Monday, February 18, 2008

On Religion: It's not just about paying lipservice to an unknowable Essence that we think will punish us if we act 'wrong'

What does it mean to be an adherent of the Baha'i religion? Shireen reflects. -gw

We had yet another great discussion at our flat tonight about defending the Baha'i Faith from attacks. Basically, we are a bunch of Baha'i youth trying to bolster ourselves against an onslaught of criticisms and religious attacks from a secular, humanistic, decidedly unspiritual populace at large, bent on its own material and physical gratification. We are attempting to prepare ourselves against these attacks by deepening our understanding of the Baha'i Writings and gaining clearer insights into how the Writings address many current trends and topics. Tonight we decided to deepen ourselves on the topic of Baha'i laws.

The Baha'i book of laws is the Kitab-i-Aqdas (which literally means "book of laws"). We spent several hours discussing the ramifications of certain legalities laws, and ordinances stated in the book. We also speculated as to why Baha'u'llah legislated on certain topics and not others, albeit never questioning His ability and right to do so. As a Manifestation of God, we know that Baha'u'llah provided us with a complete spiritual framework for a new global civilisation, one in which God's laws and ordinances are in place for our protection and freedom, a notion I know is quite contrary to most people's current thoughts on what freedom means. ...

I feel we are now at a pivotal time in human history. Society is crying out for spiritual fulfillment and direction; the religious regimes of the past are no longer functional in that sense. We are in dire need of a drastic paradigm shift in order to align our understanding of existence in this world with that of what God has been telling us through His Manifestations - we were created through His bounty and unfailing mercy to know Him and to worship Him. And once we recognise that self-same purpose, we can no longer turn a blind eye to the needs of society. We are enjoined upon to go out into the world and serve mankind in whatever capacity we can offer.

Religion is not just about paying lipservice to an unknowable Essence that we think will punish us if we act 'wrong'; religion has to be a way of life that means worshipping God through manifold acts of kindness and service to our fellow human beings; it means being an example of love and hope and virtue in a crumbling world; it means being the best Baha'i I can possibly be by learning as much as I can about what it TRULY means to be a Baha'i and putting it into practice.

The Many Adventures of Shireen:
Here you will find a window to my creative soul. I will be funny, I will be serious, I will be ridiculous, but above all, I will be real. This is not a "Baha'i" blog, although I am a Baha'i. This is simply a forum for my own opinions and observations about life, religion, love, issues, things in general.
{Re-posted with permssion}
{Photo: "Epiphany," uploaded on January 1, 2008 by barabeke on flickr, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic}

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