The Baha'i Faith & Religious Freedom of Conscience


Doug Martin, member of the bahai universal house of justice, Boston Baha'i Center --  Monday, September 23, 2001


"We have inherited a dangerous delusion from Christianity that our individual conscience is supreme. This is not a Baha'i belief. In the end, in the context of both our role in the community and our role in the  greater world, we must be prepared to sacrifice our personal convictions or opinions. The belief that individual conscience is supreme is equivalent to "taking partners with God" which is abhorrent to the Teachings of the Faith." Search for full text. (Edit > Find > "conscience")

Compare Horace Holley, 1925: "The individual conscience must be subordinated to the decisions of the elected Spiritual Assembly." Page 74, Ruth White, Abdul Baha's Questioned Will and Testament. Beverly Hills: Ruth White, 1946.

Compare: "This attitude of subservience and servility among the believers has been studiously cultivated by Mr. Horace Holley who, in an article . . . writes: *The individual conscience must be subordinated to the decisions of a duly elected Spiritual Assembly*. Now, it happens that Abdul Baha thought otherwise, as can be seen in *A Traveller's Narrative*, written as far back as 1874" (91). Mirza Ahmad Sohrab. The Will and Testament of Abdul Baha, An Analysis. New York: Universal Publishing, 1944.

Compare Doug Martin and Horace Holley to Abdul-Baha's actual words regarding freedom of conscience "the conscience of man is sacred and to be respected; and that liberty thereof produces widening of ideas, amendment of morals, improvement of conduct, disclosure of the secrets of creation, and manifestation of the hidden verities of the contingent world."

Karen Bacquet cites other passages by Martin, Peter Khan, and the uhj denouncing individual conscience via Christianity

Re: Individual conscience... and Martin's statement. 5/12/2002 Prof. Juan Cole, Ron House

See also Brief History of Douglas Martin   1/31/2000 Juan Cole