Comment on Nicholas Bridgewater's "Baha'i Scholarship" post

I think that you’ve made a very important point here. You put your finger on precisely what I dislike about Bridgewater’s post. His belief in the clarity and simplicity of the Baha’i writings leads to something much worse than intellectual arrogance. It requires the condemnation of anyone who disagrees with him.

{josquote}If the writings are clear, disagreement isn’t innocent.{/josquote}

As long as you feel that the Baha’i writings, and indeed life itself, are ambiguous and complicated, you don’t have to assign nefarious motives even when someone disagrees very radically. You can always conclude that the person on the other side of the dispute is ignorant, narrow-minded, fatuous, or just plain deluded — hence the condescension you mention in your post. But you don’t have to believe that they’re acting out of bad faith. And this is a necessary conclusion if you think the way Bridgewater does. If the writings are clear, disagreement isn’t innocent. No one can be sincerely mistaken about the role and powers of the Universal House of Justice, no one can disagree with him and really mean it. And so Bridgewater can’t just question someone’s intelligence, he has to question their integrity.

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