An introduction.

Discussion in 'Abrahamic Religions' started by od19g6, Nov 20, 2019.

  1. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens

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    Allowances have to be made for the tribal cultures at the time of writing of ancient scriptures, where laws often excluded women, etc.

    The scriptures themselves cannot be changed, but they don't have to be literally enforced by intelligent people who understand that the essential truths contained by them, are not license to enforce medieval or bronze age tribal laws in modern societies.

    After following this thread and only now checking when the Bahai scriptures were written I am surprised to learn the Bab died only in 1892.

    Bahai proudly does identify as a 'modern religion'. It is a bit of a shame that followers of the Bahai scriptures can justify some very un-modern laws by saying: Well it doesn't really matter. Bahai is going to create a perfect world, so ...
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2019
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  2. Cino

    Cino Big Love! (Atheist mystic)

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    I think Baha'u'llah died in 1892, the Bab passed on earlier.
     
  3. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens

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    Oh, sorry.
     
  4. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens

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    He wrote a LOT of stuff, didn't he?

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bahá'u'lláh

    " ... Bahá'u'lláh wrote many texts, of which only a part has been translated into English until now.

    There have been 15,000 works written by him identified; many of these are in the form of short letters, or tablets, to Bahá'ís, but he also wrote larger pieces including the Hidden Words the Seven Valleys, the Book of Certitude (Kitáb-i-Íqán) and the Kitáb-i-Aqdas. The total volume of his works are more than 70 times the size of the Qur'an and more than 15 times the size of the combined Old and New Testaments of the Bible ..."
     
  5. Cino

    Cino Big Love! (Atheist mystic)

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    Indeed, yes. Frustratingly, his predecessor the Bab's works are almost completely untranslated. Not even his main work, the Bayan, exists in English translation. There is a French typescript draft of one version of the Bayan, which was scanned as a PDF available on the web, but hard to read, the quality is very bad.

    This is the equivalent situation of the original transcripts of Jesus' and John the Baptist's sermons and correspondence still existing - and only very little of it is accessible or even translated. Or Lao Tsu's sketchpad. Or the Buddha's notebooks from his time studying with Alara Kalama and Udaka Ramaputta. Argh! Frustrating for anyone interested in religions!
     
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  6. Ahanu

    Ahanu Well-Known Member

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    Consider the Baha'i teaching that the education of girls should be given first priority over boys in a situation where parents lack the material means to educate both of their children:


    The issue people raise about "an all-male House of Justice" is similar to raising an issue regarding the following question: Does the quote above mean Baha'is do not value the education of males as much as females? :rolleyes:

    Women hold many roles of leadership in the Baha'i Faith. One only needs to look at Baha'iyyih Khanum's role in the Baha'i community when Abdu'l-Baha left Haifa for Egypt, Europe, and the United States:


    She held such an important role for the Baha'i community that after Abdu'l-Baha's ascension, Baha'is in Nayriz thought she was the leader:

    "One night Jinab-i-Fadil-i Qasru'd-Dashti said, 'The contents of the Tablet seem to indicate the Greatest Holy Leaf would be in charge of affairs . . .'"
    -Rouhani, Khatirat-i-Talkh va Shirin
    Anyway, back to the issue of "an all-male House of Justice." One possibility I find intriguing for the reasoning behind this is voting. Women tend to vote more than men in the United States. If such is also the case in the Baha'i Faith (in which women and men elect their leaders), then the interests of women are more likely to be represented, so in reality males elected to serve are carrying out the interests of women (as if they are serving them). Also, percentage-wise the Baha'i Faith has more elected female members than modern nations do today in their governmental bodies, according to one survey completed back in 1995:




     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2019
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  7. Ahanu

    Ahanu Well-Known Member

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    If I remember correctly, the goal is to translate Baha'u'llah's works first. The Bab's works will be fully translated into English after that monumental task has been completed. Honestly, I think it would be nearly impossible to properly translate the Bab's works into English. Consider the fact he probably deliberately broke conventional grammatical rules according to whatever "mode" he was writing in:


    Your best bet is to learn Persian and Arabic. Even then the Bab's works would be a difficult read for someone seeking to learn the language, because his A Treatise on Grammar seems to throw hints to the reader that he is about to write in an unconventional manner:

     
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  8. Cino

    Cino Big Love! (Atheist mystic)

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    I think that challenging male privilege is not the same as putting men at a disadvantage.

    Things never change, do they? "You've done a great job filling in for the men, now kindly step back" - Mary Magdalene, Joan of Arc...

    This is called a "glass ceiling". https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glass_ceiling A specific demographic, in this case women, is prevented from reaching the top rangs.

