On speech, individual rights and freedoms - A Baha'i Perspective

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On speech, individual rights and freedoms - A Baha'i Perspective
by alborz
10-Apr-2009
 

The blogs over the past several past weeks has resulted in a series of discussions that have primarily been instigated by points and counter points.   While it may have provided entertainment for some, it has been a source of frustration for many.

In response to those that have repeatedly asked for Baha'i perspectives on the recent material posted, we must begin with the foundation of the recent exchanges, namely speech and individual freedom and rights.  Baha'i resources are rich in this regard and the following is but a small sample of relevant material.

Bahá'u'lláh says that "the tongue is a smouldering fire, and excess of speech a deadly poison." "Material fire consumeth the body," He says in elaborating the point, "whereas the fire of the tongue devoureth both heart and soul. The force of the former lasteth but for a time, whilst the effects of the latter endureth a century."

In tracing the framework of free speech, He again advises "moderation". "Human utterance is an essence which aspireth to exert its influence and needeth moderation", He states, adding: "As to its influence, this is conditional upon refinement which in turn is dependent upon hearts which are detached and pure."

Returning to the phenomenal characteristics of speech. Content, volume, style, tact, wisdom, timeliness are among the critical factors in determining the effects of speech for good or evil. Consequently, the friends need ever to be conscious of the significance of this activity which so distinguishes human beings from other forms of life, and they must exercise it judiciously. Their efforts at such discipline will give birth to an etiquette of expression worthy of the approaching maturity of the human race. Just as this discipline applies to the spoken word, it applies equally to the written word; and it profoundly affects the operation of the press.

The quality of freedom and of its expression -- indeed, the very capacity to maintain freedom in a society -- undoubtedly depends on the knowledge and training of individuals and on their ability to cope with the challenges of life with equanimity. As the beloved Master (Abdu'l Baha)has written: "And the honour and distinction of the individual consist in this, that he among all the world's multitudes should become a source of social good. Is any larger bounty conceivable than this, that an individual, looking within himself, should find that by the confirming grace of God he has become the cause of peace and well-being, of happiness and advantage to his fellow men? No, by the one true God, there is no greater bliss, no more complete delight."

The spirit of liberty which in recent decades has swept over the planet with such tempestuous force is a manifestation of the vibrancy of the Revelation brought by Bahá'u'lláh. His own words confirm it. "The Ancient Beauty" (Baha'u'llah), He wrote in a soul-stirring commentary on His sufferings, "hath consented to be bound with chains that mankind may be released from its bondage, and hath accepted to be made a prisoner within this most mighty Stronghold that the whole world may attain unto true liberty."

Might it not be reasonably concluded, then, that "true liberty" is His gift of love to the human race? Consider what Bahá'u'lláh has done: He revealed laws and principles to guide the free, He established an Order to channel the actions of the free, He proclaimed a Covenant*  to guarantee the unity of the free.

Thus, we hold to this ultimate perspective: Bahá'u'lláh came to set humanity free. His Revelation is, indeed, an invitation to freedom -- freedom from want, freedom from war, freedom to unite, freedom to progress, freedom in peace and joy.

To grasp the essence of these excerpts and to apply them in ones daily life is indeed a challenge for all.

Alborz

* The Covenant constitutes the documents, in the form of Will and Testament, that has served to preserve and uphold the Unity of the Baha'i Faith.

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alborz

Sorry Sophia - you have used up all your questions...

by alborz on

...and it is time you answered a few that have been asked of you by others.  

Hint: Google !

Alborz


sophia

Lesser Peace and Most Great Peace

by sophia on

Before you go Faryam, could you please explain the difference between the Lesser Peace, and the Most Great Peace as understood by the Baha'is? Or perhaps you could Alborz?   If your duty or purpose is to inform, please do so.

alborz

از کلمات مکنونه حضرت بها‌الله

alborz


ای صاحبان هوش و گوش اوّل سروش دوست اينست *

(ای بلبل معنوی )  جز در گلبن معانی جای مگزين و ای هدهد سليمان عشق جز در سبای جانان وطن مگير و ای عنقای بقا جز در قاف وفامحلّ مپذير * اينست مکان تو اگر بلامکان بپر جان برپری و آهنگ مقام خود رايگان نمائی *

