For the Baha'i members

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iBrian

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An issue came up in a previous thread:
http://www.comparative-religion.com/forum/showthread.php?t=4099

Arthra said:
I think this thread began with a "song" and is becoming another area of dispute about Baha'i Faith... Somehow this seems awry to me and just a repeat of some past discussions. Been there ...done that.

but indeed:

From my view this is because Baha'is on this forum repeatedly hold the Baha'i Faith up as superior to other religions with respect to x, y, z (rational rather than superstitious, in harmony with science, no dogma, no prosyletizing, no ritual, no discrimination due to gender, no ruling clergy, no paternalism, no schism, etc.), and yet in reality there are exceptions to each of claims.

http://www.comparative-religion.com/forum/showthread.php?t=4103
It is worth indicating that it's hard not to perceive Baha'i members taking every opportunity to mention, promote, and quote Baha'i writings in any thread they are involved in. In effect, that the purpose of Baha'i members here is missionary.

It's also worth relating my recent comment on the post inviting poeple to learn about the Baha'i Faith.

Please note that if any person of any religions does that about the general CR boards, then it is seen as proselytising and is not acceptable - please note that the Baha'i faith and its members are not immune from that.

This is an issue that has been bubbling under the surface for some time, and really needs addressing so that Baha'i members ensure that their posting is not above the restrictions placed upon every other member here.

Any questions, feel free to ask.
 
Greetings!

One thing that should be borne in mind, and understood, is that Baha'is often tend to quote from the Baha'i scriptures in conversations.

This is not to "one-up" anybody, but for the simple reason that IOV the scriptures say things much better and more reliably than we ourselves can, and the quoting is because we're endeavoring to assure accuracy.

I trust that understanding our motives will help.

Regards,

Bruce
 
I certainly appreciate that - the trouble is that if a Christian were to be extensively quoting the New Testament all the time on their posts outside of the Christianity board, it would be seen as evangelising to the point of proselytising.

That's why the issue needs to be raised for the benefit of the Baha'i members, so that there is a level playing field for all faiths.
 
I said:
I certainly appreciate that - the trouble is that if a Christian were to be extensively quoting the New Testament all the time on their posts outside of the Christianity board, it would be seen as evangelising to the point of proselytising.

That's why the issue needs to be raised for the benefit of the Baha'i members, so that there is a level playing field for all faiths.


I don't know Brian ... I don't think we should be so stringent on people asking them not to quote from scriptures outside these respective boards. If you truly want a comparative religion board then quoting from various scriptures is a given.

People are going to quote from their sources regardless. In fact it's better they do don't you think so we all know where they're coming from.

The quote that apparently riled you by Scott wasn't even from Baha'i scripture at all but rather an essay and it was relating to the issue of "dealing with a non-starter in moral reasoning". In my view it wasn't promoting the Baha'i Faith at all..

I expect Christians here to be exponents of Christianity and Moslems to espouse Islam.

I think we can still have intelligent discussions even so. What do you think?

- Art


:)
 
I said:
It is worth indicating that it's hard not to perceive Baha'i members taking every opportunity to mention, promote, and quote Baha'i writings in any thread they are involved in. In effect, that the purpose of Baha'i members here is missionary.

That's more than a bit too casual I think. Perhaps you haven't done this for long but have you ever seen participation in interfaith discussion areas as a great way to convert people?! Seriously - is there anywhere where one is likely to run into people more rooted in what they beleive than in an interfaith discussion area?

I think the main strength of an interfaith discussion area is to learn of other Faiths, and to learn of one's own more deeply, than it is in seeking converts - whish is what missionary work is supposed to be, right?

Still another aspect is that one might well reasonably conclude that the majroity faith in the realm is the one most are already familiar with and minotiry Faiths are the ones that need to be more investigated and understood. And by minority I do not just mean Baha'i - basically I mean everything non-Christian. We minority Faiths already live with cultural and language norms of Christianity in almost everything religious or semi-religious in our lives - "missionary" !

