A “Dangerous” Faith…

dangerous_faithThe Bahá’í Faith is dangerous, according to the government of Iran…

The Faith was born in Iran in 1844…

Tens of thousands of Bahá’ís have lost their lives because they won’t recant…

According to a Bahá’í source: “Currently, there are at least 31 Baha’is in Iran’s prisons, including the seven people who comprised the leadership group known as the Friends in Iran. Those seven have now been in prison more than a year, awaiting trial.” During that time, they have had no access to their legal counsel…

Their trial is currently set for October 18th. The charges against them include two that could bring the death penalty…

Bobby Aazami recently won a Baha’i-sponsored video contest for this:

Spiritual Quote:

“At this writing, the expectant voices of Bahá’ís can be heard despite the persecution they still endure in the land in which their Faith was born. By their example of steadfast hope, they bear witness to the belief that the imminent realization of this age-old dream of peace is now, by virtue of the transforming effects of Bahá’u’lláh’s revelation, invested with the force of divine authority. Thus we convey to you not only a vision in words: we summon the power of deeds of faith and sacrifice; we convey the anxious plea of our co-religionists everywhere for peace and unity. We join with all who are the victims of aggression, all who yearn for an end to conflict and contention, all whose devotion to principles of peace and world order promotes the ennobling purposes for which humanity was called into being by an all-loving Creator.

“In the earnestness of our desire to impart to you the fervour of our hope and the depth of our confidence, we cite the emphatic promise of Bahá’u’lláh: ‘These fruitless strifes, these ruinous wars shall pass away, and the “Most Great Peace” shall come’.”
The Universal House of Justice, 1985 Oct, The Promise of World Peace, p. 5

