The Baha'i Faith & Religious Freedom of Conscience

Subj: Fwd: Cal and Burl's dismissal of opposing viewpoints at Talisman
Date: 10/4/1998 8:56:37 PM Eastern Daylight Time
From: Barthaman
To: FG
CC: Barthaman
Fred, this was an earlier posting--for your records.
Forwarded Message:
Subj:  Re: Cal and Burl's dismissal of opposing viewpoints at Talisman
Date: 9/14/1998 3:36:58 PM Eastern Daylight Time
Yes, Cal--and Burl--you're "off base" from where I'm sitting. Is this
site just a mirror for our own views, to merely find self-validation and
vindication--a security-blanket in the cold winds of reality? I can expect a
certain amount of opposition to my views because they stray from the party-
line. I'm sorry our differences have to defeat our attempts at
communication--the reason I subscribed to Talisman in the first place. I'm
sure you're here for the same reason--to learn what others think and try to
put ourselves in each others shoes.
You've both proved the point that FG was trying to make
regarding the deaf ears of Baha'i apologists (people who are defensive or
indifferent to opposing viewpoints). Come on, it's O.K. for Baha'is to be
open-minded to dissenting views. We didn't all grow up with the same father
and not all children sing the same praises for their father (maybe he
each of them differently or unfairly). Why do Baha'is, like Christians and
Muslims, always have this knee-jerk reaction to circle the wagons whenever
someone doesn't quack like a duck?
Burl, I wasn't born yesterday--you don't need to remind me about what the
writings say and how Baha'is are expected to behave. While you're getting up
on your soap box to pontificate to me about the Universal House of Justice--
you may be impressing your friends, but you're not really "listening" to me.
Obviously, my experiences with the House and the rest of the administration
has been dramatically different than yours. Does this make me a less honest
and worthwhile person than yourself, aside from any assumed notions we
have about God, Baha'u'llah, or the UHJ. No one has a monopoly on truth--
not in my experience anyway. I think you're deluding yourselves to think
someone's wrong about something simply because they sound
disrespectful. Was the Bab wrong for disrespecting the authorities of
Shiah Islam? Relax.
Reversely, you'll recall the story about Abdul-Baha. A Muslim man hated
for what he stood for, and would spit at him whenever he approached. When
Abdul-Baha later heard this man was sick, he went to him and nursed him back
to health. Afterward, the disbelieving man asked the Master why he was so
to him after his disrespectful behavior. Abdul-Baha said, "Because you were
sincere." You needn't quote me here (the story is from memory) but the
of the story speaks volumes about how we mustn't judge another by our own
agendas, not having walked in their shoes.
Baha'i dissenters, more or less, are wounded souls abandoned by their
so-to-speak. They have been cast out and dismissed or shunned without having
had a fair hearing. Consider their pain when the rest of their "family"
dismisses them too. Can you know what it's like to be accused of heresy and
shunned following a sincere intellectual conflict (inspired by doubt)--after
you've sacrificed years in devoted service to your religion? Can you
comprehend their sense of betrayal and injustice? This is why disillusioned
believers leave their religions each year--while some still hang around,
banging on the door now and then, demanding a refund for their lost youth.
time they will have to move on, however, writing the Baha'i Faith off as
another lesson in fraud. Mock these people all you want--but for the grace
God, the next dissenter
could be you. Don't be too confident, my friend.
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