Another avenue on this thread is to wonder about a whole "pc" quality - that we are just people who happen to have a religion as if the religion were not an important part of us and we should just get along because we all care about being good. Such choices can go almost no further - being good has to apply to particular ways, actively dealing with history and the present.

Now of course actively seeking to promote a Faith can become disruptive and inducing chaos. And it is good to have moderators and rules to promote fairness.
 
arthra said:
I don't know Brian ... I don't think we should be so stringent on people asking them not to quote from scriptures outside these respective boards. If you truly want a comparative religion board then quoting from various scriptures is a given.

People are going to quote from their sources regardless. In fact it's better they do don't you think so we all know where they're coming from.

The quote that apparently riled you by Scott wasn't even from Baha'i scripture at all but rather an essay and it was relating to the issue of "dealing with a non-starter in moral reasoning". In my view it wasn't promoting the Baha'i Faith at all..

I expect Christians here to be exponents of Christianity and Moslems to espouse Islam.

I think we can still have intelligent discussions even so. What do you think?

- Art


:)

I notice that when the complaint about Baha`i's "promoting their faith" is thickest it is when someone NOT a Baha`i has made a comment or posted an opinion that CREATES a question as to whether or not it is true.

How else is anyone to explain what the faith TRULY says, other than by quoting what the scriptures say and then making a commentary on the scripture?

It beggars good sense to insist upon anything else being appropriate.

I cannot count the number of times the Christian faith is promoted on the Christian board, or the Abrahamic Religions Board, complete with extensive Biblical quotes, yet this raises no comment.

So, is it an interfaith dialogue board or not? Inquiring minds wish to know.

I notice that the Post "Just a Thought" and "Misleading Info on Books/Websites", and a "Vision of Baha`u'llah", and "What About Rama", and "Bahai Membership Status" were not started by Baha`i's, but by people having questions - some were neutral, some were hostile, some were friendly, but addressing Baha`is with questions about the faith seems an appropriate behavior.

Honestly, would there be any point in an interfaith board requiring people to stay on their own boards, and NEVER comment on any post on any common board that offers a comment on how their faith considers an issue?

I notice that it has been four to six weeks since there has been any posts on the other two outcast boards in "Modern Religions". The only board in the subject area with any life at all is the Baha`i Board.

Abrahamic Religions boards have been chopped off at Islam no matter if it can be shown that other religions - including the Parsee faith - claiming a descent from Abraham are barely tolerated.

An interfaith dialogue is going to create sparks from time to time. So, are these sparks to be avoided whatever the cost? Can they be avoided at all? Is it even desirable to avoid them at all costs?

Sparks create light, light illumines truth. The purpose of interfaith dialogue is for people to learn to tolerate the differences and embrace the commonalities, and learn to get along with respect for one another. You cannot do that without talking, quoting, reasoning, answering, and asking.

A hostile individual may raise a difficult question about the Baha`i Faith, but if it is raised then those who wish to answer it with the words of the Faith's text and reasoned commentary should be allowed to do so. I recognized outright hostility from a Moslem indivdual when it was written. I recognized resentment from a Buddhist individual, yet their questions are welcome as far as I am concerned. Why?

Because sparks create light, light illumines truth. I do not hope to change the mind of anyone who raises differences with my faith. It is not up to me to create converts. I have no power to cause anyone to change their faith, but I will attempt to answer any question raised, and show where I found the reason in the words of my faith. It can be accepted, rejected saved for later consideration, whatever, and that is no skin off my nose.

Regards,
Scott
 
Popeyesays said:
I notice that when the complaint about Baha`i's "promoting their faith" is thickest it is when someone NOT a Baha`i has made a comment or posted an opinion that CREATES a question as to whether or not it is true.

I recall a rabid interfaith person some years ago - who constantly promoted understanding and equality of religions and respecting them all. He had not heard of the Baha'i Faith until that moment. Turned out he was horified the idea that the religions were all inherently equal was pure anethema to him when it was part of a religion!
 
arthra said:
I don't know Brian ... I don't think we should be so stringent on people asking them not to quote from scriptures outside these respective boards. If you truly want a comparative religion board then quoting from various scriptures is a given.

