Responding to those who take advantage of others...

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Postby brettz9 » Sat Oct 28, 2006 10:30 pm

Dear Richard,

As far as the simpler solution you mention, the software we are currently using has not been updated in quite a while. It is a free and open source system and as such we could modify the code ourselves (including to add other features), but in the meantime, we are dependent on its level of sophistication. The group is working on an update apparently, but it is taking quite some time. There are modifications around that we could use, but they have their own disadvantages.

As far as your summary of collective security, maybe you are familiar with the Baha'i teachings on it? The Baha'i Writings, since the time of Baha'u'llah, refer to the need for a world government which will be given power to have its own independent International Force, whereby the arms of each country will be limited to what it needs for its own internal security (so as not to arise suspicion in neighbors with additional weapons), and whereby any government violating ANY PROVISION of this Security Pact should be opposed and destroyed by all the others. The Baha'i International Community has even given suggestions as to how progress can be made toward such a situation: ... ions#IIIB2

As a unified world government takes root, even problems like spam could be assisted (if the problem isn't successfully addressed otherwise by then) as laws could be coordinated to punish violators regardless of the source.

The Baha'i Writings assert that, at least for the Security Pact--called the Lesser Peace, this will be possible (and inevitable) without direct Baha'i involvement--the governments will be forced into it (as progress is already heading in this direction). We can and must support this process (in a number of ways we can discuss), but this Lesser Peace is described as being akin to a unified body without a unified spirit. The true unity we desire will be the duty of Baha'is from around the world to establish. The spiritualization of humanity will surely involve the instilling of divine virtues which will educate people so as to remove the desire for abuse among all but a rare few.

On a similar level to collective security, in the absence of world legislation and enforcement, and in the absence of a true spiritualization of mankind, some vigilante-type efforts have taken place (Blue Security) and have failed. The only other course, besides building better defenses, is to report the spammers to their service providers. However, this has some problem of needing to provide proof (and we don't want to keep the posts online) as well as inaction by some providers, as well as potential IP address obscuring technologies being used by posters.

We as Baha'is must face through the suffering faced by the rest of humanity, even while we should be open to solutions which make our lives a bit more efficient in the meantime.


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Postby Jonah » Sat Oct 28, 2006 10:58 pm

Hi, Richard. You mentioned in an earlier response to a spam that it's too bad registration wasn't required. Unfortunately, it is, and they have to confirm their accounts by email -- and the spammers still get in.

We'll be upgrading to phpBB3 in a month or two or three, whenever it's released. It'll probably have captchas built in. (See ... ht=captcha ) I'm sure there are modules available for this software, phpBB2, that provide captchas or other registration security mechanisms. But in the short term, deleting the spam is easier than installing new modules and chancing their not working or breaking something else. (It was my attempting to limit spam with a new module, in fact, that caused the apparently-irreversible bug that prevents HTML from rendering for anyone not registered.)


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Postby brettz9 » Sun Oct 29, 2006 8:47 am

Hello Richard,

Thanks for providing that essay. Are you a follower (if you can call it that) of the Urantia Book?

A few points of response (with which maybe you agree):
1) The document I linked to earlier on the U.N. also makes mention of the needs for responsibilities to be emphasized along with rights.
2) As far as self-determination, while we would agree with the author, I think, as far as deemphasizing its extreme importance, the way the term is used in the U.N. charter (as I recall) is more of a benign meaning with which I would presume you would agree: that each people should be free of colonial domination and able to basically determine their own national affairs; this is opposed to "state sovereignty" which is more often used by the powerful to resist global integration.
3) While Baha'is surely see the possibility for taxes to be too burdensome (Baha'u'llah warned the monarchs of His time in burdening the poor with taxes they would expend on war and the like), and 'Abdu'l-Baha states that it will be the burden of war taxes that in large measure brings about the Lesser Peace, Baha'is also envision that the rich will in fact need to be taxed at a higher rate than the poor (not only a fixed percentage for all).
4) The Baha'i Faith warns of the dangers of the excesses and evils of over- centralization, including on a global level.

Other than these points (with which the author might even agree), I felt that the essay was very well stated and eloquent in its argument.

Also, I am curious what your feelings are toward the Baha'i Faith at this point? Do you consider yourself as a friend of the Faith, or might you be interested at some point to join the community?

best wishes,

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Postby Baha'i Warrior » Mon Oct 30, 2006 11:37 am

richard wrote:Yes, it is very easy to feel friendly toward the friendly, particularly when they really believe in friendliness.

You are not a Baha'i?! Wow, now that is a rude awakening for me :shock:. The whole time I was thinking, if there's any Baha'i on this forum, it's got to be you.

richard wrote:As for joining anything, that is a difficult question because of my situation. I would like to join that One, True, Universal Spiritual Family of God that transcends sectarian divisions, rivalries, and entanglements. Sadly, anything we join allows some others to categorize and criticize so if I am to take such lumps I want it to be for my complete, independent loyalty to our One and Only Living, Loving God of all persons, places, and things in all His Universe of universes. And, at my age, by the grace of God, I could be joining Him sooner rather than later. Indeed, was not, is not, Baha’u’llah Universal in his spiritual insights and intellectual outlooks?

I do not know what your specific beliefs are, for example, whether or not you believe that Baha'u'llah is a Messenger of God. But concerning the "sectarian divisions, rivalries, and entanglements" you refer to. Religion does not create such strife; men create this strife. From a Baha'i perspective, if all religions have at one point or another been sent by God, then what is the point in fighting each other? We all bear allegiance to the one true God, so it doesn't make sense to see each other as different people just because we belong to different creeds.

