Baha’i community

Baha’i faith is still very young religion established in 1863. by Baha’u’llah (1817-1892). Baha’u’llah was born in Tehran, India (Persia). But what this man was all about? Well, Baha’u’llah claimed that he was a manifestation of God. A God’s messenger for this day and age. And every era has its own messengers… like Abraham, Krishna, Zoroaster, Moses, Buddha, Jesus, Muhammad and Bab. Bab was only few years prior to Baha’u’llah. He prophesied that someone greater will come after him. And Baha’u’llah was that someone. At least he said so. His mission was unity of humanity. Oneness of religion, one world government, friendships between all races and cultures and so on. Very liberal. It is actually fascinating that he had such liberalistic views in that time and in that place. Come on, he was born in Iran in 19.century. Not to offend anyone but it is strange that he did have such vision. That for sure reveals that Baha’u’llah did have some very deep insights. But can we call him a manifestation of God?

He is putting himself in the same box with Jesus, Buddha and Muhammad…. And how these characters can be in the same box? He said that every religion is from the same God. Religion is progressive in nature and as the times are changing, new messengers are coming. Is that true? Well, there are people that are more connected to divine than most of us, I do believe so. Just like there are innovators. Nikola Tesla for example. He was also a prophet in a way. But why we call Baha’u’llah or Jesus or Muhammad to be manifestations of God? Why we don’t say Nikola Tesla was sent from God to enrich the civilization with his innovations? And yes, you can say, why not, we can call him. Just like we can call Mozart to be sent to this world by God to create perfect music. Or we can say that some athlete is sent here by God to play sports and to be phenomenal in it. We can say that. In the same way, people like Jesus or Baha’u’llah are sent here with their talents to enrich the world. They are normal people. Gifted, talented, special, they had an ear for very strange vibrations, they had intuition, inner knowledge. Yes, God gave them this ability, just like how God gave Warren Buffet abilities to become a billionaire. But the problem is that Baha’is would get very offended if you don’t realize that Baha’u’llah is super special. This era exists only for Baha’u’llah, in their eyes. They praise Baha’u’llah like he created God and not the other way around. They put Baha’u’llah first and God second. Of course, they would denied what I just said, but when they talk about Baha’u’llah, this is the feeling that you get. Too much unrealistic praise in my opinion.

However, I do like and love Baha’u’llah for the person that he was. His whole life he spent in prisons, in exile, being attacked by the government because he was different and he was against current established rules and regulations. Of course, very often genius people are misunderstood by the crowd. And Baha’is love to talk about Baha’u’llah’s suffering. But why we feel sorry for him if God sent him here to spread certain message. I mean, we mortals are more in suffering than someone who is specially created by God. Baha’u’llah was just a human in my opinion. Definitely connected to Divine, to God, to source of our existence, but only a human. And I love him because he was tough, strong, he stood up for what he believes, he rejected his material possessions and easy life to live his true purpose, his true deepest calling. He was almost like Batman. Mentally unbreakable, willing to suffer for his mission. Willing to die and to fight till the end for what he believes is correct. And when I say fight, I dont mean physically, I am talking about… you know what I am talking about.

Is that something that God really wanted for him or was he delusional? I don’t know and I will not get into it. But his life and his character are definitely good examples of how true man should live. Having a purpose so deep that nothing in outside world can make you less sure about what you believe.

After his death, his eldest son, Abdu’l-Baha was successor of his message. By the way, baha means light, glory. And Abdu’l-Baha means ‘servant of light’ Abdu’l-Baha was very different from his father. He was much more soft and feminized. In my eyes, he was just not a leader. He wanted to sound very smart when he speaks and he wanted to show how humble he is. Well, I don’t know if he was really humble or not, and I don’t want to accuse someone for something which is maybe not true, but this is my feeling about it. And right now, Baha’is are probably so angry at me, because Abdu’l-Baha was not a manifestation of God, but he was a perfect example of human being. If human being can reach perfection, then that is Abdul-Baha. And I am so against this because this is so limiting for human beings. Humans beings are so diverse in their talents, skills, abilities, needs and desires that if we all strive to be like this one person, we would destroy humanity. We would destroy our own potentials if we try to be like this so called perfect human being. Problem with Abdu’l-Baha is his soft feminist nature. He prefers much more feminine qualities in people than masculine qualities. He was probably not aware that men built civilizations with their hands. House in which he was sleeping was built by men. I doubt that women built it. I don’t know but I know. So it bothers me when he is ignorant about violent and aggressive side of masculinity which if it is channeled in productive ways, can make wonders and move civilization forward. So I am just little disappointed with him being authority figure. In my opinion, after him, Baha’i faith went in total wrong direction. It became a misrepresentation of what it is supposed to be.

