The Baha'i Faith & Religious Freedom of Conscience

From: K. Paul Johnson <>
Subject: Re: Why I left ( (K. Paul J)
Date: Wednesday, August 19, 1998 9:41 AM wrote:
: Your approach to the Baha'i faith is quite different than Tim's, however,
:  and I think you understood the basic teachings better than he did.
Yes, and perhaps.  I see Baha'u'llah as someone with an important
and timely message, who due to the blinders of the culture in
which he lived interpreted his role as messenger to mean
something far more grandiose than what it really was.
:  You address what you see as problems with the Baha'is without being
: insulting and demeaning.
Thank you.  That didn't prevent the srb moderators from treating
me as an enemy of the faith, rejecting posts for the most
specious of reasons or none at all.  And of course there was a
lengthy exchange with R. Schaut who insisted that I was indeed
an enemy of the Faith.  I sure don't regard anyone who criticizes
ARE or Cayce or Jesus or Christianity as an enemy of the faith.
  People can actually enter a dialogue with
: you without feeling that their beliefs are being insulted, just disagreed
: with.
Perhaps this is a case of what goes around comes around.
Although I've taken plenty of extreme personal hostility on the
Net from Baha'is, in the days when I actually was one, and l
the fold, people were entirely pleasant and respectful and I
retained many Baha'i friends.  Whereas Tim seems to have had a
much harsher experience.
  I think Tim upset people not because he left the faith, but
: hecause he felt it necessary to mock their beliefs and insult people
: for whom they feel a great deal of reverence.  In my opinion he has
: problems that go beyond what happened to him with the Baha'is.  He is
: displacing his anger on a convenient target.
If I may interpret the situation in the absence of deep insight
into the particulars: when people are really angry and lash out
at followers of movements they themselves once followed, I think
the root anger is at themselves.  "How could I have fallen for
anything so stupid/dogmatic/deceptive/etc.?"  Then that anger
gets turned outward and those who are still followers become
scapegoats.  Part of the work of an ARE study group is to do
exercises during the week trying to practice the lesson we are
studying.  Recently one of the disciplines was to (paraphrase)
see whatever belief system a person adhered to as being the right
and proper place for their development at this time, and to bless
them.  Sounds like a good way to live.