Written by Eric Hadley-Ives , Hadley-Ives family update
Thursday, 20 August 2015
It seemed to me the same things kept getting discussed, and the same ideas were repeated so often that I became very bored with the whole topic.
Back before the Internet's widespread use, when people were using electronic bulletin boards and e-mail lists to discuss various things, I was often engaged in groups that discussed the Baha'i Faith. Back then, a common topic was the fact that our religion, the Baha'i Faith, teaches that people ought not express love through homosexual behaviors. The sources of that teaching, the actual teaching, how that teaching is interpreted, what was actually intended, how the teaching is implemented in Baha'i community life... all these things were regularly discussed. And then, in the later 1990s more people became involved in internet discussions of these things. It seemed to me the same things kept getting discussed, and the same ideas were repeated so often that I became very bored with the whole topic. It's been over ten years since I've ever posted on this topic, but a recent blog post inspired me to write about it again. I think I offer a few insights that are not often repeated in these discussions.
The Baha’i believe in the unity of all religions: there is one God, and the various world religions have all arisen as different ways of communicating His message in different places and at different times.
All religions are gradually and inevitably moving towards bringing about world peace, and the Baha’i see their own faith as the final fulfillment of this religious trajectory.
It’s an evolution Baha’i explain through the metaphor of a school. Other religions are equivalent to the early grades, while the Baha’i are in the final class.
“But of course you still obey and respect the other religions,” Keo Davuth, a 26-year-old Baha’i based in Phnom Penh, hastens to add.
“Just like you still love and respect your grade 1 and grade 2 teachers.” The Baha’i have their own distinct set of practices, which include particular ceremonies for weddings and funerals, and a 19-day month – one of which is spent fasting.
...the faith has come under fire for apparently draconian enforcement of certain principles.
In some parts of the world, the faith has come under fire for apparently draconian enforcement of certain principles.
Marriage has been a particular pressure point: members who marry outside of the faith or in same-sex ceremonies report having their “membership” revoked.
But in Cambodia, these concerns remain distant. Hou Sopheap laughs when asked about what a Baha’i funeral entails.
...for important life events, people often opt to revert to Buddhist traditions.
“We haven’t done one yet, so we don’t quite know,” he says, explaining that for important life events, people often opt to revert to Buddhist traditions.
On July 26, Professor Mehrangiz Kar posted an article in Persian on the Rooz Online site, which referenced remarks she made as a guest speaker at a symposium in Virginia, focusing on the historical and social context of Taahereh’s unveiling at Badasht. Dr. Kar’s question, which she repeated in the article on Rooz online, (in Persian) was:
“Suppose that Taahereh were to miraculously return to life, and came to the same meeting [in Badasht], and put her name forward for membership of the House of Justice, the highest decision-making body for Bahais. Given the ruling of the new religion, that women are excluded from the principle (sic) centre of authority in the Bahai Faith simply by virtue of their sex, could Taahereh, with all her courage, passion, wisdom and knowledge, enter the House of Justice?”
The responses from some Bahais, at the symposium and following her article on Rooz Online, have been such that the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States has published a letter, in Persian and in English, which reproves “the harsh criticism made against Professor Kar by some Baha’is.”
I have posted the entire letter in English on my Bahai Studies blog, under the title “Let’s talk,” together with some reflections on what can be learned, and what could be done.
"I gave a lot of support to Bahá'í people in the '80s and '90s … Bahá'í people, as people of all religions, is something I'm attracted to … I don't belong to any religion. … I have a huge religious faith or spiritual faith but I feel as though religion … is the first thing that racketeers exploit. … But that doesn't turn me against religion." - Buffy Sainte-Marie
There’s a new “truther” movement out there, and it doesn’t involve jet fuel, steel beams, or Kenyan birth certificates. It does however, center around a global event gripping the hearts and minds of millions – the tragic shooting and killing of Zimbabwe’s beloved Cecil the Lion.
People do not wish to see the 9/11 conspiracy”, says former Bahá’í faith minister John deBaptiste.
“People do not wish to see the 9/11 conspiracy”, says former Bahá’í faith minister John deBaptiste. The 54-year old “Validity Parson” believes that certain global incidents, e.g., the World Trade Center attack, and the Newtown tragedy, are staged to distract people’s attentions from actual events. “Today people do not wish to see that the so-called killing of Cecil the Lion was a stunt, engineered to promote human ‘cage rage-and-release!'”
