Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Mind of the Big Lesson-Plan Maker

Warning: Heavy Irony Ahead

The God of progressive revelation is shockingly inept. He sends Jesus, His messenger and a perfect mirror of His divinity, with instructions exactly appropriate for the needs of humanity at that time and for the next seven or so centuries but neglects to emphasize the importance of getting the message written down. Instead, the guy wanders around the countryside healing people, speaking in riddles, and selecting a fickle, slow-brained, and foolish band of disciples to found his church. Or maybe he didn’t. We don’t really know because, damn it, he apparently only wrote in the sand.

So—if the Baha’i corrections to the Christian story are, in fact, correct—when the Gospel started to be recorded some decades later, everything was already all wrong: Jesus was God, the bread and wine were not just symbols, and Christ’s physical body had risen from the dead. One can almost hear God exclaiming “Jee-zus!” in exasperation as He bangs His glorious brow on the walls of heaven. But, c’mon, He has only Himself to blame. Jesus was, after all, a perfect reflection.

And, really, what could be expected from a God who, the last time around, thought that stoning for any little offense was just what humanity needed and that genocide in the service of land grabbing was progress? Or was all that nasty stuff just human distortion of divine intentions? We, the intractable students, could always be to blame.

But I beg you, oh believers in progressive revelation, don’t edit out as mere corruption of the truth that story of Noah, passed out drunk and naked, so incongruous with his status as unblemished mirror of the Celestial Beauty. God himself has good reason to drown his despair with earthly spirits, so why not one appointed to carry out his plan—so simple, neat, and reasonable, yet ineffectual in a world that will have nothing of tidiness and rationality?

The foundational mistake must have been making the creature in the image of the Creator. We humans do have a way of making things up, telling stories, and creating new stuff. Perhaps Noah had a vision of 2008 in which the failed, corrupted, and lifeless revelation of Jesus, fueled by pesky human ingenuity, would keep sprouting new forms (not all nice) and popping up everywhere like an invasive species, while a small band of intrepid Baha’is, holding their heads high, would chant

The old religions are passé,
Baha’i alone is for today!

as they hold aloft the Kitab-i-Aqdas and march into the bright new tomorrow.

We are in that future now. Entry by troops is happening, but those crazy Africans and South Americans have got it all wrong. They are supposed to be joining Ruhi study groups en masse, not opening a new Pentecostal center every week in Rio and Nairobi.

All this despite the infinite wisdom of the five-, three-, and one-year plans. God should have known, must have known, that even this latest and greatest, hot-off-the-assembly-line dispensation, with its anti-schism super-plus covenant, was doomed to failure when that Shoghi couldn’t even follow simple instructions and write a freakin’ will. The new infallibility protocol is buggy, big-time. Vet your code, man!—I mean, God.

Enough irony, Ms. Leaf. Say what you mean.

Okay. I don’t like the Baha’i doctrine of progressive revelation any more.

It was the hook that first snagged me for the Faith. But its tidy narrative has little to do with actual religious history. I've been harsh with my ironic take, to make a point, yet I've hardly touched what could be said. And the God implied by that trim tale is to me unbearable. If God has been rolling out revelations like new versions of Windows Operating System for soul and society—well—I think I’ll take the gas pipe, thank you. Ditto if we’ve been failing a very good K-12 curriculum.

Maybe some eloquent Baha’is with good depth perception will define a new way of speaking of progressive revelation that is worthy. Maybe they already have and I just haven’t read any of it. I believe if you’re going to reject something you should reckon with the best of what it can be, not just the worst of what it is. So bring it on.

But I don’t like the view of revelation as communiqué from God, message transmission with varying degrees of noise on the line. I don’t like the neat divide between human and divine implied. And I don’t like being cast in the great tale as corruptor, not creator. The House likes to say that Baha’i institutions will succeed where others have failed because they are ordained by Baha’u’llah, manifestation of God. From God: success, triumph, glory! Made by humans: nice try, doomed to fail.

Scripture is more like a slug to the gut and a whisper in the ear than a set of age-appropriate instructions. And we made it. We have been discovering holiness and creating God for a long, long time. In the last few thousand years we’ve made records of our joy and folly to pass on. Baha’i rhetoric claims the relatively simple provenance of Baha’u’llah’s writings as a great advantage—the message got through this time. And atheist or otherwise debunking rhetoric often cites the humanness of Baha’i or other scriptures to knock them down. Both groups assume the same idea of revelation, only one thinks it is obviously happening and the other thinks it obviously isn’t.

