Wayfarer64

Bahai whatdoyathink

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I've recently come across some Baha'i history and found it very interesting and it reawakened how appealing Baha'i could be as a doctrine. Their aim to become an unifier of many faiths & science seems a fine idea on its' own merits.

 

I particularly appreciate how the coming of a prophet post-Mohammed has put the Islamic case for "being the final word" to the test... Which is just my way, I like to undermine hubris, particularly my own. (I also disliked the Dallas Cowboys claiming to be "America's team").

 

I can see a world without religious wars due to a unifier such as Baha'i has having great drawing power.

But as usual there are spanners in the works. A strong anti-homosexual stand is somewhat off-putting for a unifier of all peoples and cultures. They are even more anti-gay than the JDL, which goes with a don't ask don't tell sort of approach, while not condoning it...

 

I first heard of Baha'i when I met two Baha'is - the singing duo Seals & Crofts back in 1969 when they stayed at a friends' home after a concert at Princeton U. They also made it sound very appealing.

 

Not to worry, fellow bums!

 

I do maintain Taoism already holds a place as unifier, both as the precurser and holder of one and all anyway...If it already is, it's already in the Tao, there's room for one and all, changing and growing as we go! Go Tao Go! ...I add this bit 'cause The Baha'i ists are really pretty gung-ho about spreading their word and building up membership.

 

Does anyone know any Baha'i ists? Whats your scoop on this bunch?

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The Bahai temple and its gardens in Wilmette have been one of my favorite places to go since childhood. I've never been to a service, but the Bahai's I've met there have always been very cool. Beautiful site in Israel too. The religion seems to be into the unification and brotherhood of mankind.

 

It takes awhile to get over the not swastikas that adorn the building but the ..I forget the name, but they're the backward facing swastikas that are ancient symbols of faith and good luck. I've made the mental conversion though I'm sure they get flack for it.

 

On the books they may be antihomosexual, but aren't all older established religions. Hopefully the modern translations and expressions are more with the spirit oneness and peace.

 

Michael

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Ok,correct me if Im wrong here,coz this is going by some very old memories which may well be inaacurate.

 

Doesnt Bahai advocate some kind of theocracy as its guarantee of social unification? Isnt there a vision of all religions,governments & peoples uniting "under" Bahai ?

 

If so,this brings up the sticky question of what happens to those who disagree with religion,who may even object & protest a theocracy?

 

When your ruler believes they rule via Divine Right,instead of democratic mandate,& you start to critique your ruler,things may not turn out so benign. And any theocracy is aiming at a "benign dictatorship" at best!

 

What happens to the unbelievers who persist in their unbelief?

 

IF Bahai are offering a theocracy as a unifier,they are naive at best! But thats IF.I may have my memories addled a bit.

 

So,any clarification.Does Bahai fall back on the One World Government (in this case a theocracy) solution?Or have I got that wrong ?

 

Regards,Cloud :)

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I think there are some 5 million Baha'i around the world, I've only met a few. About as many as Zoroastrians... (Who at least admire dogs as beings of spirit)...

 

The theocracy thing with the Bahais is worrisome indeed- if thats their creed... I'll do some more study also - But I hoped there would be some handy knowledge 'round here...It interests me what these folks are all about.

 

ABOUT 3 HOURS LATER>>>

 

I read up on the Baha'is - They stem from the Shia of Islam through the Bab (gate keepers to the Imams) who became the Babis and then Bahais. The main-stream Islamic folk are very bugged by them, as there is a wide acceptence of Christian and Judaic thought and practice. They do seem to have transcended much of the more backward-(anti-female) aspects of Islam. They also seem to ignore those philosophies "not of the Book" as in Taoism & Buddhism, etc...

 

I am not as interested as I once was after reading up on them. There does seem to be a theocratic bent to a largely political agenda.

Edited by Wayfarer64

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I too have met a few Bahai'ists in my past - as Cameron said, they were nice people

 

Meanwhile, if you look into the history of religious Taoism you will find that at various times it has been a state sponsored religion and a theocracy - among many other things. It seems that human beings are wired up so that they turn most religions into a theocracy at some point - just more mammalian politics as usual.

 

I think it's useful to draw a clear distinction between the individual practice/philosophy of a given "religion" and how the organized whole screws things up.

 

All the best,

Charlie

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I think it's useful to draw a clear distinction between the individual practice/philosophy of a given "religion" and how the organized whole screws things up.

