, this should not be taken as a weapon for the majority to try to push the minority into a certain way of thinking (though the Writings state that the minority must accept the majority's decision eventually).
In 'Abdu'l-Baha giving an ideal example of consultation (the disciples after Christ's Ascension deciding how to spread the new Faith), the disciples agree with all the previous ones. We should be able to acknowledge the grain of truth in each person's comments. (Promulgation of Universal Peace, pp. 72-73, quoted at http://bahai-library.org/writings/abdulbaha/pup/4/sec-6.html)
"Say: O servants!...We fain would hope that the people of Bahá may be guided by the blessed words: `Say: all things are of God.' This exalted utterance is like unto water for quenching the fire of hate and enmity which smouldereth within the hearts and breasts of men. By this single utterance contending peoples and kindreds will attain the light of true unity." (Baha'u'llah, Tablets of Baha'u'llah, pp. 217-223)
A "clash of opinions" being encouraged, implies, I would say, an open environment for all opininons to be fully heard but does not mean "clash of voice tones", "clash of opinions attached perpetually to their respective initial proposers", etc. nor a failure to carefully listen, investigate, and solicit the reasoning of the initial proposer of alternative opinions.
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