Tuesday, January 01, 2008

On Searching for "Baha'i" on Google: The First 100 Results

If a person wants to know what a Mormon believes, she should talk to a Mormon. If Catholicism is the focus of her interest, then she should visit with a committed Catholic, or if Islam, a practicing Muslim. There is nothing like the view from the inside.

In lieu of face-to-face contact, there is the Internet. Should a seeker go to a Muslim-bashing site to find out about Islam, or an anti-Catholic site to investigate Catholicism, or to a site that denigrates the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to get a true picture of what it is like to be a Mormon? Of course not. If her interest is in finding out more about the Baha'i Faith, she should avoid sites with an ax to grind or which mix in crazy ideas that are totally contrary to what the millions of members of the Baha'i Faith around the world believe. She would do well to go to most authoritative sites first.

How easily can a person obtain information about the Baha'i Faith on the Internet that accurately portrays the view from the inside? A lot easier than it was when I first sat down with the Internet back in 1999, I thought, but I decided to do a little research over the holidays to verify my gut feeling. On December 21st 2007 I did a search for "Baha'i" and saved the first 100 sites that came up. Since then I've been checking out the list of results, especially those sites I wasn't already familiar with.

Among the sites in the top 100 there are the official websites of the Baha'i Faith, international, national, and local. There are also sites by individual Baha'is, such as this Baha'i, which are not under the sponsorship of any Baha'i institution, and which may convey much accurate information but also opinions that are personal and may not necessarily reflect official belief. And then there are many non-Baha'i sites which provide information, but which can vary significantly in their accuracy. Some of them, such as several Christian apologetics sites, are opposed to the Faith on doctrinal grounds. Others take up positions of personal opposition to the Faith.

The seeker can depend on the official Baha'i sites for accurate statements of belief. She should take the expressions of individual Baha'is, via blogs and the like, with a grain of salt. She should be careful of a handful of sites that portray themselves as Baha'i, but reflect information that is not in keeping with the teachings of the Central Figures of the Baha'i Faith and the core beliefs of the Baha'i Community.

With each of these 100 sites, I have attempted to provide a description that may be of assistance to the seeker wanting some way to separate the wheat from the chaff. I've asked myself, is it an official site, an individual Baha'i site, a non-Baha'i site, or is it a site of an opponent of the Faith? It should be noted, of course, that this is only a personal exercise by an individual Baha'i blogger and nothing more. I may have not read carefully enough in my visits to some of these sites, so there may be some errors in my list. My goal in all this, however, is simply to heighten awareness as to the veracity of sources. You be the judge.

I have used two terms here, which I will define. Apostate: ‘not ... ordinary religious leavetakers …, but ... that subset of leavetakers who are involved in contested exits and affiliate with an oppositional coalition,’ to use a current definition from the literature of the sociology of religion (in Momen). Covenant-Breaker: "for Baha'is the greatest spiritual crime is ‘covenant-breaking’, which means, attacking the head of the religion or seeking to create schism" (Momen), so this would be a person so designated. For the purposes here, a site labeled "apostate" would mean it advances the positions of an oppositional coalition, and a site labeled "covenant-breaker" would mean it is a site associated with a covenant-breaker's claim. -gw

