One of the biggest outright lies politicians have ever told their people was told by Republicans under the Reagan Administration in the 1980s, that cutting taxes would enable the rich to invest more and result in a stronger and more active economy. But that is not realistic. Ironically, conservatives want to cut welfare programs because poor people getting money from the government is supposed to make them lazy……so why would allowing the rich to keep more money due to lower taxation make them invest more? The opposite should be expected, because the whole point of investing is to make more money and they don’t need to so much if their taxes are lessened! And despite those repeated tax cuts, we keep having recessions repeatedly too.
Just as a poor person working even while getting welfare would be considered GREED, so would the rich investing more after getting a tax cut! And we should condemn both.
I believe that many people in the world have a neutral spiritual orientation. Such people have the following characteristics.
- They will usually follow uncritically whatever religion their parents profess and expect them to be. They do so out of loyalty to their parents, not out of loyalty to the religion itself.
- They have little interest in controversies based on competing religious or anti-religious dogmas.
- They are tolerant of people who profess a different religion or no religion, as long as those people do not cause them problems by trying to convert them to their way of thinking.
- They think of religion as a means of social binding, not absolute “truth”, even if they do think of some of the doctrines of their own religion are true or at least likely to be true.
- They pay little attention to propaganda designed to convert themselves or others to a religion.
- They tend to not be active in religious worship practices and never rise to leadership in their religion.
- If they do convert from one religion to another, it is usually because they marry a partner who does have a strong spiritual orientation and want to join the partner’s religion for the sake of family unity.
Such people, if raised in a multifaith religious group like the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), may choose to simply identify themselves as UUs and nothing more. If raised in a dogmatic cult like the Baha’i Faith, the Mormon Church or the Jehovah’s Witnesses, they may find themselves drifting away from such excessive social control once they reach adulthood, which is why these cults constantly seek new members to replace the ones they lose. The claim that they are trying to bring salvation to the world is merely the excuse they give for their obsession.
Seriously, parents need to STOP trying to “raise” their children in any religion, but tell them what the various options are so they can explore on their own once they approach adulthood.
For those who feel no strong attachment to religion, you can still express love and unity with others by finding secular causes to work hard for. What issues do you care about? What sort of difference do you want to make in the world?
The American Red Cross? http://www.redcross.org/
The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee? https://www.uusc.org/
Doctors Without Borders? https://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/
The Nature Conservancy? https://www.nature.org/
The Union of Concerned Scientists? https://www.ucsusa.org/
People for the American Way? http://www.pfaw.org/
Those are just a few examples of worthy causes. I’m sure you can find many more.
I try not to be hypocritical, so just as I admonished my fellow Humanists not to be arrogant towards Theists, so likewise I must be accepting of those who consider themselves Baha’is, despite my personal rejection of the Baha’i Faith and my many damning writings against it. But my tolerance does have its limits. And here are the reasons why:
- Baha’u’llah called for Abdu’l-Baha to be the leader of the Baha’i Faith after him and that Mirza Muhammad-Ali was to be Abdu’l-Baha’s successor. He did NOT claim anything for Abdu’l-Baha beyond that.
- Abdu’l-Baha broke the original Baha’i covenant by claiming to be infallible (Baha’u’llah in the Kitab-i-Aqdas said only God was infallible). Because his brother opposed this, that brother was denounced as a covenant-breaker, ironically. Abdu’l-Baha then appointed Shoghi Effendi as his successor (the “Guardian of the Cause of God”) and said that the Guardian and the Universal House of Justice would also be infallibly guided by God. This I consider to be blasphemy.
- Shoghi Effendi did nothing to establish the Universal House of Justice while he was alive, keeping all the power of the leadership for himself, contrary to what Abdu’l-Baha commanded. When his own relatives questioned his decisions and priorities, he expelled them until there were none left in the Baha’i community. That’s what a megalomaniac does, not a responsible and principled leader.
- The Universal House of Justice was established without a Guardian at its head and has none to this day, making it an illegitimate body according to what Abdu’l-Baha wrote and Shoghi Effendi himself wrote also.
- To justify all the disruptive changes to the Faith over the course of its history, that history was rewritten through intense thought control and censorship. A vast number of unfounded claims based on dogma rather than objective truth were set up, most notably by Shoghi Effendi and then later amplified by the notorious “historian” Adib Taherzadeh. The latter was ultimately rewarded for his chicanery by being elected to the Universal House of Justice. Damn him!!!
There is only one version of the Baha’i Faith that even comes close to being honest and fair in its teachings and activities: the Unitarian Baha’i Faith, descended from the works of Mirza Muhammad-Ali. You can find a group on Facebook devoted to this: https://www.facebook.com/groups/unitarianbahai/
Therefore, I reject completely any association with the mainstream “Haifan” Baha’i Faith (which falsely calls itself THE Baha’i Faith) as well as other splinter groups that claim to follow a “Guardian”. While I do not consider the Will and Testament of Abdu’l-Baha to be a forgery, I still reject it as legitimate. So should everyone else. Only the writings of Baha’u’llah himself should be considered Baha’i scripture at all.
