Drinking alcohol

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Drinking alcohol

Postby Erikl » Thu Dec 25, 2008 3:18 am

Hi all,
I am an Israeli Jew, and I have been flirting with the Bahai religion for about two years. A year ago, I decided to accept the tennents of the faith on myself, and I pray everyday and say the sacred name 95 times each day. I even fasted for the first time this year between March 2nd - March 21st, which was a bit hard because I'm in the military (non-combatant part). I have a girl-friend for almost two years now, and I have yet to tell her nor anyone in my family that I adopted that faith. I realise I can't formally convert, cause I live in Israel, nor is there any known native Bahai community in my country. But as I used to post on another Bahai forum few years ago, I've been told that God knows what is in my heart, and so accept my conversion even without formally doing so.
I should clarify a bit about my background. I was born to a Jewish Russian father and a Jewish Romanian mother, both ex-Soviets and both atheists. As a child, I was anti-religious atheist - that is, believed religion was the source of evil. But as I reached the age of 12, and started to learn to my Bar Mitzvah, I began falling inlove with religion, with the sense of belonging to something so ancient, with connection to my forefathers. For a time being, I even ate kosher, began to fast on Yom Kippur, and abstained from eating bread or drinking beer in Passover. But as I grew my "rationallity" kicked in again, and I began distancing myself from religion again, although still very much respect it. I'm still pretty liberal - that is - against religious fundamentalism - or religious superstition. I still fast on Yom Kippur and abstain from bread and beer in Passover, but I'm doing so more out of cultural and some obligation I feel to my ancestors.
I am now 23, I met my gf when I was 21. She's also a Russian Jew, but she's a total atheist - that is, she might believe in god, but she has no relation to the Jewish faith, other than from celebrating the holidays.
She respects me for my devotion, saying she could never actually totaly fast for a whole day, or abstain from bread for a week, but she sometimes doesn't understand why I do that, cause she points that on day-to-day basis I don't eat kosher, I never visit the synagogue, I drive on Saturday etc..

Also because we are of east European background, alcohol is very important in our families. I myself drink normally from the age of 16, and I actually pretty much like it. I know as I bought the Kitab-i-Aqdas in it's hebrew translation that alcohol is specifically prohibited. I would not start to argue that alcohol is good for you in some amounts, or that our body produces alcohol all the time naturally, cause those would only be untrue excuses for why I drink - and that's because it's part of who I am, part of my culture, as much as my Jewishness is. I know the Bahai religion says that as a Jew I can keep celebrating and keeping some of my religion's practices - which as I wrote here, I do.
But what am I going to do about alcohol? True, since I "became" a Bahai, I do not get drunk and I make sure I stay sober when I drink, and ofcourse I don't drink normally - just on family or friendly occasions and from time to time after a hard day at the office - and don't get me wrong - I'm not alcoholic at all - I simply like it.

I know it's wrong but don't tell me it's becaue I'm not truly devoted to the religion - because praying each day and fasting for a month are pretty big changes in my life, more so than you may or may not realise.

My question is though, suppose I would live abroad in the future (I am in the process of getting EU citizenship) - will drinkin mean I would no longer be considered a Bahai? I very much so believe in truths tought by this religion - that's the only religion I can actually almost fully agree with - but will drinking alcohol mean I cannot be a Bahai?

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Re: Drinking alcohol

Postby FJR » Fri Dec 26, 2008 2:38 am

Erikl- Excellent source of questioning. I don't have any quotes for you at this time, but know that being a Baha'i is between you and God. If you accept the word of Baha'u'llah for this day, and try to live your life by his teachings, you are a Baha'i.

You don't have to do what anybody else tells you to do to "be" a Baha'i if you want to drink alcohol and are comfortable with how you follow the writings, that is between you and God, and if anyone else, Baha'i or not judges you for it, then they are themselves at fault.

All we can do as humans is try to understand the word of God as it is revealed to us, and try to draw closer to him by expressing his virtues. How you choose to walk is your own responsibility and no one else's, and believe me, I know where you are coming from.

By the way, I do believe there is a fairly large Baha'i community in Israel. Just a hunch :D
"Love me, that I may love thee. If thou lovest me not, my love can in no wise reach thee. Know this O servant." -The Baha'i Faith

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Re: Drinking alcohol

Postby pilgrimbrent » Sat Dec 27, 2008 10:03 pm

The most appropriate way for you would be to contact the Office of Public Information at the Baha'i World Centre: opi@bwc.org . You can of course visit the Baha'i Shrines, as well.
Best regards
Brent Poirier

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Re: Drinking alcohol

Postby ciwancan » Mon Dec 29, 2008 3:29 pm

Dear Erikl

Shalom and Allah'u'Abha,

I think you should really read "Light of Guidance" which is a compilation of Baha'i scriptures dealing with anything practical, and includes mainly writings of Shoghi Effendi. I think you can easily get it from Ocean http://www.bahai-education.org/ocean/

I don't have the book right next to me, but I would personally understand from my readings, is that you should try to reduce drinking at your pace, as you actually did from what you wrote!

No one has the right to tell you off because off that!

The worst thing that may happen, is that if you PROMOTE DRINKING and DELIBERATELY try to show everyone that you disapprove of the Holy Scriptures, and enjoy drinking, that you may lose you voting rights.

But again, the better thing you may do is reading by yourself!

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Re: Drinking alcohol

Postby Jonah » Mon Dec 29, 2008 3:53 pm

Because of the prohibition on teaching the Faith in Israel, I think it best that I lock this thread. In the meantime, I think pilgrimbrent's advice is most appropriate: contact the Office of Public Information at the Baha'i World Centre, opi@bwc.org

Thanks, -Jonah

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