People are going to quote from their sources regardless. In fact it's better they do don't you think so we all know where they're coming from.

The quote that apparently riled you by Scott wasn't even from Baha'i scripture at all but rather an essay and it was relating to the issue of "dealing with a non-starter in moral reasoning". In my view it wasn't promoting the Baha'i Faith at all..

I expect Christians here to be exponents of Christianity and Moslems to espouse Islam.

I think we can still have intelligent discussions even so. What do you think?

- Art


:)

I think there are places where the line is to be drawn. I think the code of conduct is explicit and not subject to individual interpretation. I also know this is Brian's web site and as such his rules are to be adhered to, or else don't stay. Finally, I know for fact that I do not present my "Catholic" agenda as you suggest, so you are mistaken that others espouse their ways in everyday converse.

Actually, your post is rude (to put it bluntly). And you dare challenge the proprietor of this forum...unwise.

I think a contrite attitude towards the rules and the "owner" of this place might be more in keeping with the Baha'i way of things...what do you think?

v/r

Q
 
Quahom1 said:
I think a contrite attitude towards the rules and the "owner" of this place might be more in keeping with the Baha'i way of things...what do you think?

v/r

Q

I do not mean to be inflammatory.

However, I would point out that more than 250 Baha`i's have lost their lives in Iran since 1980 because the "owners" of the place thought they should be more contrite.

Regards,
Scott
 
Popeyesays said:
I do not mean to be inflammatory.

However, I would point out that more than 250 Baha`i's have lost their lives in Iran since 1980 because the "owners" of the place thought they should be more contrite.

Regards,
Scott

This is not Iran...
 
In the spirit of Baha'i consultation I will try to put forth my view and then...let it go.

I do feel that the Baha'is here, probably unintentionally, often make posts and initiate threads with the main purpose of shaking up another's beliefs and suggesting that the Baha'i Faith has the (only) correct interpretation of everyone else's religion. It has been implied that I have hardened my heart to the return of Christ and that my deep doubts about the Administrative Order mean that I am spiritually immature. Baha'is do not hesitate to point out to Christians that they are "making the same mistake the Jews made when they failed to recognize Jesus," a teaching approach based upon fear. I've heard the accusations of man-made dogma, schisms meaning the end of the pure/reliable religion, and the foolishness of literal expectations expounded repeatedly. Even where I happen to agree with the Baha'i perspective, and this is often to a rather large degree, I find the approach insulting and insensitive. The Baha'i posting level has been increasing lately, which means that these issues are being pushed and pushed and pushed, and yet when someone pushes back it is suddenly why are you picking on the Baha'i Faith.

The Holy Spirit has not left the Christian Church. The ceremonial worship, tradition and dogma you disdain are not random things thrown in to glorify man, but promptings made by the Spirit, Who was there in the beginning and is here with us now. Just as much as you believe that Abdul Baha and Shoghi Effendi and the UHJ are infallible guides, Christians believe in the guidance and protection of the Holy Spirit. I'm certain Jews feel similarly about the Talmud and Muslims about the Hadith. Do we get it wrong sometimes and get distracted from the Gospel by our squabbling? Yes, we are weak, fallen, fallible human beings. Just like Baha'is. But we keep turning toward God and His commands to Love, and that keeps us on the straight course.

I have made some posts that I regret, been involved in some conversations I should have stayed out of. Maybe this is also one of them. I too often let my false self do the typing. Yet I type out my criticisms and questions because they truely are the questions that plagued me as a Baha'i, and ultimately severed my faith in Baha'u'llah's claim. This is no small thing, and talk about humiliating. I have not fully disclosed my reasons for leaving the Baha'i Faith here, although I've touched upon them here and there. I know that there are enemies of the Baha'is out there in cyberspace and they feed on such kinds of testimonies. I do not want to feed that beast. I sincerely want to find my way to peace and a way to consort in a spirit of loving-kindness and friendliness with the Baha'is here, as well as healing with my Baha'i spiritual family.