(ای پسر روح )  هر طيری را نظر بر آشيان است و هر بلبلی را مقصود جمال گل مگر طيور افئده عباد که بتراب فانی قانع شده از آشيان باقی دور مانده‌اندو بگِلهای بعد توجّه نموده از گلهای قرب محروم گشته‌اند * زهی حيرت و حسرت و افسوس و دريغ که بابريقی از امواج بحر رفيق اعلی گذشته‌اند و از افق ابهی دور مانده‌اند *

) ای دوست)  در روضه قلب جز گل عشق مکار و از ذيل بلبل حبّ و شوق دست مدار * مصاحبت ابرار را غنيمت دان و از مرافقت اشرار دست و دل هر دو بردار *

(ای پسر انصاف )  کدام عاشق كه جز در وطن معشوق محلّ گيرد و کدام طالب که بی مطلوب راحت جويد ؟ عاشق صادق را حيات در وصال است و موت در فراق * صدرشان از صبر خالی و قلوبشان از اصطبار مقدّس از صد هزار جان درگذرند و بکوی جانان شتابند *

(ای پسر خاک )  براستی ميگويم غافلترين عباد کسی است که در قول مجادله نمايد و بر برادر خود تفوّق جويد * بگو ای برادران باعمال خود را بيارائيد نه باقوال *

http://reference.bahai.org/fa/t/b/

البرز


Souri

Thank you dear Faryar

by Souri on

I read your excellent post. I can't agree more with what you said.

Let all pray for a beautiful world free of hate and  agony.

Best regards,


faryarm

Dear Souri, Let's Each Thinking Individual Be the Judge..

by faryarm on


Souri Jaan..This would be my last response to the Anti Bahai elements;   Let's each individual's Mind and Soul find the truth for her/himself; nobody can convert or convince anyone of ANY thick venom.   The purpose has always been to inform.    Truth always Wins in the end. Bahais could answer any question, regardless of their incendiary nature; however one questions the wisdom of dignifyng such prposterous allegations in the ugly blogs attacking Bahais, blogs and canned links clearly designed to poison the mind of the unsuspecting reader.   I am certain the average reader is wise and sophisticated enough to see right through the obvious venom.   These attacks mean nothing in the face of the True picture of the Bahai world community; open for all to see; A united community, whose actions and endeavors in the field of social action on the world stage, its contributions to making a tangible difference in the lives of people , even in the remotest corners of the world.   The "entry by troops " that is promised, is not some forced militant action to convert people, but a process. at which time individuals will in great numbers , and on their own accord, recognize the necessity of a spiritual influence in their lives, a positive force and influence that would give them direction and meaning.   Even the inevitable world commonwealth, as promised by Baha'u'llah WILL not be a a Bahai creation, but one that is to come about as a result of a total breakdown in the world and the inability of the world's leaders to tackle humanity's problems.   Attacks on Bahai institutions and its teachings in the last 160 years have done absolutely nothing, but to attract the true seeker; (and to repel the ambitious and the self seeking ...)   People are attracted by example, good deeds and actions, not just mere words.   If the Bahai Faith is so bad and evil, as Nur and associates try to portray; then it will surely fail; History on the other hand , so far tells a different story..    I thank everyone for their goodwill.   Best    faryarm 


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lets end up this useles discussion

by Anonymous-joker (not verified) on

a good Joke:a woman calls her husband on his moblie phone and says:Ron,I just heard on the radio that there is an idiot driving the wrong way on the highway, be careful, can you hear me?
then Ron says, yes but it's not just one, there are hundreds of them......


Souri

Sophia

by Souri on

My English is less than average level. I didn't get half of what you just said. but could understand at least one thing you said which is so childish and funny, this:

"To claim that the WHOLE WORLD will one day become a Baha'i Commonwealth
is an enormous claim. Similarly, support for a One World Government is
also a huge issue."

Guess what?

The Communist  said the same thing about themselves. The Catholic said the same thing about themselves and even Islam think the same thing about themselves.

Then Fear not!!

If the Bahai say the whole world will one day become a Bahai commonwealth, this does not mean implicitly that they want to conquer the world by force or by war. Where did you get this idea? Of course, you don't even think this would be true, not for a minute. You just use this as a tool for demagogy, in case if it would work to fool the ignorant. But I have bad news for you, nowadays everybody has read enough and acquired enough information to be able to understand the real meaning of those words!

Your tactic is so outdated. Bring something new if you want to fool us.

Final word : You still didn't say "what was your religion" ?

***Okay, Now I got the translation by google (not so ingenious though :O)

About your questions:

"1. Where the money trail within the Haifan Baha'i organization leads."

