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Michael The Baha'i Faith considers homosexuality an "abomination" which can

be
"cured" or at the very least sublimated by "prayerful effort" on the
part of
gays.
Since Science has proven that sexuality is inherent...how will Baha'i conform to truth?
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Michael )t does not permit scholarly wor*s to be published by members which
may
be critical of its institutions or accepted ways of thin*ing in the
area of
theology.
+,-. approved writing may be published.
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Michael The Baha'i Faith proudly states that it has no priesthood# yet
/uxiliary
Board 0embers# 1ounselors of 1ontinental Boards# individual
travel2teaching
"stars" and other influential individuals have# to a large extent#
either
been given or have ta*en on priest2li*e duties.
/ctually# the Baha'i Faith envisaged by the founders 3/ a living
)mam...4ali'amru'llah...the 5uardian.
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Michael )t can and will remove essential the administrative rights of
Baha'is who
are unable# for one reason or other# to obey its laws in regard to# for
instance# alcohol or even see*ing permission for marriage from all
living
parents.
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Michael )t has terminated the membership of Baha'is who# based on their
personal
understanding of the Baha'i 7ritings# cannot fully support its
administration.
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Michael +riginally averring that it is free of ritual and critical towards
following merely the letter of the "holy writings" associated with the
world's religions# it has systematically built up more and more rites#
procedures and substantial financial obligations incumbent on all
Baha'is.
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Michael Though it does not follow the intensity of disfellowship practiced
by#
for example# the 7atchtower Society# those who leave the faith can and
often
do feel totally abandoned or even ostraci8ed by the community of which
they
were once conscientious members.
) am S39,,:# by command of the 9niversal 3ouse on )n;ustice.
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Peter That has always been a# <very=# sore point for me. / religious organi8ation
proclaiming itself without a priesthood# yet the 93># ,S/ and various departments below
hold an authority li*e a "?riesthood". if you re;ect any -aw within the Faith# <openly=#
they threaten you with losing your voting rights# <not that it has any authoritive power
outside the Faith=. The worst# you are banned from the Faith as a "1ovenant Brea*er". /t
the current time and the state of its development ) say# B)5 :/-. @emove my voting
rights and e;ect me# ) am not losing anything. 7hat worries me# is what would happen if
the Baha'i Faith was to gain an authoritive position in society. +ne of the reasons why )
bro*e Baha'i -aw was to wea*en my own community# and so resigning. /s ) see it# <as a
former member=# ) also observe it as a possible dangerous organi8ation#<if it was to gain
power=. / few years ago ) had the opportunity to see what was planned for the ",ew
7orld +rder" with the potential Baha'i -aw. )t was )slam in another guise. )t was then )
began to Auestion the Faith. /t the current time it remains a "Fringe" organi8ation# <and )
hope it stays that way=. 7hat ) have seen# ) would not want to be any part of.
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Pooya ?eter#
7hat are you referring to as "the potential Baha'i -aw"?
7hat ma*es you thin* that it is ")slam in another guise" as opposed to# lets say#
1atholicism?
) am curious# in our current world condition# do you thin* that the Baha'i Faith is a
greater or lesser 'threat' than 1hristianity or )slam?
)n the last $% years the Baha'i Faith has hardly gained members# compared to what is
often advertised by the /dministration. )t has remained# despite 'entry by troops' and the
many 'plans'# largely# stagnant. 7hat does this say to you about "Baha'i? / faith for the
future?" ?
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Peter 7hat ) have seen from "7hy ) left the Faith"# <other discussion=# there is no
authority left to rule the Baha'i Faith. Than* 5od. 7ithin the last twenty2four hours )
have loo*ed at other ":x2Baha'i" websites and it appears as if everyone is reaching the
same conclusion. The Baha'i Faith is nothing more than a S3/0. )ts all words# <without
power or authority=# and only trying to impress itself. The ma;ority of people accept# <too
easily=# in blind faith# something which appears to be "SAuea*y 1lean"# but there is an
underlying corruption which has not surfaced yet.
Before ) resigned from the Faith# ) began to see many parallels between it# and the
">ehovah 7itnesses". )n all their publications there was endless photographs of "3appy
Smiling Faces" with unending propaganda about the "/dvancement of the Faith".
0eanwhile# somebody was forgetting to tell the truth. The number of inactive members
or those who had resigned and been expelled from the Faith. )t is ama8ing how the
number of members has more or less remained the same# although according to the 93>
and ,S/ there was "@apid 5rowth". )n effect# all "@eligion" is corrupt.
The only true religion is the experience of the ")nner @eality"# or self2understanding. The
")nner Dnowledge of Truth" that comes from within. ,o religion# <Baha'i Faith or
otherwise=# can be above self2*nowledge. )n effect# everyone has their own understanding
of "Spiritual Truth"# which is beyond religion. The moment the individual becomes a part
of organi8ed religion# he has already given up his search for ")nner Dnowledge". That is
the true Spiritual ?ath. ) am also not referring to the "Buddhic ?ath". That too has also
become "@eligioni8ed".
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Pooya Than* you for your thoughts ?eter. 3owever# ) am not sure if that answered any of
my Auestions. )f ) understand you correctly# do you mean to say that "the potential Baha'i
law" has something to do with the notion that "there is no authority left to rule the Baha'i
Faith"? 1ould you expand on this a little? /lso# what do you mean when you write# ")ts
all words# <without power or authority=."?
7ould you say# for example# that the 1atholic 1hurch is eAually trying to "impress
itself"?
o you consider all organi8ed religion to be a "S3/0"?
)f so# then why do you feel# presumably# more passionate towards raising awareness
about the "underlying corruption" of the Baha'i Faith# as opposed to# lets say the 1atholic
1hurch? This is very much an open Auestion that ) extend to anyone in this group who
would find themselves in an applicable position to answer. ) would still# of course# be
very interested to hear what you thin* about my Auestions in my original post to you.
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Beth 3ello ?ooya# in answer to one of your Auestions# i dont thin* as an organi8ed
religion that the bahai faith is any more wrong headed than other organi8ed religions 2
catholicism# islam# etc... i do have a problem with the effectiveness and hypocrisy of the
Bahai "spin machine". i thin* they represent themselves falsely <agreement of science and
religion# no schisms# oneness of humanity unless you are gay= and that drives me cra8y.
its one thing to have closed2minded beliefs but to be honest about them. it is Auite another
to represent yourself as tolerant but to then silence and shun people who dont agree with
you.
i personally sometimes feel more passionate about the hypocrisy of the bahai community
bEc of its deceptive nature# but also bEc it is the religion i was raised in and so i therefore
feel personal pain. that is a personal bias based on my own experience# which i freely
ac*nowledge.
no other answers to the other Auestions at the moment.
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Dan ) wouldn't assert that the Baha'i Faith is a significant threat# simply because there
aren't many Baha'isGhence the more pertinent Auestion for this forum' how does the
Baha'i Faith stac* up against other religions as a threat to its own adherents? 5enerally# )
don't thin* ) would rather be raised 0ormon# :vangelical# 1atholic# or 0uslim. /s Beth
points out# the Baha'i spin machine is particularly annoying <maybe not categorically
different from what the 0ormons have=# but Auite fran*ly they are all in the business of
closing minds and oppressing youth# and each exhibit a significant variance in practice.
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Pooya Than* you for your thoughts Beth and an. Beth# ) thin* what you are identifying
as especially problematic in the Baha'i Faith is the fact that it is often rather duplicitous. )t
says 'harmony of science and religion' yet its views of evolution and homosexuality are
worrisome. )t says 'independent investigation of truth' yet when your conclusions ta*e
you away from the faith you are told to have 'faith' that your induction was incorrect and
that the Baha'i Faith is correct. )t propagates techniAues involving intellectual dishonesty
and belief bias as its real method of investigation. Therefore not 'independent.' Truth is#
by definition# the Baha'i Faith. 3ence# it is not a genuine 'investigation.' Therefore# the
biggest problem with the Faith is# ) thin*# that it is tautological and duplicitous.
3owever# this is the very least we can say of the other /brahamic religions# and is usually
Auite an innate part of any religion. )t is almost redundant to state it. These ideas
concerning religon were much more novel in the "( and "&th century. Today# in the
academic community# they are considered far more banal# although we can still expand
on them.
) thin* most people that feel the need to vilify or be especially critical of the BahaHi Faith
do so out of spite# or are bitter as a result of their own experiences. +n the contrary# )
thin* that the Baha'i Faith is far more progressive than most of the other religions ) have
ever come into contact with. Therefore# it is not nearly as dangerous or threatening as#
lets say# 1atholicism or )slam# which# are far more intolerant and destructive in our
society. Furthermore# the Baha'i Faith is practically powerless as a religion. )t has no
political leverage# its numbers are negligibly low# its funds are depleting# and its influence
is generally innocuous. )ts teaching methods don't involve discussing homosexuality#
evolution# or any other even slightly damaging doctrines# even when you have become
established as a BahaHi. There really are many 'hidden words' in the Baha'i Faith that are
*ept esoteric because of their crude nature. /s a result# many Baha'i's don't *now
anything about the Baha'i stance on these issues and are rather in agreement with post2
modern science on issues li*e homosexuality# evolution# etc. +r# if they are aware# for the
most part# they are acAuiescent in regards to these issues.
)f we put aside bitter personal sentiments and motivation# ) thin* we will find that ta*ing
an active stance against any of the other ma;or world religions can be far more
constructive. :ven 'religions' li*e Scientology# which have only approximately C%%#%%%
adherents<as opposed to the F2( million Baha'i's= is many orders of magnitude more
dangerous and destructive in our current world condition. /ny thoughts?
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Dan 3i ?ooya.
) agree with you to a great degree. )f :x2Baha'is could somehow dedicate themselves to
)slamic reform# for instance# they might actually have some noticeable influence on the
world.
That said# ) thin* your generali8ation about critics of the Baha'i Faith is simplistic and
unfair. /lso# ) don't thin* that the Baha'i Faith is really progressive at all. /ll the so2called
progress is s*in2deep. Fran*ly# ) have more hope for change in )slam because )slam is not
so loc*ed into a single power structure.
Those who have been personally affected by the Baha'i Faith are both entitled and
Aualified to spea* out on the Baha'i Faith as a case in point. )# for example# *now what it's
li*e to be a Baha'i. .ou might say that ) am still a Baha'i by virtue of my upbringing.
There may be no more sincere and effective way for me to critici8e )slam than critici8e
the )slamic sect that ) was raised within. 0y Baha'i identity is my credential in )slam# and
much of what ) say about the Baha'i Faith pertains to )slam.
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Pooya Than* you for your thoughts an. ) don't mean to sound unfair or over simplify
the criticisms. ) ac*nowledge that there are many legitimate criticisms of the Faith. ) don't
argue that there aren't. ) also never said that those personally affected by the Baha'i Faith
are not entitled or Aualified to spea* out on the Faith.