After Abdu’l-Baha, next successor is his grandson, Shoghi Effendi. I don’t know much about him because Baha’is are not mentioning him very much but I think he was the cool dude. A nice guy.

Baha’u’llah had a plan to establish an organization that will take care of spreading and protecting the faith. Plan is also that this organization becomes something like world government one day. And this organization is established in 1963., a couple of years after last successor, Shoghi Effendi. Universal house of Justice (UHJ). That is how it is called. Every 5 years, 9 members of faith are elected to represent UHJ and to represent whole Baha’i faith. Together they are consulting, making important decisions, plans and everything that is helpful for the faith, and protecting everything that is harmful for the faith. Interesting thing about it, is that all 9 members have to be men. That is little bit controversial because one of the principles of faith is equality between men and women. But I think there is a reason why women are not allowed in UHJ. Hey, I am a man. When women are around, you just don’t think clear enough. Plus, leadership position has always been and will always be for men. Not to offend women, but it is in male nature to be leader, to make decisions, to take actions, to make things happen. That’s not female nature. In my opinion. And whoever bring that rule, be it Baha’u’llah or somebody else, had the same opinion like me. Men and women should be equal but we are not the same. Problem is that we are far away from wilderness and danger so we forgot that. In nature, in wilderness, men can show their true capacities, protection, survival, fighting back, feeding the family… But in this modern times when men are locked in the offices, we just cant show and express our masculinity. So I do get this rule that members of UHJ should be men, the only problem is that this 9 members are very often soft feminized men. But we will discuss that later. Anyway, since Baha’i faith is spread through the world, and that is actually its mission, next bodies are National Spiritual Assemblies (NSA) and Local Spiritual Assemblies (LSA). Both institutions also elect their members. However, here women are allowed. LSA is here to help faith in local area, and NSA to help faith in national way, for example, whole country. So you can see that this religion has a very interesting hierarchy. It is organized in very interesting way.

To become a member of LSA or NSA is not something very hard. You just have to be Baha’i and your name will be among other names to be elected for. Election is every year and every year 9 members will be elected.

To become a Baha’i is also a very easy. You just have to declare yourself to believe that Baha’u’llah is messenger of God for this day and age. Some do it verbally, others sign the card. No money or anything materialistic is needed, which is actually a good thing. However, Baha’is do have their funds and you should if you can donate every month some money to the fund. And that is ok to me because community need financial support. That money is used only for needs of the community. And you know always where money is going and in what is invested. And plus those are not some big sums because most people are just regular people that put on side some money from their salary. Of course, there are rich Baha’is who can contribute much, but the point is to contribute. And if you really truly believe in what Baha’is are doing, then why not support it? But however, to contribute to fund, you have to be Baha’i. They don’t accept any outside donations. However, now we are coming to little bit more controversial subject, Huququllah. Huququllah is a law and what it means that every year after you have covered all your payments, if you have some extra money left, voluntarily you should give 19% of that money to Huququllah. And that money is for the big things. Building temples, printing books, helping communities and so on. Many people don’t like this idea. I get it, if you believe in something, why not support it? It is nice act. But having someone to command me to give 19% of extra money that I have… Here I have a problem my friend. Of course, it is voluntarily. You don’t have to give it if you cant or if you don’t want to, no one in your community is not going to know about it and no one will come to your doors and force you to pay or any other unpleasant situation will not happen. So you don’t have to pay. But to have some extra money and to not pay Huququllah is like the sin. And I just don’t like that. What if I have better plans with my money? It is not bad to keep this money in my pocket and have a little more comfort. But however, I don’t have to worry about this because I am not Baha’i. And plus, I don’t have any extra money right now. HAH.

