Paganism, The Jesuits and the Baha'is

Ron Price

Mr RonPrice
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George Town Tasmania Australia
To use paganism to glorify and propagate Christian morality was a rather difficult task. Still, the Jesuits were confident enough to attempt it and succeed. In order to achieve that goal the Jesuits had to transform the ancient world, the world of Greece and Rome which had become in the Renaissance the model for the age. They had to show the authors of Antiquity in such a way as to leave in the shadows what made them true pagans and all that made them men of a particular city, or of a particular time, in order to highlight the ways in which they were simply men, men of all times and all countries. Baha'is are faced, four hundred years later, with a similar, an even more daunting task. It is not just paganism that the Baha'is must deal with; it is a pluralistic society of isms and wasms of immense range and complexity and operating on a global scale not the essentially European-western context the Jesuits dealt with in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Like the Jesuits the Baha'is are faced with trying to bring about change in specific historical conditions. But, unlike the Jesuits, the Baha'is possess new institutions which they do not have to construct ex nihilo, entirely from their imaginations. -Ron Price with thanks to Herve Varenne, "The Social Facting of Education: Durkheim's Legacy," Journal of Curriculum Studies, Vol.27, 1995, pp.373-89.​

It's been done before,

this embellishment

with a fresh grace,

dazzling rays1

of a strange, heavenly

power in the midst

of the sleep of dreamless

emptiness and confusion.

And now in these days

I play my part, in dark hours,

with world-regenerating forces

of peculiar significance

I scarcely understand

in these years of lowest ebb

and supreme opportunities.2

1 'Abdu'l-Baha, Secret of Divine Civilization,p.1

2 Shoghi Effendi, Citadel of Faith, p58.

Ron Price

12 November 2002