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Youth In Danger

Youth

This post isn’t directly about the moral dangers our youth face, but a perusal of this Google search will deepen your understanding about that…

~~~

But, look at this couple: so youthfully together, so fresh with Life and promise! They could be dead in tragic moments from engaging in an activity that far too many do with no thought of danger—exuberance overcoming vigilance…

While I was Twittering, I followed a link to a very well-produced yet grippingly graphic public service video from Wales. Though texting while driving isn’t normally considered a moral issue, it’s consequences could lead to issues of high moral concern…

Show it to all the youth you know…

Spiritual Quote:

“…the dangers facing the modern youth are becoming increasingly grave, and call for immediate solution. But, as experience clearly shows, the remedy to this truly sad and perplexing situation is not to be found in traditional and ecclesiastical religion. The dogmatism of the church has been discarded once for all. What can control youth and save it from the pitfalls of the crass materialism of the age is the power of a genuine, constructive and living Faith such as the one revealed to the world by Bahá’u’lláh. Religion, as in the past, is still the world’s sole hope, but not that form of religion which our ecclesiastical leaders strive vainly to preach. Divorced from true religion, morals lose their effectiveness and cease to guide and control man’s individual and social life. But when true religion is combined with true ethics, then moral progress becomes a possibility and not a mere ideal.

“The need of our modern youth is for such a type of ethics founded on pure religious faith. Not until these two are rightly combined and brought into full action can there be any hope for the future of the race.”
From a letter Written on behalf of the Guardian to an individual believer, April 17, 1926, Lights of Guidance, p. 630

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You Have A Genius…

Elizabeth_Gilbert

This woman faced down a pre-midlife crisis by doing what we all secretly dream of – running off for a year.

Elizabeth Gilbert is an extremely gifted writer. She also has well-grounded ideas about what “Genius” really  means! She soared into celebrity with her book, Eat, Pray, Love, “fueled by a mix of intelligence, wit and colloquial exuberance that is close to irresistible”.

The following video will show you her storytelling skills as well as her dedication to honoring the genius within every creative act.

Prepare to be surprised, delighted, and inspired:

Want to listen to Elizabeth read part of Eat, Pray, Love  and answer questions from some of the folks who work at Google?

Spiritual Quote:

“The confirmations of the Spirit are all those powers and gifts which some are born with (and which men sometimes call genius), but for which others have to strive with infinite pains. They come to that man or woman who accepts his life with radiant acquiescence.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in London, p. 120

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False Religion

false_religionSo much hate being spread in the name of religion…

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, son of the Prophet-Founder of the Bahá’í Faith, once said:

“Any religion which is not a cause of love and unity is no religion.”

He also said, “A Bahá’í denies no religion; he accepts the Truth in all, and would die to uphold it.”

Recent events in Pakistan show the dark side of this issue:

From The New York Times: Hate Engulfs Christians in Pakistan “The attack in this shabby town in central Pakistan — the culmination of several days of rioting over a claim that a Koran had been defiled — shows how precarious life is for the tiny Christian minority in Pakistan.”

From CNN: About 200 arrested in violence against Christians in Pakistan “Seven people were killed and 20 injured Saturday when Muslim demonstrators set fire to houses in a Christian enclave…”

From Agence France-Presse: Pakistan Christian schools strike after killings “An angry mob of Muslims torched 40 houses and a church in the remote village of Gojra in Pakistan’s heartland province of Punjab…”

It’s no wonder more and more intelligent people can say things like, “I’m very spiritual but certainly not religious…”.

Spiritual Quote:

“…it is evident that the Divine religions are meant to create a bond of love among humanity, and to bind the people together for no other purpose than amity. Divine religion is not a cause for discord and disagreement. If religion be the cause of discord and difference, then no religion is preferable, for religion is meant to be life to the body politic. If it be the cause of death to humanity, then its non-existence is preferable. Therefore, in this day religion is to be sought, for religious teachings may well be likened to remedies. If a remedy be productive of worse symptoms, the lack or absence of the remedy is preferable.”
Compilations, Bahá’í Scriptures, p. 312

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Morality’s Downfall . . .

moralityI’m a Bahá’í…

I’ve been a Bahá’í for a little over 20 years…

I’m a more moral person now but it took a tremendous effort to will myself to become subservient to the principles of my Faith…

That word, subservient, may sound like I’ve given up my freewill. Yet, what I’ve worked hard to do (and still am definitely not perfect at) is to use my freewill to adhere to principles of morality that aren’t just in my Faith but all Faiths.

For example, would choosing to have your ego become subservient to honesty be a weakness?

Enough about me. It’s what’s happening to my fellow believers in Iran that has me troubled. Actually, because of the ominous portent and the fact that the crimes committed by Iranian government officials are just the rudely boldest of more insidious moral crimes committed by most of the world’s leaders, this one-year anniversary of the incarceration of Iran’s Bahá’í Leadership, with no access to legal counsel, should concern anyone who strives to be more good than bad…

The “informal” charges laid against these Bahá’ís in Iran were: espionage for Israel, insulting religious sanctities, and propaganda against the Islamic Republic. Now, after one year in prison another “informal” charge has been leveled: spreading corruption on earth. This, by the way, was the charge against the Bahá’ís in Iran who were summariy executed back in the 80’s—murdered for their beliefs—for working hard to be moral…

This video, from Iranian.com, is about the burning of Bahá’í homes in Egypt but it’s happening in Iran, too. And, the perpetrators are ordinary citizens incited by their government:

Here’s another video from Iran Press Watch  that compares the attitude of the Iranian government to that of Nazi Germany:

Spiritual Quote:

“At the heart of the global crisis currently afflicting humanity, there exists a pervasive lack of moral leadership in all sectors of human society. The lack of moral leadership is demonstrated in the continuous uncovering of unethical behavior at all levels of society in all parts of the world. No sphere of human endeavor, from the family to the highest corridors of power, remains unaffected. Often, moral leadership is hard to identify because society presents too many conflicting messages about what is meant by leadership…it would be helpful to identify a few fundamental capabilities that characterize effective moral leadership and to set in motion a systematic learning process that will foster the development of these capabilities within the institutions that serve human society….

“Autocratic, paternalistic, manipulative and ‘know-it-all’ modes of leadership, which are found in all parts of the world, tend to disempower those whom they are supposed to serve. They exercise control by over-centralizing the decision making-making process, thereby coercing others into agreement. If humanity is to move out of its collective adolescence and enter its age of collective maturity, if it is to reap long term benefits from the Earth Summit process, we have to ask ourselves some pertinent questions. First, are the currently-prevalent models of leadership capable of producing leaders who are able to address, with integrity and justice, the essential global issues facing humanity? Second, are the institutions which are brought into being by the currently-prevalent models of leadership, capable of creating a sustainable world civilization? Third, are we ourselves, ready to abandon our outmoded practices and old loyalties and explore a new model of moral leadership? Fourth, what would such a new form of leadership look like?

“The leadership model which is being proposed, is unequivocally centered on service to others. Therefore, one of the prerequisites for moral leadership is the spirit of service – service to one’s family, community, and nation. This spirit of service does not in any way negate individual drive or initiative, nor does it stifle individual creativity. Rather, it calls for a model of leadership which will release the potential of the individual while safeguarding the well-being of the whole. Those who emerge as leaders would likely combine a spirit of service with a drive for excellence. The institutions which would emerge from a service-centered leadership would promote the well-being of the whole community while safeguarding the rights, freedoms and initiatives of each individual. These institutions would preserve human honor which would lead to a civilization which deeply cares for the beauty of nature and all beings on the planet.”
Bahá’í International Community, United Nations Office, Moral Leadership, June 1992

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God ?

god

Jim & Denise at the Café

Jim: “So I hear you found God…”

Denise: “More like God found me.”

Jim: “…”

Denise: “Kind of like when the student is ready, the Teacher appears…”

Jim: “God, huh?”

Denise: “Yep.”

Jim: “Did He speak to you?”

Denise: “No, She  didn’t. Actually, I don’t think God is sexed—beyond all that…”

Jim: “So how do you know God found you?”

Denise: “I feel ‘Blessed ‘, I feel I’m worthy of working toward my best potential…”

Jim: “Quite a change from last month with all that talk about dying…”

Denise: “Yeah, I want to live now and I’m not afraid of dying either, whenever…”

Jim: “Wild! ”

Denise: “Yeah, wild… Wonderful… Weird…

Jim: “Yeah…”