) simply thin* that the problems of the faith are irrelevant in a world vitiated with the
power# influence# and dangers of )slam and 1atholicism. Those problems seem to
overshadow the problems of the Baha'i Faith. The world has greater evils. +f course# this
doesn't in any way legitimi8e the Faith. )t only means that the Baha'i faith is not an
obstruction to gay marriage in the way that 1atholicism is actively preventing gay
marriage in public policy. )f we are concerned with religion obstructing gay marriage#
denying evolution# and preaching hate# then to attac* the Baha'i Faith as a way to clear
the obstruction is simply frivolous and futile. To be fitting# we would be wise to direct
criticism and change at 1atholicism and )slam.
/s far as change is concerned# ) am sure that )slam can change. 3owever# my comments
were not directed to change the Baha'i Faith. But# rather they were to focus our attention
to far more destructive influences in our society at large. 3ow can we say that we are for
gay marriage and as a result attac* the Bahai Faith when 1atholicism is a far greater
threat to gay marriage? )t ;ust seems inappropriate and misplaced.
Finally# ) don't thin* you need the Bahai Faith as your gateway to critici8ing )slam. 7e
can sincerely critici8e )slam or any other religion without ever having been a member.
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Amanda ?ooya# ) thin* there are several problems with what you are arguing. The first is
an assumption that the organi8ationalEpolitical structures that differentiate the respective
homophobias of )slam# 1atholocism# and the Baha'i Faith ma*e the Baha'i Faith
unworthy of moral attention and activism. The second is an assumption that the people
here /@:,'T engaging other <more politically and financially powerful= religious
communities on the issue of gay marriage. :very individual ex2Baha'i ) *now who has
participated in the online debate on this issue is actually out in the field wor*ing for
social ;ustice# and that means dealing with and countering the organi8ed homophobia of
the organi8ations you mentioned. <Though you left out the 0ormons.= So# )'m not sure
what your point is. .ou want us to stop dialoguing with Baha'is on Baha'i homophobia
and ;ust direct our wor* externally? That seems li*e a bi8arre approach.
The beliefs that fuel the groups you mention are the same on this point. 7e have to
address the root cause of the beliefs for there to be long term change. That happens# in
part# in dialogue. Shutting that down would be a mista*e. 7e have to do triage and long
term wor* at the same time.
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Pooya 3ello /manda#
Than* you very much for your input. ) thin* you ma*e important points. The first
assumption you identify is almost correct. ) do# to a certain extent# thin* that the
respective impact and significance of the Baha'i Faith in the greater social community# as
well as political community# ma*e it less worthy of moral attention and activism. +f
course# any evil# big or small# deserves moral attention and activism. 3owever# ) thin*
these evils lie on a gradient. Therefore# the greater of evils# it seems# would reAuire
greater moral attention and activism.
)n regards to what you identify as my second assumption' +f course# ) would have no
way in *nowing how much attention people give to many moral issues# or how much they
engage "other <more politically and financially powerful= religious communities on the
issue of gay marriage." That is# therefore# an assumption ) do not wish to ma*e# and if it
seemed that way# then ) am glad to correct the miscommunication or misunderstanding.
3ence# ) am not arguing for anyone "to stop dialoguing with Baha'is on Baha'i
homophobia and ;ust direct our wor* externally." /ll ) am pointing out is that there are# in
fact# greater evils in the world. )t seems strange that the Baha'i Faith should warrant such
<if it does= moral attention and activism# when there are so many more priorities. )f ex2
Baha'is are giving an overwhelming amount of their attention to critici8ing the Baha'i
Faith# as opposed to other more dangerous and influential religions and organi8ations#
then ) cannot find moral ;ustification for it. )t is creating a storm in a teacup. The Baha'i
Faith hardly has any power or influence. )f it is true that ex2Baha'i's who actively critici8e
the Faith give greater moral attention to the actual religious cause of homophobia# etc.
then there is no disagreement. ) agree that we must engage in dialogue. ) also agree that
we must triage# and in doing so the Baha'i Faith would not be even close to our first
consideration# or at least ) thin* so. That is my entire argument.
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Amanda But if the Baha'i Faith's homophobia# or heterosexism for that matter# or
discouragement of personal conscience# happens to be the current agent of harm to
oneself or one's loved ones <or to theoretical human fellows one can empathi8eEimagine=
then the moral thing to do is to deal with that in;ustice immediately.
.ou seem to be saying that "= the problems of the Baha'i Faith are not S+ ma;or...and $=
other unnamed problems deserve more immediate attention.
)s that correct? )f so# ) thin* you vastly underestimate the harm caused by the Baha'i Faith
to many# many people and ) would appreciate a list of causes you deem more worthy and
why.
?eople have a responsibility to their own bac* yards. )f this is your community# by hoo*
or by croo*# ma*ing it more ;ust is your responsibility. ,o cop outs. That's what the
ma;ority of these critiAues are about.
)t's also important to not construct imaginary lines between causes. Serving eAuality or
education or free thin*ing in any group frees the whole human race ;ust a little more. 7e
don't get to wor* at the macro level in our day to day intimate lives. 7e get the micro
level. )t's our duty to be true to that. ) thin* that's what you're seeing here. /ll effective
wor* is embedded in individual# minute circumstances. That's how it wor*s.
>ust curious2 are you currently a Baha'i?
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Pooya Than* you for the response /manda. ) appreciate the points you made. ) thin* you
are correct to say that we need to deal with the in;ustice in our own bac*yards
immediately.
.ou are correct in identifying my basic argument. ?erhaps it is true that ) "vastly
underestimate the harm caused by the Baha'i Faith to many# many people." 7hat harm in
particular do you thin* ) "vastly underestimate"?
) *now that the faith causes harm but ) don't find any of those harms to be a uniAuely
significant Auality of the Faith. /ll the problems# ) thin*# that can be attributed to the faith
are being committed on a much larger# effective# influential# harmful# and transparent
scale in other organi8ations <religious or not=.
/ list of causes ) deem more worthy? 7ell lets ;ust start with a few. The harm done by the
@oman 1atholic 1hurch. 7hy? Because they are actively preventing legislation of gay
marriage# pushing pseudoscience in schools# and <religiously= inform our highest
politicians. The metaphysics of martyrdom within radical )slam <and other sects= that
encourage suicide bombing <which are responsible for deaths in the 9.S. and abroad=.
The 1hurch of Scientology for a list of murders and caused suicides. The conflict in
Sudan# as it has led to millions of deaths and more without homes or food.
These are ;ust some. ) didn't want to get into too much detail. -et me as* you# if you don't
mind# what do you thin* is worse 7estboro Baptist 1hurch or the Baha'i Faith? 7hich
causes more harm? 7here should our priorities be?
0aybe we can't do much about the suicide bombings happening in )raA# but if we are
going to spea* out against indoctrination and religiously propagated tenacity# then why
not ;ust tal* about indoctrination and religiously propagated tenacity? These are the real
problems no matter what suit it wears. .ou are certainly ;ustified if that's what you want
to do# but can we agree# at least# that the Baha'i Faith is not as much of a problem in our
world than )slamic suicide bombing? 7hy or why not? )f so# then why not# at least# spea*
out against those problems? 7hy focus so much energy <if we do= on the Baha'i Faith? )s
the basis because it is in our bac*yard? )s that the ;ustification? <this is not a rhetorical
Auestion=.
) would li*e to point out that my position has never been about ta*ing action per se#
because ) have no idea what *ind of action# if any# ex2Baha'i's are really ta*ing. 0y
position is regarding the amount of time and attention that goes into discussing the
problems of the Baha'i Faith as opposed to the problems of the 1hurch# for example.
) would also li*e to point out that ) am not completely against anyone spea*ing out
against the Baha'i Faith. That has never been my position either. )f we serve free thin*ing
by spea*ing out against the Faith# then that is a ;ust cause. 3owever# my only concern
was that it seems <and ) may be wrong= that many people 8ealously critici8e the Faith on
certain issues that would be more constructive to be used in critici8ing the 1atholic
1hurch# for example. )f it is not more constructive to focus our energy elsewhere# then
there is no disagreement.
7hat do you thin* /manda? /m ) unwarranted in as*ing to focus on the less innocuous?
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Pooya /nd# to answer your Auestion' ,o ) am not a Baha'i.
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Dan ?ooya# ) agree that there are greater evils in the world than the Baha'i Faith. ) made
that clear already. ) would li*ewise expect you to agree that where one Baha'i's personal
experience and expertise can be applied specifically to a particular evil# such as the
indoctrination of Baha'i children into contempt of science or vilification of their own
sexual identity# that efforts dedicated to the liberation of said children are not necessarily
wasted. /s a person who was raised under the pre;udices of the Baha'i Faith# do ) not
have a duty to my fellow Baha'i youth? +r am ) a victim of some social pathology as
identified by our friend 0oo;an 0omen?
/s for other more influential religions# every Baha'i is in a uniAue situation. 7ithout my
heartfelt opposition to the Baha'i Faith# my related criticisms of )slam as we *now it
might too easily seen as the pre;udicial rants of an ignorant /merican white boy.
BT7# ) did create a alternative 0uslim group on FB awhile bac*# but it hasn't en;oyed
the same popularity'
http'EEwww.faceboo*.comEhome.php?refIlogoJEgroup.php?gidI6!CF$!&$!6
3ere's a lin* to my blog posts on )slam'
http'EE*aweah.comEblogEtagEislamE
There's a lot on Koroastrianism there# and less on 1hristianity.
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Pooya 3ello an#
) certainly agree with the first paragraph of what you wrote. ) don't thin* we disagree on
that point. ) don't *now if you have a 'duty' to your 'fellow Baha'i youth.' 'uty' is a word
Dant li*ed to throw around a lot and ) will have to thin* about that some more. ) am not
familiar with the writings of 0oo;an 0omen on 'social pathology.' But let us say
<generically=# that as a person who was in the 1ave and now out# then there is nothing
wrong with you trying to go bac* in to help your friends who are still in the 1ave.
0y point is not about 'action' per se but rather about all the tal*ing that ex2Baha'i's seem
to do against the Faith. ) don't have any problem with it and ) thin* it helps many to
identify the problems with the Faith but ) also thin* that if we are against homophobia
then attac*ing the Baha'i Faith about it is a bit of a cop2out# since the source and
problems of homophobia in the world today do not stem from the Baha'i Faith. The
1atholic 1hurch# primarily# ) thin*# ) to be held responsible for preventing legislation of
gay marriage and propagating homophobia. 1an we say the Baha'i Faith is also a player?
/bsolutely. But# in large# the Baha'i Faith is hardly playing any role in our society <and
political society= at large. )t is such a defenseless# powerless# and non2influential religion#
that to attac* it is wea* and a cop2out. 0ost people don't *now anything about it <or even
heard of it=# other than Baha'i's are being persecuted in )ran# even if that.
Besides ) thin* we have more hope for change from the 1hurch. 7e can at least have a
greater chance of ma*ing people stop listening to the 1hurch so that society will stop
being influenced by them. )f tomorrow the Baha'i Faith# somehow# frees itself from its
homophobic doctrines# then homophobia and the legislation against gay marriage will
hardly be affected. But imagine if the 1atholic 1hurch were to do the same.
)n response to the last part of your post' ) do not thin* you need the Baha'i Faith as an
excuse to critici8e )slam. .ou are correct to say that you may be seen as pre;udicial but# if
you *now the issues and are educated enough to spea* on )slam# then you won't be seen
as pre;udicial. .ou will be seen as intelligent. Besides# 0uslims# for the most part# will
not accept your alleged Aualification as an ex2Baha'i. ,either will anyone else# since that
is merely an appeal to the method of authority. )f your 'rant' has any merit or substance on
its own then you will be fine.
