Un-resigned Resignation

Dear friends out there with your empathetic hearts and attentive, watchful spirits,

this is an excerpt of the letter I just sent to our German NSA as a follow-up on a meeting they had invited me to on Saturday.

First there are two statements that on Saturday I had no more time or concentration to reply to, then a general feedback and further consideration. Finally I resigned from membership in the Faith.

The suggestion I might view the members of Baha'u'llah's family who were condemned as covenant breakers as victims, whereas in reality they must be seen as villains.

It might have appeared that way. If we were looking at strife between people who share a level playing field it would be unfair to leave those attacks and acts of opposition unmentioned. However it's not a level playing field. Baha'ullah was a prophet of God. That he chose to create the station of a covenant breaker and condemn his half brother as an antagonist of God - as Abd'ul Baha repeated later with his stepmothers and half brothers - shows that they were joining the self-same level of fight therefore proving to vibrate to the same human level of quest for dominance yet they employed a means that ought to be reserved for God and the next world only, condemnation of the soul. As long as a human being lives in a body it is impossible to antagonise God. They might have antagonised Baha'u'llah and later his successors but they could not have antagonised God. Humans have neither the nature nor the power to do that. We die. God can call us any minute and we will follow.

The statement that the Baha'i Faith is certainly not pursuing world domination in the sense of wanting to create a repressive and hostile regime.

I believe that all of you respected member s of the German NSA and probably the overwhelming majority - if not all - members of the Baha'i administration anywhere on the planet, personally want to create only peace and goodwill in accord with the spiritual laws of God. Therefore you, so I assume , became or stayed Baha'i.

However at the very same meeting you requested me to take down my internet petition, to stop expressing my views publicly on Talisman9 and on my Blog. You advised me of the proper procedure of consultation, where after carrying one's concerns through to the Universal House of Justice, one has to surrender one's own thinking eventually. The reason for you requests was concern about the "unity" of the Faith. A unity that is dependent on such stringent measures of curtailing free speech and free exchange of ideas is not worth protecting. It is like choosing the mud of an illusion of unified strength over the gold of genuine spiritual harmony blossomming in an atmosphere of openness and freedom.

This brings me to the next part of my letter, a feedback on and contemplation of the overall meeting:

My mind feels puzzled over how on earth is this possible: Nine distinguished people, all very articulate and definitely bright. All with softness in their eyes and loving, lovely smiling faces. But all seem held captive of an invisible iron fist, an automatic unreflected program, perhaps like a computer virus incapacitating their powers of logic, but only at a certain point. Otherwise their logic functions well and they use it well too. They use it to protect the axiomatic, dogmatic complex of Baha'u'llah's divinity in word and deed to the degree of factual interchangeability of God and Baha'u'llah and the resulting infallibility of the successive leadership. They cling to it and make it their virtue not to deviate from it and they really believe God wants them to be like that.

Fact is there is plenty of scripture to back this up: Baha'u'llah and Abd'ul Baha wrote in no uncertain terms about wanting to be uncontested leaders, expecting complete obedience, threatening truants with spiritual disaster.

When I drove away from the meeting it was already dark and I was heading out into the countryside. Partly distracted by driving down unfamiliar roads, my mind only half focussed on the Baha'i topic and slowly came up with an impression:

Resentment is not an appropriate response, nor is there reason for bitterness. I want to be careful not to project any negativity or assume anything other than completely honorable motivations albeit terrifically misguided ones, imo. You really act in the proverbial good faith.

Further down the track, I can imagine you to become a little more stern and perhaps even overbearing and domineering, doing what you think you need to, in order to protect me from myself or, failing that, protect the community from me.

The important factor is that you believe in what you do and, subjectively, you are as honest as you can be.

Just because I think of myself that my mind has been able to grasp a more profound truth about Baha'u'llah, the faith etc. doesn't give me the right to look down on you even though you acted as if you were looking down on me, at times.

IMO you are right and duly gridlocked in communal hypnosis - (can't say mass hypnosis for lack of masses). You appear brainwashed. Well cultist, and yet, - at least to my perception - there is around you the radiance of people in genuine harmony with God. - I am proving my own point here that Baha'u'llah was indeed chosen to reveal God's message. He carried the genuine article. His "flaws" cannot diminish this. His station as mouthpiece of God is not negotiable. There is a live wire and I can feel it, well, at least I had the impression of it.

However in his life Baha'u'llah acted so terribly incongruent with the revelation. He himself wasn't aware of this, I believe. Therefore he couldn't understand that people opposed him. Consequently he condemned them as enemies of God showing that on one side he identified God with himself completely and on the other side that he was mistaken for doing that.

Now we are faced with an interesting dilemma. What are the possible options here?

Did God permit such a situation or was God powerless? Did it happen with or against God's consent?

Is it possible that God - for the time an earthly manifestation exists - is almost held hostage and dependent on that personage? - No, I thought, I don't believe that. -

So it must have happened with God's consent. God must have let Baha'u'llah deliver this patchy on/off tapestry of pure revelation mingled and tarnished with shadow.

Initially I thought there are numerous bits of errors and veils floating about but now I see it all narrowed down to one issue with many tentacles: It's the vision of a worldly dominating religion, the theocratic state. Against the backdrop of this vision the obsession with unity developed as well as the over-importance given to the question of leadership and who is who. This attitude and context shared by all parties, presumably, hardened the fronts and produced the well known assaults, retributions and judgments.

