October 29, 2016

Humanity will eventually become “the upholders of one Order, and the inhabitants of one City”

Address yourselves to the promotion of the well-being and tranquillity of the children of men. Bend your minds and wills to the education of the peoples and kindreds of the earth, that haply the dissensions that divide it may, through the power of the Most Great Name, be blotted out from its face, and all mankind become the upholders of one Order, and the inhabitants of one City. 
- Baha'u'llah  (Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh’)

Some insights:
  • We are being called upon by Baha’u’llah to promote “the well-being and tranquility” of everyone.
  • We are being called upon by Baha’u’llah to undertake the task of educating “the peoples and kindreds of the earth” “through the power of the Most Great Name”. --> Should one view the institute courses as a component of this process?
  • This global education should eventually result in humanity’s ability to become so united that they would become peaceful residents of “one City”, and “upholders of one Order”.


October 26, 2016

Believers should avoid imposing their views and interpretations of the Scriptures on others

I feel that regarding such interpretations (of verses from the Scriptures) no one has the right to impose his view or opinion and require his listeners to believe in his particular interpretation of the sacred and prophetic writings. I have no objection to your interpretations and inferences so long as they are represented as your own personal observations and reflections. It would be unnecessary and confusing to state authoritatively and officially a dogmatic Bahá’í interpretation to be universally accepted and taught by believers. Such matters I feel should be left to the personal judgement and insight of individual teachers.... 
- Shoghi Effendi  (From a message dated 6 April 1928 to an individual believer; ‘Unfolding Destiny’)

Some insights:
  • As Baha’is we can interpret the Writings provided we state they represent our own personal “interpretations and inferences”;
  • We should be careful not to make our personal interpretations as “dogmatic”, requiring all to accept them. 


October 23, 2016

Can “an innate sense of human dignity… prevent man from committing evil actions”?

There are some who imagine that an innate sense of human dignity will prevent man from committing evil actions and insure his spiritual and material perfection. That is, that an individual who is characterized with natural intelligence, high resolve, and a driving zeal, will, without any consideration for the severe punishments consequent on evil acts, or for the great rewards of righteousness, instinctively refrain from inflicting harm on his fellow men and will hunger and thirst to do good. And yet, if we ponder the lessons of history it will become evident that this very sense of honor and dignity is itself one of the bounties deriving from the instructions of the Prophets of God. We also observe in infants the signs of aggression and lawlessness, and that if a child is deprived of a teacher’s instructions his undesirable qualities increase from one moment to the next. It is therefore clear that the emergence of this natural sense of human dignity and honor is the result of education. Secondly, even if we grant for the sake of the argument that instinctive intelligence and an innate moral quality would prevent wrongdoing, it is obvious that individuals so characterized are as rare as the philosopher’s stone. An assumption of this sort cannot be validated by mere words, it must be supported by the facts. 
- ‘Abdu’l-Baha  (‘The Secret of Divine Civilization’)

Some insights:
  •  Individuals with “instinctive intelligence and an innate moral quality” are as “rare as the philosopher’s stone”;
  • In infants, we see “the signs of aggression and lawlessness”;
  • If a child is “deprived of a teacher’s instructions his undesirable qualities increase from one moment to the next”;
  • History shows that “the very sense of honor and dignity is itself one of the bounties deriving from the instructions of the Prophets of God”;
  • Human beings need divine Educators for our ongoing “spiritual and material perfection” – a never ending process.

October 20, 2016

The “object of all devotion" and “the object of all worship”

Say: Take heed lest your devotions withhold you from Him Who is the object of all devotion, or your worship debar you from Him Who is the object of all worship. Rend asunder the veils of your idle fancies! This is your Lord, the Almighty, the All-Knowing, Who hath come to quicken the world and unite all who dwell on earth. Turn unto the Dayspring of Revelation, O people, and tarry not, be it for less than the twinkling of an eye. Read ye the Evangel and yet refuse to acknowledge the All-Glorious Lord? This indeed beseemeth you not, O concourse of learned men! 
- Baha'u'llah  (Suriy-i-Haykal [Tablet of Temple]; ‘The Summons of the Lord of Hosts’)

Some insights:
  • We are being reminded that the Entity of the Manifestation of God in each period of humanity's history, for this age, Baha’u’llah, is “the object of all devotion" and “the object of all worship” for all human beings.
  • To arrive at this recognition one needs to “rend asunder the veils of …idle fancies" --> what are they?
  • The Manifestation of God is “the Dayspring of Revelation” of God, our “Lord, the Almighty, the All-Knowing”.
  • The Manifestation of God comes to our human world “to quicken the world and unite all who dwell on earth.”

October 17, 2016

Moral persecution in the West…

It was not mere physical torture that the friends in Persia had to endure but also moral persecution for they were cursed and vilified by all the people, especially when they ceased to defend themselves ... the Master used to say sometimes that the western friends will be severely persecuted but theirs will be primarily moral....
- Shoghi Effendi  (From a letter dated 22 October 1930 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer; ‘Unfolding Destiny)

Some insights:
  • Sometimes we forget that the early believers in Iran also endured “moral persecution” in addition to “physical torture”;
  • What could be some examples of “moral persecution” that Western believers would experience?

October 14, 2016

Spiritual condition to attain & Assignment from the Master

Continually my ear and eye are turned toward the Central States [of America]; perchance a melody from some blessed souls may reach my ears—souls who are the dawning-places of the love of God, the stars of the horizon of sanctification and holiness—souls who will illumine this dark universe and quicken to life this dead world. The joy of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá depends upon this! I hope that you may become confirmed therein.
 ‘Abdu’l-Baha  (‘Tablets of the Divine Plan’)

Some insights:

Spiritual condition we are being called upon to attain:
  • “the dawning-places of the love of God”,
  • “the stars of the horizon of sanctification and holiness”
Our task:
  • To “illumine this dark universe”
  • To  “quicken to life this dead world”

October 11, 2016

“people of capacity” we should search for

Basically, "people of capacity" are those individuals, no matter in what walk of life they are found, and no matter what their level of education, who demonstrate capacity in various ways. For example, among any group of people there are those who are outstanding because they show a capacity for understanding, for work, for efficient action, for leadership, for drawing other people together, for self-sacrificing and devoted service -- for any number of qualities which enable them to respond actively to the needs of their environment and make a difference to it. In some cases this capacity has already been demonstrated; in others it is still latent but can be developed. It is for such people that we should search, since they can quickly become either devoted and active Bahá'ís or valued collaborators in the work of promoting Bahá'í ideals.
- The Universal House of Justice  (From a message dated 6 November 1994, written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to a National Spiritual Assembly; compilation ‘Agriculture and Rural Life’, prepared by the Research Department of the Universal House of Justice)

Some insights:

 Those who already demonstrate such capacities and those who have them “latent but can be developed”:
  • “a capacity for understanding,
  • for work,
  • for efficient action,
  • for leadership,
  • for drawing other people together,
  • for self-sacrificing and
  • devoted service”