/lso# ) do not thin* that the Baha'i Faith is anymore a sect of )slam than 1hristianity is a
sect of >udaism. Baha'i Faith# ) thin*# is an offshoot of )slam. )slam is an offshoot of
1hristianity. 1hristianity is an offshoot of >udaism. But that ma*es sense since there is a
continuity. ) am not sure on what grounds we can classify the Baha'i Faith as a 'sect' of
)slam. To my *nowledge# that is not what the history boo*s will show.
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Wahid ")slam is an offshoot of 1hristianity."
That's a new one. 1are to elaborate?
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Pooya )n many ways )slam is an offshoot of 1hristianity. .ou can feel free to disagree
and ) have nothing invested in the claim. )slam builds itself as the third of the /brahamic
religions who believe in the monotheism originated by the >ews.
0any of the suras were built off of church ritual. Solomon# 0oses# /braham# and >esus
are all revered in )slam. )slam builds itself as the last in such a succession. )t admits
continuity. 0uhammad even claims to be the 'seal of the prophets' in line after >esus
1hrist. )n addition# history shows that many modern day 0uslims have their roots in
1hristianity. There ancestors were forced or coerced into )slam from By8antine and
:astern 1hurches# among others. This is all ) mean by the word 'offshoot' 2 continuity. )
don't mean to say that they are not different. There is a difference between words li*e
'sect' and 'offshoot.' )f you want you could say that )slam is an offshoot of B+T3
1hristianity and )slam since in its early history it was considered >udo21hristian heresy.
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Dan ?ooya and 7ahid#
) would much sooner call )slam a >udaic offshoot# no offense intended. The fact that
many early 0uslims were once 1hristians or Koroastrians is a matter of geographical
context# and has little to do with the nature of the religion. ) find the Baha'i Faith much
more )slamic in its nature than one could ever say that )slam is 1hristian.
But ) will concede that ")slamic offshoot" is a good categori8ation for the Baha'i Faith.
The fact that Baha'is do not claim to be 0uslims has little to do# nonetheless# with how
)slamic their religion is.
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Dan ?ooya#
.ou ma*e a fine devil's advocate. 5ood wor*. 3ere's a group that you might en;oy. 7e
are few but we are undecided'
http'EEwww.faceboo*.comEgroup.php?gidI$$F"F6$!C"
7ith regard to your suggestion that LBs oppose homophobia rather than Baha'i
homophobia# ) thin* you're tugging on the tail of the proverbial elephant and protesting
that it has no legsM +f course LBs involve themselves in causes that have little or nothing
to do with the Baha'i Faith. ) was actively involved in opposing ?rop & here in 1alifornia#
and ) did that for constitutional reasons. )f ) opposed any religion# it was the 0ormon
religion.
/lso# with regard to arguments from authority# ) said that my status as an ")slamic
+ffshootist" is my credential. ?erhaps that confused you. ) meant to say that it part of my
reason for engaging in the debateN it's only a tic*et. .ou might say )'m a neighbor of the
Sunni and Shi'a. There is a B)5 difference between a reason to engage in debate and the
content of the debate itself.
/nd )'m happy to hear that so many 0uslims are rational# and not nearly so idolatrous as
their general reputation. )'m loo*ing forward to meeting more dedicated 0uslims that are
able to say ") disagree with the Our'an about that."
/s far as Dant is concerned# you flatter me. ?erhaps ) should Auote ?ete Townshend to
humble myself' ")'ve got values but ) don't *now how or why."
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Mavaddat >ust a Auic* input on the conversation' ) actually thin* it can be potentially
more helpful to the deconstruction of 1atholicism to target our criticism at a religion of
little influence and renown such as the BahP'Q Faith.
7hy?
Because it is always easy for people RwithinR the popular paradigm <e.g.# 1atholicism= to
see what is wrong without people RoutsideR their paradigm# which means they may be
more receptive to the same arguments against their religion when they reali8e these are
problems in other religions as well.
To be concrete# ta*e the excuse in response to the doctrine of homophobia that we must
have confidence that "5od *nows best". To a 1atholic hearing a BahP'Q say this# there will
be a certain uneasiness. )t will sound anathema to the 1atholic# since the BahP'Q
conception of "what 5od *nows" is seriously different than what the 1atholic believes
about what 5od *nows. So the 1atholic may more easily recogni8e that the BahP'Q is
ma*ing a circular argument <i.e.# by adopting his religion because he perceives it to be
good# thereby concluding it is infallible and adopting all its imperatives despite not
understanding them# thereby ignoring whatever seems to be not good# thereby perceiving
his religion as only good=.
0oreover# secular people actually find the BahP'Q Faith an interesting case study. )t is a
largely progressive# forward2loo*ing# inclusive religion that continues to endorse Bron8e
age views of human sexuality. That is an intriguing specimen to beholdM )t spea*s to the
depth of cognitive dissonance of which human beings are capable# and in such a recent
era. )n short# critici8ing the BahP'Q Faith is to call attention to a facet of the human story
that is very near to us 22 far nearer in its genesis than 1atholicism or )slam.
,a8is shoc*ed us# that much is true. But more relevant to our own behaviour is not
condemning the ,a8is# but the recognition that we still engender the deference to
authority that they employed to carry out their heinous deeds. 1ritici8ing 1atholicism and
)slam amounts to a clichS for many people. To reali8e that homophobia could ta*e such a
stronghold in an otherwise liberal religion as the BahP'Q is an exception that is li*ely to
raise people's eyebrows and get them thin*ing. /t least# it has with me.
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Mavaddat Sorry# ) got ahead of myself before ) finished my first point. The end of the
"To be concrete" paragraph should have read# "and the 1atholic might then recogni8e that
they have trapped themselves in a similar circle of reasoning. 3owever# so long as they
are the only visible target of this criticism# then they can continue to cop the 'we must
have faith' line."
Secondly# although ) am not ashamed ) am still recovering from losing the support of my
social networ* and community of birth# ) *now the reason ) critici8e the BahP'Q Faith is
not because ) am "bitter". @ather# ) want to communicate to my remaining friends the
reasons for my change of heart in a manner that is persuasive or at least understandable to
them. )t is# in essence# an exercise in see*ing empathy.
-astly# ) agree with ?ooya that we should give the BahP'Q Faith some credit for its
progressive views. )'m not sure that they're RallR s*in deep <personal investigation of the
truth# perhaps=. ) genuinely believe that '/bdu'l2BahP thought he was endorsing some
pretty radical opinions for his time. For example# he repeatedly identifies the plight of the
disenfranchised as due entirely to lac* of education in an age of Social arwinism on the
right and :ugenics on the left. The BahP'Q Faith endorses a vague *ind of positive
eugenics# but this seems to be disconnected from its own conclusions. .ou could say that
'/bdu'l2BahP's radical "environmentalism" <although perhaps not entirely correct= was
fairly ahead of its time. +r# if not that# at least the BahP'Q Faith tried to recapitulate
progressive secular principles of its age.
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Wahid ?ooya#
.our argument is a species of Baha'i ahistoricalities# as well as aphenomenological
locutions# divested of any real content. )slam is no more an offshoot of 1hristianity than
trinitarian ?aulianity is an offshoot of >udaism. .ou have ta*en a historical seAuence and
claimed an arbitrary temporal succession that is in no way supposed in the way Bahais
phrase it either by the Our'an# 0uslims or 1hristians. an is more correct when he says
that )slam is closer to >udaism than 1hristianity. ,ow the Our'an does not necessarily
deny temporal succession eo ipse. 7hat it denies is the implications of what you suggest.
0uhammad <pbuh= claimed to be re2establishing the in al23aneef <primordial religion=
of /braham# which >esusE)sa happens to be a lin* in a long chain that began with /dam
and extended to /braham and which ended with 0uhammad <pbuh=. The >esus of the
Our'an and )slam in general is not remotely the incarnated trinitarian divinity of the ,ew
Testament. 3e is a completely >udai8ed and >udaically legitimated prophet2messenger in
a revalori8ed /rab pan2Semitic pro forma context. /s such 'offshoot' is completely
bac*wards when you tal* of )slam vis2a2vis 1hristianity. :ven 1rone and 1oo*e# who
wrote a now discredited but Auite controversial boo* in the "6(%s called 3/5/@)S0#
didn't call )slam a 1hristian offshoot. Best you start reading the Boo* itself rather than
relying on the Ditab2i2)Aan exclusively for your prophetology.
Wahid "... at least the BahP'Q Faith tried to recapitulate progressive secular principles
of its age."
Bun*umM
-et's loo* at the facts. espite the progressive credentials Bahais li*e to bandy about
regarding their central figures# the fact of the matter is words are cheap and the historical
evidence proves the opposite# i.e. that Bahai progressivism is a species of political
reactionism. 7hen the 1onstitutional @evolution bro*e out in "6%C /bbas :ffendi flip2
flopped on supporting the movement and finally ended up not only not supporting the
1onstitutionalists but writing a political treatise <risalih2ye siasiye= outright supporting a
form of ?russian style militaristic monarchy aganst constituional parliamentary
democracy. Sans the 0uslim and republican contingency of the 1onstitutionalist
movement# the remainder of the leaders of the movement were all Bayanis <i.e. /8alis=.
Bahais were nowhere to be found in the movement and >uan 1ole has never Auite proven
convincingly that the Oa;ar Shay*h2u2@a'is was actually a Bahai. )n fact all recent
evidence proves the diametrically opposite. /nd# of course# the actual fathers of the
1onstitutional @evolution were in fact the sons2in2law of Subh2i2/8al# vi8. Shay*h
/hmad @uhi <d. "&6F= and 0ir8a /Aa Dhan Dirmani <d. "&6F=.
7hen @e8a Shah too* the throne in the "6$%s and began his strong2man dictatorship#
Bahais ;umped on his bandwagon# and as a result obtained favorable treatment from
)ran's wannabe2/tatur*2with2a2crown. The relationship they had with his son was even
closer# and the Bahai community in )ran really began economically thriving after the 1)/
funded "6C! coup d'etat against 0ossadeA. This is the period when people li*e 3abib
Sabet <who actually ban*rolled the Shah's brief stay in @ome in /ugust "6C!= obtained
the ?epsi 1ola and @adioETelevision franchisesN when 3o8habr .a8dani's Sangsari 'Bahai'
cosa nostra really got off the groundN and when the careers of courtiers such as r Darim
/yadi really got roling. )n short this is the period of royalist reaction# 1)/ funded
authoritarianism and S/4/D# i.e. the period that laid the germs for the theocratic ultra2
reactionism of the Dhomeinists# which the Bahais were nec* deep in on virtually every
level.
) can go on and on# and if you are inclined you can go google my posts on 9S:,:T on
the historical indictment ) have given of Bahai political reactionism.