I think scripture, and more broadly religion, is collaboration, human expressions inspired by divine presence. With a lot of foolishness—and worse—mixed in. Scriptures are not trap doors leading away from our own responsibility—God said it, I believe it, that settles it. No, they are testimony; they are invitation.

I know that my view doesn’t sit prettily with Baha’i beliefs about Baha’u’llah and his compositions. Nor with those of Biblical literalists. Nor those of most Muslims concerning the Qur’an. But even if God does send messages through Messengers, then what? The problems of interpretation and response remain. And they depend on whom you believe God is.

I believe that God is not a distant schoolmaster.

God is a small child whose excitement at your return home shows in the rapid action of her knees as her figure bobs up and down. She toddles forward a few slow steps, pauses to set down her toy guitar, then runs as best she can, all enthusiasm. How will you receive her? What great play do you make for her delight?

19 comments:

Susan said...

You wrote:

"So—if the Baha’i corrections to the Christian story are, in fact, correct—when the Gospel started to be recorded some decades later, everything was already all wrong: Jesus was God, the bread and wine were not just symbols, and Christ’s physical body had risen from the dead."

Except this isn't what Baha'u'llah said about the Gospel. He insists that the essence of the Gospel *has* been preserved:

We have also heard a number of the foolish of the earth assert that the genuine text of the heavenly Gospel doth not exist amongst the Christians, that it hath ascended unto heaven. How grievously they have erred! How oblivious of the fact that such a statement imputeth the gravest injustice and tyranny to a gracious and loving Providence! How could God, when once the Day-star of the beauty of Jesus had disappeared from the sight of His people, and ascended unto the fourth heaven, cause His holy Book, His most great testimony amongst His creatures, to disappear also? What would be left to that people to cling to from the setting of the day-star of Jesus until the rise of the sun of the Muhammadan Dispensation? What law could be their stay and guide? How could such people be made the victims of the avenging wrath of God,  90  the omnipotent Avenger? How could they be afflicted with the scourge of chastisement by the heavenly King? Above all, how could the flow of the grace of the All-Bountiful be stayed? How could the ocean of His tender mercies be stilled? We take refuge with God, from that which His creatures have fancied about Him! Exalted is He above their comprehension!

(Baha'u'llah, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 88)

"As for things like the doctrine of transsubstantiation that's not in the Bible. The church didn't make it doctrine until 1215 A.D. and most Protestants reject it. As for our postion on other Christian doctrines, here is what the Guardian said:
As to the position of Christianity, let it be stated without any hesitation or equivocation that its divine origin is unconditionally acknowledged, that the Sonship and Divinity of Jesus Christ are fearlessly asserted, that the divine inspiration of the Gospel is fully recognized, that the reality of the mystery of the Immaculacy of the Virgin Mary is confessed, and the primacy of Peter, the Prince of the Apostles, is upheld and defended. The Founder of the Christian Faith is designated by Bahá'u'lláh as the "Spirit of God," is proclaimed as the One Who "appeared out of the breath of the Holy Ghost," and is even extolled as the "Essence of the Spirit." His mother is described as "that veiled and immortal, that most beauteous, countenance," and the station of her Son eulogized as a "station which hath been exalted above the imaginings  110  of all that dwell on earth," whilst Peter is recognized as one whom God has caused "the mysteries of wisdom and of utterance to flow out of his mouth." "Know thou," Bahá'u'lláh has moreover testified, "that when the Son of Man yielded up His breath to God, the whole creation wept with a great weeping. By sacrificing Himself, however, a fresh capacity was infused into all created things. Its evidences, as witnessed in all the peoples of the earth, are now manifest before thee. The deepest wisdom which the sages have uttered, the profoundest learning which any mind hath unfolded, the arts which the ablest hands have produced, the influence exerted by the most potent of rulers, are but manifestations of the quickening power released by His transcendent, His all-pervasive and resplendent Spirit. We testify that when He came into the world, He shed the splendor of His glory upon all created things. Through Him the leper recovered from the leprosy of perversity and ignorance. Through Him the unchaste and wayward were healed. Through His power, born of Almighty God, the eyes of the blind were opened and the soul of the sinner sanctified.... He it is Who purified the world. Blessed is the man who, with a face beaming with light, hath turned towards Him."