So, there is lunamoth/Laurie's input to the consultation, the good, the bad and the ugly. I'm certain I owe apologies to each of the Baha'i members here, so I humbly offer them now. To those of you who read this and know who I am in person, I hope you will also forgive my bluntness and look upon me with a sin-covering eye.

peace,
lunamoth
 
arthra said:
I don't know Brian ... I don't think we should be so stringent on people asking them not to quote from scriptures outside these respective boards. If you truly want a comparative religion board then quoting from various scriptures is a given.

People are going to quote from their sources regardless. In fact it's better they do don't you think so we all know where they're coming from.

The quote that apparently riled you by Scott wasn't even from Baha'i scripture at all but rather an essay and it was relating to the issue of "dealing with a non-starter in moral reasoning". In my view it wasn't promoting the Baha'i Faith at all..

I expect Christians here to be exponents of Christianity and Moslems to espouse Islam.

I think we can still have intelligent discussions even so. What do you think?

- Art


:)

The point is that as an interfaith board such as this, everyone has to respect certain boundaries. The problem is perhaps that I have perhaps been more forgiving of the Baha'i members than I should have, leading to bad habits.

This issue isn't raised over an individual post - it's because of a general trend I'm seeing, where too often discussions end up centered around the Baha'i faith, because the Baha'i fath has been injected into the discussion unnecessarily.

It is also a matter of the spirit of CR that we respect different faiths - we don't have to agree with them, but we should respect them. That means not joining in on other faith boards to bring the Baha'i perspective into view.

At the end of the day, we want discussion about people's personal opinions in discussions with scripture raised as appropriate, rather than scripture and doctrine used to justify every opinion on every little thing.

We're here at CR to speak as individuals with faith, rather than vehicles of faith.
 
smkolins said:
That's more than a bit too casual I think. Perhaps you haven't done this for long but have you ever seen participation in interfaith discussion areas as a great way to convert people?! Seriously - is there anywhere where one is likely to run into people more rooted in what they beleive than in an interfaith discussion area?

I think the main strength of an interfaith discussion area is to learn of other Faiths, and to learn of one's own more deeply, than it is in seeking converts - whish is what missionary work is supposed to be, right?

Still another aspect is that one might well reasonably conclude that the majroity faith in the realm is the one most are already familiar with and minotiry Faiths are the ones that need to be more investigated and understood. And by minority I do not just mean Baha'i - basically I mean everything non-Christian. We minority Faiths already live with cultural and language norms of Christianity in almost everything religious or semi-religious in our lives - "missionary" !

Another avenue on this thread is to wonder about a whole "pc" quality - that we are just people who happen to have a religion as if the religion were not an important part of us and we should just get along because we all care about being good. Such choices can go almost no further - being good has to apply to particular ways, actively dealing with history and the present.

Now of course actively seeking to promote a Faith can become disruptive and inducing chaos. And it is good to have moderators and rules to promote fairness.

Indeed, the bottom line needs underlining.

Missionary work doesn't have to be rapid and aggressive - it is simply pointing out that other people are wrong - that their faith is incomplete, and a better idea of God lies open for them. Baha'is may not see this as proselytising, but at best, it can be invasive on an interfaith platform.

Just because any faith may be regarded as a minor faith does not mean that members of that faith should use CR to promote it. This is not CR's purpose.
 
Popeyesays said:
I notice that when the complaint about Baha`i's "promoting their faith" is thickest it is when someone NOT a Baha`i has made a comment or posted an opinion that CREATES a question as to whether or not it is true.

How else is anyone to explain what the faith TRULY says, other than by quoting what the scriptures say and then making a commentary on the scripture?

It beggars good sense to insist upon anything else being appropriate.

People can explain what their faith says by using their own words - we have a pretty good record of members of different faiths being able to use their own words to communicate what their religion states. I really don't see any excuse for any individual faith being exempt from this practice. If people of different faiths simply wish to use scriptures against one another then there are unmoderated forums that will allow for that.


