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Dec 1, 2007

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The Jews and the Baha'is: Some Comparisons

The above piece served as my introduction to a more lengthy series of prose and poetic pieces, some 27 pages and 12,000 words. It was far too long to post here at Topix.-Ron Price, Australia  (Mar 27, 2014 | post #2)


The Jews and the Baha'is: Some Comparisons

Over the last decade, 2005 to 2014, since my retirement from FT, PT and most volunteer work, after an employment-and-stu dent life of half a century, 1954 to 2004, I have often written about the Jews and Judaism with comparisons and contrasts to a people and a religion I have now been associated with for more than 60 years, the Baha'is and the Baha'i Faith. The following 27 pages and 12,000 words provide a series of items containing, as they do, some of these comparisons and contrasts, among other aspects of both the Jewish world and the Baha'i world. I wrote the following after watching Simon Schama's "The Story of the Jews" on SBSONE TV in Tasmania, on 22/3/'14, 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. Schama's interest in the identity of the Jew, now and in history, stimulated my own interest in the identity of the Baha'i, now and in history.-Ron Price, Pioneering Over Five Epochs, 24/3/'14. ------------------ ------------------ ------------------ ------------------ ----------------- Part 1: The longer I have been a Baha’i the more and more I have seen parallels between the Baha’i experience and the Jewish experience, between what it means to be a Baha’i and what it means to be a Jew. While individual experiences, inevitably, vary greatly, certain overall themes are common between the two religions: a history of persecution; a body or writings and myths that separate the believer from non-believers and that give adherents a foundation of meaning and identity in their lives; a spiritual homeland of holy places and holy men and women who act as models and metaphors for living; the importance of written history and a transcendent Being as a source of order for man and society; the importance of Torah, or Law, written law, to bring daily life into conformity with the original teachings; a foundation in charismatic revelation and a transition to an institutional theocratic state; the place of vision and a sense of the future in history and; finally, the crucial interrelationship between the individual and the community. I have found my Baha’i experience has been helpful in understanding general social and moral issues. I felt deeply conscious of being a Baha’i, and active in spelling out what it meant. Part of the effect of this consciousness has been to make me feel out-of-place, and separate; part of the effect, too, has made me feel integrated with, at one with, the social setting wherever I went. Another effect has been to give me many definitions of homeland: house, land, word processor, place of birth, the planet and a range of serendipitous locations where chance and circumstance has brought me to be. -Ron Price, Pioneering Over Five Epochs, 2014. Part 2: This Baha’i business plays a role at so many different levels, and in such varying intensities. We have our holocaust on a much smaller scale, and our freshly minted tears, from innocent, bewildered eyes; the world’s forgetfulness will not debase this coin of gold which enters through a portal from which no man returns. We have our prophets who came to this same grainy, parched, landscape and its unquenchable sun, and the crazed hot wind which mutters so very, very apocalypticly. They were placed in this oven where the heat consumes every thing but compassion.1 Our combustible souls, too, vanish in a puff, but not before those prophets, speaking redemptive words of glacial austerity and honey-dew from an unseen world viewing the entirety of complex human history. 1 Roger White, “A Desert Place”, Occasions of Grace, George Ronald, Oxford, p.97. ------------------ ------------------ ------------------ ------------------ -----------------  (Mar 27, 2014 | post #1)


Baha'i Fallacies and Contradictions

Since the Founder of the Baha'i Faith claims to be the Return of Christ, this discussion of the Baha'i Faith is of more than a little importance to the Christian.-Ron Price, Australia  (Oct 9, 2013 | post #37)


Baha'i Fallacies and Contradictions

As a Baha'i for over half a century I find this discussion about the question of succession and the authenticity of Abdu'l-Baha's Will and Testament like an old dish rag. I've seen these arguments now for decades and for those who want to question the legitimacy of the Baha'i administrative order I leave you to it. The following link may be of interest to some readers here: http://info.bahai. org/universal-hous e-of-justice.html  (Nov 11, 2011 | post #35)

Bentonville, AR

James Baldwin, 72, Bentonville, Ark.