 

 

 

So,is the Theocracy thing a CENTRAL part of their solution,or a disposeable bit instead ? I mean,lots of people are nice when theyre not given political power.But give them a taste,& through greed or even spiritually motivated misguided love,they become harsh & intolerant.

 

Is theocracy an ESSENTIAL part of their vision ? Is homophobia an irreducable part of their morality ? Would these nice people,if given a power over others that they belive is their final right & destiny,attempt the old blunder of trying to become benign dictators?

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Yeah once again as in the past we come up against the individual practicioner vs the theocratic organization... Just as many of our recent threads have delved into several different cults, sects and religions, even a new look at Taoist Masters being spoiled brats...these Bahai guys deserve a look-see as well...

 

That it has sprung up from under great duress and an Islamic tradition gives the whole thing a kind of heroic ambience. And many of the doctrines are very appealing. Their web site has as much info as anyone would want, and I spent some time there. It took the edge off my curiosity.

 

As noted here by many other Bums -good humor is a strong prerequisit for my shoveling through dogma and doctrine to glean the truthiness therein- much less find a happy home for it in my heart and mind etc.

 

So sure all of the Bahais I've met were very kind and open and giving folks. But there have only been a few of them thus far- and long ago...

 

Perhaps having been created from out of oppression hasn't given them a chance to lower their guard much, not a foolish thing in itself - but it does change the mindfulness of their ways of being on this globe. They have a strong political element to their practice. I have no problem with political activism. I am a political activist. But the problems of gaining power, using power and keeping power have almost always proved too much for most people to cope with. Their system seems very open and democratic on the face of it. I actually hope that they can be a force to modernize Islam.

 

The points made on this thread about Taoism's past history are a great reminder of how everything is changing, and staying in the moment to deal with the present rapid rate of change is not easy by any means.

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Everything SEEMS to be changing. But thats an illusion, its really a pendulum swinging back and forth. And we humans who are taken by surprise when as it changes directions.

 

Michael

 

Do we moderns who live in a democracy? My mayor Daley, is son of the original Daley I, elected til he died in office. My president is son of a president, whose brother is royalty er governor in a powerful state.

 

Swings within swings..we tend to get what we deserve.

 

We rebell against and become our parents.

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Hi Again Michael et al...

 

I see our boxed-in changes more as a spiral than a tick-tocking pendulum. I'd like to note that a pendulum does a sort of infinity figure as it moves that also shifts its end points in a 360 degree circle over a day's time, -as shown by the pendulum at the Franklin Institute in Philly...A figure-eighting spiral not just back-n-forth...So for me what appears to be a left to right movement is actually more complex and involved with greater forces than its own left-right impetus.

 

There is a sense of moving foreward in this space/time continuum, for me at least.... The politics of America does seem to swing from left to right with dynastic power bases on either end. I find it telling that the two families mentioned have been the best known for rigging Presidential elections for their respective parties. The Daley bunch in the 1960 Kennedy "win" and the Bush clan in the 2000 Bush "win".

 

Jefferson suggested America could use a new "revolution" every so often. (I think it was 40 years) I wonder if that applies to all man-made political constructs.

 

I have little fear of a global governmental system on the face of it. I would like to see the UN become a stronger force and a force for progress. I see our global political spiral as widening and becoming ever more global year by year. That seems to be the trend. Depending on its' nature, it could be a good thing, still - I maintain a theory of constant change is viable. There is no outcome to it. There is no stasis. There is just more change, even if it seems to just swing back and forth!

 

The Bahais have a "corporate" view of governence that scares the bejesus out of me, as the corporatization of the western world has not been a good thing in my view. This seems to be because the nature of corporations is to feed off of their "supporters" and then offering as little in return as possible so as to maximize their own power. -Like inhaling qi but never using it for the common good as it were...

 

So I have hopes for the Bahai to address the "backward" elements of Islam and help create a "progressive" mind-set into that troublesome realm's current struggle for theocratic absolutism. I guess that would be the swing back to the left in our analogy...

 

Beyond that I hope for an even more open and tolerant structure, that is less corporate in nature and much more socialistic.

 

Naziism/fascism is the closest thing to corporate rule that the world has yet known -it was not a good thing in most people's view in Germany, and the current model in America has many people very upset.

Many of us equate corporatism to fascism, as did W. Churchill, Juan Peron, and Musselini, as has been noted by Robert Kennedy Jr. In many recent speaches about environmental degradation due to corporate greed...

