Why I am a Baha'iConfessions of a Doubting Thomas
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Why I am a Baha段...
As I look deep into the future from the desolate shores of a dying twentieth
century, I know better than to prognosticate. I have done my share of prognostication,
enough to know that no one knows the future. The future is yet to be written,
and it always surprises us. Thus, it would seem that to dedicate one痴
life to a specific, unknown process out of all the infinite variety on
earth at this time, is to commit one痴 self to the highest pinnacle of
human folly. For to commit one痴 self to what may surely die and become
as if it never were, does this not go against all we humans have learned;
against our reason, against self-interest, against open-mindedness?
I was born into a Christian family in the middle of twentieth century
America. As I sit on the threshold of a new Millennium, I find the need
to chronicle why I, a doubting Thomas if there ever were one, a believer
in science and human reason, a skeptic and sometime pessimist; why should
I embrace, hold fast and expound upon the virtues of an obscure human movement
known as the Baha段 Faith? What is it about this obscure process in human
affairs, inaugurated by two prophets known as the Bab and Baha置値lah,
which claims a mere 6 million world wide adherents, which was born in the
blood of thousands of martyrs in nineteenth century Persia? What is it
about the Baha段 Faith that leads me to advocate its adoption, dedicate
myself to its cause, and recommend its virtues to readers present and future?
I am a Baha段 because I believe in Jesus Christ. I believe that Jesus
is the Son of God. I believe that Jesus was horribly tortured and crucified
on a cross for all humanity. I believe that 2000 years ago, Jesus of Nazareth
planted a mustard seed, an insignificant little process of human interaction
which He said would blossom and grow and finally flower into the Kingdom
of God on earth. I believe that Jesus said he would come again and right
every wrong, dry every tear, and that the meek would inherit the earth.
I believe, most of all, in the Sermon on the Mount.
I am a Baha段 because I believe that Buddhists, Moslems, Hindus, Jews,
and many, many other religious folks the world around are practicing and
celebrating great and legitimate spiritual traditions which are God-given.
I believe that not one drop of the spiritual blood, sweat, and tears expended
down through the ages in the world痴 many spiritual traditions will go
wasted. When Christ said he would dry every tear, I think he also meant
that he would not waste any single tear ever shed by God-fearing humanity
down through ages untold and uncounted.
I am a Baha段 because one must ultimately choose. I choose faith, reason,
hope, and inclusivity. I choose meaning. I choose humanity. I choose Baha置値lah.
There is an episode in the movie Ben Hur where the Roman slave
galley carrying the hero sinks into the Mediterranean Sea. Charlton Heston
saves the life of his former master, the Roman captain of the slave galley,
who was drowning. As Heston hauls the Roman up unto the makeshift board
which floats them to rescue, the Roman captain repeatedly tries to throw
himself overboard to his death. Heston refuses to let him drown, as the
Roman curses the slave for forcibly saving him. The Roman Empire was then
at its very peak. As a wealthy patrician, the Roman had everything to live
for, including material wealth, luxuries, food, and entertainment, such
as would boggle even our jaded twentieth century minds. The Jewish Christian
slave had none of those things, but he had a vision of meaning and value
for human life. It is a poignant moment juxtaposing two diametrically opposing
worldviews. Heston chose life, and his Roman master later thanked him for
We are now in a somewhat similar position. We have at our disposal the
greatest amount of collective wealth the world has ever seen. Our technology
and market system have produced a material cornucopia of goods, a standard
of living beyond measure. We have every material reason to enjoy our good
life. Perhaps all that is lacking is a reason to believe.