To prove his point, deBaptiste hosted a “Rage Release Referendum” exposing the now debunked rumor that Cecil’s alleged “brother” Jericho was also “killed” by hunters. “Jericho is alive and well! They allowed us to rage, then they gave us the key! The key to uncage the rage!” deBaptiste’s voice boomed before an auditorium filled with devoted followers, who call themselves “Tripplars”, an acronym for deBaptiste’s Rage Release Referendum.
Buffy Sainte-Marie OC (Beverly Sainte-Marie) is a Canadian-American Cree singer-songwriter, musician, composer, visual artist, educator, pacifist, and social activist. Throughout her career in all of these areas, her work has focused on issues of Indigenous peoples of the Americas. Her singing and writing repertoire also includes subjects of love, war, religion, and mysticism.
In 1997 she founded the Cradleboard Teaching Project, an educational curriculum devoted to better understanding Native Americans. She has won recognition and many awards and honors for both her music and her work in education and social activism.
"I gave a lot of support to Bahá'í people in the '80s and '90s … Bahá'í people, as people of all religions, is something I'm attracted to … I don't belong to any religion. … I have a huge religious faith or spiritual faith but I feel as though religion … is the first thing that racketeers exploit. … But that doesn't turn me against religion."
Buffy Sainte-Marie was born in 1941 on the Piapot Cree First Nations Reserve in the Qu'Appelle Valley, Saskatchewan, Canada. She was later adopted, growing up in Massachusetts, with parents Albert and Winifred Sainte-Marie. She attended the University of Massachusetts Amherst, earning degrees in teaching and Oriental philosophy and graduating in the top ten of her class. She went on to earn a Ph.D in Fine Art from the University of Massachusetts in 1983.
The Baha'i Faith is a relatively new world religion. Born on the streets of Persia in the mid
19th century, the religion quickly spread throughout the world as a result of organized teaching campaigns in the 20th century. In the United States, the Baha'i Faith is estimated to have about 175,000 adherents.
Yet, analysis of the spread of the Baha'i Faith in America has been tightly controlled by the national offices. In my project, I sought to perform my own analysis of key community areas in order to both demonstrate to the National Spiritual Assembly – the ranking Baha'i leadership in America – the usefulness of open data as well as allow for average Baha'is to compare accessible maps of their community to put their efforts in the scope of the larger Baha'i activities. The maps on this poster are a few of those I created for Baha'i communities across America. For my project, I specifically focused on race within each community as the global Baha’i Community prides itself on being very racially diverse.
I think you're right, but missing a key element. The Ruhi Institute is also integral to the Administrative Order. I've given a few talks to youth about this, which I refer to as my "Killer Robots from Outer Space" talk.
Moving the friends through the sequence of courses prepares them for an event of catastrophic nature (such as killer robots from outer space). When the killer robots come and decimate humanity, we will need to do several things. One is to arrange devotional gatherings, so that we can pray to God together, our only refuge in difficult times. Two is to do home visits. We will need to go to our neighbors to make sure they're okay. Three will be to be able to teach children's classes because the killer robots have burned down the schools. Four is to be able to animate the junior youth, because they're surrounded by all this death and they have a choice - to be a part of the problem (become overseers within the Robotic Army and Binary Cult), or a part of the solution (Baha'i World Commonwealth.)
I, for one, welcome our killer robot overlords.
The themes of the books include having a good understanding of life after death, because there will be LOTS of death (killer being the operative term in killer robots.) It is essential to know about Twin Manifestations, the Writings of the Bab and Baha'u'llah being the source of this Revelation that allows us to rebuild society. Memorization of the included verses is also important, because of course the killer robots have destroyed our libraries along with the schools. Teaching the Cause is essential to bringing people to commit themselves to Baha'u'llah. Walking together on a path of service allows the cycle to continue, training these people to now become a Mobile Ruhi Command Unit and traverse the wasteland to serve the few survivors you find along the way. You yourself need to understand the Covenant (lest you think you're the Messiah with the way people come to you for help) and a Historical Perspective, to know where mankind is going you need to know where its been, and all the mistakes that were made along the way.
Everyone needs to get on board with the Ruhi Institute. Pronto. Before the Killer Robots come.