Science, Reason and The Faith

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Posted by Stuart Gilman ( on August 18, 2002 at 06:44:06:

In Reply to: Infallibility posted by Brett Zamir on August 17, 2002 at 19:52:14:

Your lengthy discourse is, as always, very interesting, providing tremendous depth and breadth of both argumentation and scholoarship. Yet, by not naming those whose posts you consider non-constructive, I had to ask myself if I am included.

My Jewish upbringing taught me to accept AND to question. To question everything. As Jews, do not sin when demanding of God an explanation for the Holocaust. Not fifty years ago and not now. Nor do we sin when we say if God was so good, why did he put the tree and the snake in the Garden of anon? With the curiousity of children, is it not obvious that Adam would accept the apple from Eve? Granted this last example is a metaphor, the issue is very real. Why did God permit the killing of Abel? And the list goes on, indefinitely. The entire Book of Job is about the questioning of God. As Baha'is we have had many conflicts with Persian Baha'is who are fundamentalists, and those North American Baha'is who are also total believers and who view questioning almost as bad as covenant-breaking.

Itg is truly boring to pose a logical question regarding apparent contradictions to hear back from unquestioning believers the same, narrow, repetition of their own self-defining doctrine beliefs. In the case of "fallibility", it is difficult to even approach the subject - I am told that such and such is infallible, and if I question a historical moment, or decision of the UHJ, I am told, believe it or not, "even when a mistake is made, it is not a mistake!!!!!!" By the way, the person who said this laughed with absolute joy and celebration when he said this. He repeated it: "Isnt that great?" he said. "Even when I am wrong I am right." At that moment, I thought I was in a loony bin. Ironically, though others do not laugh hysterically, I have heard the same words spoken with dignity, using our Prophets as authority for this belief.

Now, do I break convenant when I question this dogma? How can you expect Baha'u'llah's acceptance of science and reason, which is what drew me to Bah'i, a scientist, to have me reject the basic principles of science and reason? Reconcile that.

Questioning is not disagreement. It not an attack against God or any of his Prophets. Questioning arises because we sincerely do not understand The Whole. When we find a quotation that explicity contradicts another, we do not understand. People like yourself, or others in authority, have the ability or responsibility to reconcile those contradictions. And, in so doing, deepen our Faith and Understanding.

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