    So are you saying the Baha'i women themselves are to blame, for not being pushy enough? I had the impression that even if every institution below the House of Justice has a representative proportion of women on it, since the House of Justice itself already proclaimed their interpretation of the Baha'i scriptures years ago that it could only ever be staffed by men, there would be no women to even run for this office, since they could not be elected?

    Edited to add: I want to stress that I started this discussion about my misgivings about some characteristics of the Baha'i faith because @od19g6 invited this. I hope my comments are not perceived as unfairly bashing a religion which is not my own. I respect everyone's right to believe and practice as they see fit, and if what I write comes across as a personal attack, then please let me know so I can review my engagement.
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2019
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  9. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens

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    Are the Baha'u'llah's words considered fixed scripture, or are things decided on an ongoing basis?
     
  10. Ahanu

    Ahanu Well-Known Member

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    Okay.

    Show us how an "all-male House of Justice" upholds male privilege. I think you're looking at the whole thing backwards. Why? Let me give you another reason why I think the Baha'i Faith has an "all-male House of Justice."

    God doesn't choose the privileged; He chooses the weak. It is reported Abdu'l-Baha said women are the strongest wing:


    Following Abdu'l-Baha's lead here, we should reflect on all the atrocious wars fought in our planet's history. Who most often led the charge? Men. A proverb from the Maori of New Zealand sums up the list of reasons behind war, and the list is short: "Men die for women and land." Here's an interesting fact to support this proverb: Eight percent of men (or 1 in 12 men) in central Asia share identical Y chromosomes, showing they must have descended from one man. In order to have so many living descendants today, such a man would obviously have to have a lot of women and be a man of war. Only one male fits the shoe here - Genghis Khan, who led one of the largest military expansions in history. He reinforced loyalty to himself with women as spoils of war, and, of course, he saved the most beautiful women for himself.

    High levels of testosterone are linked to aggression. You can see the link between aggression and testosterone in comparisons between bonobos and chimpanzees. The former female-dominated group have much lower levels of testosterone than their aggressive cousins. The same is true for human beings. That is, testosterone in an adult male is 20 times higher than that of an adult woman. This is the fuel for status and aggression. Genghis Khan apparently had an abundant supply. But this supply of testosterone in us isn't static or fixed. Throughout our long history things have become less violent - meaning we should be able to notice a drop in average levels of testosterone, and, in fact, this is the case. We can trace the softening of our own facial features over the last 300,000 years.

    This softening process will continue into the future with the Baha'i Faith leading the charge. Abdu'l-Baha seems to anticipate a matriarchal society, which has not ever existed in our past:


    By establishing men - the weakest wing - in the Universal House of Justice, we will see proof of Baha'u'llah's power as an educator. So now we see why it is said the reason for choosing men for this position will become quite evident in the future: in a matriarchal society it will become manifest that an institution led by men did not go down the warpath their male ancestors led us down time and time again. The people of the future will wonder and proclaim: "Then it is clear and evident that this glorious Being was a true Educator of the world of humanity and that He was aided and assisted by a divine power."



     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2019
  11. Ahanu

    Ahanu Well-Known Member

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  12. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    Hi Ahanu —
    sadly, the same way as any non-full-representative governance body holds up the privilege of its members — such as all male, all white, all male and white, etc., etc. It's inarguable that if there were not an a priori process of exclusion, no matter how discreet, then the governing body would comprise a cross-section of the body governed. Ergo, any gov. body that is all male speaks of some kind of exclusion programme, else there would be women members on the panel...

    The problem is then the gov body projects a paradigm that reflects itself ... a classic example is the ideas underpinning the Theory of Evolution — survival of the fittest, emergence of the strongest — which emerged from an all-white, male, rich educated elite who saw themselves as naturally the best, the fittest, the strongest and God's elected right in running the world.

    Only now is evolution being seen as more random, more complex and more symbiotic.

    No offence against Abdu'l-Baha here, but my hackles rise at this kind of statement ...

    As a one-time member of an Hermetic Order that championed the idea of the Feminine, the Lady, the Priestess, an order which modelled itself on courtly chivalry, was an order that was intrinsically sexist if not actually misogynist, something I only figured out a long way in. Let me state emphatically this is exactly the kind of thing men say when they want to put women in a manageable box, and it is sexist, if not misogynist.

    To say women are the strongest/ men are the weakest is nonsense. Were that so, women would have emerged in the dominant position in gender politics. Women have been kept 'in their place' by male priority and male force. 'I hunt therefore you depend on me'. When it comes to a stand-up punch-for-punch fight, men have a raft of advantages.

