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Switch to Forum Live View Baha'i "Faith," not "Interfaith Social Movement"
4 years ago  ::  Jan 15, 2011 - 1:27AM #1
Kalzera
Posts: 260

Every now-and-then I'll mentally wander around internet forums for Catholics, Mormons, and Protestants. They usually have threads about Baha'is, and I enjoy reading their responses to the Baha'i Faith.


However, one recurring problem I see on these forums is also one I have trouble addressing in real life - not only in conversation with religious conservatives, but also with religious liberals and nonreligious folks. Essentially:


What is the best method in explaining that the Baha'i Faith is a Faith and not a well-intentioned, liberal, politically correct social movement that attempts to weave all religions together?


I have a few ideas of my own, but I'm not too sure how they well they work. 

However men try to reach me, I return their love with my love; whatever path they may travel, it leads to me in the end - Bhagavad Gita 4:11

"Knowledge is a light which God casteth into the heart of whomsoever He willeth" - The Four Valleys; Hadith
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4 years ago  ::  Jan 15, 2011 - 2:59AM #2
in_my_opinion
Posts: 2,971

Jan 15, 2011 -- 1:27AM, Kalzera wrote:


Every now-and-then I'll mentally wander around internet forums for Catholics, Mormons, and Protestants. They usually have threads about Baha'is, and I enjoy reading their responses to the Baha'i Faith.


However, one recurring problem I see on these forums is also one I have trouble addressing in real life - not only in conversation with religious conservatives, but also with religious liberals and nonreligious folks. Essentially:


What is the best method in explaining that the Baha'i Faith is a Faith and not a well-intentioned, liberal, politically correct social movement that attempts to weave all religions together?


I have a few ideas of my own, but I'm not too sure how they well they work. 





First off it is well-intentioned. Innocent


Liberal, is just a label used as insult by some and as praise by others. It is usually a reflection of who made the observation.


Politically correct is interesting as a term because although people have different views of what that is, it is generally approval or a testament to good manners and thus another compliment. However, as you know we have many beliefs that depart rather strongly from some more commonly accepted hedonistic, libertarian or prudish values, to mention just a few categories.


As to social movement, every religion has to be, and has been one, at some time. This is the time of the Bahá'í Faith, Cause and movement.


The gloss that it attempts to "attempts to weave all religions together" is just that, a mere shallow view of the central law of Unity and the core understanding of the oneness of religion which they don't accept nor understand. Because if they did they would be Bahá'ís, too.


The view that Bahá'í Faith is an eclectic philosophy, has been a way of denigrating and denying its validity, much as sophisticated Romans did to Christianity just before they saw God's Word take over their corrupt and soon to collapse civilization tottering into ruin; its people saved by a Savior which its government had crucified some hundreds of years before.


So, what you are seeing is not mere ignorance. It is an ignoring of facts. It is the denial of 20,000 lives, of whom 3,000 were sincere clergymen, given gladly rather than to deny their Faith.


Contrast that with the weakness of the Rock, Saint Peter who denied our Lord before the dawn after the day of Crucifixion! He went on to give his own life in the heart of that empire of the Latins, Rome, after he was reborn at the Pentecost, and spent a long sacrificing life caring for the Trust that Christ had put in his hands.


So, perhaps the best way is recite one of the Blessed Beauty's majestic tablets; or, to chant a prayer in the poignant, plaintive tones echoic of the Master's words. Read to them The Dawnbreakers.


But in the end we must understand that they are not seekers and time is better spent on those who thirst, than those who are placidly sated and stolidly sophisticated.


If, they are worthy; they will not hold themselves back. If, they aren't; "by reason of what their hands have wrought in His day"; then, nothing we can say or do will save them from themselves. Better it is to feed the hungry than to try to spoon feed them.


God tests; the gold remains and the dross disappears.

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4 years ago  ::  Jan 15, 2011 - 1:25PM #3
Kalzera
Posts: 260

I wholeheartedly agree IMO. Especially with the part about it being a "denial of facts."


And while my focus usually ends up on those open to the idea of it being my unique Faith, it still saddens me that some people just refuse to acknowledge anything beyond their mere generalizations. 


But regarding your comparing it to Christianity and the Roman response - I guess I'm just not that patient. Haha. 

However men try to reach me, I return their love with my love; whatever path they may travel, it leads to me in the end - Bhagavad Gita 4:11

"Knowledge is a light which God casteth into the heart of whomsoever He willeth" - The Four Valleys; Hadith
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4 years ago  ::  Jan 15, 2011 - 1:55PM #4
Ironhold
Posts: 11,593

Jan 15, 2011 -- 1:27AM, Kalzera wrote:


Every now-and-then I'll mentally wander around internet forums for Catholics, Mormons, and Protestants. They usually have threads about Baha'is, and I enjoy reading their responses to the Baha'i Faith.


