Sen McGlinn's blog

                                  Reflections on the Bahai teachings

Polemics revisited

Posted by Sen on September 7, 2008

Moojan Momen has posted on his web site a new version of his response-to-responses, occasioned by his Religion article on “Marginality and Apostasy in the Baha’i Community.” In this, he states :

‘My statement that Sen McGlinn’s disenrollment was due to “persistent challenges” to the Universal House of Justice is an inference that I have drawn from letters of the Universal House of Justice going back to 1995.’

This concedes that what he said was not a matter of fact, nor an explanation that the Universal House of Justice itself has given. Moojan is welcome to draw whatever inferences he may chose: opinion and its expression should be free. Having no ambitions to achieve any status, I am indifferent to what other people may think of me.

I find this resolution satisfactory, and I withdraw the threat of legal action as regards his web site. I anticipate that a similar statement will appear in a forthcoming number of Religion.

The Religion article has led to some discussion and some new sites about the defence of the Faith in Bahai polemics. Momen has set an example of fighting fire with fire, which I think is a mistaken strategy. In a tablet to Mirza Abu’l-Fadl, starting at, Abdu’l-Baha says that a defence of the Faith is possible, but against arguments and allegations, not by naming any person:

“Think not that by this reference specific persons were intended; rather my intention is the party of the lukewarm. I adjure you by the Ancient Beauty not to insult anyone or wish humiliation on any soul. Never repudiate anyone, who either specifically, or by allusion or by insinuation ascribes charges of heresy, blasphemy, atheism, loss, error or wickedness. Never charge anyone with impiety. Do not oppose and resist anyone, even if it is in defence.”

“Do not argue with anyone nor engage in disputation. Do not wish any person’s degradation, nor mention their name in fault. Do not seek anybody’s loss and do not loosen your tongue to an unkind description of any man. Never backbite about any soul and do not lift the veil from anyone’s deeds.”

(draft translation by Ahang Rabbani)

In another tablet, Abdu’l-Baha writes:

Remember how Adam and the others once dwelt together in Eden. No sooner, however, did a quarrel break out between Adam and Satan than they were, one and all, banished from the Garden, and this was meant as a warning to the human race, a means of telling humankind that dissension — even with the Devil — is the way to bitter loss. This is why, in our illumined age, God teacheth that conflicts and disputes are not allowable, not even with Satan himself.
(Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, 275)

In the long term, the interests of the Faith will be served by living up to this standard.

~~Sen McGlinn~~
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