I am writing here about the famous writer--James Baldwin.-Ron in Tasmania ------------ BALDWIN and ME MAKING IT UP AS WE WENT ALONG In his first novel Go Tell It on the Mountain, published in 1953, American novelist, essayist, playwright, poet, and social critic, James Baldwin(1924-1987) , wrote with intensity about the power of prayer and preaching. He wrote on behalf of an otherwise powerless community of which he was a part. It was a time, he wrote, filled with soaring possibilities in contrast to the bitter world outside. It was as though life’s very bitterness offered his congregation a unique insight into the suffering of Christ, a bitterness which made the congregation for that time of prayer and preaching a chosen people whose spiritual exaltation, in all its fiery rhetoric and colourful abandon, could never be experienced by white people. Baldwin matched this novel with an essay, “Down at the Cross,” published in 1962, in which he wrote about his own conversion as an adolescent filled with doubts and fears and ambitions and a sharp sense of exclusion: “One moment I was on my feet, singing and clapping and, at the same time, working out in my head the plot of a play; the next moment, with no transition, no sensation of falling, I was on my back, with the lights beating down into my face and all the vertical saints above me.” –Ron Price with thanks to Colm Toibin, “James Baldwin & Barack Obama,” The New York Review of Books, 23 October 2008. I was too young back then to get into your novels and essays being a primary and secondary school student in Ontario---reading what was necessary to qualify for my entrance to university, just growing-up and making the best of my little-town world. I got religious experience in very different ways to you & involvement, in my case, was with Australia and not France;1 I found a new power, a freedom, a sense of a destiny to fulfil and I worked out my identity, exploring my society & myself, making it up as I went along—and I went along to many a town across 2 continents. Out of my failures and my successes, I saw hope, a new set of values, and I gradually produced an autobiography out of my efforts to make sense of this complex world and my complex playful self, as well as my own unique place in history, remaking my world in my own likeness and in the context of a vision with a question before me: “What will happen to all this radiant & pure beauty?” 1 Baldwin moved to Paris in November 1948 when he was twenty-four. “I left America,” he wrote in 1959, the year I joined the Baha’i Faith, “because I doubted my ability to survive the fury of the colour problem here…. I wanted to prevent myself from becoming merely a Negro; or, even, merely a Negro writer.” I moved to Australia in July 1971 when I was 26 because I saw myself as part of Canada’s international Baha’i diaspora or pioneering mission overseas. I had already experienced some personal furies associated with episodes of bipolar disorder and more would come Downunder. I wanted to play a role in the then Nine Year Plan, 1964-1973, and I did. Ron Price 11 November 2011  (Nov 11, 2011 | post #2)


Baha'i Fallacies and Contradictions

Apologetics is a branch of systematic theology, although some experience its thrust in religious studies or philosophy of religion courses. Some encounter it on the internet for the first time in a more populist and usually much less academic form. As I see it, apologetics is primarily concerned with the protection of a position, the refutation of the issues raised by that position's assailants and, in the larger sense, the exploration of that position in the context of prevailing philosophies and standards in a secular society, a religious society, indeed, any society past or present. All of us defend our positions whatever these positions are: atheistic, theistic, agnostic, humanistic, skeptic, cynic, realist, pragmatist and any one of a multitude of religions, denominations, sects, cults, isms and wasms. Apologetics, to put it slightly differently, is concerned with answering both general and critical inquiries from others. In the main, though, apologetics deals with criticism of a position and dealing with that criticism in as rational a manner as possible. Apologetics can help explore the teachings of a religion or of a philosophy in the context of the prevailing religions and philosophies of the day as well as in the context of the common laws and standards of a secular society. Although the capacity to engage in critical self-reflection on the fundamentals of some position is a prerequisite of the task of engaging in apologetics, apologetics derives much of its impetus from a commitment to a position. Given the role of apologetics in religious and philosophical history and in the development of the texts and ideas that are part and parcel of that history, it is surprising that contemporary communities generally undervalue its importance and often are not even aware of the existence of this sub-discipline of philosophy. Authors, writers, editors of journals and leaders known for defending points in arguments, for engaging in conflicts or for taking up certain positions that receive great popular scrutiny and/or are minority views engage in what today are essentially forms of secular apologetics. Naturally in life, we all take positions on all sorts of topics, subjects, religions and philosophies. Often that position is inarticulate and poorly thought out if given any thought at all. With that said, though, the apologetics I engage in here is a never-ending exercise with time out for the necessary and inevitable quotidian tasks of life: eating, sleeping, drinking and a wide range of leisure activities. Write to me at: [email protected] m if you want to discuss any issues in more depth.-Ron Price, Tasmania  (Oct 7, 2010 | post #33)


Baha'i Fallacies and Contradictions

If you google the following: Udo Schaefer's english articles, you will get his response to the view that the Baha'i Faith is a sect or a cult. m/articles_e1.php- -his article is a devastating critique of the position, the view, of the Baha'i Faith as sect, cult, denomination or ism.-Ron Price, Tasmania  (Oct 7, 2010 | post #32)