- None of your business! Do you ask the same question about Vatican? What is this to you, where the money leads? As long as you don't pay a penny.

"2. What NGO's they are associated with, and what geopolitical agendas influence these associations." 

- Again, none of your business, for the same reason.

"3. Why their oratory tactics, and how they deal with criticism seem to follow a decidedly identifiable pattern."

- That's the only question seemingly discussable with the followers. They may be able to answer these kind of question. At least it seem more logical than the two others.

Final word, again : You still didn't say "what was your religion" ?


sophia

Whoa!

by sophia on

Whoa...thanks a lot Souri- what a calculated response! Just because I have other things to do, and I'm not at the computer waiting for a reply like you, you imply that you've trapped me in something?! You were prepared for it? Your answer here has also shown a fair degree of "muslimophobia" (and if I were a Muslim, I would find that very offensive).  Given what a disingenuous response you have actually offered, here's a few things that i am interested in:   1. Where the money trail within the Haifan Baha'i organization leads.   2. What NGO's they are associated with, and what geopolitical agendas influence these associations.    3. Why their oratory tactics, and how they deal with criticism seem to follow a decidedly identifiable pattern.      To claim that the WHOLE WORLD will one day become a Baha'i Commonwealth is an enormous claim. Similarly, support for a One World Government is also a huge issue. Given a document entitled the "Spiritual Conquest of the Planet" describes the subsuming of ALL religions under the transformative agency of the Baha'is, this is not just about PERSONAL BELIEF. If the Baha'is weren't suggesting that their "Plans" would have a global effect, then fine, believe whatever you want. But this is more than just about PERSONAL BELIEF. Big questions demand big answers, and yet the supporters of the Haifan Baha'is get unbelievably hostile to anyone telling them that they have a big problem with their BIG plans. THAT'S what gives me the right to question the Haifan Baha'i's beliefs. I hate to think what would happen to me if this Baha'i Commonwealth came about and I questioned it, given that this is the kind of response I get here. And before you assume any more things about me, I'd suggest you think about how you want to portray yourself. Your last answer gave me the creeps. I'm sure there many well-meaning, good hearted Baha'is out there, but this is not about them.   Post saved incase of deletion. 

sophia

Whoa!

by sophia on

Whoa...thanks a lot Souri- what a calculated response! Just because I have other things to do, and I'm not at the computer waiting for a reply like you, you imply that you've trapped me in something?! You were prepared for it? Your answer here has also shown a fair degree of "muslimophobia" (and if I were a Muslim, I would find that very offensive).  Given what a disingenuous response you have actually offered, here's a few things that i am interested in:   1. Where the money trail within the Haifan Baha'i organization leads.   2. What NGO's they are associated with, and what geopolitical agendas influence these associations.    3. Why their oratory tactics, and how they deal with criticism seem to follow a decidedly identifiable pattern.      To claim that the WHOLE WORLD will one day become a Baha'i Commonwealth is an enormous claim. Similarly, support for a One World Government is also a huge issue. Given a document entitled the "Spiritual Conquest of the Planet" describes the subsuming of ALL religions under the transformative agency of the Baha'is, this is not just about PERSONAL BELIEF. If the Baha'is weren't suggesting that their "Plans" would have a global effect, then fine, believe whatever you want. But this is more than just about PERSONAL BELIEF. Big questions demand big answers, and yet the supporters of the Haifan Baha'is get unbelievably hostile to anyone telling them that they have a big problem with their BIG plans. THAT'S what gives me the right to question the Haifan Baha'i's beliefs. I hate to think what would happen to me if this Baha'i Commonwealth came about and I questioned it, given that this is the kind of response I get here. And before you assume any more things about me, I'd suggest you think about how you want to portray yourself. Your last answer gave me the creeps. I'm sure there many well-meaning, good hearted Baha'is out there, but this is not about them.   Post saved incase of deletion. 

Souri

Sophia

by Souri on

You didn't answer my question. No surprise here, as I was already prepared to this reaction. By not revealing your position you only confirm  my guess about where you and the other members of the gang are coming from. That being said, I want to ask you now another question:

What give you the permission to question people's belief, asking them to explain themselves to you, to justify their decrees or law or any other  rules they believe in, while you yourself are not even willing to say "where you come from?"

Isn't it a typically fanatic Muslim way?

I think  it is.