1 - The Baha'i World - OFFICIAL BAHA’I
2 -
The Bahá'ís: What is the Bahá’í Faith? – OFFICIAL BAHA’I
3 -
Bahai Faith Baha'i Faith United States Official Website - OFFICIAL BAHA’I
4 -
Bahá'í Faith - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - INDIVIDUAL BAHA’IS & NON-BAHA’IS
5 -
Baha'i Faith - bahai.com - INDIVIDUAL BAHA’I
6 - Baha'i – Contender Ministries - NON-BAHA’I
7 -
Baha'i Faith Index – INDIVIDUAL BAHA’I
8 -
Sacred Texts: Baha'i texts - NON-BAHA’I
9 - Baha'i - LookLex Encyclopedia - NON-BAHA’I
10 - Baha'i - AllAboutReligion - NON-BAHA’I
11 - The Baha'i faith – ReligiousTolerance.org - NON-BAHA’I
12 - The Baha'i faith and homosexuality – NON-BAHA’I
13 - Baha'i -- Beliefnet.com – NON-BAHA’I
14 -
A Directory of Baha'i Websites - INDIVIDUAL BAHA’I
15 -
Baha'i Prayers - LOCAL BAHA’I COMMUNITY
16 - Baha'i symbols - AltReligion - NON-BAHA’I
17 -
Planet Baha'i – INDIVIDUAL BAHA’I
18 - Religious Movements Homepage: The Baha'i - NON-BAHA’I
19 -
Baha’i Blog - INDIVIDUAL BAHA’I
20 -
Baha'i Reference Library – OFFICIAL BAHA’I
21 -
Bahá'í World News Service - Bahá'í International Community - OFFICIAL BAHA’I
22 - Juan R. Cole: Baha'i Studies - APOSTATE
23 -
Baha'i Statement Library - OFFICIAL BAHA’I
24 -
Baha'i House of Worship for the North American Continent Bahai ... – OFFICIAL BAHA’I
25 -
Bahá'í Computer & Communication Association - OFFICIAL BAHA’I
26 -
The Bahá'í Faith - Baha'i Topics - OFFICIAL BAHA’I
27 -
Islam and the Baha'i Faith - INDIVIDUAL BAHA’I
28 -
The Baha'i Page at IBiblio – INDIVIDUAL BAHA’I
29 -
Baha'i Distribution Service, US - OFFICIAL BAHA’I
30 - Baha'u'llah - Baha'i Faith Writings & Information - Bahaullah.net - COVENANT-BREAKER
31 -
Bahai Publishing Baha'i Publishing Bahai Books Baha'i Books ...OFFICIAL BAHA’I
32 -
Baha'i Association at Stanford - BAHA’I CAMPUS CLUB
33 -
Austin Baha'i Community - LOCAL BAHA’I COMMUNITY
34 -
Baha'i Communications International – LOCAL BAHA’I COMMUNITY
35 - Tarbiyat Baha'i Community - COVENANT-BREAKER
36 -
doberman pizza. a baha’i blog - INDIVIDUAL BAHA’I
37 -
Bahai Education - Bahai Software and Education Resources - INDIVIDUAL BAHA’I
38 -
Selections from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh - OFFICIAL BAHA’I
39 -
NYC Bahá'í Community Web Site Home Page - LOCAL BAHA’I COMMUNITY
40 -
The Baha'i Association of the University of Georgia - BAHA’I CAMPUS CLUB
41 - H-Bahai Discussion Network - APOSTATE-ASSOCIATED
42 -
Baha'i Ansar Jewelry - BAHA’I BUSINESS
43 -
Baha'i Academics Resource Library - INDIVIDUAL BAHA’I
44 -
Jazz at NYC Baha'i Center - LOCAL BAHA’I COMMUNITY
45 - Baha'i Faith - Crystalinks – NON-BAHA’I
46 - Bahá'í Faith <>
Baha'i Devotions – LOCAL BAHA’I COMMUNITY
48 - The Watchman Expositor: Baha'i Profile - NON-BAHAI
49 -
BBC - Religion & Ethics - Bahá'í - NON-BAHA’I
50 -
The Baha'i Community of Canada : La communaute baha'ie du Canada - NATIONAL BAHA’I COMMUNITY
51 -
Baha'i Club web page - Princeton - BAHA’I CAMPUS CLUB
52 -
Anchorage Baha'i Community - LOCAL BAHA’I COMMUNITY
53 -
Baha'i Views - INDIVIDUAL BAHA’I
54 -
Baha'i Parenting - INDIVIDUAL BAHA’I
55 -
U.S. National Baha'i Ed.Web site--Scouting Program Materials - OFFICAL BAHA’I
56 - Mother Baha'i Council of the United States - COVENANT-BREAKER
57 - Occasional Papers in Shaykhi, Babi and Baha'i Studies - APOSTATE-ASSOCIATED
58 -
Sydney Baha'i Community - LOCAL BAHA’I COMMUNITY
59 - Baha'i - All Things Spiritual Directory - NON-BAHA’I
60 -
The Muslim Network for Baha’i Rights - NON-BAHA’I
61 - Baha'i Blog - bahairants - APOSTATE
62 -
A Baha'i Perspective - podcasts - INDIVIDUAL BAHA’I
63 -
Las Vegas Baha'i - LOCAL BAHA’I COMMUNITY
64 -
ibiblio > Collection Index > Religion and Theology > Baha'i – INDIVIDUAL BAHA’I
65 -
dcbahai.org - Home - LOCAL BAHA’I COMMUNITY
66 -
European Baha'i Business Forum - BAHA’I-INSPIRED ORGANIZATION
67 -
Baha'i Statement Library - OFFICIAL BAHA’I
68 -
baha i education - Sacred Texts - NON-BAHA’I
69 -
Bahá’í Gospel - Dedicated to the Washington Metropolitan Bahá’í ...BAHA’I-INSPIRED ORGANIZATION
70 -
Baha'i Kids Page - INDIVIDUAL BAHA’I
71 -
The Baha'i Faith: a short introduction – INDIVIDUAL BAHA’I
72 -
Bosch Baha'i School - OFFICIAL BAHA’I
73 - Baha'i Faith & Religious Freedom of Conscience - APOSTATE
74 -
Baha'i Art Gallery - INDIVIDUAL BAHA’I
75 -
MusicMoz - Religious: Bahá'i - INDIVIDUAL BAHA’I
76 -
Baha'i Zimbabwe - Welcome - BAHA’I NATIONAL COMMUNITY
77 -
Bahá'í Media Bank - OFFICIAL BAHA’I
78 -
Bahá’í Pilgrimage -- Bahá’í World Centre - OFFICIAL BAHA’I
79 -
european Bahá'í women's networkBAHA’I-INSPIRED ORGANIZATION
80 - Baha'i Faith Resources - Academic Info NON-BAHA’I

