Tags: Bahá'í


The Bahá'í doctrine of progress allowed Bahá'ís to stand watch as social change happened around them

To my Bahá'í friends and family who've shared reminders about keeping faith in the inevitability of moral progress in response to political tumult:
A broad understanding of the history of social change means recognizing that change invariably demands organized agitating for new laws and new policies that come from a shifting of the moral consensus through a deliberative discourse, all of which are inherently political and often partisan.
The North American and European women's suffrage movements thoroughly were partisan and political endeavours. The Labour movements that brought sorely needed rights to workers exploited in factories were partisan and political. The Civil rights movements of the Americas were also partisan and political. The fight for gay and lesbian rights are political and partisan. One could multiply examples.
And where were Bahá'ís in any of these historical changes?
Yes, there may have been individual Bahá'ís there (famously Táhirih comes to mind), but Bahá'ís weren't organizing for these changes. Why? Because like Jehovah's witnesses, Bahá'ís abstain from and are prohibited from organizing anything (as Bahá'ís) that might have the tinge of partisan politics. Bahá'ís have been reciting designated holy words into the ears of passersby with the hope to usher in the forever fated "entry by troops". While confidence in fated progress is no doubt comforting (and stupefying), it is also the reason why Bahá'ís have not been at the helm of any movement for social change.

Vanquishing Dissonance and Bahá'í Cherry Pickers

Do you ever wonder why some people call themselves adherents to a particular religion, but pick-and-choose what laws they follow? Do you ever think, Why don't they just make up and follow their own religion instead of giving lip service to the religion they selectively follow? Well, there might just be good reasons.Collapse )

For these reasons, I think that a Bahá’í who wants to pick-and-choose should instead consider surrendering his membership and severing his affiliation with the religion. He will not only free himself of a lingering cognitive dissonance, but he will be happier for freeing his mind to think for himself and taking responsibility for his own imperatives. In this state, he can adopt for himself what he finds worthy of assent from the blissful writings of Bahá’u'lláh (or anyone else who he finds inspirational) while refraining from committing himself to doctrines of whose truth he cannot convince himself. And finally, he will be able to be true to the words of 'Abdu'l-Bahá:

In short, it behoves us all to be lovers of truth. Let us seek her in every season and in every country, being careful never to attach ourselves to personalities. Let us see the light wherever it shines, and may we be enabled to recognize the light of truth no matter where it may arise. Let us inhale the perfume of the rose from the midst of thorns which surround it; let us drink the running water from every pure spring.