Souri

Ms or Mrs Sophia

by Souri on

With respect, may I ask you "what is your religion" ? Please answer only if you are willing to. I have nothing against you or what you say (I am not a Bahai) I'm just very curious to know the truth. 

The other person, Nur, had always identified himself as a Bayani, and he also gave us some information as to who are the Bayani and what they do believe in.

But I still don't know your position. Are you a Muslim? Shiite or Sunni?

Are you an ex-Bahai? Now converted to what religion?

Regards,

 


sophia

Ughhhhh......I am NOT

by sophia on

Ughhhhh......I am NOT NUR!!!!!!   I am another VERIFIED user! This is ridiculous- and I know why you're saying it (ie because critics of the Haifan Baha'is have no friends of or supporters). Why do you not call all the other multitude of UNVERIFIED users who have come on and attacked Nur over the last couple of weeks the same person?

Regardless, the answer (to one of these questions) seems to be then that it is through the agency of the Baha'is that this 'Spiritual Conquest' will occur. This is spiritual totalitarianism. What will happen to the people who utterly resist the Baha'i story and conception of Divinity under Bahuallah? What about all those people who believe there are other ways to peace and justice that have nothing to do with the Baha'is?

Your answer quite snidely puts the onus back on me to explain things, as if it my lack of comprehension that is the problem not the fact that some people would take serious objection to the material contained within this document. The Haifan Baha'is cannot have it both ways - the Universal House of Justice clearly states its aims and intentions, and the methods its wishes to pursue them and subsume all other faiths within its structure and belief system. Similarly, this document (which is also a teaching material) clearly states that the Baha'i cycle will eventually last 500, 000 years. Are you serious?

Yes Faryam, I am aware that you and others may not perceive these terms as having any militant connection- but they do imply FORCE, persuasion and calculated indoctrination strategy.It is a deeply MISSIONARY process. See below (quote from document "Spiritual Conquest of the Planet)

 

Five Year Plan 2006-11 Continue to pursue the single aim of

advancing the process of entry by troops

through two movements: guiding a growing

number of individuals through the sequence

of institute courses and advancing

clusters from one stage of development

to the next; bring hundreds of thousands

more into the institute process; establish

intensive programs of growth in 1500

clusters; increasing teaching by reaching

receptive populations; emphasis on the

role of the tutor; classes for Jr. youth as

4th core activity; mobilize pioneers and

direct them toward support for cluster

development; enhance the culture of

learning; strengthen institutional support

at all levels for the movement of clusters.

 Quoted from document which references Letters of the Universal

House of Justice: 12-27-05

to Counselors; 12-28-05 to

NSAs; 12-31-05 to Bahá’ís

of the World; Rid. van 2006 

 

Four Year Plan 1996-

2000

Single aim: a significant advance in

the process of entry by troops through

marked progress in the activity and

development of the individual believer,

the institutions, and the local community;

prepare for large scale sustained growth;

establish networks of training institutes

to systematically develop resources for

expansion and consolidation—large

numbers of believers trained to foster and

facilitate the process of entry by troops

with efficiency and love; integration

of arts into expansion and consolidation

activities; near completion of ARC

buildings and terraces; expand SED and

external affairs endeavors.

World-wide system of training institutes established;

emergence of a culture of learning, resulting

in a high degree of integration of thought and

action; increase in individual initiative; growth

in institutional and community functioning and

capacity; appreciation for role of systematization

in growth and dev.; est. Regional Bahá’í Councils;

3,300 long/short term pioneers; 5 mil visit Temple

in India; Bahá’í world web-site launched; 8 new

NSAs.

Letters of the Universal

House of Justice: 12-26-95

to Counselors; 12-31-95 to

Bahá’ís of World; Rid. van

2000; 1-9-01 to Counselors 

 

PLease note- document information archived in case of deletion .


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Universal House of Justic says...

by Anahid (not verified) on

"دشنام را با تحیّت و سلام پاسخ گویید و حتّی با ظالمان به رأفت و مهربانی و صبر و شکیبایی مقابله نمایید. در میادین خدمت به وطن هم‌چنان فعّال باشید و با مشارکت در گفتمان‌های سازنده با همسایگان، هم‌کاران، دوستان و آشنایان عزیز خود در ترقّی جامعه‌ سهمی بسزا بر عهده گیرید "

http://www.negah32.info/index.php?option=com_conte...


