Tuesday, December 25, 2007

On Calamity: Such as to make the limbs of men to quake

“Witness how the world is being afflicted with a fresh calamity every day”, Bahá’u’lláh warns. “Its sickness is approaching the stage of utter hopelessness, inasmuch as the true Physician is debarred from administering the remedy, whilst unskilled practitioners are regarded with favour, and are accorded full freedom to act.”

One Common Faith
Author: Bahá’í World Centre * Source: Bahá’í World Centre, 2005 edition * Page: 11. Quoted from Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh (Wilmette: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1983), section XVI.

More on apocalyptic thinking. The blogger on Ninth's Place has written a post outlining his speculation regarding a calamity in 2012. He cited Abdu'l-Baha.

"my growing interest in Baha'i has led me to learn of Abdu'l-Baha's prediction of a calamity such as 'to make the limbs of men quake' that must be endured before a new age of unity and peace can begin."

As I commented on the blogger's site, World Wars I and II, Vietnam, Iraq, and many other conflicts in the past 100 years qualify as "calamitous." No need to postulate some extraordinary catastrophic event a la some Hollywood sci-fi thriller. Abdul-Baha's predictions have already come true again and again.

The Baha'i view on this matter of calamity is nuanced. There are two processes at work on the face of the planet, a process of disintegration and a process of integration. Every day both catastrophe and sublimity are lived experience for the homo sapiens on this planet. The human drama playing out is real and not a movie.

I did a quick search on Baha'i Reference Library, searching for "calamity." There are 177 references. http://reference.bahai.org/search?max=10&lang=&first=11&query=Calamity. Here is a well-known passage by Shoghi Effendi. -gw

This great retributive calamity, for which the world’s supreme leaders, both secular and religious, are to be regarded as primarily answerable, as testified by Bahá’u’lláh, should not, if we would correctly appraise it, be regarded solely as a punishment meted out by God to a world that has, for a hundred years, persisted in its refusal to embrace the truth of the redemptive Message proffered to it by the supreme Messenger of God in this day. It should be viewed also, though to a lesser degree, in the light of a divine retribution for the perversity of the human race in general, in casting itself adrift from those elementary principles which must, at all times, govern, and can alone safeguard, the life and progress of mankind. Humanity has, alas, with increasing insistence, preferred, instead of acknowledging and adoring the Spirit of God as embodied in His religion in this day, to worship those false idols, untruths and half-truths, which are obscuring its religions, corrupting its spiritual life, convulsing its political institutions, corroding its social fabric, and shattering its economic structure.

Not only have the peoples of the earth ignored, and some of them even assailed, a Faith which is at once the essence, the promise, the reconciler, and the unifier of all religions, but they have drifted away from their own religions, and set up on their subverted altars other gods wholly alien not only to the spirit but to the traditional forms of their ancient faiths.

The Promised Day Is Come
Author: Shoghi Effendi * Source: US Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1980 revised edition * Page 112

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1 comment:

helenko said...

I think the most important phrase here could be "unforeseen calamity". Why speculate? Just my $.02