(Shoghi Effendi, The Promised Day is Come, p. 109)

Sure, we don't take all these miracles literally but neither do a lot of Christians.

Priscilla Gilman said...

Susan,

The quotes you give contain a lot of praise, but I don’t see how they contradict what I said. It is true, isn’t it, that the Baha’i Faith rejects the incarnation and resurrection? So, despite the praise, according to the Baha’i version of the story, the common Christian understandings of the life of Christ, which had their beginning at the beginning, are wrong. Right? To Baha’is those beliefs may not be of “the essence of the Gospel,” but to Christians they certainly are. I think it is fine for Baha’is to hold different beliefs about Christ than most Christians do; I don’t mean to be defending Christian belief against Baha’i denial. I do think that the differences pose a bit of trouble for progressive revelation, though.

When I said “the bread and wine were not just symbols” I was not referring to the Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation particularly. I’m not about to attempt a history of Christian theology of the Eucharist, as that would certainly be beyond me, but I think I can say that the sacraments were, at the very least, early understood as efficacious, which is something more than the informational meaning we tend to apply now to the word ‘symbol.’ And I think it is quite fair to say that the explanation Abdu’l-Baha gives in Some Answered Questions of the symbolism of the bread and wine has little correspondence to what first century Christians thought about them.

I am not a historian of Christianity nor a Biblical scholar, so I take it as likely that my statements could be successfully challenged in their particulars by a person with more knowledge than me on these subjects. But I think such a person could probably also challenge progressive revelation better than I have.

my best to you,
Priscilla

Bill&Ashi said...

Well sis, I suppose if you say Baha'i you'll get lots of head-swelling hits, including by Baha'is in Haifa, as your busy studies indicate, in my case from Chile. You clearly enjoy counter-pointing so bluster on - everyone adopts a theme for their life. Bluster on - and if you're ever in Iran the Mullas will give you a rug. - Bill T.

Susan said...

Priscilla wrote:

"It is true, isn’t it, that the Baha’i Faith rejects the incarnation and resurrection?"

Baha'is believe that Jesus is the complete incarnation of the names and attributes of God, but not His essence. Ask any ten Christians what it means to say "Jesus is God" and you will get ten different answers. I believe our answer is consistent with the Biblical witness. The concept of the Trinity is post-biblical but even it embodies some important truths as Abdu'l-Baha has pointed out.
As for the resurrection, it would be inaccurate to say we reject it, we just don't take it literally. Even Paul (whose writings are older than the Gospel) attests writes the following regarding the resurrection:
15:42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: 15:43 It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: 15:44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.

15:45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.

15:46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.

15:47 The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven.

15:48 As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.

15:49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.

15:50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.

(King James Bible, 1 Corinthians)

That sure doesn't sound physical to me!

"the common Christian understandings of the life of Christ, which had their beginning at the beginning, are wrong. Right?"

First off, if there is "common" Christian understanding, I don't know what it is. Certainly what American evangelicals believe does not go back to the beginning. In fact, the form of evangelical Christianity which predominates in the US is no older than the Baha'i Faith! If you don't believe catch the History Channel program *The Antichrist* which shows that American conceptions of the End of Days really goes back to William Miller. Remember him? He's the guy who predicted Christ would return in 1844.

You wrote:

"I think I can say that the sacraments were, at the very least, early understood as efficacious, which is something more than the informational meaning we tend to apply now to the word ‘symbol.’"

And when have Baha'is ever suggested that sacraments are no efficacious? I was raised Presbyterian. Right on the altar where the sacrament was served were the words "Do this in Remembrance of Me." So of course, it is a symbol but don't underestimate the power of symbols.

You wrote:

"I am not a historian of Christianity nor a Biblical scholar, so I take it as likely that my statements could be successfully challenged in their particulars by a person with more knowledge than me on these subjects. But I think such a person could probably also challenge progressive revelation better than I have."

