I love this
Richard, my good friend, says:
richard wrote:Well, with all due respect how could it be irrelevant that the Bible, the Koran, the Gita, and all the religious texts of the world are ambiguous enough so that there is so much disagreement between and among even the most sincere and well-intended persons?
Well, no, on the contrary—I was saying that it's very relevant. A Muslim can say we are wrong because we misinterpret the verses of the Koran—that is, we don't interpret the Koran the way he does. Surely, as you say, the Words of the Prophet are very complex, and no human mind can fully comprehend their import. Only can divinely appointed Persons fully comprehend the meaning of the verses. Baha'u'llah (is my contention) is a Manifestation of God; therefore, I accept His explanations of koranic verses. Before becoming a Baha'i, one will obviously see this for himself; he won't see contradictions—he will see agreement. Baha'u'llah opens up eyes, makes people think "outside the box"—the "box" consisting of cliched opinions, based on what a particular person's community believes. (Even if the opinion differs, I always respect someone who actively tries to make sense of scripture himself, and doesn't rely on the explanations of infallible individuals.) Some take these interpretations for granted—indeed thinking that they are divine explanations somehow. Truly, as strongly as I believe in Baha'u'llah and His proofs, I wouldn't call someone ignorant, or a liar, or anti-Muhammad or whatever just because we don't see eye to eye on the meaning of certain religious principles. I'm sure Omozali won't do the same, as Zazaban quickly locked (and deleted I think) his first thread, in which he accused Baha'is of being anti-Muslim, I believe it was. We Baha'is don't think we're better than others because we belong to the newest religion, because hey—we could
always be wrong. And also because we believe in the previous world religions, and we are taught not
to be egoistic (see below).
richard wrote:Surely intellectual and theological uniformity is impossible in our imperfect human minds, and we would all do much better to seek spiritual unity in all religions and writings than to struggle endlessly with fundamentalist "intellectual" bickering and nit-picking.
I don't think it's impossible, though you do have somewhat of a good point if you point to sectarianism in the world religions... Muhammad denounces sectarianism in the Koran, but unfortunately it happened very quickly after He passed away. The Baha'i Faith has an Administrative Order that will protect against this major and unfortunate form of disunity (sectarianism)—and this keeps Baha'is in "intellectual and theological uniformity" for the major issues and principles that are pertinent to the Faith. After that, Baha'is can have and do have diversity of thought—but this is only proper as long as it doesn't undermine the authority of the Institutions, go against Baha'is teachings/principles, etc. It seems from history that "intellectual and theological uniformity is impossible," but I think it is possible, but to reach such a degree of civilization will take some time.
richard wrote:It is truly better to be good and loving in all our relationships than to continually argue over less important matters of who is right or wrong about some intellectual/philosophical/theological thoughts, facts, knowledge, and "wisdom" while ignoring the spiritual truths of love, goodness, kindness, peace, patience, humility, self-control, and faithfulness to all of these fruits of the spirit in our relationships with our God and all others.
Agreed. In fact Baha'is are discouraged from "arguing," but not from setting forth proofs, defending their positions, etc. Really, if we just sit back and do the "love thy neighbor" thing and think happy thoughts, the world wouldn't become a better place, because there are a lot of people out there who hate their neighbors—even to the point of blowing them up. The Baha'is need to create Baha'i awareness, to get the message of oneness out there, so that people can have an "informed decision," if you will. We don't force it on anyone, and never do anything at the sacrifice of "love, goodness, kindness, peace, patience, humility, self-control, and faithfulness"—at least we are taught not to. I can show you relevant quotes, especially from 'Abdu'l-Baha, if you'd like.
richard wrote:If we are truly motivated by love in all our beings and doings, all goodness will eventually prevail among all persons without digressions into personal & group prides and egos!
Everyone has an "ego," Richard, we just have to control it. But what is wrong with "group pride"? How's that egoistic? In truth, Baha'is are taught to humble themselves, and to prefer their neighbors' interests over their own
. And we in fact are discouraged to see ourselves as equals to others...on the contrary, we are taught to look at ourselves as being lower
than others. Thus, in this case, "group pride" does not lead to egoistic Baha'is, and indeed it leads to quite the opposite!
As always.................Thanks, Richard.