Guidance from UHJ on Baha'i / Religious material in Fiction?

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Posted by Jon Paul Duvall ( on November 09, 2003 at 21:46:42:

Has there been compiled any guidance from the Universal House of Justice on how Baha'i authors of fiction should or should not protray theology, religious historical personages, Manifestations, and Institutions, both historically real and fictionally created?

I am thinking about writing a science-fiction story, which taking place thousands of years into the future, has no immediate relationship to the Baha'i Faith. But as a Baha'i I would like to give acknowledgement to the Baha'i Faith, from the perspective of the characters in the story, as "ancient" history. Also, within those thousands of years intervening between present day and the setting for the story, minor Messengers of God have come an gone, with various effect on human history and therefore i would need to essentially fabricate a few religions.

During the plot of the main story a Manifestation of God appears and there is a cataclysmic series of events which this Prophet had warned humanity about prior to her assasination. While i would make absolutely no attempt to get inside the head of this fictional Manifestation (as that would be impossible to render) i do want to get inside the heads of various characters who will have enountered her teachings and witnessed her actions, which might entail fabricating various Revelatory statements and miraculous deeds.

SPECIFIC QUESTIONS all relating to FICTIONAL writing:

In the rendering of FICTION, how should a Baha'i author:

-allude or refer directly to historically real religions and religious history and personages?

-quote passages from real Holy Texts

-fabricate future societies (based on expectations of putting into practice the World Order of Baha'u'llah)

-fabricate future fictional religions

-protray fictional religious personages such as heros, Prophets, and Manifestations

-portray fabricated revelatory modes (ie Holy Scripture - but of course "Holy Writings" might become "Holy Digital 3-Dimensional Holo-videos")

These questions also need to consider that as an author we may have characters who think and feel about things differently than we do - for instance, an atheist character will portray references to Baha'u'llah at best as "he was a wise man, and nothing more" where as a mystic might see Him as "God Himself."

Any thoughts, feelings, and opinions are gladly welcomed, but what i am hoping to find is specific and documented guidance from the Central Figures of the Baha'i Faith, or from the Universal House of Justice.

Thank you for any help you are able to offer.

--jon paul

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