Tension in the Baha'i Faith?

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Gnosticagape

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Hello Art, Amy, Steven, Bruce and all,

Thanks again Art for your link on pluralism!

Because this is a new topic I thought it appropriate to begin a new thread.

Mr. Momen has a very enlightened approach to religion in general and the Baha'i Faith's place amongst religions:

"A religion like the Bahá'í Faith that has deliberately sought to have a
wide variety of people within its ranks will also contain, despite its
reputation as a "liberal" religion, individuals with a range of liberal and
fundamentalist opinions."

"And yet despite these protections, it cannot be denied that the presence of
fundamentalists and liberals does cause a certain amount of tension within
the Baha'i community. There have been numerous episodes and situations known to the author of this article, and no doubt to any other person who has been a Baha'i for any length of time, where this tension has caused problems and even damage to the Baha'i Faith."

http://bahai-library.com/articles/momen.fundamentalism.html

I couldn't help but see some examples of that tension that Mr.Momen is refering to expressed by Baha'is here on this forum.

When reading through some of the previous posts on this forum I came across this following one from Bruce:
---------
L>When I speak of Baha'i Identity it is drawn from those Teachings, the actual Words of Baha'u'llah and Abdu'l-Baha.

Sigh. Yet another falsehood. :-(

YOU are the one who was referring to "liberal and conservative" Baha'is, clearly discredited terminology employed only by enemies of the Faith. If you were "drawing your material from the Baha'i teachings, you would never use such ridiculous, grossly false and misleading terms.

End of conversation.

Bruce
---------
My question is if Baha'i scholars such as Mr.Momen openly admit that the Baha'i Faith has within it :"despite its reputation as a "liberal" religion, individuals with a range of liberal and fundamentalist opinions.", why an individual Baha'i such as Bruce would state what he did in the above which is clearly not the view held by Baha'i scholars.

Perhaps the tension in the Baha'i Faith that Mr.Momen refers to is as a result of the distortion he referred to in his post to do with metareligion:

"a distortion of its real nature, a result of the present stage in its historical development. This distortion is caused by the fact that up to now, all of the leaders and intellectuals of the Baha'i community have come from a narrow cultural and intellectual basis (an Iranian-European-North American axis). They have interpreted the Baha'i teachings in accordance with their cultural perspectives and the result is what we see today."

I am finding Mr.Momen's insights into the Baha'i Faith as well as the sentiments that have been expressed here on this forum by grass roots Baha'is to be quite a eye opener!

Cheers Chris
 
Greetings!

It appears that Matthew Fox's experience as a Christian Dominican within the Catholic Church has many parallels with those Baha'is that have been referred to on this forum who have been excommunicated from the Baha'i Faith for their liberal views.

Matthew Fox has written in detail about his being excommunicated by his more conservative breathern within the Catholic Church. It is remarkable how although things change in someways they remain the same in others.

As a Christian and a former Catholic I find Matthew's deep ecumenism quite hopeful. Although the whole world is becoming polarized between people with liberal and conservative views, the stark limitations of a strickly conservative approach both in religion and in poiltics is becoming more and more apparent.

Just wittness what the result of conservative politics has had in New Orleans today. The Army Corp of engineers has been warning of the problem with the levees around New Orleans for many years yet their budget has been reduced to 20% of what was requested as needed to prevent just such a disaster!

I believe that the tension between conservatives and liberals, both on a political and religious level, is symptomatic of shifting power structures. Those who hold the power, whether they be the Pope in Rome or the President in the Whitehouse feel threatened by liberal thinking and do as the Catholic Church has done to Matthew Fox.

Hopefully the rule of such conservatives will soon come to an end. I fear it may take many more News Orleans to do it in America.

Cheers Chris
 
Gnosticagape said:
Hello Art, Amy, Steven, Bruce and all,

{wave}

Gnosticagape said:
Thanks again Art for your link on pluralism!

Because this is a new topic I thought it appropriate to begin a new thread.