 

I for one hope the pendulum will turn back to the left again very soon, before the extremism of this rightward momentum gets even more dangerous for those who remain outside of the powerful corporate interests' sphere of cronies and "little Eichmans" now in power.

 

That the nature of evil is often tinged with irony and humor should not be lost on us. When evil manifests as suicide bombers creating fear in those forcing the world into a largely unwanted paradigm that only strengthened the paradigm they sought to undermine. They cleared the way for a further swing to the right.

 

Some believe that The Saudis and Cheney/Rove planned all that and there is no irony - only more insidious power-grabbing by the Exxon/Haliburton/Carlyle Group/ Saudi/Bush/etc. power base. In short the Military Industrial Complex... I wouldn't put it past them, but find it hard to believe on many levels.

 

So the corporate nature of the Baha'i structure puts me off. I realize it is an easy way to run an organization but it lacks socialism's more natural impetus for change that manifests power from the bottom upward. This has never been the case, as yet - in human history. A real Democracy-not a plutocracy or oligarchy could bring that sort of socialistic structure to the fore- but we are far from there now. There are elements in Baha'i that could allow for such a mechanism to develope -it is all yet to be seen.

 

My little study of Baha'i has at least given me much food for thought as to where we are and where we may go as an ever growing global community. At least that part of Baha'u'llah's vision has manifested already.

Edited by Wayfarer64

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Dear Sen,

 

Many thanks for the clarifications... This is what I hoped to glean from this thead.

I have lobg thought that Bahai is a very good direction for Islam to take.

 

Yet from what you write - many of it's basic beliefs and would-be structure, now seem to be at risk from its' own leadership, as has been the case in all faiths through-out the ages...

 

What strikes me most about the teaching and purpose explained within your entry is how it is just the opposite of what our American president- Bush II is doing to his own country!!! Wth his undermining the constitution to create a demonic/theocratic warping of our basic structure of government!

 

I am a strong supporter of the ACLU and hope that they can use our laws to protect us from our leaders. I also hope that the Bahais find a way to keep their faith's progress into the future.

 

On another thread there is a discussion of what a one-world government will offer unto us...Many of the suppositions are worrisome. I for one feel the prospect to be pretty wonderfull- as long as cultural/religious diversity still may thrive...

 

I have seen neighborhoods become gentrifide and whole cultures subjegated by powerful forces of wealth and the supposed progress of homoginization...The down side of one-worldism is the dehumanization of our delightful tribal diversity.

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*bump* Anyone with Baha'i experiences or opinions to relate?

 

From Wikipedia:

 

The Bahá'í Faith is a monotheistic religion founded by Bahá'u'lláh in nineteenth-century Persia, emphasizing the spiritual unity of all humankind.There are an estimated five to six million Bahá'ís around the world in more than 200 countries and territories.

In the Bahá'í Faith, religious history is seen to have unfolded through a series of divine messengers, each of whom established a religion that was suited to the needs of the time and the capacity of the people. These messengers have included Abraham, the Buddha, Jesus, Muhammad and others, and most recently the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh. In Bahá'í belief, each consecutive messenger prophesied of messengers to follow, and Bahá'u'lláh's life and teachings fulfilled the end-time promises of previous scriptures. Humanity is understood to be in a process of collective evolution, and the need of the present time is for the gradual establishment of peace, justice and unity on a global scale.

 

Summary

 

Shoghi Effendi, the appointed head of the religion from 1921 to 1957, wrote the following summary of what he considered to be the distinguishing principles of Bahá'u'lláh's teachings, which, he said, together with the laws and ordinances of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas constitute the bedrock of the Bahá'í Faith:

 

The independent search after truth, unfettered by superstition or tradition; the oneness of the entire human race, the pivotal principle and fundamental doctrine of the Faith; the basic unity of all religions; the condemnation of all forms of prejudice, whether religious, racial, class or national; the harmony which must exist between religion and science; the equality of men and women, the two wings on which the bird of humankind is able to soar; the introduction of compulsory education; the adoption of a universal auxiliary language; the abolition of the extremes of wealth and poverty; the institution of a world tribunal for the adjudication of disputes between nations; the exaltation of work, performed in the spirit of service, to the rank of worship; the glorification of justice as the ruling principle in human society, and of religion as a bulwark for the protection of all peoples and nations; and the establishment of a permanent and universal peace as the supreme goal of all mankind‚ÄĒthese stand out as the essential elements [which Bah√°'u'll√°h proclaimed].

Edited by TheSongsofDistantEarth

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