Baha'u'llah, - and probably the Bab before him - were political to start with. They wanted a state that controlled people and forced them to obey. They didn't want to share power with and within a mature population. In this they failed to foresee the evils of centralisation and totalitarian structures. In fact they inadvertently provided a platform for that infamous collectively created entity, the abstraction of our human desire to play power, so it could hijack God's revelation and turn it into a threat to the cause of God. -

It needs to be said. I believe that the "shadow" trailing the light in Baha'u'llah as a person is in biblical theological terms the "Antichrist". Personally I don't like the word, because it is sensationalist and whips up emotions where clear thinking is a much better bet.

Clear thinking tells me that it is likely that the greatest depth of darkness is found right next to the greatest light. Clear thinking also tells me that the "Antichrist" is a misnomer as it suggests an equal opposition, a dark mirror image of Christ - "Christ" not as a person but as a principle and therefore pure Divinity. The "Antichrist" is, imo, a collective creation of all of us humans and vastly inferior to God, at best a pitiful attempt to thwart His power and confuse His purpose. It's the metaphor for the illusion posing as reality, the entanglement of thoughts bereft of connection with God. It's demonic, if we want to use another loaded word, and in that sense seems to have a certain independence. Perhaps I can venture a guess here. Perhaps demons relate to us in a similar way as we relate to God. They are our creations as we are His. However we have - conveniently - forgotten that we created them or - conveniently - failed to become aware of it.

In this sense Baha'u'llah's shadow is not the "Antichrist". He only channeled it, gave it a platform, the most powerful platform available and therefore, clear thinking tells me, is it plausible that this hungry demon gravitated to Baha'u'llah's earth-timely frame. But really, we are the "Antichrist". We, every one of us, are personally responsible for either co-creating this thought form by engaging in desire for everything and anything, e.g.control, domination, forceful victory, sensory experiences, purposes divorced from means etc.- or we are responsible for not having harnessed our power to burst it's bubble.

This insight I owe, with much gratitude, to Jiddu Krishnamurti. He then would say things like: "Now let us investigate the question whether we can at all go about this terrible violence in our thoughts in a non-violent way. [Can we become aware of ourselves as the enemies of God without resorting to violence against ourselves? - my paraphrasing] Can we resist the temptation to split our consciousness and externalise the problem?

Back to the more tangible dimensions: The cause of God hijacked by the combined resistance of humanity expressed and channeled by Baha'u'llah himself in stark contrast to the sweetness of the divine words? There is a deep sensibility in this. As if God had drawn our resistance as close to himself as possible thereby creating a very clearly visible and discernible picture. As if He would plead with us: Don't you get it?

How does this affect the situation as we have it today in the world? I think, we live in greatest danger, peace and tranquility of all humankind are threatened not by the Baha'i Faith directly, but through an unholy, almost incidental collusion of the Faith with the war agenda of the present US administration.

When I look at this situation in light of the spiritual shadow as described above, it becomes transparent and makes sense. It's high time that we wake up and shake off the hypnotic shackles of Orwellian proportions that tell us "war is peace", "lie is truth", "hate is love", "bondage is freedom", "subjugation is equality", "bias is justice", "totalitarianism is democracy", "torture is healing", "separation is unity", "attack is protection", "danger is safety", "idolatry is worshiping God".

If this situation emerged from Baha'u'llah's presence, God must have had a purpose with it. It cannot be a mistake.

Perhaps it is another level of enactment of God's taking upon Himself our transgressions. It leads an external God, whom we sheepishly follow ad absurdum and forces us to internalise God. We are able to do that. We have the capacity and the knowledge. We know how to teach this. The Buddhists are the experts here. And it will do us good to acknowledge them for it. It will do wonders for our humility to go and learn from them.

If Baha'u'llah indeed manifested both aspects of absolute light and relative shadow, it also protects us from identifying any other human being as an "Antichrist", therefore protecting us from devouring someone - even if it was only one single person - with rage and hate.

Well. I think it's what we in German call "Reifepruefung" - literally translated: "test of maturity". It is the equivalent of the University Entrance Exam. We've finished school and want to prove that we are ready for higher learning at University.

Will we still cling like children to external rule or will we trust the internal voice and at the same time possess enough humility, respect and co-operative skill to work things out together. No-one is always right, no-one is always wrong. Will we develop enough communication skills to negotiate successfully without a dogmatic code that we have to abide by?

Can we shed the armour and develop a spine?

Finally I want to ask for my membership in the faith to be canceled.

I do this not because I disbelieve in Baha'u'llah as a manifestation of God, but because I view the entire structure of the Baha'i Faith, the way it presently works as a religious organisation, as not belonging to the component of divine truth and pure light within Baha'u'llah's legacy.

I will continue to express my views honestly and I also have a certain urgency to inform my friends and family but also any other Baha'i or person interested in the Faith of my considerations. So, naturally I will seek ways to do that most effectively.

Therefore it would be consistent with past policies if the House of Justice would declare me in violation of the covenant. In this case I would contest that it is the not covenant of God that I violate.

If my considerations are valid, it is important for them to be expressed and thought about. If they are not valid, I trust in the collective intelligence to reject them and render them unimportant. In this case I also trust in God's mercy when He deals with my mistakes.

yours with kind regards

Inge Barthel, Germany

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