My perusal today of the Baha'i Library Forum reveals content of great merit. Brettz9 is masterful and succint in his summary as to why the application of the terms "liberal" and "conservative" are inappropriate for use "within the Baha'i paradigm" and in his discussion of different uses of the term "enemy" in relation to the Faith. He builds his case by incorporating the Writings and has pulled together relevant quotes.
here are no sides or feuds here, no liberal or conservative camps within the Baha'i paradigm. The only possibilities for those within the Faith are Baha'is who seek to adhere to the Baha'i Administrative Order, those who are yet unaware of the teachings on the subject, and those individuals who try to subvert the faith to their own ends (whether they become Covenant-breakers, leave the Faith, become inactive, or return to the Faith). This Faith, even more so than any before it, has an ultimate authoritative voice on what is or is not allowed, as well as who or who is not a member, so it cannot be compared to Christian or even Muslim sects where the passing of the Founder led to unclarity about the rightful Succession.
nemy belongs to a special category of words which can sometimes indicate a mutual relationship and sometimes not. It is also used in the Writings both in a sense such as a categorization to avoid:
Let them see no one as their enemy, or as wishing them ill, but think of all humankind as their friends (Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Baha, sec. 1)
yet the word is also used to describe a condition of opposition by at least one party:
This revelation have We given thee in Our holy Tablet, lest thou sorrow for what hath befallen Our House through the assaults of the enemy (Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, section 58
umerous and powerful have been the forces that have schemed, both from within and from without, in lands both far and near, to quench its light and abolish its holy name. Some have apostatized from its principles, and betrayed ignominiously its cause. Others have hurled against it the fiercest anathemas which the embittered leaders of any ecclesiastical institution are able to pronounce. Still others have heaped upon it the afflictions and humiliations which sovereign authority can alone, in the plentitude of its power, inflict.
he utmost its avowed and secret enemies could hope to achieve was to retard its growth and obscure momentarily its purpose. What they actually accomplished was to purge and purify its life, to stir it to still greater depths, to galvanize its soul, to prune its institutions, and cement its unity. A schism, a permanent cleavage in the vast body of its adherents, they could never create. (World Order of Baha'u'llah, p. 195)
"...the believers need to be deepened in their knowledge and appreciation of the Covenants of both Bahá'u'lláh and `Abdu'l-Bahá. This is the stronghold of the Faith of every Bahá'í, and that which enables him to withstand every test and the attacks of the enemies outside the Faith, and the far more dangerous, insidious, lukewarm people inside the Faith who have no real attachment to the Covenant, and consequently uphold the intellectual aspect of the teachings while at the same time undermining the spiritual foundation upon which the whole Cause of God rests. In a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, 15 April 1949 to an individual believer, published in "The Light of Divine Guidance", vol. 2, p. 84)
his certainly would never justify calling someone an enemy nor feeling any personal animosity toward them, but it should indicate that there certainly can be persons who oppose the Faith, either internally or externally. For the internal cases, we know that these can never cause any permanent schism, but they can certainly cause temporary disruptions if Baha'is are not well-deepened and responsive, both as individuals, and more importantly, the institutions charged to deal with any internal challenges. ...
he House of Justice has referred to continued association with those who have attacked the Faith as being potentially "spiritually corrosive". I also don't think going out of our way to glorify such persons has any merit whatsoever. While Shoghi Effendi was willing to describe Mirza Yahya in God Passes By as "good-natured yet susceptible to the slightest influence", I don't think you'll find any dedicated tributes to the positive qualities of opponents of the Faith within his writings!
s with any human being facing someone who is actively opposing them, it might be tempting to make broad strokes against them, yet we are told in no uncertain terms to avoid doing so, and on the contrary, be willing--where called for--to indicate an enemy's merits (again, by "enemy" I am being descriptive, not indicating we should look at others as our enemies, besides acting under the statement I cited earlier about the need to be an "enemy" of the enemies of the Faith in the sense of not being content to let them spread untruths or create disruptions).
ften those will masquerade under the banner of "unity", when their intention is solely to disrupt, create doubts and divisions and nothing short of "vigilance" can avoid the commotion caused by those intent on deliberately raising havoc.
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