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Category: Community Building

Thoughts of War and Peace—an Anniversary Observed

Thoughts of War and Peace—an Anniversary Observed

Tides of change are sweeping the earth, and we all feel helpless to withstand its powerful force. Every day there is fresh and depressing news of terrorism, famine, war, deep economic disorders and the like. Shoghi Effendi, the head of the Baha’i faith from 1921-1957 has stated:  “A tempest, unprecedented in its violence, unpredictable in its course, catastrophic in its immediate effects, unimaginably glorious in its ultimate consequences, is at present sweeping the face of the earth. Its driving power…

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Part 9 of Religion – The Most Harmful Agency on the Planet?

Part 9 of Religion – The Most Harmful Agency on the Planet?

Why Religion Becomes Corrupt – and How to Fix It   In this series of articles, we’ve looked at the five reasons corruption effects religion, from Dr. Charles Kimball’s fascinating recent book When Religion Becomes Evil. Dr. Kimball, an historian, professor of comparative religion, chair of the department of religion at Wake Forest University and an ordained Baptist minister, concludes his book with a call for all people to recognize those five reasons for religious corruption, and act to understand…

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Part 8 of Religion – The Most Harmful Agency Agency on the Planet?

Part 8 of Religion – The Most Harmful Agency Agency on the Planet?

Outlawing Holy War In this series of articles we’ve cited and studied the groundbreaking recent book When Religion Becomes Evil, by Dr. Charles Kimball, which lists five major causes of problematic religious conflict and violence: absolute truth claims; blind obedience; establishing the ideal time (or triumphalism); and “the end justifies any means”.  In this essay, we’ll consider what Kimball calls the worst religious evil of all – holy war: …more wars have been waged, more people killed, and more evil…

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Part 2 of Poverty and Humanity: The Domino Effect

Part 2 of Poverty and Humanity: The Domino Effect

Previously on Grimm… Okay, play on words time is over. Seriously, the plight of the poor in America is grim. The Great Recession we are still pulling out of cut a great many Americans off at the knees. Poverty flooded and seeped into sectors of our national community that it had not invaded before. And those who were living in poverty already—on Native Reservations, in rural areas in the midwest and deep South, in urban ghettos—found even the slender lifelines…

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Part 1 of Poverty and Humanity: Open Your Hands

Part 1 of Poverty and Humanity: Open Your Hands

And you shall not glean your vineyard, nor shall you gather every grape of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the stranger: I am the Lord your God. (Leviticus 19:10) If one of your brethren becomes poor, and falls into poverty among you, then you shall help him, like a stranger or a sojourner, that he may live with you. (Leviticus 25:35) …you shall not harden your heart nor shut your hand from your poor brother, but…

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Part 5 of Religion – The Most Harmful Agency on the Planet?

Part 5 of Religion – The Most Harmful Agency on the Planet?

When Religion Requires Blind Obedience Authentic religion engages the intellect as people wrestle with the mystery of existence and the challenges of living in an imperfect world.  Conversely, blind obedience is a sure sign of a corrupt religion.  Beware of any religious movement that seeks to limit the intellectual freedom and individual integrity of its adherents.  When individual believers abdicate personal responsibility and yield to the authority of a charismatic leader or become enslaved to particular ideas or teachings, religion…

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Food for Thought

Food for Thought

“The Great Being saith: Regard man as a mine rich in gems of inestimable value. Education can, alone, cause it to reveal its treasures, and enable mankind to benefit therefrom.” (Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings, CXXII) A number of key Bahá’í principles relate to education. Bahá’u’lláh made the independent investigation of reality and truth a primary article of His faith. He further says the acquisition of knowledge “is incumbent upon all”. This, obviously, requires a person to have the skills to acquire knowledge…

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Knowledge, Volition and Action: Unraveling Secrets

Knowledge, Volition and Action: Unraveling Secrets

O God, O Thou Who hast cast Thy splendour over the luminous realities of men, shedding upon them the resplendent lights of knowledge and guidance, and hast chosen them out of all created things for this supernal grace, and hast caused them to encompass all things, to understand their inmost essence, and to disclose their mysteries, bringing them forth out of darkness into the visible world! “He verily showeth His special mercy to whomsoever He will.”  O Lord, help Thou…

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Rules of Various Metals Part 2: Passing the Demon Buck

Rules of Various Metals Part 2: Passing the Demon Buck

Last time I posed a question about what exactly we (believers and non-believers alike) are professing when we claim adherence to the Golden Rule: “do to others as you would have them do to you.” In that context, I’d like to examine the reasonableness of the assumption that because some believers consign non-believers to Hell (whatever they imagine that to be) ALL believers do so. This is an assumption that arises frequently in my dialogues with self-identifying atheists (or anti-theists…

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Rules of Various Metals Part 1: When We Assume…

Rules of Various Metals Part 1: When We Assume…

When I dare to tread the electronic byways of forums intended for laypeople interested in science or humanism, and mention that I believe in God, it is generally assumed that I’m defending beliefs that are irrational and inimical to science and reason. I’m not. As a Bahá’í, I understand the consequences of irrational thinking only too well. There are now over 100 Bahá’ís in prison in Iran for simply being Bahá’í. Historically, over 20,000 of my co-religionists have died in…

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