But now enough of this. Lets go through some of the principles of Baha’i faith and lets try to explain them.

THE ONENESS OF MANKIND

Basically, it means that we all are one. All cultures, all races, all people are coming from the same source, we have the same creator and we all are equal. We should respect each others and be friends with all races. We are flowers of the same garden, as Baha’is love to say.

And I agree with this. Pretty much we all accept this and we all say, of course, we know this, this is the right thing to do. But you have to consider that Baha’u’llah said this in 19.century. Then we were not so liberal like today. At that time, this was a revolutionary though. Which is very interesting. At least to me.

UNIVERSAL PEACE UPHELD BY A WORLD GOVERNMENT

So the idea is to have one world government and that would be UHJ of course. Well, idea of universal peace is great. And if all governments can make a deal to have an universal peace, that would be great. But to have a one government, I am not sure if that is a good idea. Maybe I am wrong but it is too much limiting. Each country has its own culture, beliefs, traditions, rules… World government could destroy it. I mean, maybe not. But however, it can for sure be dangerous that one group of people pushes their agenda on the whole world, no matter how much they think their intentions are pure. It is just a dangerous. But who knows, it is possible that one day we will have a world government, maybe it will be UHJ and maybe not. If we like citizens of Earth decide to accept Baha’i faith as our faith, then yes, UHJ will become world government. Now how things looks like, that is impossible and dangerous. How many rebels would be there? World war can happen. Whenever someone is imposing their will, somebody else will feel repressed. And I know that I am the first person that would rise my voice in protest. And we already had enough violence in the name of religion. But who knows, lets look at bigger picture… Actually, lets look at the biggest possible picture. We are part of the Universe. We, people of the Earth. Space traveling is possible and in near future we are going to develop even better technologies to travel through the Universe. And if there are some other intelligent forms of life on different planets, maybe we will be in some kind of deal with them. You know, they give us cure for cancer, we give them alcohol because they don’t know what is that and so on… But my point is, maybe we are going to travel from planets to planets, enriching other planets and also picking up their knowledge and their inventions. So to communicate in Universe, we are going to represent planet Earth, not one country, but the whole planet. So to do that, we will stop looking at us like many countries and we will look at ourselves like one whole civilization from planet Earth and we will have a need to have one religion and one government. Maybe that is our future. And that religion could very easily be Baha’i faith and that government could very easily be UHJ. Now our countries are small pieces of our planet, and our planet is maybe just a small piece of something bigger. We just didn’t communicate yet with someone outside of the planet. Are other intelligent forms in Universe, do they exist or will they ever exist, I don’t know. But if they do exist, I doubt that they are more advanced than us. If they are, they would already visit us, they would find us. Who knows, maybe right now in Universe we are the most intelligent species that exists. Maybe in some other galaxies that are not reachable are some more intelligent species but they also don’t know how to come here, or they don’t even know that our planet exists, just like how we don’t know that other planets exists. But however, lets go back to earth. Now I just don’t see any possibility for world government. It would only bring chaos in the world. But if we ever establish ourselves in Universe, than we might need world government.

INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATION OF TRUTH

This one is very interesting principle. It means that we all are capable to see things and to understand things with our own eyes and mental capacities. Because of that, there is no clergy in Baha’i faith. No priests. We are studying by ourselves, by other people and we do not follow anything blindly like we do in Christianity or Islam. Each individual is capable of understanding truth. Each individual should sharpen his brain to investigate and not to be superstitious.

In theory that is true, but in real life, try to say Baha’is that you are against some of the rules. And see what happens. They don’t understand word INVESTIGATION. Investigation is something active, something which has life. And they want you to accept anything that they are saying. That is passivity. By accepting everything that someone tells you, you don’t develop your own brain. You get brainwashed. And it is specially tricky with religions. Try to doubt great spiritual leaders. It is forbidden. But Baha’u’llah was doubting the whole system that existed in that time. And he was fighting it. His principle is to investigate the truth, to develop our own brain capacities. But UHJ and modern Baha’is just want us to be a good little boys and girls. Baha’u’llah had a vision, and Baha’i faith is just an ideology. Vision is something alive and ideology is something dead. And it is poisoning your mind. It is destroying your capacities to see things clearly.