81 - Bahá'í World News Service - Bahá'í International Community - 54 ... - OFFICIAL BAHA’I
82 -
Baha'i Association at the University of Florida Welcome - BAHA’I CAMPUS CLUB
83 -
warble.com » Baha’i related - blog - INDIVIDUAL BAHA’I
84 -
Library Home Page Example - OFFICIAL BAHA’I
85 -
Baha'i Women's Institute, India - BAHA’I-INSPIRED SOCIAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ORGANIZATION
86 -
U.S. National Bahai Education Web site - OFFICIAL BAHA’I
87 -
Baha'i Community of Huntersville - LOCAL BAHA’I COMMUNITY
88 - Forum for Baha'i Investigations - APOSTATE
89 -
The Bahai Chair for World Peace - NON-BAHA’I
90 - Baha'i - Altreligion - NON-BAHA’I
91 - Beliefnet Presents a Comprehensive Look in to the Bahá'í Faith ... - NON-BAHA’I
92 -
Baha'i Faith in Egypt - INDIVIDUAL BAHA’I
93 -
Baha'i Resources on the Internet - INDIVIDUAL BAHA’I
94 - Baha'i - Webring - NON-BAHA’I
95 -
Los Angeles Baha'i Centre - LOCAL BAHA’I COMMUNITY
96 -
Standardized Library Resources: Baha’i Print Media : 1) - NON-BAHA’I
97 -
The Baha'i Writings – Baha’i Online Library - INDIVIDUAL BAHA’I
98 - Baha'i - Seaside Church - NON-BAHA’I
99 - Baha'i Faith - ReligionFacts - NON-BAHA’I
100 -
The Native American Baha'i Institute (NABI) - OFFICIAL BAHA’I

5 comments:

dan said...

#36 for the win

Marco said...

Baha'i Faith in Egypt only on #92 ???

Hard to believe...

Marco said...

I wonder what are Google's criteria to produce this list...

George Wesley said...

Marco,

Bilo's wonderful blog came up #41 in a search for "Baha'i" today, so obviously there is fluxuation. I leave it to computer people like you and dear Dan to explain it to me!

BTW, just in case I never told you, it is you who got me started with the idea that I could blog when you dropped down on my wife's blog with a comment. I thought, Wow, people all over the world can read this stuff! Ahh the power of blogging, and the responsibility that goes along with it...

Marco said...

Yes... the "blogging virus" is spreading amongst the friends!
:-)