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2 years ago  ::  Jun 14, 2012 - 12:08AM #41
in_my_opinion
Posts: 2,285

In the interest of full disclosure this is a working explanation of what we mean by the word "Proselytize".


 


"No Proselytizing:


 It is true that Bahá'u'lláh lays on every Bahá'í the duty to teach His Faith. At the same time, however, we are forbidden to proselytize, so it is important for all the believers to understand the difference between teaching and proselytizing. It is a significant difference and, in some countries where teaching a religion is permitted, but proselytizing is forbidden, the distinction is made in the law of the land. Proselytizing implies bringing undue pressure to bear upon someone to change his Faith. It is also usually understood to imply the making of threats or the offering of material benefits as an inducement to conversion. In some countries mission schools or hospitals, for all the good they do, are regarded with suspicion and even aversion by the local authorities because they are considered to be material inducements to conversion and hence instruments of proselytization.


Bahá'u'lláh, in The Hidden Words, says: "O Son of Dust! The wise are they that speak not unless they obtain a hearing, even as the cup-bearer, who proffereth not his cup till he findeth a seeker, and the lover who crieth not out from the depths of his heart until he gazeth upon the beauty of his beloved . . . ," and on page 55 of The Advent of Divine Justice, a letter which is primarily directed towards exhorting the friends to fulfill their responsibilities in teaching the Faith, Shoghi Effendi writes: "Care, however, should, at all times, be exercised, lest in their eagerness to further the international interests of the Faith they frustrate their purpose, and turn away, through any act that might be misconstrued as an attempt to proselytize and bring undue pressure upon them, those whom they wish to win over to their Cause." Some Bahá'ís sometimes overstep the proper bounds, but this does not alter the clear principle."


 (Compilations, NSA USA - Developing Distinctive Baha'i Communities)


 

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2 years ago  ::  Jun 14, 2012 - 12:15AM #42
in_my_opinion
Posts: 2,285

Here is a good general explanation of teaching, etc:


"How Bahá'ís spread their Faith


Although forbidden by Bahá'u'lláh from aggressive proselytizing, Bahá'ís believe that His message offers specific and important answers to the diverse and grave problems facing humanity. Accordingly, they are eager to share this message with anyone who expresses and interest.


Sharing Bahá'u'lláh's vision is known as "teaching" in Bahá'í terminology. Teaching can take many forms. someone who wants to know more about the Faith might be invited to a "fireside." Firesides are informal gathers in homes of Bahá'ís. short talks on Bahá'í principles are presented and discussion follows. Light refreshments are often served, and the gatherings are notable for their warm and hospitable atmosphere.


Bahá'ís also endeavor to spread the Faith by moving into areas where there are few Bahá'ís. This is known as "pioneering." This differs sharply from traditional missionary work in that pioneers are generally expected to be self-supporting. They become part of their new community in all aspects: by working there, participating in community activities, and supporting the local government and its institutions.


Bahá'í communities sometimes also hold large public meetings, buy advertising, or seek media coverage in order to share more widely the principles of Bahá'u'lláh's message."


(Baha'i International Community, 1992, Magazine - The Baha'is)

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2 years ago  ::  Jun 14, 2012 - 1:52PM #43
world citizen
Posts: 5,217

Thanks for producing those quotations for us, imo.  They're always helpful in reminding us what the differences and expectations are regarding teaching/proselytizing.

Blessed is he who mingleth with all men in a spirit of utmost kindliness and love. ~Baha'u'llah
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2 years ago  ::  Jun 14, 2012 - 5:36PM #44
in_my_opinion
Posts: 2,285

Jun 14, 2012 -- 1:52PM, world citizen wrote:


Thanks for producing those quotations for us, imo.  They're always helpful in reminding us what the differences and expectations are regarding teaching/proselytizing.





Absolutely welcome, World Citizen!


Better to know up front than to feel fooled or disappointed when expectations are not shared ones.


The Faith is for everyone, but everyone isn't for the Faith. That last sentence has a wide variety of meanings, as do most statements. Specificity is a source of clarity; there are other sources, too.

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2 years ago  ::  Jun 28, 2012 - 2:36AM #45
in_my_opinion
Posts: 2,285

Jun 12, 2012 -- 12:54PM, Aka_me wrote:


created it myself after studying implicit/explicit, positive/negative, strong/weak, soft/hard, practical/theoretical, pragmatic, apatheism, ontological, epistemological, agnostic atheism, theological noncognitivism, metaphysical atheism, axiological atheism, atheistic existentialism


and thought why not create a term just for superman corporeal gods.


19 bloody terms atheists themselve can't even determine the correct true denomination of, what difference is one more term and who has any authority to "bust" me for diluting the meaning of any further than it's already diluted? exactly, nobody!




Actually, there are many denominations and agreed upon by millions in each. Atheism is the Religion of Rule in China, the former Soviet Union, Cuba, and any country controlled by an openly Atheist regime. It is taught as a belief, persecutes non-believers, promulgates it's ideas as positive virtues and even has martyrs, as well as disciples, and saint figures like Lenin.


Now with a bunch of authors  as "theologians"; it is developing yet more commentary which will no doubt end up as "Tradition", "Text" or "Scripture".


Some of the various communities speak primarily as if purely political ideology; but, are nonetheless describing a future "state" of happiness. Add to that fanaticals and zealots which are known as terrorists and anarchist/nihilist individuals and its hard to say that they aren't positively particular belief systems.


Fact is, that you don't have to be a card-carrying member of any group to share with it. There are Sunday Christians,  SHabbāth Jews, Jum'ah Muslims, galore. But there are also "lapsed", "cultural", "inactive", "lip-service" and "in name only" believers of every variety.


In between we have some who attend festivals only and/or turn to their Faiths when they are just about to deal with trying to provide a religious influence for their children.


Put that all together and how is anyone that much different from someone wearing a red Alpha symbol and donating money to say that they're good without God?

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