Tal* and fluffy sounding platitudes are cheap and dime a do8en. 7hen it has come down
to it Baha'is 2 and esp. their leaders in every generation 2 have never been on the side of
the downtrodden masses but on the side of tyrants# oppressors and reactionary dictatorsN
or# worse# have tried to play both sides# as they did in 1hile under the ?inochet
dictatorshipN or as 3usayn '/li ,uri Baha' himself did in his shameless attempt of a
rapproachment with that bastard ,asiruddin Shah.
/ to*enist symbol of women not donning hi;ab and the sexes mixing is no significant
sign of progressivism. Social activism is# and Bahais have never ever done this
consistently.
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Mavaddat Than*s# 7ahid. ) appreciate the historical perspective. )'m not exactly sure
how you understood my point# but ) certainly wouldn't argue that the BahP'Q Faith
engenders RonlyR the progressive secular principles of its inception. That is to say# ) agree
with you that the BahP'Q Faith is RpartiallyR composed of reactionary principles.
) see little evidence for the conclusions you have presented <of course# since you haven't
actually given any evidence=# but ) grant you may be right about all of it. )t is besides the
point# however# since ) do not deny that the BahP'Q Faith has some reactionary elements.
0y argument is that the BahP'Q Faith did try to engender RsomeR progressive principles
and not in a merely superficial manner. Superficiality is a difficult thing to discern# since
it depends partially on detecting deception and posturingN but# ) believe the extent to
which '/bdu'l2BahP dedicates to spea*ing of education as a means to alleviating poverty
and disempowerment suggests he was sincere <even if mista*en=.
)ncidentally# ) should note that ) am not at all impressed by the recitation of long2winded
conclusions about which you may be very confident. ) am not interested in any asserted
conclusion unless /= the person presenting it has an accredited ?h. in the field on which
they're expounding# or B= they can provide me the arguments for their conclusions and
primary sources where ) can chec* the facts they employ to reach those conclusions.
?recluding either of these routes# ) will simply not waste my time with unsupported
conclusions. ) do not care if a conclusion is correct if ) cannot understand RwhyR it's
correct.
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Wahid .ou seem to harbor an elitist bias <typical amongst upper class )ranians# which is
a general symptom of social inferiority complexes rampant amongst longtime exiled
)ranians in ,orth /merica= that only someone with a piece of paper has the credibility to
spea*. /ll of the issues ) presented are evidentiary. ) can also hold my own with ?hs#
which ) have <and which is why some of these people don't want any piece of me=# not to
mention ) hold a post2graduate degree myself. ) usually do not put much stoc* with
university ?hs anymore# seeing how the 7estern university system in the social
sciences and humanities <esp. in ,orth /merica= privileges only a specific array of
methodologies as opposed to others. ?hs# ) find# more often than not are biased and
beholden to certain methodologicalEideological agendas designed to promote their
careers. )n the Bahai context people such as >uan 1ole and Susan 0anec* are classic
examples of this. But your broaching of this seems to be more of an intellectual cop2out
and red herringesAue straw man than actually addressing the points made. /nd# of course#
you don't have a ?h. yourself. But for your information# one of the elders of the Bahai
cliAue you are connected with# vi8. Sen 0c5linn and the so2called liberals# also does not
possess a ?h..# and Brendan 1roo* who apparently does has shown himself to be a
complete moran and intellectual lightweight. 3aving been able to ;ump through the hoops
of academic advisors and committees does not ma*e anyone more or less able to spea*
intelligently about a specific area or topic# since such things are not osmosis or esoteric
transmissions. /nd if ;umping through hoops is a feet to be respected# than trained circus
animals <which is what the )vory Tower has become= deserves eAual respect to the
pontificating# clueless tweed2suits.
,ow if there is anything you specifically wish to hold to an evidentiary standard which
you believe has not been met# by all means# fire away and ) will provide it. But let me
ma*e some points.
"= )f you have a problem with the fact that 3abib Sabet was awarded the ?epsi
1olaE)ranian radio television franchises by the Shah following the /ugust "6C! coup
d'etat against 0ossadeA# off the top of my head# in :nglish Sandra 0ac*ey briefly covers
this information# not to mention that this information is widely *nown public *nowledge
and has been repeatedly covered in various printed and media fora. )n his own
autobiography he broaches the fact that he ban*rolled the Shah and Soraya's brief stay in
@ome in /ugust "6C!N
$= The profile of r Darim /yadi is not only well *nown but has been repeatedly
analysed in ?ersian print# including by people such as :rvand /brahamian. 3ow
proficient is your ?ersian?
!= The profile of 3o8habr .a8dani has li*ewise been repeatedly analy8ed# discussed and
then some# even by the monarchist2leaning print in ,orth /merica who otherwise should
be friendly to the Bahais# such as#
http'EEwww.nimroo8.comEhtmlE(6!Ememory.htmJs"!&!F%
B= The fact that two members of the "6(%s ,ational Spiritual /ssembly of the Bahais of
1hile served on the ;unta cabinet of /ugusto ?inochet has been published by the Bahais
themselves in their "6(%s Bahai 7orld volumes# who also published pictures of hand of
the cause :noch +linga posing with his good friend 9gandan dictator )di /minN
C= +n the 1onstitutional @evolution and the Bayani involvement and the Bahai non2
involvement# you might wish to loo* at the scholarship of people such as 0angol Bayat
and >anet /fary.
F= +n /bbas :ffendi's Rresalah2ye siaisiyehR# here is 1ole's online translation'
http'EEwww.h2net.orgETbahaiEtransEvol$Eabsiyasi.htm
(= +n the proximity of the Bahais to @e8a Shah and the preferential treatment they
received as opposed to other communities# *indly do some research on the famous
T/@B)./T school <not to mention the career of r Darim /yadi in the ?ahlavi court
which began under @e8a Shah=# which again has been discussed repeatedly in various
print and media foraN
/nything else?
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Pooya 7ahid#
Than* you for your input. 3owever# it seems that ) have somehow offended you? ) hope )
havenHt. ) have already admitted that much of )slam is borrowed from >udaism. )t seems
that we can agree on that. The only thing ) want to add to that is that much of )slam is
also borrowed from 1hristian myths. There is a continuity in this sense. That the Doran is
borrowed and builds off of# not only# >udaism# but 1hristianity also. )n the Doran we find
similar doings and sayings that we find coming from 0oses# /braham# and >esus' suras#
verses# stories of a ,oah2li*e flood# and in;uctions against idol worship# the annunciation
of the divine to a person of extreme unlettered simplicity <0uhammad= has a profound
semblance to the value of the 4irgin 0ary and >esus the carpenter. ) agree with much of
what you wrote but doesnHt the fact that U0uhammad <pbuh= claimed to be re2
establishing the in al23aneef <primordial religion= of /braham# which >esusE)sa happens
to be a lin* in a long chain that began with /dam and extended to /braham and which
ended with 0uhammadV imply some continuity at all? .ou wrote' ,ow the Our'an does
not necessarily deny temporal succession eo ipse. 7hat it denies is the implications of
what you suggestV 7hat do you thin* ) am suggesting? Ouite honestly# ) am not
suggesting anything. /ll ) am suggesting is what ) wrote. ) already said that 0uhammad#
in the Doran# establishes himself as next in line to >esus. This is all ) mean. ) donHt thin*
you have tried very hard to interpret me charitably or accept the face2value meaning of
anything ) have previously written. )n all honesty# this was one very brief fragment of a
sentence in my post. ) thin* you are loo*ing a bit too much into it. /ll ) am saying# in one
sentence# is that it seems that the Doran builds off of# and is borrowed from both >udaism
and 1hristianity. 3owever# ) have nothing personal invested in this claim and it is a trivial
fact# as far as ) am concerned. )f this is really that important to you then there is actually a
very interesting chapter on this in 1hristopher 3itchensH new boo* W5od )s ,ot 5reat.H )t
is called WThe Doran )s Borrowed from Both >ewish and 1hristian 0yths.H Beyond this# )
really donHt seem to share your enthusiasm and ) will admit to read more about the matter.
That is all.
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Amanda 3i# ?ooya. Sorry for the delay in responding. /nd please pardon any weird
spelling in advance2 )'m on serious migraine drugs. '=
.our argument stri*es me as a false dilemma. .ou as*# "what do you thin* is worse
7estboro Baptist 1hurch or the Baha'i Faith? 7hich causes more harm? 7here should
our priorities be?" That's li*e as*ing me "which is more colorful# red or blue?" They are
B+T3 colorful# and they are B+T3 worse. ) don't see any value in blac* and white
thin*ing that artificially ran*s them li*e this. .ou are Auite right that the issues you raised
as present in the )slamic and 1atholic communities are important and reAuire attention.
So# if your point is simply that those organi8ations have more political power than the
Baha'i Faith# you're right. ?oint ta*en. But the lac* of political power the Baha'i Faith
currently holds does not remove the power differential it holds over it's members. +r the
moral obligation of it's sta*eholders <including ex2Baha'is= to wor* for ;ustice.
/nd ) am curious about the reason for the eitherEor <false dichotomy= you are proposing.
.ou as*ed about the specific harm caused by the Baha'i Faith in my view. /ll harm and
all good happen in "0inute ?articulars." <)'m paraphrasing 7illiam Bla*e= They happen
at the level of individual human interactions. But# the types of harm that are structural in
nature# li*e the problems we're tal*ing about with the larger systems of )slam and
1atholicism share a structural framewor* with the Baha'i Faith. )t's the same template#
;ust creating the same problems on a smaller scale. )n my opinion# it isn't any of the
specific religions that are the problem# they are all part of a larger structural template that
is the problem. 7e canHt tal* about violence or oppression without tal*ing about a
specific family or couple or incident or military conflict# etc# all the way down to the
consciences of the specific peopleE soldiers who choose to fight or not. /ll of these
problems are embodied in communities. This is my community. This is where ) address
the structuralEsystemic crap that plays out in my own extended relationships. These are
0. "0inute ?articulars." )t doesn't matter if you theoretically dismantle sexism# racism#
hegemony# homophobia# if you don't do it at home.
)t's the wor* of actual human beings in relationship# in community. So# here we all are#
bitching about being ex2Baha'i. )t's the blessingEcross we've been dealt# no getting around
it.
So# honestly# ) don't see a viable alternative. ) thin* it's crucial to *eep an eye on the
macro and understand the structural stuff# to not be insular# to not >9ST wor* in our
"own" communities. But we can't SD)? this wor*# and ) thin* that's the implication of
what you're implying. 7e have to sha*e our fingers at 1atholics and at ourselves# in other
words. 7e have to save arfur <somehow= and our souls <metaphorically. )'m an atheist.=
<>ust to be fair and answer your Auestion# )t isnHt my argument that the harm caused by
the BF is caused by reasons uniAue to only the BF. ) donHt thin* we could find any human
problem whose causes are uniAue to only itself.
The harm# as ) see it# is this <the short list=
"= training people to externali8e the good# the sacred# and the moral. Training people to
give up their human faculties and responsibilities of mature adulthood to a <patriarchal=
authority. Turning people into moral infants.
$= psychologically damaging every BahaHis sense of their physical and sexual being#
hetero or homosexual.
!= 1ategorically sub;ugating women out of voices of leadershipEauthorityEpowerN
construction of a still largely invisible nascent structure that divests women of proprety
rights# birth control# sub;ects them to 8ina and dowry laws# etc.
