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A Compilation on Scholarship

  • Author:
  • Various

  • Source:
  • Compiled by the Research Department of the Universal House of Justice, Bahá’í World Centre, February 1995
  • Pages:
  • 28
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Pages 26-27

71: “The principal concern of the House of Justice is over a methodological…”

The principal concern of the House of Justice is over a methodological bias and discordant tone which seem to inform the work of certain of the authors. The impression given is that, in attempting to achieve what they understand to be academic objectivity, they have inadvertently cast the Faith into a mould which is essentially foreign to its nature, taking no account of the spiritual forces which Bahá’ís see as its foundation. Presumably the justification offered for this approach would be that most scholars of comparative religion are essentially concerned with discernable phenomena, observable events and practical affairs and are used to treating their subject from a western, if not a Christian, viewpoint. This approach, although understandable, is quite impossible for a Bahá’í, for it ignores the fact that our world-view includes the spiritual dimension as an indispensable component for consistency and coherence, and it does not beseem a Bahá’í to write … about his Faith as if he looked upon it from the norm of humanism or materialism.
In other words, we are presented in such articles with the spectacle of Bahá’ís trying to write as if they were non-Bahá’ís. This leads to these authors’ drawing conclusions and making implications which are in conflict with Bahá’í teachings and with the reality of the Faith. A good Bahá’í author, when writing for such a publication, should be fully capable of adopting a calmly neutral and expository tone, without falling into the trap of distorting the picture by adopting what is, in essence, a materialistic and localized stance.
(4 October 1994 to a National Spiritual Assembly) [71]