It is funny you should say that because the term "Progressive Revelation" isn't actually found in the Writings. Shoghi Effendi borrowed the term from Christian theology. But certainly it is implicit in Baha'u'llah's Writings as it is in the Qur'an, etc. In any case before you assume that what the Baha'is believe about Jesus is such a wide departure from what the early church believed you might want study early Christianity first. You may be surprised. As for whether it agrees with current Christianity, which current Christianity are we going to agree with?

Anonymous said...

Susan wrote:

"First off, if there is "common" Christian understanding, I don't know what it is."

Sure you do. It's the Bahai understanding of Christianity, which most Christians wouldn't even recognize as being the religion they practice. But that's their problem right? Them and their silly "man-made" interpretations, which are so inferior to Bahai interpretations.

Priscilla's point was that the supposedly erroneous "man-made" doctrines of Christianity (Jesus literally being the son of god, literally being ressurected etc.) were not subsequent perversions or deviations from the "truth" (i.e., Bahai understanding of Jesus) - they were the core beliefs of almost all Christians, save marginal gnostic groups, just decades after his death. The Bahai model that says the authentic messages of religions are corrupted a few centuries after their advent just doesn't work in this case given that they were such core beliefs so early on. Granted, there was much controversy about different doctirnal particulars, but said beliefs formed core orthodoxy.

Bill T:

The only bluster I've seen on this blog is your poorly thought out comment. You've mistaken eloquent, intelligent writing for your own myopic Bahai fundamentalism.


CoL

Susan said...

Bill writes:

"Priscilla's point was that the supposedly erroneous "man-made" doctrines of Christianity (Jesus literally being the son of god."

What exactly does 'literally being the son of god" mean? Does it mean that Jesus was impregnated with God's sperm? Does it mean He carries God's DNA? Does God have sperm or DNA? Or does it mean that in Jesus we see everything we can understand about God humanly speaking? Because the latter is what Baha'is believe. That's not to say we disbelieve in the Virgin birth. On the contrary we accept it. We just don't believe Jesus is the product of God's gonads. Do you?

Jeremiah said...

"What exactly does 'literally being the son of god' mean?"

Given the vulgar alternative to Baha'i doctrine which follows the above quoted question, I assume that you are not actually interested in a mature discussion of this topic. However, on the off chance that I am wrong, I could point you toward some sources that would aid you in understand the Christian confession of Christ as Son of God. St. Athanasius' "On the Incarnation of the Word" would not be a bad place to start (google it).

Anonymous said...

Susan:

You've mistakenly attributed my remark to Bill.

It doesn't matter how I interpret the Christian doctrine of Jesus being the son of God, or whether it's true or not. What matters is what Christians actually believed, and I'm citing early Christian belief as a counterexample to the Bahai doctrine of progressive revelation.

Regardless of how Bahais interpret central Christian doctrines, most early Christians believed, and continue to believe, that Christ's body was physically resurrected, that the apostles saw him and communicated with him and that he was physically taken up into heaven.

Bahais contend that these are corrupted interpretations of originally authentic understandings that arose centuries after Christ.

This is simply not borne out by historical fact.

CoL

Priscilla Gilman said...

I have spent quite a bit of time reading Muslim blogs in the last year. (There are some wonderful ones; for anybody interested I have links up to my favorites on my other blog heaveninmyfoot.blogspot.com.) Anyway, I notice something that I think a lot of Baha’is could learn from. Muslims, so far as I have seen, don’t have any trouble distinguishing their own beliefs about Jesus from those of most Christians. So while I still often feel misunderstanding there, that’s really okay. (And I know they get a whole lot of crap thrown at them these days; it must be really hard.) I think that, at least with the writers I read, when I’m up to engaging in a dialogue the foundation will already be there. It’s hard to understand each other if you aren’t willing to see differences.

It’s also hard to understand each other if you find no positive connection between yourself and the other. Susan, I feel like it would be good for us to just say hello to each other. I couldn’t get your Blogger profile to come up, but I think I know who you are. If I am right, I have read some of your writing too. I have found what I read interesting and thoughtful and can easily imagine myself citing ideas from your pieces. I liked your review of “The Law of Love Enshrined” quite a bit. I wish I could be more specific than that, but I read it about ten months ago. I wonder if there is anything in my writing that you have enjoyed? I am very glad to have your comments here, disagreement and all. I’m not responding to the specific content of your further comments because I think I would need to write a whole post to do that. And it feels more important to me just now to see if we can start to find some common ground to work from.