B= /n /dministrative +rder that disenfranchises women and children at every level who
are violenceEabuse survivivors. /ll *inds of violence are epidemic in every community2
Baha'i or not2 but Js are high in the Baha'i community. 0ores# laws# practices promote it
X protect perpetrators despite improvements to Ouranic position on 4 <and a statement
by 9S ,S/ that isn't followed.=
C= /nti2gay.
F= ,ot thrilled with Shoghi :ffendi telling /frican /mericans to be patient and long2
suffering with white /merican racists# or '/bdu'l2Baha telling /frican /mericans to be
greatful for slavery.
(= The double2thin* teachings on science and free thought.
&= The outcome of all of the identity politics and in2group out2group thin*ing and scape2
goating <1B's# apostates# etc= creates functional sociopaths.=
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Wahid 7hat ) was ob;ecting specifically to was the language and implication of the
clincher "offshoot of 1hristianity". 7ith 0anichaeanism <whose founder also claimed to
be the -ast ?rophet= you can get away with saying that# because it is trueN but not with
)slam. 1ertainly there are disparate 1hristian 5nostic elements in the Our'an# such as the
semi2docetist crucifixion narrative in Surah B' "C(2"C&N but it is one thing to say that
heterodox 1hristian elements and resonances abide in )slamic scripture and another to say
that )slam was an out and out offshoot of 1hristianity. The Auestion of the chain of
/brahamic prophets whose previous lin* was >esus also mitigates against off2shootery#
since in any form it contradicts the basic salvational doctrine that is the bedroc* of all
forms of 1hristianity. Basically the doctrine of the Our'an is that the entire panoply of
/brahamo2Semitic prophets <and others it doesn't name= all belonged to the single
primordial religion of )slam whose specific geographic permutation in /rabia was *nown
as the in al23aneef associated with /braham# which 0uhammad sought to re2establish
with himself as the final lin* in the chain until the ay of >udgementE@esurrection. The
off2shoot theory falls here# since we are spea*ing of continuity rather than rupture <which
is what "offshoot" specifically denotes=.
There is also another problem in that# while 0anichaenism affirms the basic scriptural
tra;ectory of the ,ew Testament# the Our'an explicitly denies both the +ld and ,ew
Testaments legitimacy in their *nown recensions and claims that in the versions available
they are corrupted transmissions and thus politically tampered scripture. Such thorny
Auestions the unnuanced prophetology of 3usayn '/li ,uri Baha' in the Ditab2i2)Aan
conveniently s*ips over. /lso the >esus narrative of the Our'an and the >esus narrative of
the ,T are completely different and even hostile to each other to some extent. )t is
possible that the >ewish21hristian :bionite and SabaeanE0andaean narratives also
influenced the ?rophet of )slam. But still these narratives are night and day different than
the narratives Bahaism claims regarding 1hristianity and attempts to read it bac* into the
)slamic. 5iven this# the offshoot thesis of )slam from 1hristianity 2 which is a species of
the Bahai 'progressive revelation' doctrine which itself is a largely saniti8ed# garbled and
misunderstood doctrine culled from the Our'an and the Bab 2 is out and out nonsense.
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Wahid "&= The outcome of all of the identity politics and in2group out2group thin*ing
and scape2goating <1B's# apostates# etc= creates functional sociopaths.="
Than* youM
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Mavaddat 7ahid#
) never said you must have a ?h. ) said that )'ll accept what is presented by an authority
themselves# what is referred to an authority# and what is supported with direct evidence.
That's three ways you can give me good arguments. 1ount them' Three.
The historical assertions you are not# contrary to what you seem to thin*# self2evident.
,othing in history is. ) am not# nor have ) claimed to be# a ?h. holding scholar. ,either
am ) a scholar of history. So that means ) may not be familiar with historical facts that are
perhaps well2*nown to you. )f all of the issues you present are evidentiary# then all ) as*
is that you please present the evidence or cite your sources. ) mean# if it's so easy to get
the evidence# why not provide it for us? That's all )'m saying.
) haven't read the rest of your post yet# but )'ll get around to it.
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Wahid The rest of my post cited sources. 3ow convenient of you to have not gotten
around to it.
BT7# given your last name# are you by any chance related to the editor2in2chief of the
)@/,)/,# i.e. this individual below#
?art "
http'EEiranpoliticsclub.netEpoliticsEshiite2seasonE;;2he8bollah"E
?art $
http'EEiranpoliticsclub.netEpoliticsEshiite2seasonE;;2he8bollah$E
7
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Dan Than*s# everyone# for this intelligent exchange of ideas and opinions.
)n my opinion# Baha'u'llah was probably sincere in his advocacy of some reforms# but he
did so unimaginatively# as he appears to have been loc*ed within a Shi'a2legalist
paradigm# regardless of his self2serving mimicry of )ranian poets. Because his general
view was Auite narrow# whatever can be recogni8ed as progressive in his religion is
sin*ing before our eyes into the mire of his general worldview. )n my view# Baha'u'llah
was a Shi'ite reformer in Babi garb who doubled as a Shi'ite ,arcissus. 7hat we see now
in the Baha'i Faith is a multitude drowning in that self2image.
d;
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Mavaddat 7ahid# as a student in university finishing up two degrees# ) have precious
little time. )t's a wonder how ) find any to post here at all. So perhaps you might want to
read a boo* while you're waiting for my response.
@egarding relations# ) inherited my name from my father whom ) haven't *nown since )
was about six years old. /s a result# ) don't very well *now the people on my dad's side of
the family. So ) might be related to lots of people with the last name ">avid"# but the only
one ) can confirm for you is my brother. ) *now of no other >avids to whom ) am related.
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Amanda an# ) really agree with this assessment'
")n my view# Baha'u'llah was a Shi'ite reformer in Babi garb who doubled as a Shi'ite
,arcissus. 7hat we see now in the Baha'i Faith is a multitude drowning in that self2
image."
/lso ;ust wanted to say ) do find alot of beauty# meaning# and poetry in the Baha'i
writings in places2 but as 0avaddat has done a great ;ob of pointing out elsewhere# none
of it is particularly original. 7orth mentioning# ) guess.
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Pooya 3ello /manda# no need to apologi8e for any delay. ) am glad youHre bac* '2=
) en;oyed your perspective and ) certainly agree with you in large part. There are two
things ) would li*e mention# however. )n regards to what you have identified as a false
dilemma' ) am not sure it is. ) agree with you that 7estboro Baptist 1hurch and the
BahaHi Faith both have serious problems but# ) thin* that 7estboro Baptist 1hurch is far
worse. ) believe that this is obvious at face2value. /s a matter of fact# ) thin* that any of
the previous problems ) have listed are far worse. .ou wrote' Uthey are B+T3 worse. )
don't see any value in blac* and white thin*ing that artificially ran*s them li*e this.V +n
the contrary# this is not blac* and white thin*ing. 7hat ) was attempting to do was ran*
certain evils on a gradient. UThey are B+T3 worseV sounds a bit unhelpful to me. 7e can
agree# hopefully# that some things are better than others right? For example# the act of
littering is worse than the act of not littering. )t is preferable not to litter. Telling your
parents you were at a friendHs house when you were really at a party is not as terrible as#
letHs say# the 77)) 3olocaust. )s that fair? )t seems that# so far# we cannot agree that
certain things which are good and evil lie on a gradient. This is why ) posed the Wfalse
dilemma.H This is the first thing ) thin* we must wor* out. That certain things are worse
than others. This is not artificial. This is very much real and ;ustified. 7ould you call
these a false dilemma? )f so# how can you ma*e moral decisions on a day to day basis?
To help or not to help? Should ) eat meat <only option= if ) am starving to death? But
what about the moral considerationE rights of the animals? 7here are my moral
priorities? The notion of Wthe lesser of two evilsH or ma*ing a WbetterH or Wmore moralH
choice must be inoperant in your thin*ing. o you simply choose the more convenient?
)s that by default the Wmore moralH?
) li*e your color example# but ) thin* the Auestion would more appropriately sound li*e
this' 7hich color is brighter? This is generally an easy Auestion to answer. ThatHs why we
have shade names for colors# li*e bright red# as opposed to dar* red. +f course# if we
want it to be# this can become a difficult tas*. 7e can certainly split hairs. Similarly# this
would be li*e as*ing which is worse# the ethinic cleansing in $%th 1entury Tur*ey or the
genocide in Sudan? Some people have answers to these AuestionsN others would find it
uncomfortable# hairsplitting or comparing apples and oranges. But we can certainly agree
that in some situations# certain colors are brighter than others and certain evils are greater
than others# right?
To be clear# my point is not about action per se. ) have no view into the actions LBHs are
or are not ta*ing. )nitially# my point was a curious one in regards to all the tal*ing that
LBHs are doing. ?eople seemed so passionate about exposing the evils of the BF. )
thought to myself# donHt we have bigger fish to fry? ) ;ust feel that the BF is wonderful
<not uniAue= in many ways and we donHt need to really pic* on it T3/T much. ,ot only
because ) am in some ways sympathetic# but eAually# because ) donHt see this Faith going
anywhere. )t is a nothing religion with a nothing future. ) am not using this as a means of
dismissing any ugly attribute it may have# but of all the evils# why so passionate about
this minute# puny# and petty thing called BF# to which hardly anyone *nows anything
about? )t is creating a tempest in a teacup. /nd we are brea*ing this butterfly upon a
wheel. )t is a wea* and helpless butterfly. /s* anyone wor*ing diligently on a global
scale to ma*e the world a better place and they will be shoc*ed to hear the wide2eyed
tirades of S+0: LBHs that thin* the BF is a heinous evil rampant on the world and that
demands immediate action. This# ) thin*# is risible and patently false position to hold. But
) have simply misinterpreted the tirades. 3owever# compared to most other religions# the
BF is rather peaceful and innocuousM /ll the evils you seemingly lament are# mildly put#
magnified hundredfold in other religions with additional evils. ) believe we need to
prioriti8e.
3owever# despite this# ) accept your reason# <and this# ) thin*# is also partly 0avaddatHs
reason=# that we can use the BahaHi faith as a channel to tal*ing about these issues# since
it is a problem <if it is= in our own bac*yards and since we <if this is true= are immersed in
a community where the BF is the real problemN after all# it is not an easy tas* to solve the
problems in Sudan. ) donHt have any problem with this reason# and ) appreciate it. )f you
want to use the BF as your U0inute ?articularsV in# not only theoretically# but practically#
wor*ing out the problems in your own relationships and community# then ) have no issue.
Sorry if ) seemed unclear# ) am ;ust now running to a classM N2= ta*e your time in
responding /manda# ) have Auite a busy schedule also and it is hard at times to *eep up
with this haha. ) still have to go over what 0avaddat wrote# sorry buddy. )'ll get bac* to
you '2=
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Pooya 7ow# did ) really write that much? my bad.
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Dan Than*s# /manda. ) could be mista*en# of course# but that's how ) presently see the
man and his followers.
) don't disagree that there is value in Baha'u'llah's writings. )t's ;ust seems a bit dishonest
to give him credit for ideas that he did not conceive# particularly since he didn't seem to
perform any further synthesis. / unitarian Baha'i22a hypothetical creature to be sure22
might respond# "so what? )t's the message that matters." ,o argument there.