J. D. Salingher Dies(2)

WITHDRAWAL AND RETURN Many writers, artists, poets, people in the world of culture and the arts, go into seclusion after their early successes. In a radio program today, Arts Today, two such writers were mentioned: J.D. Salinger and Thomas Pynchon. Others go into seclusion later in their careers. It is part of a general pattern which the historian Arnold Toynbee calls "withdrawal-a nd-return." Others call the axis along which specific changes or rhythms take place 'approach-and-sepa ration.' Sometimes the artist will withdraw and never return. Sometimes he will return or approach in a more moderate way than he had originally. I have, recently, withdrawn or separated from quite an intense milieux of employment and community work and I have returned in a moderate way. Various factors predisposed me to go inward by the last years of my middle age, the years 55 to 60. This process of a withdrawal into solitude is hardly observable except to friends and relatives with whom one has some close connection by birth, by marriage or by lengthy association. In the case of J. D. Salinger it was observable because he had become a famous writer and the world wanted contact with a person who had become by degrees a recluse. Insight comes from an inner gestation, a Socratic wisdom associated with knowing yourself, a personal growth. Such was the view of Salinger. For Salinger this social reversal brought drama, change, intensification and new landmarks on a personal quest. It was a personal quest which ended today. -Ron Price, Pioneering Over Four Epochs, 29 March 2001 and updated on the day of Salinfer’s death: 30/1/’10. Shocking public events have inspired this poetic, catastrophic happenings to someone born in 1944, to someone who tried to find the Kingdom come with power and has now seen nearly half a century of its slow establishment around this global world. Here are enough themes to occupy time, energy & the genius of a dozen men: historians, sociologists and philosophers—an inspiration from another realm, a most wonderful and thrilling motion, fifty years of it, drying out my intellectual eyes with a series of barren fields and psychically winding my mind with a new fertility that surpassed all that I had experienced in life, filled my days with a revivifying breath or I would have died in a wasteland without a wimper amidst stony rubbish.(1) (1) T.S. Eliot, The Wasteland, line 19. Ron Price 30 March 2001 updated: 30/1/’10  (Jan 30, 2010 | post #1)

J.D. Salinger Dies

A DIFFERENT SOPHISTICATION I came across J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye in 1962, just before stepping into the travelling-pioneer ing arena. It had little impact on me at the time. Recently I read several analyses of the book, Salinger’s sophisticated writing and a biography of the man. After reading these commentaries I felt there was an interesting comparison and contrast with my Baha’i experience in the last half of the twentieth century. Salinger also was a wonderful example, a relevant lesson, for any writer who becomes popular and wants desperately to preserve his privacy. -Ron Price The year you1 set off in search of a retreat we went to one hundred new countries, the biggest spread in any one year in our history. We were in retreat from corrupt America just like you, but we played it differently with our ever onward and outward Plans than you and your Zen which was just beginning to make its mark on men, then.2 Space, solitude, silence and self-sufficiency seemed to be the core of your dream, all your life after Catcher in the Rye made you famous and you withdrew into anonymity. The teenage revolution began about the same time and millions saw their problems, endless sensitivities, spiritual aloneness, silent suffering, withdrawal, the drying of their hope and wonder in your skilful words. You spoke a language that resonated throughout America in the ninth and early tenth states of history3, my teenage and adult years. The voice that I had found, had heard, had resonated in my inward being as I walked through silent streets alone, or at night as I read in my bed, or at meetings in my home was far removed from your’s. It was a nightingale’s that sang on the twigs of the Tree of Eternity with holy and sweet melodies, subtle, silent and of the rarest sophistication,4 plummeting my soul outward across the planet. And now, I seek that same solitude and silence, after three dozen years of endless outreach in community with my endless words and words. I have learned from your sad days and ways, as I make my own way through the minefield that publicity offers up. I enjoy the freedom from the great publicity and media machines that our world has thrown up on the detritus of our dieing age and yours: how long, how long? Will this poetry remain forever in Obscurity? One of the wonders of WWW is that one can move out of obscurity and never have to deal with fame and with those rigours of renown!! Ron Price 29 January 1998 updated on 30/1/’10 on hearing of the death of J.D. Salinger. 1 J. D. Salinger published Catcher in the Rye in 1951 and set off for a winter retreat in late 1952. In some ways this marks the beginning of his search for solitude and anonymity that characterized the rest of his life. See In Search of J.D. Salinger: A Biography, Ian Hamilton, Random House, NY, 1988, p. 132. 2 Suzuki’s Zen texts were first published in the USA in 1949, but it was not until 1953 that they began to make their mark. That was the year of the opening of the Baha’i temple in Chicago and the inception of the Kingdom of God on earth as the Guardian characterized this event in God Passes By. 3 Catcher in the Rye started to really sell and be reviewed in 1956.(ibid.,p.155) It was one of the most popular books in the last years of the Ten Year Plan and in the first quarter-century of the tenth stage of history.(1963-1988 ) 4 one of the meanings of sophisticated is “to deprive of simplicity”. I do not find the Baha’i writings ‘simple’, or characterized by ‘simplicity.’ Indeed they are, as a body, quite complex. They “can be read over and over without understanding.” (John Hatcher, The Ocean of His Words, Wilmette, 1997, p.7.)  (Jan 30, 2010 | post #1)