THE COMMON FOUNDATION OF ALL RELIGIONS

So it means that all religions are coming from the same God. Christianity, Islam, Buddhism… Religion is progressive in its nature and by the time it is changing. Baha’i faith is also not the end. According to Baha’u’llah, we can expect more people from God in future.

What to even say about this? I don’t know and I don’t have opinion about this. It is good that he is not claiming that this is the ultimate end. I do believe that there is only one God, and I do believe that all great spiritual leaders have been connected to the same source. But religions, ideologies, it just makes everything so dirty. It is almost like competition. But that’s what happens when people don’t investigate things with their own minds but rather just blindly believe in what others have told them. However, good luck explaining to catholic that Jesus and Muhammad are the same.

THE ESSENTIAL HARMONY OF SCIENCE AND RELIGION

This one is also great concept. Baha’i faith teaches that religion should never go against common sense and science because then is superstition. And science should never ignore the religion because then we will be unhappy inside if we don’t nourish our spiritual side. Whatever that means. I do understand what it means but people are using world spiritual so much these days that I am not sure anymore what exactly it means.

Well this principle is good because I am both, religious and scientific person. And yes, religion shouldn’t be against science. But science needs to be against religion. Science is based on facts that are able to prove. But science shouldn’t say that there is no God if they cannot prove him. To me, religion is more like inner science. But in my opinion, I wouldn’t even put religion and science in the same box.

EQUALITY OF MEN AND WOMEN

This is another one when we all will just say yes, of course that men and women are equal. But it is interesting that this said an Iranian person in 19.century. It was a big thing there. You know, in any way I don’t want to say anything about anyone. Of course that we all as humans have the same worth. But men and women just cant be compared. Bee is something and flower is something else. Period. But today, equality is something very confusing. It is actually grey area and it is becoming very artificial. I will leave that to someone else to discuss this problems. I have very traditional views on gender roles and I think there is a lots of wisdom in this old traditional roles. But however, that is only me. I will not force it on anyone. I am not saying that this is the right way. Do whatever you feel is right. And I know what feels right for me. I don’t worry about others.

Problem with this Baha’i principle is that they consider equality in a way that men should become more like women and they should develop feminine qualities, like tenderness, caring nature, being soft, being kind, being nice, non-threatening. You see, throughout all history men have been violent and now is time that they become totally opposite. That is sickness. That is not equality. You see, men are born to be violent, aggressive, and you cant repress that. Violence and aggression should be channeled in right ways. Men should protect their families, feed their families and do physical labor, because male body is created for physical labor. Women body, not so much. So all the noise about gender roles just gives me the feeling that all this discussions are just artificial. But however, I don’t blame women because of this. I blame men because we let ourselves to not be something which we truly are and we let someone to give us roles and boxes for us. We are wild lions at heart, but we have become little puppies.

I am still not married, but when I will be, I will respect my woman as woman and I will hold her like little drop in my hands, I will kiss her passionately, I will hug her so hard so that she know she is safe in this arms. I will protect her from all assholes out there. And she will never be hungry. I will love her like real man. I don’t want her to go work cooperate job. I don’t want her to be career driven. I want woman in traditional way. Again, this is my taste. I am not saying that your way is incorrect but it is full of grey areas. And I don’t like that.

ELIMINATION OF PREJUDICE OF ALL KINDS

Another principle where we all will nod our head, of course, we shouldn’t have prejudice to anyone. And I think it is wrong. We human beings are judgmental, and that is a sign of intelligence in my opinion. If I see men on street begging for money, immediately I will have certain judgments towards him. Well, it is true, I don’t know his story, but in general, beggars are guilty for their circumstances. In general.