) wouldn't mind seeing him given his proper due someday for whatever actual
contributions he made to world thought# such as'
"The world is my country# all man*ind are my brethren# and to do good is my religion."
22Thomas ?aine# The /ge of @eason# "(6B
) thin* the general idea goes bac* to the Stoics.
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Mavaddat ?ooya# are you familiar with 3annah /rendt's wor* on the banality of evil?
/rendt argues <Auite persuasively= that it is not ideologies perceived as malevolent that
are the animating sources of evil in our world. @ather# it is precisely those ideologies that
are perceived as innocuous that are capable of the greatest evils.
She came to her radical conclusion while studying the motivations of the 5ermans during
7orld 7ar $. 1ontrary to common perception that the ,a8is were hate2filled sociopaths#
/rendt shows that they actually perceived themselves as doing what was <in their
perception= RobviouslyR in humanity's best interest.
/ huge number of people across multiple ideological boundaries vilify the 7estboro
Baptist 1hurch because their ideas are so foreign to us. The 7B1 are clearly perceived as
wrong2headed. /s such# they simply aren't ta*en seriously. The BahP'Q Faith is so
particularly dangerous because it ta*es on the pretense of banality. )ts ideas are in the
largest part "normal" and thus digestible. /s a result# people find it easier to accept the
marginali8ation of gay people when advocated by a level2headed cult than when it is
being advocated by a fringe group of cra8y loons. ) thin* a similar effect is going on in
people's ignorance of the current atrocities in the Sudan' / large number of people have
accepted it as normal for /fricans to be dieing and living in sAualor and exile among
refugee camps. )t is ignored because it is seen as "natural".
That is why# although ) completely agree with you that the BahP'Q Faith is far more
innocuous than other organi8ations# ) disagree that we should therefore not critici8e it. +n
the contrary# its pretense of banality is Rall the more reasonR why we should critici8e it.
)ndeed# it is superfluous to critici8e what everyone already perceives as evil. 7hat we
really need is criticism of those evils that go by the name of "common sense" <such as
denying gay people their right to love whom they want to love in a non2secret way= in
virtue of their being endorsed by "moderate" groups.
See http'EEwww.iep.utm.eduEaEarendt.htmJ3F for a brief summary of /rendt's idea on the
banality of evil.
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Dan )nteresting point# 0avaddat. Starvation is rather banal# isn't it? ) feel ashamed to
even write those words# yet they are factual.
) admit that )'m having a hard time *eeping up with the sheer bul* of this thread# so )'m
sorry if )'ve missed something.
?ooya# do you thin* this discussion as to whether :x2Baha'is should critici8e their former
religion is a worthwhile expenditure of your time?
Though it's clear that some ex2Baha'is have ta*en time out of their lives to critici8e the
Baha'i Faith# it is also clear that such efforts aren't any more organi8ed or dedicated than
some of the most trivial discussions on the )nternet. There's no :x2Baha'i or /nti2Baha'i
Society /F/)D# and nobody is as*ing for donations. )'ll wager that nobody in the group is
an avowed opponent of the Baha'i Faith. /s far as ) can tell# we all ;ust find the sub;ect
matter worth discussing# and any one of us could tire of it at any time.
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Amanda .ay for 3annah /rendt. :xcellent point.
)n terms of how the banality issue plays out between Baha'i nuttiness and 7estboro
nuttiness# it's a matter of perspective. ) grew up in Tobaccoville# ,1 and most of the
shenanigans of 7B1 are banal in that time and place. .ou couldn't throw a stic* without
hitting someone in a white hood or ride the school bus without being told the same stuff
about yourself written on all of 7B1's signs for having blac* friends and being a Baha'i.
So# who and where you are in the narrative matters. Banality is relative. .es# ?helps from
7B1 is obviously "wrong2headed." <.ou been reading my dictionary?= But so is Shoghi
:ffendi. )f hatespeech is written in crayon and drool on a giant piece of poster board by a
hooligan or in the tears of administrative sexual frustration and homophobia by a
perported representative of the "?en of 5lory" it matters not to me. )t's the content that
counts. ?ooya# about your belief that 7B1 is worse than the BF you wrote' ") believe
that this is obvious at face2value." 3ow do you figure? )'d appeciate you bac*ing that up a
bit for me. )n the meantime# ) maintain that they are both "worse."
/lso# ?ooya2 you as*ed me which was worse# 7B1 or the BF# not the situation in arfur
versus the BF. .ou switched it up a bit in your response. +f course the evils of the
3olocaust outweigh littering. But ) maintain you are creating a false dichotomy here in
as*ing us to morally prioriti8e speechEaction around the BF versus around
)slamE1atholicism# etc. ) do appreciate that you admit your motivations in so doing. .ou
say'
"?eople seemed so passionate about exposing the evils of the BF. ) thought to myself#
donHt we have bigger fish to fry? ) ;ust feel that the BF is wonderful <not uniAue= in many
ways and we donHt need to really pic* on it T3/T much."
2Then ) would li*e to encourage you to be specific about what you find wonderful in it
<for it's there# for sure=and cherish that overtly. )# for example# love the spirit and example
of service ) *new in the BF. )# also encourage you to not confuse criticismEcritiAue with
attac*. There is a prominent narrative in the Baha'i community that anyone who voices
/,. complaint is /TT/1D),5 the Faith# and that's silly and not true. There is a
difference bEw malicious "pic*ing on" and genuine criticism.
" ,ot only because ) am in some ways sympathetic# but eAually# because ) donHt see this
Faith going anywhere. )t is a nothing religion with a nothing future."
2.ou may see it that way# but it's vision of itself is Auite theocratic and frightening. )
imagine at the beginning of alot of legalistic nightmare religions that now dominate the
world# alot of good people thought# "eh# nothing will probably come of this. )'ll *eep my
mouth shut." 7hat )'m saying is# what if we do nothing now# as you propose# and C%%
years from now some regime adopts it's own version of Baha'i law. 7hat do you say to
your descendents about not protecting them from legali8ed Baha'i hegemony# sexism#
homophobia# etc? 7e have to pay attention to the intentions and the template of this
thing.
/lso# even if it has no future# it has a present. 7hat about the Baha'i *ids suffering now?
The gay *ids? The abused *ids? o you understand the volume we're tal*ing? This is
current monumental suffering.
") am not using this as a means of dismissing any ugly attribute it may have# but of all the
evils# why so passionate about this minute# puny# and petty thing called BF# to which
hardly anyone *nows anything about? )t is creating a tempest in a teacup. /nd we are
brea*ing this butterfly upon a wheel. )t is a wea* and helpless butterfly. "
.ou are casting as wea* something that alot of people here *now from personal
experience to be otherwise. .ou are casting as wea* something that is responsible for
hurting human beings and families. /nd doing it in the name of 5od. 3ow do you figure
that's wea*? /re you unfamiliar with how power is used in the /+? This butterfly has
talons. /nd an agenda.
"/s* anyone wor*ing diligently on a global scale to ma*e the world a better place and
they will be shoc*ed to hear the wide2eyed tirades of S+0: LBHs that thin* the BF is a
heinous evil rampant on the world and that demands immediate action."
+h# really. /nyone wor*ing dilligently on a global scale. 3mmmm. +*.
0e' "/manda# are you shoc*ed to learn to learn what LB's are saying about the BF?"
0e' ",o."
Sorry# ) tried it and you're wrong.
)t's also a bit inaccurate to characti8e specific criticisms as "wide2eyed tirades" or to
recast them as accusations of "heinous evil."
<@ed and blue and both primary colors# btw.=
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Wahid "7ahid# as a student in university finishing up two degrees# ) have precious little
time. )t's a wonder how ) find any to post here at all. So perhaps you might want to read a
boo* while you're waiting for my response."
) don't expect a cogent response since your responses have so far proven disengenuous on
every point. ?erhaps you should expand your own bibliography of reading sources as
well# since you generally seem to *now little of what you're tal*ing about.
7
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Wahid ")'ll wager that nobody in the group is an avowed opponent of the Baha'i Faith"
) am 22 proudlyM
" Baha'u'llah was probably sincere in his advocacy of some reforms..."
This depends on one's definition of sincerity. 3e was certainly not sincere in the manner
in which he got to implement such "reforms#" which in any case were already being
implemented in mild fashion by his younger brother a decade before.
" but he did so unimaginatively#"
:mphasis on YunimaginativeY.
"as he appears to have been loc*ed within a Shi'a2legalist paradigm#"
/ctually# this is where ) diverge. 3usayn '/li ,uri's so2called reform of Babism was more
a species of the *ind of reforms being actively advocated within an )slamic context by a
specifically Sunni reformist contingency# i.e. al2/fghani# /bduh etc. <i.e. the ideological
fathers of contemporary )slamic fundamentalism=.
" regardless of his self2serving mimicry of )ranian poets."
ittoM
" Because his general view was Auite narrow# whatever can be recogni8ed as progressive
in his religion is sin*ing before our eyes into the mire of his general worldview."
But this is the point# every element designated as 'progressive' in 3usayn '/li ,uri was
already articulated in a far more problemati8ed and nuanced form by Subh2i2/8al from
an originating template in the writings of the Bab.
" )n my view# Baha'u'llah was a Shi'ite reformer in Babi garb who doubled as a Shi'ite
,arcissus."
:mphasis on YnarcissusY sans Shi'ite.
" 7hat we see now in the Baha'i Faith is a multitude drowning in that self2image."
+r the revealing of the RmythR as the hypocrisy it was the whole time.
7
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Mavaddat ) thin* you're right# an. /nd /manda ma*es this point too' 7e are
fundamentally concerned with a religion whose effect is far more relevant to our lives
than 1atholicism or the 7estboro Baptist 1hurch. )t is a Auestion of relative importance#
not one of absolutes.
+n a side note# ) do thin* that ?ooya's Auestion is important to consider. ) thin* it is
crucial that we remain critical of our motives and that we continue to examine our goals.
)n that sense# ) don't thin* ?ooya was wrong to put forward his criticism of our criticism
<nor do ) thin* he would be wrong to continue it# if he felt so moved=.
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Mavaddat 7ahid# ) see you are incapable of rational discussion without descending into
baseless accusations and personal attac*s. .ou also seem prone to paranoid delusions
independent of all evidence. That's a shameM /s a result# ) no longer have any interest in
responding to or reading your posts. Feel free to *eep attac*ing# though. )'m sure your
charm will win over converts eventuallyM
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Wahid ) was waiting for that eventual# *oonee2vaar# spinless cop2out by youM
9mm# 0avvadat ;un# ) see you are incapable of any form of discussion whatsoever
without descending into red herrings and straw mans tout court# while conveniently not
responding to any of the argument or discussion put in front of you. ) have provided all
the evidence necessary allowable in this small space. )f you would have ta*en your head
out# thought for yourself without the peer pressure of your moronic# on2the2payroll
friends such as Steve 0arshall and Brendan 1roo*# perhaps you would've learned a thing
or two.
