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Characteristics of Bahai Administrative Order and Liberal Democratic Notions - A Comparative Study Farzin Aghdasi.

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Presentation on theme: "Characteristics of Bahai Administrative Order and Liberal Democratic Notions - A Comparative Study Farzin Aghdasi."— Presentation transcript:

1 Characteristics of Bahai Administrative Order and Liberal Democratic Notions - A Comparative Study Farzin Aghdasi

2 Overview of the Presentation n Motivation: Protection and Unity n List Popular Western Ideas n Expose Unexamined Assumptions n Rights and Freedoms n Explore Bahai Principles n Covenant: Ideas and Actions n Relevance to African Societies

3 Why Study the Administration n Understand our own place in it n Appreciate the basis of a new civilization n Avoid common misunderstandings n Strengthen foundations of Unity n Increase our love for the Covenant n Begin to understand the Universal House of Justice

4 Western Civilization n Rebellion against entrenched interests n Love of Freedom n Cult of the Individual n Skepticism of Authority n Materialistic pursuits and standards n Analogy to Adolescence

5 Wonders of the West uWhen the eyes of the people of the East were captivated by the arts and wonders of the West, they roved distraught in the wilderness of material causes, oblivious of the One Who is the Causer of Causes, and the Sustainer thereof, while such men as were the source and the wellspring of Wisdom never denied the moving Impulse behind these causes, nor the Creator or the Origin thereof. Thy Lord knoweth, yet most of the people know not. –Bahá'u'lláh, Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p.144

6 Democratic Representative Governance n Rule of the people by the people for the people n Separation of church and state n Individual Rights and Freedom of Expression n Separation of Powers n Adversarial checks and balances n Transparency and Accountability

7 Higher Ideals n Divine Origin of the Administrative Order n Integration of Spiritual and Material Life n Greater Freedoms, well defined channels n The rule of conscience illumined by reason, spiritual senses, and the Revelation n Cooperation, unity and critical development

8 Methods for the Study n The Scientific Methodology n Materialistic assumptions in current tools u Say: O leaders of religion! Weigh not the Book of God with such standards and sciences as are current amongst you, for the Book itself is the unerring Balance established amongst men. In this most perfect Balance whatsoever the peoples and kindreds of the earth possess must be weighed, while the measure of its weight should be tested according to its own standard, did ye but know it. –Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, para 99.

9 Beyond Democracy n The Administrative Order of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh must in no wise be regarded as purely democratic in character inasmuch as the basic assumption which requires all democracies to depend fundamentally upon getting their mandate from the people is altogether lacking in this Dispensation. Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Baha'u'llah, p. 153

10 Accountability n the members of the Universal House of Justice...are not...responsible to those whom they represent, nor are they allowed to be governed by the feelings, the general opinion, and even the convictions of the mass of the faithful, or of those who directly elect them. Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Baha'u'llah, p. 153

11 The Rule of the Conscience n They are to follow, in a prayerful attitude, the dictates and promptings of their conscience. n They may, indeed they must, acquaint themselves with the conditions prevailing among the community,...but must reserve for themselves the right of an unfettered decision. n "God will verily inspire them with whatsoever He willeth," -- Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Baha'u'llah, p.153

12 Individual Freedom n Greatly admired and praised in the Faith n Principle of Moderation in all things n The embodiment and symbol of liberty: Animal n Freedom in the service of the good: Moderate Freedom n Relation with the Institutions: Mutual Support

13 Released from Bondage u The Ancient Beauty hath consented to be bound with chains that mankind may be released from its bondage, and hath accepted to be made a prisoner within this most mighty Stronghold that the whole world may attain unto true liberty. He hath drained to its dregs the cup of sorrow, that all the peoples of the earth may attain unto abiding joy, and be filled with gladness… We have accepted to be abased,... that ye may be exalted, and have suffered manifold afflictions, that ye might prosper and flourish.-- Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings p. 99

14 Freedom of Speech n Elevation of Artistic and Literary Expression n A New Etiquette for Expression: Content, Volume, Style, Tact, Wisdom and Timeliness n Principles of Consultation: love, harmony, purity of motive, humility, lowliness, patience, no offence given or taken, detachment from ideas n New Standard for Public Discussion: Accept & Support Majority Vote even if wrong

15 Fire of the Tongue n the tongue is a smouldering fire, and excess of speech a deadly poison. Material fire consumeth the body, whereas the fire of the tongue devoureth both heart and soul. The force of the former lasteth but for a time, whilst the effects of the latter endure a century. F -- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 193

16 Moderation and Influence n Human utterance is an essence which aspireth to exert its influence and needeth moderation. As to its influence, this is conditional upon refinement which in turn is dependent upon hearts which are detached and pure. As to its moderation, this hath to be combined with tact and wisdom as prescribed in the Holy Scriptures and Tablets. F -- Bahá'u'lláh, Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 143

17 Criticism n Freedom to offer criticism is guaranteed n Unity must be preserved n Channel for criticism is laid out n Negative criticism should be channeled not to undermine authority n Should not degenerate into dissent, dissidence, opposition or schism n In politics conflict is institutionalized in opposition parties

18 Means of Order n Say: O servants! Let not the means of order be made the cause of confusion and the instrument of union an occasion for discord. F -- Bahá'u'lláh, Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 222

19 Summary n It would be utterly misleading to attempt a comparison between this unique, this divinely- conceived Order and any of the diverse systems which the minds of men...have contrived. Such an attempt would in itself betray a lack of complete appreciation of the excellence of the handiwork of its great Author. F -- Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Baha'u'llah, p. 152

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