Popeyesays said:
I cannot count the number of times the Christian faith is promoted on the Christian board, or the Abrahamic Religions Board, complete with extensive Biblical quotes, yet this raises no comment.

So, is it an interfaith dialogue board or not? Inquiring minds wish to know.

I notice that the Post "Just a Thought" and "Misleading Info on Books/Websites", and a "Vision of Baha`u'llah", and "What About Rama", and "Bahai Membership Status" were not started by Baha`i's, but by people having questions - some were neutral, some were hostile, some were friendly, but addressing Baha`is with questions about the faith seems an appropriate behavior.

Honestly, would there be any point in an interfaith board requiring people to stay on their own boards, and NEVER comment on any post on any common board that offers a comment on how their faith considers an issue?

You're missing the point that I raise - Christians are *discussing* Christian faith on the Christianity board. Christians are *not* discussing Christianity on other Faith boards.

Members are supposed to give proper respect to the faith whose board they are on, and not be seen to be promoting their own faith on them.

Baha'i issues are being raised outside of the Baha'i area precisely because some Baha'i members are taking these issues outside of it.

Any member who feels that they cannot share personal opinions outside of their own faith board is really missing the point of an interfaith forum.


Popeyesays said:
I notice that it has been four to six weeks since there has been any posts on the other two outcast boards in "Modern Religions". The only board in the subject area with any life at all is the Baha`i Board.

This is quite irrelevant - historically on CR, various boards have been very quiet in general. It took a long time to get a regularly posting body of Christians, and despite being a major religion with prominence on the forums, the Islam board was pretty much dead for a year. There is a saying - "build and they will come". You don't create a thriving community overnight just because you set out the tea and biscuits.

Popeyesays said:
Abrahamic Religions boards have been chopped off at Islam no matter if it can be shown that other religions - including the Parsee faith - claiming a descent from Abraham are barely tolerated.

It was never an issue of succession - Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are all major religions that cross-reference each other frequently. The point was to create a board where these cross-referencing discussions could take place on neutral ground, outside of faith-specific boards.

Try reading up on this thread, where I tried to address this issue:
Board re-structuring


Popeyesays said:
An interfaith dialogue is going to create sparks from time to time. So, are these sparks to be avoided whatever the cost? Can they be avoided at all? Is it even desirable to avoid them at all costs?

Yes, they can and have been avoided for the most part, precisely because we use the tenet of "mutual respect" to drive this project. And at the moment, the only consistent sparks I'm seeing are from some Baha'i members, who are perhaps not aware that the purpose of CR should not be confused with their own.


Popeyesays said:
Sparks create light, light illumines truth. The purpose of interfaith dialogue is for people to learn to tolerate the differences and embrace the commonalities, and learn to get along with respect for one another. You cannot do that without talking, quoting, reasoning, answering, and asking.

You're glossing over the fact that you regard your own faith as the higher "Truth", which is above all others - I am not going to hand CR over to any religion looking to create sparks in order to "prove" their own "Truth".

An interfaith board is supposed to work from a neutral stance, to treat all religions equally. To be honest, a number of people have claimed this position is oppressive - but only when they want to use CR as their own promotional vehicle.

Popeyesays said:
A hostile individual may raise a difficult question about the Baha`i Faith, but if it is raised then those who wish to answer it with the words of the Faith's text and reasoned commentary should be allowed to do so. I recognized outright hostility from a Moslem indivdual when it was written. I recognized resentment from a Buddhist individual, yet their questions are welcome as far as I am concerned. Why?

People whose agenda has been solely to attack the any particular faith are removed from the forums. Nothing less, regardless of their faith, or lack of.

This happened in the Baha'i faith just before you joined, when a certain individual (ex-Baha'i) sought to attack the Baha'i faith on the Baha'i board with multiple aliases. He was, of course, removed, as is board policy.

However, where issues relating to multiple faiths are raised, it would be ignorant to allow only one faith discussion of that issue, and not allow other faiths to defend their own traditions.