) have challenged you to interrogate the evidence ) have put here in the discussion you
seem to have a problem with. 7aving something away and claiming paranoid delusions
on the part of the one putting it forward does not remotely constitute a rebuttal# but rather
a dishonest misdirection 22 which is an argumentative fallacy. Sadly# this is a typical
strategy of the moronic and hypocritcal# on2the2payroll cliAue of so2called Bahai liberals
you associate yourself with.
/nd say hello to your 3e8bollahi2cum2Bahai2lover cousin# >ahanshah >avid# for me
please. 3e'll remember me from the days he used to edit the aily -obo at the 9niversity
of ,ew 0exico and regularly censored articles appearing for the campus newspaper by
)ranian students critical of the regime of the )slamic @epublic and the mullahs. )t seems
that turn2coatery and rubbing shoulders with assorted cliAues of fascists and lying
bamboo8lers runs through your whole family as a matter of course 22 not to mention
*aftar2baa8i va talabeh2sefatiM
7
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Pooya 0avaddat#
9nfortunately# ) have been very busy with a variety of things and ) havenHt been able to
respond till now. :ven now ) am in a bit of a rush so ) will try to be as clear as possible.
.es# ) am rather familiar with 3annah /rendtHs wor* on the banality of evil.
First# ) do thin* that you have /rendt's RbasicR ideas correct. These ideas can be explored
in depth in /rendtHs ":ichmann in >erusalem" boo* since the details of her theory aren't
easily reduced to a few simple ideas.
3owever# if we do go with these ideas as you have outlined them# we can have a rich
dialogue about how to apply those ideas to various situations in the world in which evil
might exist. ) thin* you give some good examples.
/lso# you are "%%Z correct in my view in writing that# "it is superfluous to critici8e what
everyone already perceives as evil. 7hat we really need is criticism of those evils that go
by the name of 'common sense.'" .esM .ou are right on here. 0any philosophers in
'contemporary continental philosophy' have been writing on this topic for decades.
1ommon sense is a very bi8arre idea. )t leans precariously close to the logical fallacy of
'appeal to popular belief.' )f one is unreflective <as most humans are it seems=# then ;ust
the fact that an idea is widely held is reason enough for it to be good.
)n fact# civili8ation itself runs on these principles often. Foucault has an idea regarding
"genealogy" which is a critiAue of common sense and history as we *now it. .our ideas
are really leaning in Foucault's direction. So# in short# ) believe that your argument that
because the "Baha'i Faith is far more innocuous than other organi8ations# we should
therefore critici8e it" is headed in the right theoretical direction# but perhaps doesn't go far
enough.
7hat ) am saying is that a large organi8ation li*e a religion has already RovertlyR
proclaimed its beliefs# moral and otherwise. Therefore they are on the table for dissection.
Thin* of all of the 'common sense' that is accepted as truth that is ,+T on the table# and
that because of that reason# we do not see it. 7e have to S:: something to critici8e it.
This is /rendtHs point about the Wbanality of evil.H
3ence# the BahaHi Faith does not Aualify as WbanalH +ur priorities and responsibilities are
elsewhere. The Baha'i Faith is already open about its views on homosexuality and
therefore does ,+T go under the name of banality or hide under the fallacy of 'common
sense' 2 we need to critici8e what is innocuous# esoteric# and banal 2 in short we need to
critici8e what )S hiding under the name of 'common sense' and is evading our radar 2 it
may creep through the crac*s. The Baha'i Faith is not hiding. /nd therefore it is unli*ely
that the propagation of homophobia is going to snea* by us under the name of an overtly
proclaimed organi8ed religion.
) should address this part to /manda as well' ) thin* there are many more 'common sense'
ideas that do evil that are 'under the radar.' 5iven that we have limited time and resources#
wouldn't you thin* that these covert evils need to be uncovered? Trots*y has a great line
in his boo*# "7omen and the Family" where he says something li*e# "7e have to shine
the light of reason into the deepest corners of family life#" since it is only when we notice
something that we can begin to change it. Banal evils are everywhere.
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Pooya /manda# ) have already accepted the point that Uwho and where you are in the
narrative mattersV [ you *eep repeating this. So# please excuse me while ) Auote myself'
U) accept your reason# <and this# ) thin*# is also partly 0avaddatHs reason=# that we can use
the BahaHi faith as a channel to tal*ing about these issues# since it is a problem <if it is= in
our own bac*yards and since we <if this is true= are immersed in a community where the
BF is the real problemN after all# it is not an easy tas* to solve the problems in Sudan. )
donHt have any problem with this reason# and ) appreciate it. )f you want to use the BF as
your U0inute ?articularsV in# not only theoretically# but practically# wor*ing out the
problems in your own relationships and community# then ) have no issue. Sorry if )
seemed unclearV
.ou also wrote that it doesnHt matter whether hate is written in crayon or by the W?en of
5loryH [ why? ) assume you mean that you don't care if hate is coming from an
influential source or a petty source. )n that respect# if some uneducated# hateful clown has
stupid and bac*ward ideas [ then who cares? Sure we will try to convince him# but how
far will you go? ,o one will ta*e him seriously anyway. So don't get distracted in the
lesser of evils. 0avaddat actually put this one in perspective when he wrote# Uit is
superfluous to critici8e what everyone already perceives as evilV [ )n this vein# the clown
is clearly wrong# and he is a clownM So who cares about the clown? 3ere is another way
to loo* at it# there are still rampant creationists# but outspo*en atheist and leading
evolutionary biologist @ichard aw*ins responded by saying that he will not debate them
because that legitimi8es their position. They are patently wrong 2 it is only when they
start having some actual affect <e.g. creationsim is on trial to be taught in schools= that it
becomes an issue. +n the other hand# if the 1atholic 1hurch has RsuccessfullyR
convinced many people to prevent legislation of gay marriage then T3/T is a real
problem [ at least a bigger problem. The fight against gay marriage rages on B:1/9S:
of the 1hurch# <clearly everyone does not already perceive that to be evil= 2 not because
of the BF 2 the BF is negligible and completely absent in this fight 2 they have a no
politics doctrine. ) donHt see why you cannot admit this.
) donHt *now how you can maintain that both 7B1 and BF are Uboth worseV [ This
statement hinges on meaninglessness. )t is# at best# poetic. ) have already provided a
detailed examination of this statement. ) suggest you go bac* and read that again. .ou
have not responded to it.
.ou wrote# in regards to the BF' Ubut it's vision of itself is Auite theocratic and
frightening.V So what? 7ho cares? ,o one else shares that vision. :ntry by Troops is a
myth. )tHs not happening and ) donHt believe it is going to happen. o you honestly feel
threatened that in C%% years Usome regimeV is going to adopt UitHs own version of BahaHi
lawV? ) find this incredible and silly Auibbling. ) am doubtful that the BahaHi Faith will
even be around in C%% years. ) have to admit /manda# this is borderline risible. 3ow can
this be your concern in dealing with the Faith? 3omophobia is not going to fool us and
snea* by us under the banner of the BF. Besides our responsibilities are not to be
confused with some far and distant generation achieving some remotely possible evil that
may# by a far stretch of the imagination# be achieved. +ur concerns are with the problems
in the here and now [ and we are to prioriti8e. 9nless it is the problem in your bac*yard
or your Wminute particularsH [ Then in respect to the seriousness of evils being committed
in the world on such a large scale [ the BF simply does not ran* even close to the top. )
have already addressed this previously.
/gain# in regards to the present# ) already said that ) donHt find an issue with helping the
BahaHi *ids Usuffering now.V ) don't thin* Baha'i *ids are "suffering" anyway. This is also
more than a little exaggerated. /t best# ) will accept that gay Baha'i *ids are "suffering."
0y point is that anger and concern directed against the BF is over exaggerated. ) feel
redundant. .ouHre <not you specifically= ma*ing it out to be a bigger issue that it is. That
is why ) wrote# please excuse me again as ) Auote myself# U)t is creating a tempest in a
teacup.V To be clear# this is my thesis. ) then went on to admit that maybe ) have Usimply
misinterpreted the tirades.V This is all ground that ) have already covered.
.ou then write' U.ou are casting as wea* something that is responsible for hurting human
beings and families This butterfly has talons. /nd an agendaV [ 7ell thatHs the point. )f it
is hurting families in your neighborhood then do something about it. 3owever# globally
the problem of homophobia extends far beyond the BF and there are in fact much bigger
problems in the world. 3omophobia is not a problem because of the BF. )t is a far greater
problem being propagated by the 1hurch# among other influential organi8ations. 7ho
cares if the butterfly has an UagendaV [ )tHs ;ust a butterfly# and it is already dieingM we
will deal with it [ there is no need to create a Wtempest in a teacup.H )s that so difficult and
terrible of me to say?
The last few things ) will say is that ) was very unimpressed with the feigned dialogue
you apparently had with yourself. ) should thin* it ridiculous and unamusing. ) will say
that ". ) never *new you were Uwor*ing dilligently on a global scaleV [ ) donHt *now that
you are or are not. $. 7hy donHt you do a little survey. 5o as* your professors <if you are
still in school= or pic* a random sample and as* people about the BF and see what you
will hear. ) actually did this [ in case ) was wrong. ) am confident that if you do it you
will find similar results that ) did. +f course this is not a scientific study but it should
ma*e the point. 7hen you mention the BF to people# they usually either *now nothing or
very little about it# say Woh yea thatHs the religion all about non2violence right?H or they
might say# W?ersecution of BahaHiHs in )ranH [ )f anything people are sympathetic towards
BahaHiHs and want to help [ /s ) said before Uthey will be shoc*ed to hear the wide2eyed
tirades of S+0: LBHs that thin* the BF is a heinous evil rampant on the world and that
demands immediate action.V [ notice how you will be hard pressed to find any non2LBHs
to be as passionately against the BF as you are. ,o matter how scholarly or not. onHt
misunderstand me# people are against homophobia but not explicitly or overtly the BF.
The BF is a red herring. Therefore# whether you recogni8e it or not ) am not recasting any
accusations. +h and some people consider the BF as a new age 'popular' cult that will
eventually wear out.
-astly# ) donHt see how stating that red and blue are primary colors is some *noc*2down
argument against my analogy to colors# in being able to *now the greater or lesser of two
evils. ) hope this helped /manda.
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Mavaddat ?ooya#
) thin* ) understand your argument to be that since the BahPQ Faith is explicit with its
doctrines 22 that it lays them on the table for all to see 22 that therefore they cannot be
banal# since banality reAuires that we not recogni8e those values that we are ta*ing for
granted. 3owever# ) believe you are confusing banality with utter obscurity# and thereby
concluding that a doctrine's obscurity is reAuired for its banality. This is false.
+f course# ) agree that banality involves an uncritical acceptance of some belief# but that
is far from concluding that its complete obscurity is reAuired for an idea to be rightly
regarded as banal within society. The critical characteristic of banality is not that an idea
be obscure# but that people RuncriticallyR accept some value or belief# whether that belief
is explicitly given a descriptor or not. That is# merely recogni8ing what we believe or
value is insufficient to ma*e those beliefs not banal.
-oo* at /rendtHs critiAue of :ichmann' /rendt points out that the trial reveals :ichmann
was Auite aware of what he was doing. 3is orders and his beliefs were as explicit as any.
3owever# the crucial point was that he simply did not Auestion those beliefs and orders.
