Theology banned in the Baha’i Faith?

In reading the Baha’i stand on Baha’i theology I have to wonder if Baha’i theology itself has been banned by the Universal House of Justice.Would any Baha’i who expresses a theological view which is diverse from the personal religious interpretations of the members of the Universal House of Justice ever be allowed to freely express their own personal Baha’i religious interpretations?

Try picturing Christianity without Thomas Aquinas, without Saint Augustine, without Thomas a Kempis, Nicholas of Cusa, John of the Cross, Hans Kung, etc., etc..…an_theologians

Without it’s theologians Christianity would be creatively and intellectually impoverished. It appears that this is exactly what the Universal House of Justice wishes to do with the Baha’i Faith: impoverish it – Through actively limiting and censoring the expression of personal interpretation in the Baha’i Faith, any personal interpretation but their own that is.

Let’s take a closer look at what the Universal House of Justice actually said in it’s Baha’i theologian spiel:

In one recent instance, for example, an individual has declared himself a “Bahá’í theologian, writing from and for a religious community,” whose aim is “to criticize, clarify, purify and strengthen the ideas of the Bahá’í community, to enable Bahá’ís to understand their relatively new Faith and to see what it can offer the world”. Assertions of this kind go far beyond expressions of personal opinion, which any Bahá’í is free to voice. As illustrated, here is a claim that lies well outside the framework of Bahá’í belief and practice.

“Assertions of this kind go far beyond expressions of personal opinion”

Yet they failed to even mention what Sen had actually stated in the beginning of his forward:

“This book presents my own understanding of the Bahai teachings”

I’m not sure how Sen could have been any clearer in stating that his book presented his: “own understanding”.

What the Universal House of Justice is not only implying in this letter but enforcing through it’s excommunication of Sen is that Baha’i theology will not be allowed unless that Baha’i theology mirrors the personal interpretations of what the members of that Universal House of Justice personally believe Baha’i theology should be. As well any Baha’i who desires to be a Baha’i theologian will have to conform to the unwritten requirements for Baha’i theology of the UHJ or risk being summarily and without any forewarning excommunicated. Such absolute interpretive power was never granted the Universal House of Justice.

Whatever happened to the supposedly central Baha’i principle of the independent search for the truth? The Universal House of Justice has single handedly done away with it in this narrow minded threat against all who would dare to call themselves a Baha’i theologian. If you cannot see what a chilling effect such a threat has on the intellectual life of a religious community I truly feel sorry for you.

As well the Universal House of Justice makes this assertion: “here is a claim that lies well outside the framework of Bahá’í belief and practice.” Just exactly what that Sen stated is: “outside of the framework of Baha’i belief and practice”, ? And just exactly where were the members of the UHJ given the authority to be interpreters and arbiters of what constitutes: “Baha’i belief and practice”?

They didn’t even have the courage or courtesy to say exactly which Baha’i beliefs and practices Sen was guilty of contravening. Why? Because they are cowards.


Larry Rowe

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