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Persecution of the Bahá’ís of Iran as an example of spiritual resilience: what are the spiritual meanings of suffering? When confronted with persecution or torture, why do some individuals show radiant acceptance; what role do faith and belief play?

Psychological and Spiritual Dimensions of Persecution and Suffering

by Abdu'l-Missagh Ghadirian

published in Journal of Bahá'í Studies, 6:3, pages 1-26
Ottawa: Association for Bahá'í Studies North America, 1994
About: At the root of human suffering and persecution, one can often discern the traces of prejudice that have plagued humanity throughout history. Parallel with the waves of oppression and suffering in society, there has been an awakening of human souls not only to the spiritual meanings and mysteries of these adversities but also to their effect on personal development and transformation. Beyond the psychological understanding of persecution is the spiritual realm of this experience. What are the spiritual meanings of suffering and adversity? While confronted with inevitable persecution, torture, and even death, why do some individuals rise with such resilience and radiance? What role does faith and belief play, and what are some of the spiritual responses as compared to the psychological reactions to life crises and religious persecutions? This article cites persecution of the Bahá’ís of Iran as an example of spiritual resilience.
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