Nazi-like Iranian Cabal Charges Bahais

Part 5 of Nazi-like trial: Iran's crisis of civilization will be resolved neither by blind imitation of an obviously defective Western culture nor by retreat into medieval ignorance. One of the most appalling afflictions, in terms of its tragic consequences of Iran’s flight into a quasi-medievalism, has been the slander of the Bahá'í Cause perpetrated by that privileged caste to whom Persia's masses had been taught to look for guidance in spiritual matters. For over 150 years, every medium of public information-- pulpit, press, radio, television and even scholarly publication--has been perverted to create an image of the Bahá'í community and its beliefs that is grossly false and whose sole aim is to arouse popular contempt and antagonism. No calumny has been too vile; no lie too outrageous. At no point during those long years were the Iranian Baha’is, the victims of this vilification, given an opportunity, however slight, to defend themselves and to provide the facts that would have exposed such calculated poisoning of the public mind. This show-trial in Teheran is just the latest chapter in what is now approaching to be two centuries of persecution of the Bahá'í Faith. ------------------ ------------------ ------------------ ------------------ ----------------- The above article has been paraphrased and edited by Ron Price, a Bahá'í living in Tasmania. The original article was located at the internet site Bahá'í epistolary and was posted at that site on January 12th 2010 by Glenn Franco Simmons. This article by Ron Price has also drawn on information from: (a) another news item dated 20/1/’10 at the internet site: Bahá'í World News Service of the International Bahá'í Community and (b) from a letter of the Universal House of Justice dated 26 November 2003. Ron Price thanks all three of these sources in putting together this brief historical comment on the present trial of the seven Baha’is in Iran. (1300 words)  (Jan 21, 2010 | post #5)

Nazi-like Iranian Cabal Charges Bahais

Part 4 of Nazi-like trial: ------------------ ---------- With a numerical advantage of 1 to 250 one has to wonder what the Islamic clerics fear. Perhaps they fear the truth. Perhaps that is what the clerics have always feared. Iranians should be ashamed for their complicity in allowing the genocide of Bahá'ís to continue for at least five generations with hardly a whisper of opposition. Indeed, some academics have recently expressed their public shame on an internet document/letter in their continuing to ignore the treatment of the Iranian Baha’i community for over a century. For generations Iranians have been coming for and at the Bahá'ís and treating them with unbelievable atrocities. No one complained because it did no good. Often groups of Iranians came for the Bahá'ís and killed hundreds of them; periodically since 1844 the Babi-Bahá’í religion has seen thousands of its adherents slaughtered. The total dead in modern history is, arguably: 25000 to 30000 from 1844 to 2010. This quasi-genocidal experience over some 17 decades and humanity's near silence and inaction has got lost in a sea of other international atrocities and tempests. In recent years and months it is clear that the Iranian government and its several arms of authority have turned on a wide cross-section of the Iranian people—not just the Baha’is. Now Iran, so very tragically and so very sadly, is beginning to reap the fruit of the harvest that generations of religious intolerance has sowed. In 1979 the Iranian people threw off a despotism and swept its counterfeit claims to modernity into history's dustbin. Their revolution was the achievement of the combined forces of many groups, but its driving force was the ideals of Islam. In place of wanton self-indulgence, people were promised lives of dignity and decency. Gross inequities of class and wealth would be overcome by the spirit of brotherhood enjoined by God. The natural resources with which providence has endowed so fortunate a land were declared to be the patrimony of the entire Iranian people, to be used to provide universal employment and education. A new "Islamic Constitution" ostensibly enshrined solemn guarantees of equality before the law for all citizens of the republic. Government would endeavour conscientiously to combine spiritual values with the principles of democratic choice. How do such promises relate to the experience being described after more than 30 years by the great majority of Iran's population? From all sides today one hears cries of protest against endemic corruption, political manipulation, the mistreatment of women, a shameless violation of human rights and the suppression of thought. What is the effect on public consciousness, one must further ask, of appeals to the authority of the Holy Qur'an to justify policies that lead to such conditions?  (Jan 21, 2010 | post #4)

Q & A with RonPrice9


With fire We test the gold.


George Town, Tasmania


South George Town

Local Favorites:

6 Reece Street, George Town, Tasmania, Australia

I Belong To:

the Baha'i Faith and have done so since 1959.

When I'm Not on Topix:

I do so many things I could not possibly fit them all into this little box.

Read My Forum Posts Because:

they "might" inform and/or entertain you.

I'm Listening To:

light classical music

Read This Book:

Too many to list here

Favorite Things:

Too many to list here

On My Mind:

finish filling this internet form in before going to bed

Blog / Website / Homepage:

I Believe In:

The Baha'i teachings which can be found outlined in many a volume and at many places on the internet. I ENCOURAGE READERS TO CHECK THEM OUT in whatever books or internet sites catch their fancy.