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Bahai'ism

"To Live the Life is: To be no cause of grief to anyone.
To be kind to all people and to love them with a pure spirit.
Should opposition or injury happen to us, to bear it, to be as kind as ever we can be and through all, to love the people.
Should calamity exist in the greatest degree, to rejoice, for these things are the gifts and favours of God.
To be silent concerning the faults of others, to pray for them, and to help them through kindness, to correct their faults.
To look always at the good and not at the bad.
If a man has ten good qualities and one good one, look at the one and forget the ten.
Never to allow ourselves to speak one unkind word about another, even though that other be our enemy.
To do all of our deeds in kindness.
To cut our hearts from ourselves and from the world.
To be humble.
To be servants of each other, and to know that we are less than anyone else.
To be as one should in many bodies; for the more we love each other, the nearer we shall be to God; but to know that our love, or unity, our obedience must not be by confession but of reality.
To act with cautiousness and wisdom.
To be truthful.
To be hospitable.
To be reverent.
To be a cause of healing for every sick on, a comforter for every sorrowing one, a pleasant water for every thirsty one, a heavenly table for every hungry on, a start to every horizon, a light for every lamp, a herald to everyone who years for the kingdom of God."
'Abdu'l-Baha

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A Personal Interpretation

My only contact with the Baha'is has been many years ago.  When I was in Uni (about 18 years ago) I knew as a friend this Baha'i girl, and went to a meeting once.  Several years later with some friends I went to a Baha'i meeting at a private home.  My impression of the Baha'is is that although they have tremendous sincerity and goodwill (which I greatly respect), they have a dogmatic quality that is strangely out of keeping with the universalist approach of their religion.

At first I thought this was only an interpretation of mine, but others (non-Baha'is) have reported similar feelings. My own understanding is that Baha'ism is very much a religious liberal reform movement that grew out of a shi'ite Islamic mileu, and still contains strong elements of Islam (e.g. a month for fasting, a monotheistic deity who reveals Himself through Prophets, and so on), while discarding the more medieval and oppressive elements of the moslem faith.


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Baha'i Authoritarianism?

I was once told that the Baha'i leadership has become corrupt over the years.  Since I am not in contact with the Baha'i, nor have been for many years, I have no evidence regarding the authenticity of this claim. It may quite probably reflect one person's valid experience, but in no way be representative of the movement as a whole. It is inevitable that these sort of things happen in large organisations, human nature being what it is (and one would be hardpressed to think of any organisation that is stainless and pure on every level). However, a little bit of googling revealed this link. The problem seems to be less corruption (which is limited to a few officials - e.g. "evidence of corruption on the part of some Baha'i officials" - ref The Bahai Faith & Religious Freedom of Conscience, and more with authoritarianism. I have been told that individual Baha'is have been reprimanded for making statements or comments which did not suit members of the Baha'i hierarchy. Of course, this is no different to the attitude of the Catholic Church, or any other large religious and institution or organisation. But if the Baha'i wish to be a movement of religious reform and goodwill, is stamping on dissent really the best way to go? Again, I really cannot judge these matters, and for all I know the Baha'i leadership may have been totally within their rights. Perhaps they were. I don't know. However I would like to affirm here that my former experience with Baha'i laity, limited as it was, did not ever once indicate that any one of them who I met were anything other than very decent and sincere people, for whom I have the highest regard.


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Child Nodes

Oh Women, Beware - an essay describing the chauvinism in the current Baha'i organisation, by an ex-Baha'i

Nine Wise Men - a poem describing limitations in the current Baha'i Leadership

Web links Bahai Links Web links

Web Site The Bahai Faith

web page linksThe Bahá'í Faith Heaps of links

Web Site Bahai Faith, Wealden Community - National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United Kingdom.

web page QUOTATIONS FROM THE WRITINGS OF THE BAHÁ'Í FAITH THAT ANSWER THE QUESTION: "WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF LIFE?" (compiled by Mikel Muttart)
 

Spiritweb org page Meditation for Baha'is - by Bob Abrahams

web page Beyond the Principle of Non-Overlapping Magisteria: The Structural Dialectics of Science and Religion - Mark A. Foster - an interesting essay, deals with creation, evolution, and emanation from a Baha'i perspective, a lot broader than the Christian Creationist position

Web Site The Bahai Faith & Religious Freedom of Conscience Documenting censorship and suppression of free speech and conscience within the Baha'i Faith






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page by M.Alan Kazlev 1998-2003
page last modified 5 October 2003

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