Paganism used to be a catch-all term for any religion in the world, past or present, that was not one of the “Abrahamic” religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam or the Baha’i Faith). Today it is used among various people to mean any religion that is “earth-centered” in its worship rather than worshiping a deity that is not associated with nature. This would include Wicca, Druidism and other varieties that are polytheistic, though some forms are monotheistic.
Because the gods of modern Paganism are directly associated with nature, Pagans are likely to be dedicated environmentalists. I myself wrote about a form of Pagan worship I am sympathetic to:
Those who see Paganism as the right path for them can find fellowship here:
http://www.cuups.org/ as well as any Unitarian Universalist church or fellowship with a Pagan group. These Pagans, in turn, might lead you to explore and contact other pagan groups that may not be affiliated with UUs.
I posted the following on reddit last week:
Question: What do you think is the ultimate delusion of the Baha’i Faith? There need be no “right” or “wrong” answer here, but I need some opinions on how best to deal with Baha’i apologists like a certain one that keeps invading this subreddit.
You should see the discussion that resulted!
Buddhism is a religion that originated in India and is considered a direct offshoot of Hinduism, much like Christianity is descended from ancient Judaism. Unlike Hinduism, however, Buddhism is non-theistic, with no reference to gods at all in its teachings. Instead it is a totally human centered faith, much like Humanism, and thus may be considered more a philosophy than an actual religion. But it includes the Hindu concepts of karma and reincarnation, which Humanists reject. Once stripped of its Indian centered cultural references, Buddhism spread throughout most of southern and eastern Asia.
Keep in mind that while the Dalai Lama is an international celebrity, it would be inappropriate to consider him the eastern version of the Roman Catholic Pope. It would be more accurate to think of him being more like the current President of the Southern Baptist Convention, Steve Gaines. Not quite mainstream compared to larger Christian groups, but still representative of Christian teachings. The main reason the Dalai Lama is so celebrated is because of him representing the struggle of his homeland Tibet against Chinese oppression.
Like Hindus, there are relatively few Buddhist temples outside Asia, so Buddhists may also find a spiritual home for themselves among Unitarian Universalists. Indeed, Buddhism is so popular among UUs that they even have a community for themselves: http://uubf.org/wp/
I know personally a Unitarian Universalist minister who is also a Buddhist: Rev. Alex Holt, who was interim minister at Westside Unitarian Universalist Church (Fort Worth) and later moved to Seattle, where he became interim minister of……Westside Unitarian Universalist Church (Seattle). He wrote an essay for a book about UUs who are also Buddhists: Buddhist Voices in Unitarian Universalism.
It is interesting to note that in India where Buddhism originated, the Hindu priests won back the loyalty of the people there not by denying the Buddha, but by proclaiming him to be an avatar of Vishnu, one of the Hindu gods, even though the Buddha never claimed that for himself and Buddhists themselves don’t believe that either. Likewise, Baha’is claim that the Buddha is a “Manifestation of God” which is also a concept foreign to Buddhists. It should be noted, however, that there is nothing in Buddhism that requires rejection of theism; that idea is simply irrelevant to Buddhist practices.
Hinduism is considered to be the oldest of the current popular religions in the world, and is to the east what Judaism is to the west. Like Judaism, it is a tribal religion made for one specific people, that of India, which is why most Hindu sects do not proselytize. However, there are a few examples of people outside India who have converted to some form of Hinduism, most notably George Harrison of the Beatles.
Oddly enough, Hinduism does not seem to have a specific set of exclusive beliefs. It seems to be more like Unitarian Universalism than any dogmatic western faith we have looked at so far.
Hinduism is a diverse system of thought with beliefs spanning monotheism, polytheism, panentheism, pantheism, pandeism, monism, and atheism among others;[web 3] and its concept of God is complex and depends upon each individual and the tradition and philosophy followed. It is sometimes referred to as henotheistic (i.e., involving devotion to a single god while accepting the existence of others), but any such term is an overgeneralization.
The simple fact that a single religious system can incorporate so many different ideas speak volumes about the possibility of someday uniting Jews, Christians, Muslims, and Baha’is together into one similar system since they all have in common the worship of one God and the belief that he sends Messengers to educate people on what God wants from them. They only disagree on when God stopped sending such Messengers. Get rid of that dispute, and we can have religious peace in the west.
If there are no Hindu temples where you live, see if you can instead join a Unitarian Universalist (UU) church where you can find fellowship with its members while practicing your personal form of Hinduism in the privacy of your home. See if you can form a group of fellow UUs to practice Yoga, a form of exercise and meditation that originated in Hinduism but has found common acceptance by various peoples of different religions.