I know many idealistic girls that just cant say no. I know one girl that is so empathetic that is damaging for her. And it is almost like these damaged souls sense that about her and they are drawn to her immediately. So mentally ill people, drug addicts, losers are attracted to her. And she doesn’t like that. She feels uncomfortable around them. But she doesn’t know how to assert herself. And that is because we are trying to create idealistic world. I mean, it is sad, it is sad that some people are mentally ill, but you are not Jesus Christ, you cant help them. Leave that to people who do know how to help them, if it is even possible. But you cant do that. And by the way, they will drain you. It is very sad, specially because that can be our children tomorrow, and it is painful, I am sure.

I went on different thing, but my point is that we should be judgmental. If I see a man on street wearing hood jacket, baggy trousers, looking at his feet,  and is approaching me, I am sorry, I cannot help myself but to have prejudices that he is loser, small criminal, non-educated person, dumb, a person with no future, person that I should stay away from. And it is intelligence, defense mechanism, survival instinct. What would happen if I don’t have this prejudices and if I approach him without prejudices? It could be dangerous for me. I would be stupid.

In my opinion, we should have prejudice, we just shouldn’t show any hate towards anyone. Specially if that person haven’t done anything to us. And we should respect that person. But ideologist got this all upside-down. We are not idealistic creatures with pure thoughts, I am sorry.

UNIVERSAL COMPULSORY EDUCATION

I do think that universal education should be compulsory. Education is what is making humanity to go forward. Education is what gives man a purpose. Education can bring easy life, prosperity, wealth, happiness and many other things. Problem with this principle is that this is Baha’is agenda. They have their Ruhi institutes and they want to make that Universal education. It is education in a way, but it is also brainwashing. Good thing is that Baha’is are aware of education in general. They are aware that education can help nation to get out of poverty. And they are transforming communities for sure. And it is agenda. Is it good or right? I don’t know. I will let that someone else to decide.

A SPIRITUAL SOLUTION TO THE ECONOMIC PROBLEM

Again, what does spiritual even mean? And what would be a spiritual solution to the economic problem? Lets hear this. And in Baha’is Universe this means that money and resources should be distribute equally. That there shouldn’t be extreme rich people and extreme poor people. And in fact, rich people should give money to poor people. And to me, that is totally unfair. We live in capitalistic societies, which means, if you are valuable to marketplace, you get paid. Why someone who is not valuable should get money simply because?  It is important that we all have opportunity to make money. And no matter who you are, capitalistic societies gives opportunity to everyone. And that’s fair. So this idea that money should be distributed equally is just ridiculous. 

AN UNIVERSAL AUXILIARY LANGUAGE

Wouldn’t it be interesting that we all know the same auxiliary language? Good thing is that Baha’is do respect traditional languages and they do recognize the value of keeping them alive. But because whole philosophy is about unity, oneness, they think that we should have one language that everybody will know in the world. So you have to know your own language and you have to know this one universal language. To me, honestly, I don’t care so much about this. But because we as civilization are going in this way, we are connected throughout the whole world these days because of Internet, I think that universal auxiliary language is entirely possible. One of the suggestion is that this language should be Esperanto. Another option would probably be English because English is spread all over the world. In any civilized country, people understand and speak English. But we will see how things will go. What do you think? Should we have an universal language?

So as you can see, Baha’i faith is like communism in religion, in a way. Here we have covered some basic Baha’i principles. Of course, Baha’i faith is much more than that. But lets talk about Baha’i community.

How did I even come across Baha’is?

So I am from Croatia and I am born Catholic. I do value my religion, but new modern forces shaped me as well, so I do see a lots of holes in religions, but in general, I am not too much concerned with religion anyway. I do believe in God and I pray sometimes, but I don’t necessarily accept everything what priests and church are saying. In fact, very often I am angry at them for certain things. But that doesn’t matter. How did I come across Baha’is?

One day, at the center of Zagreb, I was walking with my friend. Without purpose. Then I saw two girls and I realized that they speak English. At that time, I have never ever spoke English with someone and I wanted to see if I would be able to communicate. So my friend and I decided to approach these two girls…simply because of entertainment. I mean, there are hundreds of girls around us but we want to speak with these two so that we can test our English skills. And luckily they were very approachable. We handle it very well, and that is something to be happy about because that was our first time speaking English language. We know English because of school, movies and video games, but we never had a chance to speak. Anyway, we find out about them that they belong to some religion and that they are pioneers. Both of them are from United States, both of them are Baha’is and they came here in Croatia to serve for their faith. I actually respect that. So here we are speaking around 20 minutes with them and because we don’t want to be boring or forceful, we decided to say goodbye. And they ask us about our Facebook accounts. I was thinking they are asking because they are interested in us because they are girls and we are boys. But in fact, they had agenda. Haha. And I don’t blame them. However, few days later we meet with them and with some their friends on coffee. Nothing special. Normal communication like you would have with your friends. And me and my friend are enjoying because we are exploring our English.