Please also note that I made sure that the Baha'i perspective was allowed to supercede other religious points of view on the Baha'i board - as is the same for other faith boards. Are you really saying that you have a problem with this?
 
smkolins said:
I recall a rabid interfaith person some years ago - who constantly promoted understanding and equality of religions and respecting them all. He had not heard of the Baha'i Faith until that moment. Turned out he was horified the idea that the religions were all inherently equal was pure anethema to him when it was part of a religion!

Well, it sounds like an odd situation to have someone claim to promote equality of religions, but does not allow equality in their treatment.

Hopefully we're doing better at CR. :)
 
Popeyesays said:
I do not mean to be inflammatory.

However, I would point out that more than 250 Baha`i's have lost their lives in Iran since 1980 because the "owners" of the place thought they should be more contrite.

Regards,
Scott

I fail to see the link - do you think that CR is promoting the killing of Baha'i members?

Or do you think that you have the right to disrespect hospitality given to you, on the grounds of unconnected events thousands of miles away?

You can certainly be assured that neither is acceptable position here.

It is also worth reminding you that, for all your complaints, that CR is not a place to promote anybody's individual faith, and you need to understand this clearly.

I recall that you were warned at the beginning of your membership about this - you posted a missionary essay promoting the Baha'i faith over Islam, on the Islam board, only to then post it as bait in the Baha'i board.

Please decide whether you are here because you have a genuine interest in discussing religion with people of other faiths, or whether you are here simply to promote your own.
 
Just to add - I know there are a number of Baha'i members on CR, many of whom have done nothing to invite the attention of this thread. For you, you have my apologies for the inclusiveness of this topic.

The purpose of this thread is simply to raise the issue of an unbalancing trend at CR that needs balancing again.

Perhaps the problem is precisely because the Baha'i faith is relatively small and little known, that I've generally not discouraged a wider discussion of it. So the mistake is probably mine for not properly applying the boundaries already applied to other faiths

However, there has been the growing realisation of late that as the strength of the Baha'i presence has grown at CR, so has the need to treat it more and more like the other religions here.

Ironically, the ultimate complaint may be that the Baha'i membership here is strong enough to treat it as an established religion, and therefore apply the same boundaries. :)
 
For Brian...

Brian:

You know I think we've (me and my fellow Baha'is) somehow really ticked you off and maybe we should just button up. I don't know?!

I get the feeling we really have a communication problem here that needs to be resolved.

Maybe there's a way we can dialogue somewhere Brian... but you are in control as administrator here so I can't take that initiative...

- Art
 
I think I've figured it out.

Despite decades of interfaith email discussions I, and I'm sure others, have been on, CR has not only a unique set of rules but rules that are different than I expected. Not just matters of respect and civility, truthfulness and sincerity rather than lies, insults, vehment argumentation and non-discussion.

This is a place, like some places in the world, where one should not promote one's Faith at all. Period. Like Israel. Like the last line, substituting CR member for Israeli... "...should not teach the Faith to [member of CR].... When [CR members] ask about the Faith, their questions are answered, but this is done in a manner which provides factual information without stimulating further interest." People from China and other countries have similar restrictions.

Is this rather what you think Brian?
 
smkolins said:
I think I've figured it out.

Despite decades of interfaith email discussions I, and I'm sure others, have been on, CR has not only a unique set of rules but rules that are different than I expected. Not just matters of respect and civility, truthfulness and sincerity rather than lies, insults, vehment argumentation and non-discussion.

This is a place, like some places in the world, where one should not promote one's Faith at all. Period. Like Israel. Like the last line, substituting CR member for Israeli... "...should not teach the Faith to [member of CR].... When [CR members] ask about the Faith, their questions are answered, but this is done in a manner which provides factual information without stimulating further interest." People from China and other countries have similar restrictions.

Is this rather what you think Brian?

No, he said follow the code of conduct...pretty simple to understand.

You simply refuse to listen, and that is hard to understand...
 
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