Bahá`í/guns

Advertisement


Question
QUESTION: Hi Joel
Are Bahai allow to own guns or carrying them?
Regards

ANSWER: Hello, Calvin! Glad to hear from you!  That I know, there are no prohibitions about carrying or owning guns in the Faith.  However, there may be some directives from the Universal House of Justice about it.  They have a website, and several books of their "edicts' are available from the Baha'i Distribution Service.  They would likely offer insights and guidelines on gun-related issues.  Joel

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hi Joel
Thanks for the answer.
Do you think that the Bahai faith is a persian religion? As in do you think that the religious practice is steep deep in Persian culture. I notice that the Bahai new year is the same as the Persian new year.
Regards

ANSWER: The Baha'i is really an Iranian religion. It began in Tehran.  However, some of Baha'u'llah's writings, as THE HIDDEN WORDS, were in Persian.  Why that was, I don't know.  True, Naw Ruz is Persian and, again, I don't know why Baha'is adopted it as a "main event."
   Some of Baha'u'llah's writings, I think, were in Arabic.  Again, I believe that was also in THE HIDDEN WORDS.
    I found several interesting items, all writings of Edward G. Browne, an early historian of the Faith.  He wrote "The Babis of Persia" in the JOURNAL OF THE ROYAL ASIATC SOCIETY (1889-1892).  He apparently wrote of Babis/Baha'is in HISTORY OF PERSIAN LITERATURE IN MODERN TIMES (1930)and in A LITERARY HISIORY OF PERSIA (See Vol. IV).  He also wrote THE PERSIAN REVOLUTION OF 1905-1909.  Another of his books was A YEAR AMONG THE PERSIANS.  I don't know how these relate to the Babi/Baha'i movements, but these books may answer your questions.  See also EDWARD G. BROWNE AND THE BAHAI FAITH by H.M. Balyuzi and A TRAVELLERS NARRATIVE.  Off-hand, I don't remember the author of the latter, but it is about the early years of the Faith and is currently in print.
    A problem with Baha'i history is that it is tainted by Baha'i rhetoric. Rather than being objective, it represents the "party line."  It can cloud their analysis of events.  

Joel

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hi Joel
Thanks I will look up thos books.
I find that the Bahai faith is always trying to convert new members and also I really dislike that UHJ have so much control over Bahai lives.

Are Bahai allow to have dual faiths? Can one be a Bahai and also a active member of another faith?

Thank you

Answer
In my experience with Baha'is, I have not seen them as evangelistic, though they are happy to talk to "seekers."  Being a Baha'i, as I have seen, is very much a personal choice.  I have heard of people who have had bad experiences with the UHJ, though, too, they may have had run-ins with members of the Board of Counselors.  Of course, I have seen only second-hand claims.  I thought that when you became a Baha'i, you were pretty much on your own.  Many Baha'is do not come to meetings, nor do they seem to actually involve themselves in the Faith.
   Regarding Baha'is with other faiths, you ask an interesting question.  Members of the NSA (Haifa) are not to hold membership in other churches or religions.  They may, however, attend churches with their family.  This is to maintain family harmony.  In most cases, it would be problematic to be a Baha'i and hold church membership.  If a church revers Christ and asks for faith in Christ, it'd likely be s concern to the church if one has professed faith in Baha'u'llah.  Many churches (except Unitarians or Unity) would not allow this.  I recall a case where a guy wanted to be a Baha'i, but wanted to be baptized in the Community of Christ (Reorganized LDS).  I don't know the outcome, but such would not likely work.  Baptism is a profession of Christ.  If a person professes faith in Baha'u'llah, he/she is not a candidate for Christian baptism.  A person may understand "faith in Christ" in many ways, but does one profess Christ or Baha'u'llah? What should a Christian do?
    Now, early Baha'is did hold church membership.  Marcus Bach wrote of a lady who was  a "Baha'i Methodist."  Montfort Mills, an early Baha'i, was an active member of the Church of England.  Albert  Vail, an early Baha'i teacher in the Midwest, was a Unitarian minister.  Abdu'l Baha spoke in many churches.  That I can see, he never asked Baha'is to leave churches.  He didn't see the faith as exclusive of the church.  Why the change? It was because of Baha'is in Iran.  They could not be Baha'i and Muslim. They had to be one or the other.  So, Shoghi Effendi, as Guardian, "ruled" that Baha'is must not hold membership in other churches or religions.
    I've been told that Mason Remey, as Second Guardian, rescinded that "order".  (Though he is not accepted by the NSA).
    There can be good reason for Baha'is to not hold church membership.  If a person believes in Baha'u'llah, that will not be acceptable to a conservative Christian Church.  You might get by with it in a liberal church as the United Church of Christ, but even Methodists or Presbyterians require faith in Christ.  Why would a Baha'i want to belong to such a church?  They don't see religion as progressive as Baha'is do.  
    In my view, church membership should be up to the individual.
    I guess it depends, too, on what you understand "faith" in Baha'u'llah to mean.  Mainstream Baha'is see him as "the" Manifestation of God.  He is the one for today.  Now, I think you can see him, say, as an avatar, mahatma, or master and you could easily belong to Unity, Religious Science, or the Aetherius Society (a UFO church).  That, of course, is not how mainstream Baha'is understand him.  To them, he is like Jesus for today.
    So, in my view, being a Baha'i and holding church membership is a matter of personal conscience, but it also depends upon the church.  There are churches a Baha'i could join and there are some they couldn't.  I know a Baha'i Scientologist.

Joel

Bahá`í

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Joel Bjorling

Expertise

I can answer questions on the basic teachings, practices, and history of the Baha`i Faith and can provide information on diverse Baha`i groups (as the Orthodox Baha`is).

Experience

I have personally studied the Baha'i Faith for over twenty years and published a reference book on the Faith entitled THE BAHA'I FAITH; AN HISTORICAL BIBLIOGRAPHY. I also hold a Masters degree in Theological Studies.

Publications
THE BAHA'I FAITH: AN HISTORICAL BIBLIOGRAPHY (Garland Publishing,1985).

Education/Credentials
BA in Behavioral Sciences (Oral Roberts University)
MATS (McCormick Theological Seminary)
Further study, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.