The Baha'i Writings, I should add, acknowledge these "sectarian divisions, rivalries, and entanglements," and points to the causal factors as being selfishness, lust for power, and lack of spiritual guidance (spiritual disease). As you might know, the Baha'i Faith is the first religion ever to have protected itself from sectarian divisions, as the UHJ has the power to denounce anyone who tries to form his own Baha'i cult or group. We have a strong religious bulwark, and any attempt at sectarianism will fail. So we do not have this problem.

I have made this point before: on a large scale, this religious strife that is seen is in all the world religions except the most recent one, the Baha'i Faith. True, we are small in numbers. However, we have been praised many times by outsiders for our unity—and through this unity, the Baha'i Faith is going to create, for the first time ever (through its social and spiritual principles) a unified race of men. Just look at how segregated churches are, or believers in other Faiths, and compare that to the many people from diverse backgrounds who embrace the Baha'i Faith (because of its spiritual teachings with an emphasis on racial equality, for example) and assemble together. This is a sign of the beginning of a new world order. If the Baha'i message can attract so many diverse people so quickly (making it officially the second most widespread world religion)—despite its small numbers—that's one strong indication that it has got something going for it. Also it's an indication, I believe, of the truth of Baha'u'llah's claim.

You ask: "Indeed, was not, is not, Baha’u’llah Universal in his spiritual insights and intellectual outlooks?" I think, since it is fresh on my mind, I will refer to the discussion going on in another topic, which was about commitment. In that case, it was in the context of marriage. But commitment is really important, and if there is a certain (religious) belief system that you agree with, then an important step of loyalty to that cause (to God) is this commitment. In the case of a man and a women who love each other, commitment is marriage. In the case of religion, where a man loves God, it is proclaiming yourself to be a follower Him (via His latest Messenger—Baha'u'llah).

Some hold the relativistic belief that there are many paths to God, and that all religions are equally valid ways to get to Him. But consider that God sends a Messenger every once in a while to give us new teachings. Does it then make sense to hold on to ancient teachings, which won't do the world any good, or instead heed to the new Teachings that were intended for man in his present day and age? Surely, if there is a One True God, the only way He can make Himself known to men is via His Messengers. Had He not sent any messengers, would we have been able to comprehend the existence of a God? It is highly unlikely that we would have even been able to workship idols, as idolatry was just a reversion from the true teachings. The concept of God is very complex, and also complex is the path to Him. We have a whole lifetime to practice, to seek out His truth.

Thus, if one agrees that the only way God could have made Himself manifest, or known, to men was through His Messengers, and that throughout history He has sent many such Messengers, then one has to admit that He will continue doing so. God is eternal, and all truths are with him. But as man's spiritual capacity grows, he needs the proper nourishment accordingly, and God has to, bit by bit, send to him more truths that are within his limited capacity. A teenager doesn't suckle any more, as that would seem odd and backward—plus he needs nutrients from other sources at that stage. Just as when a child grows and needs a more diverse array of food for his physical growth, so do men in this way need more diverse and newer teachings for spiritual growth in this life.

You also say: "And, at my age, by the grace of God, I could be joining Him sooner rather than later." God forbid! and may you live for many more decades. Though it is, in the Baha'i view, important to formally declare one's faith in God's Messenger, I must admit also that there are some, as the Writings state, who called themselves "Baha'is" in this world, but who were not considered so by God in the next due to their wickedness and misdirection. And vice versa; some people in this world are "Baha'is" (because of the actions and virtuous lives they lead) and don't even know it themselves.

richard wrote:And, post haste, I think it is great for families and friends to join, socialize, and worship in a church or religious group, in which they can all get along, but in my life situation that is not easily possible because some of my family and friends are fundamentalist “Christians,” who, I think, give Christ a bad name, and whose extremism is very divisive even though it falls short of the divisiveness of “Islamic” fundamentalism, which I understand supports terrorism and does not even respect the truth, beauty, and goodness of the Baha’I Faith and it’s most venerable Persian (Iranian) founder, Baha’u’llah! Sad… And sorry about my personal problems in relation to your last question. Indeed, if I were in more normal circumstances I could see myself as a Baha’I, or part of any good spiritual group close to my family and friends that recognized the following spiritual wisdom:

You needn't have family and friends declare to become a Baha'i, as there are many Baha'is who are the sole Baha'i in their family. Look at Baha'u'llah's family! Observe how many became estranged from His cause, and became bitter Covenant breakers. The own Prophet's family! If that happened to His family, it obviously is many times more likely to happen in our own. My dad was a Christian, and his parents never really showed him that much support anyway, but when he became a Baha'i they had even more of a reason not to accept him (though the situation has become a bit better). They were not even strong Christians themselves, and it's more of a title than anything really meaningful, and families usually expect the child to hold onto that title (changing the religion in some cases is considered the same as changing the surname). Christianity and going to church has become some sort of "feel-good" thing, like these Christian talk shows. Emotionally, it's a source comfort (as comfort food is)—but what do you have to do? Say you love Jesus, and you believe in Him? That's it? How's that going to change the world? We see how much "love" can be espoused by a preacher's belief in Christ—the cases of pedophilia among them is endless (as with other sexual perversions, such as the paraphilias). Thus is the proof that their religion is old—worn out—and needs new direction. As Baha'u'llah instructs the Christians, we shouldn't hold on to ancient scriptures.

At your age, most likely your mind is set. So whether you decide to take a new direction, or stay the same, I wish you all the best, and hope that God confers His blessings upon you. I get the impression that you are a very wise and insightful man, who has learned from his experiences and who has a lot to contribute to others (as you have been doing on this forum).

Look forward to more of your essays. :)


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