The Baha'i Faith & Religious Freedom of Conscience

Subject:      SRB Censored: 5-22-97
From:         FG <>
Date:         1997/05/23
Message-ID:   <>
Newsgroups:   alt.religion.bahai,misc.misc,talk.religion.misc
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From Thu May 22 19:59:05 1997
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Date: Thu, 22 May 1997 19:59:14 -0700 (PDT)
From: Teri Rhan <>    
cc: srb moderators <>
Subject: Re: Recent extremism about freedom (fwd)
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I am returning your submittal unposted to soc.religion.bahai and
respectfully request that it be resubmitted without labling Baha'is as 
this type or that type. For example you may consider changing Shiite 
Baha'is to "some Baha'is". Use of such a term is derogatory to Baha'is 
and probably the Shiite's as well. I would also like to remind you that
our charter does not allow ad-homineum attacks but instead perhaps
mentioning that it is your opinion that some Baha'is manifest the things 
you're speaking of is fine. I just want to emphasize that I am not 
asking you to change your opinions, just the way you express them:-)
Thank you for your participation,
Teri Rhan
Co-moderator, soc.religion.bahai
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sat, 17 May 1997 08:08:14 -0400
From: FG <>
Subject: Re: Recent extremism about freedom
Newsgroups: alt.religion.bahai,talk.religion.misc
Bruce Limber wrote:
> > > I have seen much posted about backbiting but very little about
> > > calumny.
FG wrote:
> > Upon further reflection, it seems to me that this view is
> > fundamentally a Shiite interpretation of the Bahai Writings--a
> > common one, indeed....
> And therefore?
And therefore I think it's worth considering where the "script" that's
often repeated comes from....
> Even if this is true, so what?  Is this guilt by asociation, or what?
It's intellectual history, if you will.... Usually considered helpful
in understanding the background to various ideas, religious or
> > > Might I add a few more quotes to ... more accurately balance the
> > > Baha'i concept of free speech with a few more quotes concerning
> > > limitations on the content of free speech?
> > I'm also further struck by the lack of "balance" in this point of
> > view and how predictable it is in its dismissal of the Writings when
> > they clearly support respectable, civilized values....
> Fine.
> Then list's dispense with interpretations _entirely_--"Shiite" or
> otherwise.  Let's stick to the Writings, and see what the _Most Holy
> Book_ itself has to say about what these values _are_:
It's not possible.... Even to quote a passage as you do is to offer
an interpretation based on your choice of what you believe is relevant
to the topic at hand. Human beings cannot escape the burden and 
responsibility of interpretation.
>       Consider the pettiness of men's minds.  They ask
>  for that which injureth them, and cast away the thing
>  that profiteth them.  They are, indeed, of those that are
>  far astray.  We find some men desiring liberty, and
>  priding themselves therein.  Such men are in the depths
>  of ignorance.
A significant passage, one Juan Cole has insightful commented on
in his article published some years ago.... Your interpretation
here, implied by your quoting it, is flawed.... "Liberty" here is
more in the sense of "license." Elsewhere, and indisputably, 
Abdul-Baha speaks highly of liberty without such connotation....
>       Liberty must, in the end, lead to sedition, whose
>  flames none can quench.  Thus warneth you He Who is
>  the Reckoner, the All-Knowing.  Know ye that the
>  embodiment of liberty and its symbol is the animal.
>  That which beseemeth man is submission unto such
>  restraints as will protect him from his own ignorance,
>  and guard him against the harm of the mischief-maker.
>  Liberty causeth man to overstep the bounds of
>  propriety, and to infringe on the dignity of his station.
>  It debaseth him to the level of extreme depravity and
>  wickedness.
The Shiite interpretation of the Bahai Writings delights in this
passage.... It reveals a brilliant insight into modern culture,
East as well as West, I might add, having lived in Japan and
traveled extensively in China.... This insight in the Writings
does not gainsay the value of proper liberty and responsibility....
>       Regard men as a flock of sheep that need a
>  shepherd for their protection.  This, verily, is the truth,
>  the certain truth.  We approve of liberty in certain
>  circumstances, and refuse to sanction it in others.  We,
>  verily, are the All-Knowing.
Here is a point Shiite Bahais often neglect.... "We approve
of liberty in certain circumstances...." They leaped over
that weighty statement, given perhaps their own cultural
background at times, and relish the last phrase....
>       Say:  True liberty consisteth in man's submission
>  unto My commandments, little as ye know it.  Were
>  men to observe that which We have sent down unto
>  them from the Heaven of Revelation, they would, of a
>  certainty, attain unto perfect liberty.  Happy is the man
>  that hath apprehended the Purpose of God in whatever
>  He hath revealed from the Heaven of His Will that
>  pervadeth all created things.  Say:  The liberty that
>  profiteth you is to be found nowhere except in complete
>  servitude unto God, the Eternal Truth.  Whoso hath
>  tasted of its sweetness will refuse to barter it for all the
>  dominion of earth and heaven.
>    (_The Kitab-i-Aqdas_, pages 63-64)
> This is no "interpretation."  So how any Baha'i has can ignore,
> belittle, or "dismiss" it is beyond me.
Your quoting it is certainly an interpretation since you advance
it as evidence shoring up your views.... Influenced by Shiite
Bahaism in my view.... which has suppressed or failed to give 
proper regard to much that is also in the Bahai Writings....
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