The Baha'i Faith & Religious Freedom of Conscience

From: K. Paul Johnson <>
Subject: Undermining others' faith
Date: Monday, June 07, 1999 1:40 PM
I take rather seriously the accusation that by criticizing some
aspects of Baha'i belief and practice, I am out to "undermine"
the faith of Baha'is.  Pat's accusation seems parallel to the
accusation made by the House through its spokesman on April 7:
that a *conceivable implication* of a course of action can be
assumed to be a *deliberate objective*.  It's certainly
conceivable that some Baha'i's faith might be getting undermined
lately, but I think the actions of the NSA and House would be far
more potent in that regard than *any* commentary some long-ago
ex-Baha'i might make.  Still, it's also conceivable that some
Baha'i might find his faith undermined by something I write.
It's a huge leap to conclude that is the intention behind my
participation in discussion here.
There are four major reasons I participate, off the top of my
1.  Baha'i is the newest world religion, and the Internet is the
newest change in the global religious environment.  Discussing
here gives one a front row seat at a process with important
implications for everyone.
2.  I was once helped and encouraged, when writing a book
touching on Baha'i, by several of the people who are now under
attack from the administration.  I am far more motivated to
*support* them and *defend them against unjust attack* than to
try to change how Baha'is see the House or their belief system.
3.  As an ex-Baha'i, I know how painful and difficult it was to
free myself from the belief system.  One of my intentions behind
posting here is to help those Baha'is who are on the way to
becoming ex-Baha'is, to give information and commentary that will
help them understand what they are going through.  No need to
recruit *new* ex-Baha'is, nor do I have any interest in doing so.
There are plenty being "recruited" by the behavior of the
leadership and some of the believers.
That's not to say there aren't some other motives of which I'm
not conscious.  But if, as Pat says, I were out to convert
Baha'is to either Christianity or Edgar Cayce's approach to same,
you'd have seen a vastly different posting profile.  I've said
very little that could be construed as proselytizing for any
belief system.  (Unlike some other non-Baha'i posters, BTW.)  There
is no reasonable hope of converting anyone, and I wouldn't want
to do so anyhow.