Mr. Momen has a very enlightened approach to religion in general and the Baha'i Faith's place amongst religions:

"A religion like the Bahá'í Faith that has deliberately sought to have a
wide variety of people within its ranks will also contain, despite its
reputation as a "liberal" religion, individuals with a range of liberal and
fundamentalist opinions."

"And yet despite these protections, it cannot be denied that the presence of
fundamentalists and liberals does cause a certain amount of tension within
the Baha'i community. There have been numerous episodes and situations known to the author of this article, and no doubt to any other person who has been a Baha'i for any length of time, where this tension has caused problems and even damage to the Baha'i Faith."

http://bahai-library.com/articles/momen.fundamentalism.html

I couldn't help but see some examples of that tension that Mr.Momen is refering to expressed by Baha'is here on this forum.

When reading through some of the previous posts on this forum I came across this following one from Bruce:
---------
L>When I speak of Baha'i Identity it is drawn from those Teachings, the actual Words of Baha'u'llah and Abdu'l-Baha.

Sigh. Yet another falsehood. :-(

YOU are the one who was referring to "liberal and conservative" Baha'is, clearly discredited terminology employed only by enemies of the Faith. If you were "drawing your material from the Baha'i teachings, you would never use such ridiculous, grossly false and misleading terms.

End of conversation.

Bruce
---------
My question is if Baha'i scholars such as Mr.Momen openly admit that the Baha'i Faith has within it :"despite its reputation as a "liberal" religion, individuals with a range of liberal and fundamentalist opinions.", why an individual Baha'i such as Bruce would state what he did in the above which is clearly not the view held by Baha'i scholars.

Perhaps the tension in the Baha'i Faith that Mr.Momen refers to is as a result of the distortion he referred to in his post to do with metareligion:

"a distortion of its real nature, a result of the present stage in its historical development. This distortion is caused by the fact that up to now, all of the leaders and intellectuals of the Baha'i community have come from a narrow cultural and intellectual basis (an Iranian-European-North American axis). They have interpreted the Baha'i teachings in accordance with their cultural perspectives and the result is what we see today."

I am finding Mr.Momen's insights into the Baha'i Faith as well as the sentiments that have been expressed here on this forum by grass roots Baha'is to be quite a eye opener!

Cheers Chris

Allowing for a range of ... attitudes... within the Faith is not the same as allowing for sub-groupings which carry on meetings to perpetuate agendas ment to foster one pov or another plus all manner of other issues related to such names as liberal and conservative. The same tension is among those who like and use Macintosh vs those who use Windows. People differ, sometimes loudly. And if an individual puts more weight on those differences than their beleif in the Baha'i Faith, then they are torn apart from unity into sedition and fall away from the religion. Others, however, while not ignoring the issues, can make judgements on the facts and relate priorities to the situation in hand, without making grand pronouncements that such and so means, and can only mean, suppose-it-this-way.

Those who are tied up in knots over those tensions use fixed and extreme terminology to dominate (as in the truth is more important than being respectful and fair) as well as propound their beleifs over others (as in any other pov can only be ignorance or stupidy or both.) This is not the norms the Baha'i Faith propounds, and attachment to those standards will tend to eschew that same terminology.

"Gird up the loins of your endeavor, O people of Bahá, that haply the tumult of religious dissension and strife that agitateth the peoples of the earth may be stilled, that every trace of it may be completely obliterated. For the love of God, and them that serve Him, arise to aid this most sublime and momentous Revelation. Religious fanaticism and hatred are a world-devouring fire, whose violence none can quench. The Hand of Divine power can, alone, deliver mankind from this desolating affliction….
The utterance of God is a lamp, whose light is these words: Ye are the fruits of one tree, and the leaves of one branch. Deal ye one with another with the utmost love and harmony, with friendliness and fellowship. He Who is the Day Star of Truth beareth Me witness! So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth. The one true God, He Who knoweth all things, Himself testifieth to the truth of these words...."

