Re: The End of Baha'i - The Challenge of Conversion

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Posted by Kendal ( on October 29, 2002 at 10:12:38:

In Reply to: The End of Baha'i - The Challenge of Conversion posted by Stuart Gilman on October 29, 2002 at 05:52:03:

Dear Stuart,

Thank you for your thoughts. Please don't misread me as attempting to "transform" the Faith to fit my own conception of the universe. The oneness of religion is a fundamental Baha'i concept, proclaimed by Baha'u'llah and elaborated by Abdul Baha and Shoghi Effendi. On a practical level however, if we compare religions based only on their "outer" metaphysical schemata or theology..etc, there are vast differences. I understand Baha'u'llah to be asking us to look behind these issues to the "inner essence". Religions may be relative over time, but the commands and teachings Baha'u'llah are for us- living today- absolute.

On the other issue, I have also read Dr. Macoein's comments regarding appropriate "historical contextualization'. As a historian of religion, that is a very appropriate and valuable thing for him to do. But religion for the practitioner is not about "historical contextualization", it is about values and ideals and the power to inspire them. I don't care if Baha'u'llah is from 19th century Iran or Mars, the truths he revealed transcend time and place and are exactly what we need in this world. One can study Christianity within the context of 1st century Judaism, and that may be illuminating. But to say that the message of Christ should only be read in this context and it is inappropriate to understand it otherwise- would disregard the immense spiritual gift that Chrisianity has given to people far distant from it's original historical context. It seems to me that we need both historical context and an appreciation for the universal values that are being presented. Neither is exclusive of the other and indeed they can enrich eachother. Much love, Kendal

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