Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Neither Here... Nor There.

I'm going to take a huge assumption, and decide that many of you have either seen or heard about the documentary Jesus Camp (2006). Ironically, one of the least assuming but also most powerful documentaries on the evangelical, fundamentalist Christian right in America. It lets the pastors, children and bible camp activities speak for themselves, which portrays more powerful ideas than overlaying the film with a voice over, or leftist interviews.

In any case, I watched it (and was shocked by it) again with my roommate recently. He has never seen it, and growing up in a Baha'i family, really didn't know this section of society existed. He was stunned. So stunned that he began investigating his own faith, and subsequently so did I. We spent hours on wikipedia examining the Baha'i religion and not being in anyway religious myself, I was blown away.

I found many aspects of it different and appealing.

"Bahá'í notions of progressive religious revelation result in their accepting the validity of most of the world's religions, whose founders and central figures are seen as Manifestations of God. Religious history is interpreted as a series of dispensations, where each manifestation brings a somewhat broader and more advanced revelation, suited for the time and place in which it was expressed

Meaning, it sees the nine world religions stemming from Prophets (ie: Jesus, Mohammad, Krishna, Buddha etc) as steps towards a better understanding of God."

Also, I found the 12 Social Principles pretty interesting....

Unity of God
Unity of religion
Unity of humankind
Equality between men and women
Elimination of all forms of prejudice
World peace
Harmony of religion and science
Independent investigation of truth
Universal compulsory education
Universal auxiliary language
Obedience to government and non-involvement in partisan politics
Elimination of extremes of wealth and poverty

I'm also in love with their temples....

Most of Bahia's progressive and interesting bits are largely due to the fact it hasn't pushed 200 years old. Hasn't really had time to branch out, evolve, diverge etc.. to aquire any of the weird bits other religions tend to have. There are a few unfortunate parts though, like the focus on marriage being between a man and woman and a few other bits about homosexuality. Not saying that this mentality is necessarily followed by any Baha'i's I know, its just unfortunate they are there in scripture. In any case my roommate is going to take me to a Baha'i community event so I can get the full effect and see just how awesome it is.

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