"...the principles of the Divine religions can hardly be evaluated by the acts of those who only claim to follow them. For every excellent thing, peerless though it may be, can still be diverted to the wrong ends. A lighted lamp in the hands of an ignorant child or of the blind will not dispel the surrounding darkness nor light up the house--it will set both the bearer and the house on fire. Can we, in such an instance, blame the lamp? No, by the Lord God! To the seeing, a lamp is a guide and will show him his path; but it is a disaster to the blind."
 
Hi again! :)

I agree with Steven on this.

While individual Baha'is do indeed reflect a wide spectrum of views and opinions, the key remains the fact that regardless of this we are united in our faith and in our love for one another!

And in general, only those pursuing an anti-Baha'i agenda or some personal agenda of their own use such divisive terms as "liberal" and "conservative" when referring to Baha'is. These terms, as I mentioned before, have been explicitly rejected by the administration of the Baha'i Faith (and the overwhelming majority of individual believers) as misleading and harmful.

So I was simply pointing out to the individual in question--who has since been locked out of several threads for attempting to cause splits, please note--that while he claimed to be citing the teachings of Baha'u'llah, his actions contradicted this.

The fact remains that the Baha'i Faith remains one united family, regardless of the nay-saying of a few opponents.

So, next question, please? :)

Regards,

Bruce
 
Hi Bruce,

Brian please correct me if I am out of line here, but the person here whose threads were locked was not banned for trying to 'cause splits' in the Baha'i Faith, but for not following the Code of Conduct and requests by the site owner to supply references for some of his comments.

my 2c,
lunamoth
 
lunamoth said:
Hi Bruce,

Brian please correct me if I am out of line here, but the person here whose threads were locked was not banned for trying to 'cause splits' in the Baha'i Faith, but for not following the Code of Conduct and requests by the site owner to supply references for some of his comments.

my 2c,
lunamoth

Certainly true. However, in the way he promulgated his view of the Baha'i Faith he violated the code, as I understand it, and so his posts were moderated. While he is no longer a Baha'i, he also violated Baha'i teachings purely in his methods - "... the friends should obey the government under which they live, even at the risk of sacrificing all their administrative affairs and interests...." While this area does not constitute of government, it has the form of a structure particpants agree to follow.

So in general, both were true, though not inherently.

I am reminded of more than one thing in regards to these events, but one of them was a prolonged discussion I participated in during which a few people, myself included, got rather... heated. I was censured. Certain others were expelled. It's good to be corrected and take a breath.

And in a weird way, he is not the only one to dream of elephants....
 
Dear Steven,

I'm not exactly sure why you posted that link to a letter from the Guardian Shoghi Effendi to the believers of Nazi Germany in 1933 telling them to remain in obedience to the government as long as it did not interfere with their beliefs. In fact I found it startling and depressing at the same time.

If your goal was to provoke me you have succeeded. You have reminded me that none of the people I consider heros of our era, such as Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr, Nelson Mandela, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, could have been a Baha'i in good standing today.

I also noted how quick the Bahai's here were to belittle the faith of people who have left the Baha'i Faith for whatever reason, implying that such are spiritually immature or have a problem with authority, or that they are enemies of the Faith or would-be covenent breakers (as if assuming authority for one's own mind is a threat to the authority of the UHJ). That is unfair and untrue.

peace,
lunamoth
 
It also seems to me that diamondsouled claims he still is a Baha'i, as are many others who have unenrolled or been disenrolled from the Faith and yet retain their faith in Baha'u'llah.

But then, what's in a name.

lunamoth
 
lunamoth said:
Brian please correct me if I am out of line here, but the person here whose threads were locked was not banned for trying to 'cause splits' in the Baha'i Faith, but for not following the Code of Conduct and requests by the site owner to supply references for some of his comments.

I know we've seen small differences discussed among Baha'is here on issues of observation of scripture, and I enjoyed those threads - through constructive discussion is engaged a process of learning for all.

I am happy to allow as general a liberal view of any faith where possible, but it does require that such discussions remain constructive and respectful.

The original poster refused to respect the forum and its members, and as a consequence has his original alias, and his recent one, banned from the site.

With that, time to move on from this thread, and the politics of Diamondsouled/Gnosticagape.
 
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