And time is passing by, months are passing by, and every once and then, they send us an invitation for some of their activities. They had like youth gatherings and so on. And every time I would rejected it because I am not interested in some new religion. I don’t need that in my life. That’s not going to solve my problems. But however, once I decided that I will go to some of their activities because it will be useful, new experience, chance to meet new friends, and so on… And here I am, on my first meeting, youth gathering. There were youth from all over the world. First we played some games, we had an opportunity to meet each other, we drank tea, and then we were reading some quotes and sayings from baha’i writings. And then we were supposed to discuss these topics. And I am very opinionated person, so this was a great chance for me to express myself. So I go ranting and interestingly enough, other people want to hear what I got to say, and it only deepens the conversation. However, I liked that first time participating to activities. I didn’t want to become a Baha’i but I was just enjoying the whole atmosphere. Very soon, I am participating in more and more meetings. I am learning new things, bettering my English, making new friends, exploring interesting topics, having fun, and filling a hole in myself. Good things that I like about Baha’i community is that I got a chance to meet people from all over the world, people from different backgrounds, races, cultures and so on… Older ones, children, youth… All kind of people. And whoever had a chance to be with Baha’is will say for sure that they are extremely nice and kind. They strive to be like that. I felt completely accepted by them and I establish few friendships. This was the first time that I had a chance to talk about very deep questions, such as our existence, life and death, God, purpose of life and so on… In Croatia, youth is talking about soccer, politics and meaningless stuff. Honestly, I can say without a doubt, that some of the best moments of my life, I have experienced with Baha’is. I met so many people, I travel, it enriched me so much. I was literally going through something what youth of my age cant even imagine. It really did made me a better person. Only problem was that very soon you will realize all their agendas, and enthusiasm that you experienced in beginning will be gone soon if there are no new people coming to community. Very soon you will feel that this meetings are becoming without juice. Baha’is are at their best when they meet someone new. And when that is not happening, you will see a little bit nasty side of Baha’is. Or nasty side of people in general. However, by the time, the gap between me and Baha’is have started becoming bigger and bigger. I just couldn’t be one of them. I didn’t believe everything that they believed, I didn’t like to have agenda, I didn’t like the fact that there is a lots of feminism going on, a lots of unrealistic expectations of human nature, a lots of superstitions, a lots of diplomatic behaviors and so on… When I saw Baha’i faith and what it represents from closer point of view, I just didn’t like what I saw. It felt like and entirely different picture than what you get in the beginning. It all seems like big political agenda. Recruiting people, doing Ruhi books with them, having children classes, brainwashing people… I mean, the biggest focus is on bringing new members. And that’s kinda like sad.

In the end, when I look at it, for me it is both, black and white. A lots of good things and lots of bad things. But honestly, Baha’is are good people (most of them, of course). They invited me so many time for lunches, coffees, trips and they never attempt to push me beyond my limits. They didn’t try to change me, they didn’t try to impose any rules on me or anything. It is not a sect, and they are not dangerous. At least that is my opinion. I have many great friends that are Baha’is, and I know that whenever I call them to have a little nice conversation, to drink coffee or to do any kind of activities, they would be ready to respond to that.

So, conclusion. Is Baha’i faith good or bad?

Well, I don’t know, I am not a judge. Only time will show us. This post is mostly to hear my experience, my thoughts and my insights. Maybe they will help you. I feel that a lot of people that are experiencing with Baha’i faith will be confused because they will be getting mixed signals. They know that something is under the surface but they cant exactly point their finger to what it is. So I hope these words will maybe help them to get clearer understanding. Of course, it is only my understanding, but maybe it helps.

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