Posted by Jon Paul (184.108.40.206) on November 09, 2003 at 22:37:40:
In Reply to: Re: Freemasonry cannot be compatible with Baha'i posted by Joe Ohlandt on October 19, 2003 at 13:49:15:
I greatly appreciate Brett's posting of quotations! I always prefer to see Authentic responses to such concerns. Thank you Brett!
I also take create delight in the process of Consultation, and it is in that spirit that I feel compelled to share my personal thoughts and feelings on the matter.
As a general personal response to these concerns:
I find that the purpose of the Baha'i Religion (beyond individual spiritual and moral development) is the creation of a world wide community whose soul is rooted in the Teachings and Principles revealed by Baha'u'llah, and whose affairs are governed and protected by the Insitutions created by Baha'u'llah through the unfoldment of His World Order, with the hope that if this community does not eventually include every human being, it will at least gain enough resources to effectively upraise and enoble the entire human race.
We can clearly see that by being a Baha'i we are INTIMATELY involved in the progression, education, upliftment, and perfection (both material and spiritual) of every society and group of humanity on the planet (because we believe in the Oneness of Humanity). Thus i am a Christian-Baha'i, this-Baha'i and that-Baha'i, because by belonging to the Baha'i Faith i am NOT EXCLUDED from other people, indeed by being a Baha'i I am bound more intimately to them than merely enrolling in their organization could ever make me.
As Baha'is who believe in the Teachings of Baha'u'llah, and who see in the Institutions of this Faith (the World Order of Baha'u'llah) the salvation of humankind in a divine governance, in our desire to be ONE, united with ALL our brothers and sisters (whether Baha'i or not), being members of ANY organization, whether religious, political, economic, or idealogical, which excludes any of our fellow human beings, must eventually force us to disengage and seperate ourselves from our others, and might lesson our allegience to the God-Ordained Institutions of the Baha'i Faith through overly complicated allegiences.
For instance, while being a Baha'i i see myself as brethen to those who belong to Democratic, Republican, and Green parties in the US, but if I joined any of their ranks, that will put me AGAINST the others. As a Baha' i am united with them all, as Democratic I am against some of them. So i choose to be a member of the Baha'i Faith, and not a member of the Democratic party.
As i am trying to be a Baha'i, i seek only those relationships that will allow my thoughts, deeds, and actions to be WORLD EMBRACING. I am an American, a Baha'i-American, and patriotic in that I desire to see Americans uplifted, loved, protected, and progress, but since i also desire to see the same for the citizens of every country i am a Baha'i-Chinese, Baha'i-Irish, Baha'i-Brazilian, etc.
This is what i think the spirit of that statement by 'Abdu'l-Baha might have been. That being a Baha'i makes you a Baha'i-hyphenate-Everything because the Baha'i Faith is all inclusive. Not that a Baha'i should complicate his allegiance to the Baha'i Cause, or to humanity in general, by entagling himself in various (potentially) antagonistic allegiences.
It has been my experience, that anything we might encounter in the Teachings of the Baha'i Faith, or in the guidance by Its Institutions, which at first seems to curtail or limit personal freedom, when pondered in the light of Universality and Justice for EVERYONE, these apparent limitations always end up to have extremely liberating results, by linking us to more universal things.
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