However, one recurring problem I see on these forums is also one I have trouble addressing in real life - not only in conversation with religious conservatives, but also with religious liberals and nonreligious folks. Essentially:


What is the best method in explaining that the Baha'i Faith is a Faith and not a well-intentioned, liberal, politically correct social movement that attempts to weave all religions together?


I have a few ideas of my own, but I'm not too sure how they well they work. 




Try "be honest and polite."


I would imagine that most of the posters you're encountering have only ever studied the Baha'i faith at the academic level. They may simply not know any better.

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4 years ago  ::  Jan 15, 2011 - 4:06PM #5
Kalzera
Posts: 260

Whoops! Sorry if my boldness implied anything other than politeness. I just intended an emphasis on my question.


I've yet to have a conversation about my Faith without being honest and polite. At least, from my side of things. I can't help that some people may not see that online (which has happened before...Foot in mouth)


 


And I would say the posters I'm referring to (not ones on Bnet, but other sites) are less inclined to approach Baha'is academically and more through their own religious background. Academically, I think we're studied either as more of a synthesis movement between Shi'i Twelvers, Eastern Orthodoxy, and Iranian political thought of the 1800s (such as in Resurrection and Renewal); or as we see ourselves (such as Hopfe's Religions of the World). At least that's the vibe I get through the few scholarly books I've read mentioning us. 

However men try to reach me, I return their love with my love; whatever path they may travel, it leads to me in the end - Bhagavad Gita 4:11

"Knowledge is a light which God casteth into the heart of whomsoever He willeth" - The Four Valleys; Hadith
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4 years ago  ::  Jan 15, 2011 - 5:37PM #6
in_my_opinion
Posts: 2,971

Dear Ironhold, its good to hear from you!


Dear Kalzera, use imo (in lower case letters) please. Posters have confirmed (it is also own preference) that the upper case is used for the acronyms like IMHO, etc.


Will ask to have both of you as friends on Beliefnet.

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4 years ago  ::  Jan 15, 2011 - 6:39PM #7
Ironhold
Posts: 11,593

Jan 15, 2011 -- 4:06PM, Kalzera wrote:


Whoops! Sorry if my boldness implied anything other than politeness. I just intended an emphasis on my question.


I've yet to have a conversation about my Faith without being honest and polite. At least, from my side of things. I can't help that some people may not see that online (which has happened before...Foot in mouth)


 


And I would say the posters I'm referring to (not ones on Bnet, but other sites) are less inclined to approach Baha'is academically and more through their own religious background. Academically, I think we're studied either as more of a synthesis movement between Shi'i Twelvers, Eastern Orthodoxy, and Iranian political thought of the 1800s (such as in Resurrection and Renewal); or as we see ourselves (such as Hopfe's Religions of the World). At least that's the vibe I get through the few scholarly books I've read mentioning us. 





Let me explain a little something.


You see, I'm Mormon. Innocent


I came here to get clarification on something (I was dealing with a Baha'i who, shall we say, wasn't practicing what he preached), and was eventually invited to stay.


I've seen first-hand the kind of things you're complaining about.


Personal experience is such that in most instances where religion is involved, simply being polite and bringing contrary evidence to the table is enough to where the average person will at least consider changing their POV.


For example, a lot of the arguments used against my faith falter when a person puts the item in question in its context. This post here is me explaining one such incident: two critics of the church took a passage from the Book of Mormon and tried to argue that it meant X, but reading through the full chapter shows that it really means R (the real meaning is so far away from X that Y isn't even close Tongue out).


So long as you have your facts in order and you don't lose your cool, you should be able to break through to at least someone. And if not, then you did your best.

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4 years ago  ::  Jan 15, 2011 - 6:47PM #8
Ironhold
Posts: 11,593

Jan 15, 2011 -- 2:59AM, in_my_opinion wrote:


Liberal, is just a label used as insult by some and as praise by others. It is usually a reflection of who made the observation.



Thing is, "liberal" and "conservative" have different meanings when used in the theological context than they do in the religions context.


In the religious context, they refer to how staunchly a person follows the letter of the law.


For example, the common interpretation of the "hot drinks" prohibition in the Word of Wisdom is that caffeine (which actually can harm the human body over time or in large doses) should be avoided.


A conservative Mormon would therefore avoid coffee, most (if not all) teas, and any soda that contains caffeine. Some of your really conservative Mormons might also go so far as to avoid chocolate due to it containing trace amounts of caffeine (a glass of chocolate milk has 1/10th the caffeine of an equal-sized serving of instant coffee).