I think this would be a good time to say a little bit about the Christian-thing and me and this blog. In my post on the Baha’i month of Questions (Hey, It's Masa'il! http://bahaitheway.blogspot.com/2007/12/hey-its-masil.html) I included in my list of questions this one, “How can Baha’is resolve feelings of guilt for past actions?” Brian Taraz, who has a marvelous, open, idiosyncratic way of living Baha'i faith suggested that getting Jesus is the way and that I ought to try him. I started a reply and never finished it (sorry Brian). Here is a bit of what I wrote:

“I gave that question about feelings of guilt more as an example of a question a Baha’i might ask than as my own question, but I think your answer is really interesting and lovely. And, since you brought up Jesus, dude, I’m all about Jesus, though I don’t generally bring that on to this blog because . . .well, lots of reasons. For one thing my own embarrassment. For another, Jesus gets wielded over people like some kind of threat or bludgeon so much. I hate it, and I think he’s sick of it. He probably drinks himself to sleep over it nightly—that and everything else. I want people to be free to read this blog without fear of me sicing Jesus on them (rhetorically that is). That wouldn’t be my way anyway...still, I keep my Jesus habit next door at Heaven In My Foot [my other blog], if I mention it at all.”

Of course my incarnational theology influences the thinking in my writing here. But then my Baha’i history definitely influences my participation in the Christian story. It really goes both ways, or, actually, isn’t separate in me at all. I think one of the reasons I like doing this blog is because thinking about the Faith challenges me differently than just thinking about Christian theology would (why would I do that anyway?). Besides, I have much more embarrassment in my heart about being a Christian than I do about having been a Baha’i. It takes exertion of a certain degree of will to even name myself as a Christian. I so dislike the word. But it’s true; I am.

Thanks, Jeremiah, and Anonymous for your comments too. I have just decided to start an Ayyam-i-Ha wish list. Number one on the list is that more Baha’is will acknowledge the fundamental differences between their beliefs about Jesus and those common to the great majority of the bizarre array of Christians across time and geography. Maybe I’ll write a post on that for Intercalary Days next year. And maybe I won’t; we’ll see. The trick is to write it so that we can put aside the question of what is “the truth” or who is right and just try to create a little more understanding of where we are each coming from.

Bill T: Well. . . hello. . .I can’t think of anything else to say.

Y’all come back now,

Priscilla

Priscilla Gilman said...

Test

Dale said...

Reasonable talk on these topics is terribly difficult: when I first read this post I chewed my lip a little and thought, "oh dear, I hope she's up for this."

I don't have a dog in this fight, since I'm not one of "the people of the book," but I think you're historically correct that about the mainstream of Christian tradition -- the divinity of Christ & the salvation offered though his death, is not patched into the gospels. It's what the gospel-writers thought. (Though of course, as always, Jesus himself is up for grabs; the Gnostics seem to have understood him somewhat differently.)

I notice that nobody had the guts to answer the question you closed with :-> That would, I think, have been a more fruitful & more interesting discussion.

Priscilla Gilman said...

Thanks much for your comment, Dale. I’m a little sorry the first part of this essay has drawn all the attention so far, though I guess I knew the danger was there. Maybe that "more fruitful & more interesting discussion" will still happen.

Susan said...

Dale wrote:

"but I think you're historically correct that about the mainstream of Christian tradition -- the divinity of Christ & the salvation offered though his death, is not patched into the gospels. It's what the gospel-writers thought"

Let me repeat once again that Baha'is deny neither of those two things.

As to the position of Christianity, let it be stated without any hesitation or equivocation that its divine origin is unconditionally acknowledged, that the Sonship and Divinity of Jesus Christ are fearlessly asserted, that the divine inspiration of the Gospel is fully recognized, that the reality of the mystery of the Immaculacy of the Virgin Mary is confessed, and the primacy of Peter, the Prince of the Apostles, is upheld and defended. The Founder of the Christian Faith is designated by Bahá'u'lláh as the "Spirit of God," is proclaimed as the One Who "appeared out of the breath of the Holy Ghost," and is even extolled as the "Essence of the Spirit." His mother is described as "that veiled and immortal, that most beauteous, countenance," and the station of her Son eulogized as a "station which hath been exalted above the imaginings  110  of all that dwell on earth," whilst Peter is recognized as one whom God has caused "the mysteries of wisdom and of utterance to flow out of his mouth." "Know thou," Bahá'u'lláh has moreover testified, "that when the Son of Man yielded up His breath to God, the whole creation wept with a great weeping. By sacrificing Himself, however, a fresh capacity was infused into all created things.