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and...

by Anahid (not verified) on

"A kindly tongue is the lodestone of the hearts of men"

Gleanings From the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, page:346


Manoucher Avaznia

Ahang Aziz;

by Manoucher Avaznia on

"Fowj" in the Qur'an has been translated to "group" and "multitude of people" as opposite individual.  Later on, in the military terms, it was used as certain units of soldiers.  It is not used in the Iranian Army nowadays, however I believe it is still used in Afghanestan as a portion of an army in military terms.  But, here it is known the military term is not the purpose and it means large groups of people.  I wish it was written in Farsi or Arbi to avoid this misunderstanding.  Fowj in Farsi and Arabi does not necessarily mean troops in the military terms.

 

Regards


Ahang Rabbani

Entry by troops in the Qur'an

by Ahang Rabbani on

I neglected to cite the Qur'anic reference:  Chapter 110, verse 2, "And thou seest men entering the religion of God by troops"  In Arabic:  va rayat al-nas yadkhuluna fi din allah afajan. 


Ahang Rabbani

Entry by Troops

by Ahang Rabbani on

A small footnote to Faryarm's comment:  The term "entry by troops" is Qur'anic and was adopted in the Baha'is writings (mostly in Abdu'l-Baha's letters) in the same fashion and meaning as in the Qur'an. 


faryarm

Entry By Troops....

by faryarm on

Stop trying to portray these words as some kind of a militant evil conspiracy..

Entry by troops is a term that developed in the Bahá'í Faith to describe a process of expansion when the Faith would emerge from relative obscurity, and masses of people would become Bahá'ís. It is not meant to suggest militancy - the word "troops" is used for its secondary meaning of "large groups of people". The term first appeared in Bahá'u'lláh's Suriy-i-Haykal[1]


alborz

NUR (aka Sophia & Covenant) - the answer to your questions...

by alborz on

... is found in the very same sources you are referencing. 

You simply have to read and comprehend at the same time, which is not possible when you think you already know and you don't.

Hint: "Spiritual"

Alborz


sophia

But.......

by sophia on


Can you please explain this- why exactly the document in question(below)  emphasizes the process of conversion to the Baha'i Faith, termed "Entry By Troops", why the Universal House of Justice refers to the "10 Year Crusade" of 1953-63, and why the various 2, 4, 5 and 10 year "Plans" include "Homefront Goals"?  you want to talk about peace, when your own documents talk of Conquests and Crusades? 

From Baha'i publisher officially connected with the Ruhi Institut

"The Spiritual Conquest of the Planet 
SUPPLEMENT.Systematic Unfoldment of the Divine Plan. Unfoldment of 
the Bahá’í Faith. .Our Response to Plans" 
www.palabrapublications.info/list/pdf/scp_handout.pdf

http://www.palabrapublications.info/list/over.html

Philosophy

"Palabra Publications is an organizationdedicated to the production 
and dissemination of teaching, deepening, andtraining institute 
course materials at low costs. These materials strive toaddress the 
spiritual education needs of diverse peoples with a variety ofbooks, 
such as those described below."

http://www.palabrapublications.info/books/train.html

Training Institute Materials

At the request of the Ruhi Institute, PalabraPublications is helping 
to make its materials available worldwide in English,Spanish, French, 
Persian and Arabic. Several other organizations are alsoauthorized to 
distribute the materials in these five languages. You can findout 
more by clicking here.

This publisher also distributes numerous other UHJmaterials, 
including 
Messages from the Universal House of Justice

Turning Point 
Selected Messages of the UniversalHouse of Justice 
and Supplementary Material 
1996–2006

Beginning with the Four Year Plan in 1996, theUniversal House of 
Justice set a new course in the teaching work forindividuals, 
communities, and institutions. “The next four years,” the SupremeBody 
wrote, “will represent an extraordinary period in the history of our
Faith, a turning point of epochal magnitude.” So potent were the 
implicationsof that Plan, that its single aim of advancing the 
process of entry by troopswas carried forward into a series of plans, 
to span twenty-five years untilthe end the first century of the 
Formative Age in 2021. This book containsselected messages from the 
Universal House of Justice and other documents thatguided the 
learning process of the Bahá’í world over the course of a decade,from 
1996-2006, resulting in profound changes in consciousness and 
systematicaction. By the end of this period, the House of Justice 
concluded, “Theelements required for a concerted effort to infuse the 
diverse regions of theworld with the spirit of Bahá’u’lláh’s 
Revelation have crystallized into aframework for action that now 
needs only to be exploited.” 

 

PLEASE NOTE: I also am saving all details of this post in case of deletion.