Controversies

Infallibility Artifice

According to official Baha'i sources, certain inputs to, and the design of, The Universal House of Justice (UHJ) may possess an attribute of infallibility, which does not necessarily extend to UHJ outputs. This working hypothesis is based on a simple "black box" model shown in the figure and a brief literature survey.

{josquote}...two leading fundamentalists ... were among the voices promoting the infallible output thesis...{/josquote}

The major result is that individuals, without any authority based on Baha'i scripture, may have wrongly described UHJ outputs -- its writings and actions -- as infallible, which can be an unnecessary source of confusion and distortion of the unique attributes of the Baha'i administration, to the detriment of the Baha'i world community.

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Infallibility Artifice

According to official Baha'i sources, certain inputs to, and the design of, The Universal House of Justice (UHJ) may possess an attribute of infallibility, which does not necessarily extend to UHJ outputs. This working hypothesis is based on a simple "black box" model shown in the figure and a brief literature survey.

{josquote}...two leading fundamentalists ... were among the voices promoting the infallible output thesis...{/josquote}

The major result is that individuals, without any authority based on Baha'i scripture, may have wrongly described UHJ outputs -- its writings and actions -- as infallible, which can be an unnecessary source of confusion and distortion of the unique attributes of the Baha'i administration, to the detriment of the Baha'i world community.

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Purge Cover-up

{josquote}Among the elected and appointed Baha'i institutions, have there been private efforts to make amends?{/josquote}

A recent major schism, probably the largest ever in the 166 year history of the Baha'i Faith, has received scant attention from scholars, journalists and Baha'i authorities alike. This massive historic division of Baha'is happened mostly during two decades (1985-2005) including the "Peak Fundamentalism" period (1993-1999) and featured a purge to remove perceived undesirables or potential competitors to extremist usurpers seeking control of the Baha'i community. Confusion may remain in the aftermath of this historic purge. The present report considers

  1. the apparent paucity of typical post-crisis remedial activities in the context of
  2. a continuing purge cover-up which would tend to delay post-traumatic healing.

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Collapse of Fundamentalism

{josquote}A regional conference in Los Angeles, CA, to honor Anthony "Free Press" Lee, the LA Study Group members, the Dialogue magazine staff, and the "A Modest Proposal" authors.{/josquote}

The rise and fall of fundamentalism in the Baha'i community, over a few brief decades, is an experience that may galvanize that community, and none too soon, for severe testing in its immediate future. Broad brush strokes of this episode paint a few fundamentalists attempting a failed coup d'etat, an equally small group of English-speaking intellectuals forming a resistance movement which achieved some success in thwarting a "foreign occupation" of the Baha'i community and perhaps most important at present, the need to mop up remaining residual effects which might burden the Baha'i community presently or in coming tests.

Shades of gray

Terms like liberal, conservative, intellectuals and fundamentalists may suggest greater divisions among people than actually exist, a more black-or-white portrayal of persons and events than warranted. The challenge to find the optimal shade of gray was described here:

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Muhammad Ali revived? (2)

In a comment on my earlier posting on the latest attempt to revive the ‘Unitarian’ variant of the Bahai Faith, as expounded by Abdu’l-Baha’s younger brother Muhammad Ali, one reader wrote:

I dont feel I have anything to fear from Muhammed Ali or most members of the UBA. They simply have a different narrative based upon certain historical facts, progressive ideas ..

My reply:

{josquote}I do not accept any equivalence between the teller of lies and the one he tells lies about.{/josquote}

Do not be deceived: the latest attempt to rehabilitate Muhammad Ali is not due to some universal love and progressive ideas, or any great knowledge about Muhammad Ali: it springs from a desire to avoid the straight line that leads from authenticated texts by Baha’u’llah and Abdu’l-Baha, through inescapable reasoning, to the conclusion that the Universal House of Justice is the head of the Bahai community today. To avoid that conclusion, some people will bring forward anything, however implausible, that seems to offer an alternative.

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