On the other hand, a more liberal Mormon might periodically indulge in a Coke or some tea if they feel the situation warrants it or it's recommended that they do so to resolve a medical condition. For example, when I had my wisdom teeth out the oral surgeon recommended that I keep wet tea bags over the sockets; the tannic acid would help cauterize the sockets closed.


A sufficiently liberal Mormon would consider ignoring the prohibition entirely.


 


Because of the difference in terminologies, one can't simply throw "liberal" and "conservative" around when talking religion w/o actually clarifying if one is speaking religiously or politically.

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4 years ago  ::  Jan 15, 2011 - 7:22PM #9
Ironhold
Posts: 11,593

Jan 15, 2011 -- 2:59AM, in_my_opinion wrote:


Politically correct is interesting as a term because although people have different views of what that is, it is generally approval or a testament to good manners and thus another compliment. However, as you know we have many beliefs that depart rather strongly from some more commonly accepted hedonistic, libertarian or prudish values, to mention just a few categories.





Believe it or not, there are actual, valid complaints against things that are "politically correct." This is due to the fact that during the "warm fuzzy" era that the Clinton Administration tried to usher in, political correctness ended up being abused by people to the point that it frequently became rediculous, cumbersome, or even horrific. Although there was a push back towards common sense in the first part of the last decade, the dam had already ruptured and there was no stopping things.


As an example of the "rediculous," you have one of radical animal rights group PETA's (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) many publicity stunts. Upon finding out that a town was named "Slaughterville," they basically tried to bribe the city council into changing the name to "Veggieville." The city council shot back by noting that the town was named for its first postmaster, who sported the last name of "Slaughter." As such, PETA's efforts were deemed to be so misguided and baseless that they ended up becoming a punchline for a few weeks.


As an example of the "cumbersome," you have the legal battle between Lloyd C. Clarke and the city of Frankenmuth, Michigan. Clarke filed suit to have a pair of decorative crosses removed from a bridge within the city on the basis that having the crosses there represented a blending of "church" and "state." When the city attorney recommended that the crosses come down, Clarke responded by using his legal victory to file suit in order to have the cross removed from the city's crest. This caused an epic backlash among the residents, who pointed out that the cross was a reference to the town's history (it was founded as a religious colony by a group of Lutheran missionaries from Bavaria) and that they were going to fight in order to keep it. Although Clarke eventually dropped the suit, he literally declared that he only did so because the people in town objected; he *still* wanted it gone. Lord only knows how much of the town's time and money this guy wasted.


As an example of the "horrific," you have the death of Lt. Kara Hultgreen, USN. During the 1990s, there was a big push to have women in the military, in particular in combat roles. Hultgreen, having placed #3 out of 7 in her graduating class at officer's candidate school, was tapped to enter fighter pilot training. Thing is, once in pilot training she quickly racked up a shocking string of poor test scores and citations for reckless behavior while in the air. Her instructors recommended that she retake the training course, but the politicians were putting the squeeze on the Navy over the matter and so she was allowed to graduate anyway (had she been male, she would have indeed been made to re-take the training). Hultgreen promptly repaid the Navy brass by screwing up a carrier landing and over-correcting to such an extent that she stalled the engines out, resulting in both her and the plane ending up in the water. Had the politicians let the Navy commanders do their job, Hultgreen would still be alive; instead, the politicians forced her to start duty before she was ready simply because they wanted to look good in front of the media. 


Heck, I myself was once declared "racist" simply for questioning one of Obama's tax proposals (I felt that two of his proposed tax increases, if both went through, would potentially hamper an entire sector of the economy). The logic employed by my accuser (a political liberal) was that Obama's proposals were beyond reproach and so any criticisms of the man had to be because I hated his skin color. Tongue out


 


So yeah - a lot of people actually have been burned by PC-ness in real life, hence the hesitance to embrace anything that smacks of it.

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4 years ago  ::  Jan 15, 2011 - 8:09PM #10
Kalzera
Posts: 260

imo - I'll remember that. I think you've might've said it before, but it's one of those awkward things I don't want to screw up so I just assume capitals given it's a name. 


 


Ironhold - nice to meet you. Although you don't know me, I've skulked around the Mormon boards before, so I think I sort of know you. Creepy, right? Innocent


I think I might also be familiar with the incident you refer to. I think I've read that thread. 


 


In most circumstances I'd agree with you. So far I haven't come across another person where what you suggest hasn't opened their minds. However, I've read on other threads where this is not the case. But, as you say, at least I've tried my best, eh?


(In fact today I was trying to argue that Mormons, even, are a religion -- and worth respecting as such -- and not a 'cult' or a 'business.' )

However men try to reach me, I return their love with my love; whatever path they may travel, it leads to me in the end - Bhagavad Gita 4:11

"Knowledge is a light which God casteth into the heart of whomsoever He willeth" - The Four Valleys; Hadith
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