3e accepted them on the sheer authority of the government that commanded them.
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Mavaddat /lso# ) resent the suggestion that no children suffer as a result of the BahP'Q
Faith <except perhaps those who are gay=.
Being raised in a BahP'Q family# immersed in a BahP'Q community# having only BahP'Qs as
close friends# and *nowing only the BahP'Q doctrines on life# ) felt utterly violated and lost
when ) reali8ed BahP'Q was a sham. Surely you can related to how that felt.
?ooya# ) don't *now your social circle that well# but mine was almost entirely BahP'Qs.
7hen ) left the BahP'Q Faith# ) felt that ) have betrayed my friends and denied my parents.
They told me the same in return. ) had horrible dreams where ) would try to tal* to my
BahP'Q friends and they would turn their bac*s on me# coldly. ) would plead with them
that ) still loved them# but they would not hear it. ) would wa*e up with tears in my eyes
and pain in my throat. ) had panic attac*s reflecting on how ) had lost my friends.
The BahP'Q Faith is directly responsible for that cloistering attitude. 7ithin the religion# it
is considered "unity". But as soon as you want to consider changing your beliefs# you are
ostraci8ed# alienated# made to feel estranged. 3ow is that not suffering? 3ow is that not
something we should wor* to prevent?
But why am ) tell you this? idn't you experience this yourself? +r is it peculiar to my
experience?
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Pooya 0avaddat#
7ow. Than* you very much for your openness in sharing your personal experiences.
3onestly# ) did not *now. ) was unaware of such suffering. /s a friend 0av# ) am sorry if
) seemed inconsiderate of your estrangement from the Baha'i community. ) did not mean
to belittle your feelings or circumstances. ) thin* it is sad and tragic that your
relationships have been so dramatically impacted by your decision to leave the Faith.
0aybe many people who leave their religion feel the same way and are treated similarly.
) am certainly sympathetic to that suffering.
0y own story is# however# not the same. Buffalo# ,ew .or* does not have a very large
community of Baha'is or hardly any Baha'i youth. 5rowing up as a Baha'i ) have always
been alone. ) remember now# ) envied you and the other Baha'i youth in -/ when ) first
arrived there. ) thought it was so ama8ing that you lived in a community where you could
surround yourself with so many supportive Baha'i youth. / community ) could only
dream of or experience " wee* a year at camps. ) did not have any Baha'i friends outside
the Baha'is ) would meet when ) went to Baha'i Summer 1amps or service pro;ects# and
conferences. They were the highlight of my year since that was the only time ) could feel
at home. /s a Baha'i child and youth ) was always trying to teach the Faith so ) could
have a Baha'i friend. The writings consoled me. So ) would read the writings all the time
as comfort. 7hat ) had were adults placing high pressure on me to spread the Faith and
teach the Faith to all my peers. /t times# this got out of hand. 7hen ) left the Faith 2
?eople simply considered me confused and ) stopped going to Baha'i Functions so ) didn't
actually have to deal with the issues of estrangement. ) have to travel !% minutes to even
get close to another Baha'i.
) forgot the *ind of community you came from# ) had no idea what you went through and
) didn't even thin* many LB's existed until ) re2established contact with you several years
after 1hina. ) have since met three other distant friends that have left the Faith and they
experienced something similar to me. ) am not sure how many saturated BahaHi
communities there are and ) didnHt consider yours. ) wasn't planning on responding to
what you wrote but when ) read the second post ) felt compelled to address this
immediately.
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Mavaddat Than* you for that# ?ooya. ) appreciate your consideration and relating the
differences of your experience to mine. ) don't blame you for not *nowing. /fter all# )
also had assumed you had grown up in an environment li*e meM )t's funny... we never
*now until we as*. Than*s for that# man.
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Pooya 0avaddat#
) thought about you when ) saw this video. 0aybe this will help re2build your
relationships? :ither way# ) thin* it is en;oyable to watch.
http'EEyoutube.comEwatch?vI*/)p@@Kvn>g
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Mavaddat Than*s# ?ooya. ) actually have that video favourited alreadyM )'m
curious how you feel this idea will help me re2build my relationships. So long as
people continue to believe theirs is the only correct manual# won't there be strife?
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Michael .eah Buddy. )t's 0. way or the 3ighwayM
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Pooya ) ;ust thin* that sometimes art has a way of bringing our attention to things
that we otherwise would not have seen. / lot of times when ) watch something put
to me artistically it has a stri*ing effect on me. So maybe if the parents in the
video could watch the video# they could see themselves in a different light and
this could raise their consciousness. )t's ta*ing a step bac* to really loo* at
yourself 2 and sometimes# it has a stri*ing effect.
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Michael ?ooyah...are you in @ochester ,ow?
+ne of my oldest friends is a Baha'i there...Sue :mmel.
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Wahid ?ooya @ostami wrote'
"...will be shoc*ed to hear the wide2eyed tirades of S+0: LBHs..."
:ither you have your head buried in the sand# or you are deliberately on these
boards to misdirect on behalf of the Bahai administration# which is what @e8a
from ex2bahai and ) believe about you.
Try that BS on me# ?ooya. 5'headM
7
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Dan ?eople all over the 7eb ta*e staunch positions and exhibit biases without
any formal lin*s to organi8ations. Though ) am inclined to suspect that ?ooya has
a personal axe to grind# ) don't have any reason to suspect that he's a an operative
for the /uthoritative +rder. +f course ) have been similarly accused by 7ahid
3a8ini and Freddie 5laysher# so who *nows?
http'EE*aweah.comEBahaiEmo;o.html
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Mavaddat 7hatM That website was hilarious. ) am going to ma*e action figures.
/s for ?ooya# )'ve *nown him for a long time# and he is a contrarian through2and2
through. 7hen we were both BahP'Qs# he challenged me to prove the existence of
5od# and remained thoroughly unconvinced when ) tried. /nd now# he continues
to challenge my secular beliefs about faith# morality# and religion. Some people
are ;ust critical without having hidden agendas.
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Dan 7ell *udos to ?ooya# then.
The world needs more contrarians.
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Pooya 3ello 0ichael. ) actually live in Buffalo# ,ew .or* and ) don't ma*e it to
@ochester very often. 9nfortunately# ) do not *now your friend# Sue :mmel.
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Pooya 0avaddat# you *now me too well friendM haha
To anyone else# ) honestly don't have a secret agenda nor do ) have any particular
bias. ) ;ust can't help but always remain s*eptical and curious. ) often go against
the tide because it helps me understand both sides better and relieve myself of any
bias ) may accidentally have acAuired. This is a very fundamental aspect of who )
am. 3opefully it hasn't offended anyone or put them on edge. But Bertrand
@ussell got here first'
")n all affairs it's a healthy thing now and then to hang a Auestion mar* on the
things you have long ta*en for granted."
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Pooya /bout my assertion 7ahid /8al writes'
" :ither you have your head buried in the sand# or you are deliberately on these
boards to misdirect on behalf of the Bahai administration# which is what @e8a
from ex2bahai and ) believe about you.
Try that BS on me# ?ooya. 5'headM"
) am not sure what ) am exactly being so passionately challenged on. But# ) have
never been one to shy away from a challenge# so let me offer you this video )
found in support# to which you might find useful 7ahid# in my claim# to which )
made towards /manda @espess'
U/s* anyone wor*ing diligently on a global scale to ma*e the world a better place
and they will be shoc*ed to hear the wide2eyed tirades of S+0: LBHs that thin*
the BF is a heinous evil rampant on the world and that demands immediate
action.V
http'EEwww.youtube.comEwatch?vIAwaglg,;.gs
) am not exactly sure what is meant that my Uhead is buried in the sand.V But#
enlighten me 7ahid. ) am most open to your arguments against my claim.
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Pooya 0avaddat#
Sorry ) did not get bac* to you sooner. ) was going bac* to see what claim of mine
7ahid was addresing and ) came across your declarations regarding the banality
of the BahaHi Faith . .ou have classified the BahaHi Faith as WbanalH in reference to
3annah /rdentHs Ubanality of evil.V ) am not convinced that the BahaHi Faith
Aualifies as Wbanal.H
.ou wrote'
U/s a result# people find it easier to accept the marginali8ation of gay people
when advocated by a level2headed cult than when it is being advocated by a fringe
group of cra8y loons]) thin* a similar effect is going on in people's ignorance of
the current atrocities in the Sudan]7hat we really need is criticism of those evils
that go by the name of "common sense" <such as denying gay people their right to
love whom they want to love in a non2secret way= in virtue of their being
endorsed by UmoderateV groups.V
/lthough# ) completely agree with you that the Ucurrent atrocities in SudanV may
very well Aualifiy as WbanalH since# it has been regarded as normal <and Wcommon
senseH= that people die in /frica and thus# it goes under the radar. 3owever# ) am
not so convinced that the BahaHi Faith can be regarded as WbanalH since ) do not
thin* that Udenying gay people their right to love whom they want to love in a
non2secret wayV will ever be endorsed by our community at large# as a result of
the BahaHi FaithHs endorsement of it# merely by virtue of the BF being a moderate
group.
The fact that the BF is a moderate group in many respects# does not# in my
opinion# suggest that we will accept their less moderate views in accepting their
moderate views. ) thin* the mista*e is in assuming we canHt tell apples from
oranges. 7e can tell that the BF has many positive Aualities# and at the same time
we can tell that the BF has many other unattractive Aualities <such as its views
towards homosexuality=. This was my point in bringing up the criteria of
WrecognitionH for banality. :ven as such# you have focused my attention towards
Wuncritical acceptanceH rather than Wutter obscurityH <although )Hm not sure thatHs
what ) said= [ .et the above should demonstrate how even under the Aualification
of Wuncritical acceptanceH the BF would still not Aualify as Wbanal.H >ust because
the BF is a moderate group doesnHt mean that their doctrines of homosexuality
will be accepted uncritically. 7hat do you thin*?
Therefore# ) do not thin* that the immediacy to act on those evils considered
WbanalH should reAuire us to act against the BF# since ) see no reason why the
BahaHi Faith should Aualify as WbanalH. -et us act with a greater immediacy
against the evils going under the name of WbanalH in Sudan or our W0inute
?articularsH perhaps.
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Wahid >ensen# the name is /8al# not 3a8ini. /nd it stands to reason that both
Fred and ) are right about you. .ou have something to hide# ergo why you try
every which way to water down or otherwise misdirect the real issues on this
version as well as on the yahoogroups version of this list.
) stand by what ) say. Both you and Stetson wor* for someone or some outfit
connected to 3aifa. ,o doubt about it. Than*fully there's a few other people who
thin* the same way.
7
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Steve ) have reported 7ahid's insults and attac*s to Faceboo*. +thers may wish
to consider doing the same.
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Vern ) testify that the Baha'i Faith is the perfection of human organi8ation.
0y discerning sense of reason detects no wrong in it# though ) continue always to
Auestion as one should Auestion all things in this life.
3/??. @idvan everyone.
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Vern ) am done with you 0ichael
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Mavaddat ) testify that 7olits*i 4ern's sense of reason is incapable of following
the topic of a thread# much less detecting wrongs in a religion that encourages
close2mindedness# dogmatism# and which condemns homosexuals.
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