~~~~~~~~~

If you’d been in attendance at this imaginary scene, you’d have seen the body language and felt the emotion—you’d have believed that Denise really did feel that God had found her.

Who or What is God?

Big Question…

This post was stimulated by a post on BloggersBase called, Perspectives on the Nature of God – Which of these Five Views Matches Yours? The author lists five very common conceptions of God with descriptions:

God the Wrathful…

God the Judgmental…

God Who?…

God the Compassionate…

God the Universal Spirit…

Then, comes a fascinating piece of contemplation:

“You have probably rejected four of these five views of God as being absolutely wrong, and even been uncomfortable with the wording of the view with which you most closely align. In doing so, you have rejected the sincere beliefs of the vast majority of humanity. Is promoting your preferred characterization of God more important than compassion and acceptance of diversity?”

I have my conception of God and it embraces a few of the five mentioned but goes well beyond any of them…

To me, God is First and Foremost, the Unknowable—no conception from us—the creations of God—can attain to the True Nature of our Creator…

This belief doesn’t relieve me of the necessity for compassion and empathy and tolerance of other’s beliefs…

There is, however, a concept in religion that indicates the existence of Messengers  from God, Prophets  of God, Manifestations  of God, Who have acted as intermediaries between God the Creator and we the created. Some of their names have been Zoroaster, Krishna, Buddha, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Muhammad, the Báb, and Bahá’u’lláh.

There’s also a concept called Progressive Revelation  that says that all those Manifestations are One in Spirit and the religions They each founded were but Chapters in a continuing revelation of One Faith of God. This principle holds that all the religions are stages of one religion—the outer social laws changing with the constant evolution of humanity but the core spiritual Truths remaining—immutable…

One God…

One Faith…

One Human Family…

Hmmm . . .

Spiritual Quote:

“The holy Manifestations of God come into the world to dispel the darkness of the animal, or physical, nature of man, to purify him from his imperfections in order that his heavenly and spiritual nature may become quickened, his divine qualities awakened, his perfections visible, his potential powers revealed and all the virtues of the world of humanity latent within him may come to life. These holy Manifestations of God are the Educators and Trainers of the world of existence, the Teachers of the world of humanity. They liberate man from the darkness of the world of nature, deliver him from despair, error, ignorance, imperfections and all evil qualities. They clothe him in the garment of perfections and exalted virtues. Men are ignorant; the Manifestations of God make them wise. They are animalistic; the Manifestations make them human. They are savage and cruel; the Manifestations lead them into kingdoms of light and love. They are unjust; the Manifestations cause them to become just. Man is selfish; They sever him from self and desire. Man is haughty; They make him meek, humble and friendly. He is earthly; They make him heavenly. Men are material; the Manifestations transform them into divine semblance. They are immature children; the Manifestations develop them into maturity. Man is poor; They endow him with wealth. Man is base, treacherous and mean; the Manifestations of God uplift him into dignity, nobility and loftiness.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 465

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Human Life and Death

life_and_death

What Do You Think?

It’s time for a survey about this life and the next one—or is  there a “next life”—and, is it on earth or not?

Would love to have (and feel a strong need to know) your ideas and opinions about what may or may not lie beyond that moment we call death…

Please take a moment to complete the survey. And, come back in the next few days and check the ongoing results.

Leave your comments on the survery and the results, too.
There’s a link at the bottom of the poll to view the ongoing results.

You can select multiple answers

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