(Shoghi Effendi, The Promised Day is Come, p. 109)

I had a longer response to Priscilla's post but it somehow got lost. I'll try and repost it later.

Abdul-Halim V. said...

Something which isn't totally clear to me... is it the "progressive" part which you really find problematic or the "revelation" part? I ask especially because it seems that your notion of "revelation" still allows for growth and progress.

Priscilla Gilman said...

“...it seems that your notion of "revelation" still allows for growth and progress.”


Abdul-Halim,

I think your observation is correct. I wouldn’t say it’s exactly the “progressive” or the “revelation” part that I have difficulty with, but the understanding behind each of those terms and what they mean put together. It has more to do with the theology of it, the role of humans in it, the relationship between the faiths it describes, and the neatness of it when the world seems so messy. (I do have some difficulty with the idea of progress in Baha'i discourse, but I think that's a somewhat separate issue; at least, I'm not ready to expound on it generally, yet.)

BTW, I seem to remember having seen a number of posts on your blog about the Baha'i Faith. I wanted to link to them but I didn't see any way to do that that would take people straight to all the Baha'i posts. If they were labeled as such I could do it. Just now on your blog I could only find one post, so maybe I am mistaken.

Best,
Priscilla

Priscilla Gilman said...

I’ve been thinking about this post and the comments here quite a bit. I’ve come to the tentative conclusion that the sentence, “So—if the Baha’i corrections to the Christian story are, in fact, correct—when the Gospel started to be recorded some decades later, everything was already all wrong: Jesus was God, the bread and wine were not just symbols, and Christ’s physical body had risen from the dead,” squashes to simplicity historical complexity and ambiguity that probably should not be so reduced.

So let’s just grant the possibility that a strong case could be made that the gospels and epistles reflect an understanding of the Christian story consonant with Baha’i teachings. Then you are still talking about what early Christians believed, or rather what you think early Christians believed based on deduction from surviving texts—not a message direct from God.

As far as we know, Jesus didn’t write anything, and he didn’t dictate anything to a scribe. Which leads to part of my larger point: we only have documents made by people, at least for sure (to my mind) in the cases of the Torah and the New Testament. Which is just fine by me.

I don’t think there is any way out of our own subjectivity. Even if a text is dictation from God, each person encounters it from their own place. The writers of the New Testament gave their testimony from their place. And we, by our lives, do the same.

This is probably my harshest post about the Baha’i Faith because it challenges something core. Ironically, I wrote my way to a new sense (for myself) of possibility in the Faith. It rests on that final paragraph. That is, I’m not a Baha’i anymore, but I can still believe in Baha’is. In fact, I think I must.

Susan said...

"I don’t think there is any way out of our own subjectivity. Even if a text is dictation from God, each person encounters it from their own place. The writers of the New Testament gave their testimony from their place. And we, by our lives, do the same."

Dear Priscilla,

I would very much agree with that assessment. In fact, it seems to me that the Baha'i concept of independent investigation of truth is based on that assumption.

"This is probably my harshest post about the Baha’i Faith because it challenges something core."

I'm not sure I understand why you think this idea challenges the core of the Baha'i Faith. I've always taken it as a given that ultimately faith is subjective.

warmest, Susan

Priscilla Gilman said...

Hi Susan,

When I said, "This is probably my harshest post about the Baha’i Faith because it challenges something core," I was referring to the progressive revelation part of the original post, not the idea about subjectivity expressed explicitly in my most recent comment on it (and less explicitly in the end of the original post).

best,
Priscilla

Susan said...

Ah, I get it. Well as I said, the phrase "progressive revelation" was something the Guardian borrowed from Christian theology. It doesn't appear in the Baha'i Writings themselves though the idea is certainly there implicitly.

warmest, Susan