    That's why most domestic abuse is men hitting women, not the other way round. That's why men rape women, and instances of females raping males is rare.

    Apologies to you, Ahanu, because I respect your posts, but my lionesses, my three daughters, would have this idea for breakfast ...
     
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  13. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    And ... of course speaking as a Roman Catholic, a church which is largely dependent on women, I cannot tell you the number of times I have witnessed patriarchy in action making grandiose claims about the wonder, the glory, the special graces of the feminine, all discreetly saying 'you're everything wonderful, but not well equipped to deal with the world ...'
     
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  14. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    And ... (High-Horsing now) ... if any Scripture suggests a radical rethink of our gender politics, it's the New Testament Scripture of Revelation —
    1.0: The Incarnation
    1: Archangel Gabriel spoke directly to Mary ...
    1.2: ... and asks for her assent ...
    1.3: ... Joseph was informed in a dream, ie one step removed.
    1.4: Elizabeth and
    1.5: Anna figure in the Lucan (Mary's) testimony.

    2.0: The Resurrection
    2.1: The first to know is Mary Magdalene,
    2.2: The 'apostle to the apostles'.

    And somehow we end up with an institution run entirely by men, in which women are very much second-class citizens.
     
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  15. Cino

    Cino Big Love! (Atheist mystic)

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    That's funny :) Made me smile. Not entirely sure it was intentional, but it worked anyhow. Thank you for the good humor.

    I mentioned male privilege in the context of you pointing out the commendable Baha'i emphasis on girls' education. You asked a rhetorical question (whether this was disadvantaging boys), and my answer was that no, challenging prevailing male privilege (by educating girls first) is a good thing for all.

    The concept of privilege is not immediately obvious to those of us who are privileged. It does not mean that every member of the privileged group enjoys a carefree life, for example.

    Here's the thing: Nowadays it is no longer a question to most of us what is wrong with the following sentence: "Women are delicate and beautiful, therefore they should not be car mechanics or engineers or leaders, leave that to men who are strong and competitive"

    No-brainer, right? It's patronizing and based in cliché.

    "Women are the strong wing, the sensible ones, so they should leave the task of running the House of Justice to brutish men, so men can learn to behave properly"

    This has the same structure, and the same result. Women are somehow different - better, more pure, more refined - and therefore they must step down to let the men rule.

    Both arguments put women on a pedestal, ostensibly to praise and flatter them, with the effect of limiting what they are allowed to do.

    Abdul Baha's words are (unintentionally, but effectively) being reduced to just a new cliche about women, and then slotted into the same old rationalization why the the girls can't go into the boy's treehouse.

    Apart from all that - do you really believe that the right remedy against Ghengid Khan characteristics ist to shut out precisely the demographic who (according to your analysis) would already have the right characteristics? That seems ... Paradoxical. If men have such a bad track record when left among themselves, leaving them among themselves even more will help?
     
  16. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    What a game we play with words...
     
  17. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens

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    Why isn't it sexist and patronising? Why not educate girls and boys equally? Are we going to get the 'affirmative action' line about historical inequality?
     
  18. Cino

    Cino Big Love! (Atheist mystic)

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    No worries, enough privilege will remain for the boys/men even if for once girls got an early start in education: they can have a bad day without people ascribing it to their being male, they can be clumsy drivers without people ascribing it to them being male, they don't have to worry that their co-workers will think they were hired for their gender, and if they never get promoted, nobody will think it is because they are male, and if their career goes well, nobody will assume they had an affair with their boss. Their salary will not be less than that of women in the same position. When they interview for a job, nobody will think for a moment whether they plan to have kids in the near future. If they decide not to have kids, nobody will question their masculinity, and if they do become dads, people will praise them for spending time with their kids instead of taking it for granted. They will not be expected to spend a lot of time, effort, and money on their appearance. Every major religion, every influential political party, every corporate hierarchy will be controlled mostly by people of their gender. They will not be interrupted when they say something, people will listen to them, even if they just repeat what a women said a moment ago but was ignored for it (I witnessed this last one many times in my work, it makes me cringe every time it happens).
     
  19. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens

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    No @Cino

    That's not good enough.
    For sex, substitute race. Say clumsy driving or making mistakes at work is ascribed to being Irish, for instance?

    So are you saying that because females are weak and/or (historically) disadvantaged, they require special treatment and preferential education? Affirmative action treatment?

    What do you do, when you run out of minorities to favour?
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2019
  20. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens

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    Sorry. I mean affirmative action may be temporarily justified to give a disadvantaged section of people a leg-up into the mainstream. It's always going to be controversial. So, if that's how it's going to be for women in the early 21st Century let's just come out and say it?
     

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