Criticism of the Bahá'í Faith

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The Bahá'í Faith raises many controversial and difficult questions. Aspects of the religion that are attractive to some are seen as major difficulties by others.

This article is a summary of the questions and difficulties often raised by critics of the faith - it includes links to specific articles covering each point at issue.

Guardianship[edit]

While the Baha'i scriptures expressly require the guardian of the Baha'i faith to designate a successor, the first Guardian failed to do so.

Unity of religion[edit]

Bahá'ís believe in the fundamental agreement in purpose of all the major world religions. At the same time it is incontrovertible that there are many differences between the different religions.

Gender equality[edit]

Bahá'ís assert that gender equality is an incontrovertible reality of the human condition. Some critics are opposed to the very idea, while others object that certain teachings seem to compromise the principle, by favoring one gender or the other in education, inheritance, and membership on the Universal House of Justice.

Science[edit]

Bahá'ís believe that science without religion leads to materialism, and religion without science leads to superstition. The idea that these two forces, sometimes seen as incompatible, are in harmony is fundamental to Bahá'í teachings.

Auxiliary language[edit]

Bahá'ís call for a universal auxiliary language, meaning in addition to one's native tongue.

Statistics[edit]

Main article: Bahá'í statistics

Some criticism of the Bahá'í Faith has centered on apparently misleading statements concerning numbers of believers.

Homosexuality[edit]

Bahá'í teachings only permit sexual relationships between a married husband (male) and wife (female).

Divisions[edit]

Main article: Bahá'í divisions

Although the Faith emphasises its own unity, the Bahá'í Faith has had several challenges to leadership, resulting in the formation of breakaway factions. Claimants challenging the widely accepted successions of leadership are shunned by the majority group as Covenant-Breakers.

Babi split[edit]

Main article: Bahá'í/Bábí split

The Bahá'í Faith identifies itself as the fulfillment of the Bábí Faith. The separation of the two, beginning in 1863, was accompanied by conflict and murders.

Politics[edit]

Bahá'ís have been accused, particularly by successive Iranian governments, of being agents or spies of Russia, Britain, the Shah, the United States, and as agents of Zionism—each claim being linked to each regime's relevant enemy and justifying anti-Bahá'í actions. The last claim is partially rooted in the presence of the Bahá'í World Centre in northern Israel.

Bahá'í Faith and slavery[edit]

Bahá'u'lláh officially abolished the slave trade among his followers in 1874, but the households in which the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh were raised included slaves of African descent.

Family of Bahá'u'lláh[edit]

Although polygamy is forbidden by Bahá'í law, Bahá'u'lláh himself had three concurrent wives.

Bahá'í review[edit]

Main article: Bahá'í review

Bahá'ís wishing to publish books about the Bahá'í faith must first submit their work to their respective National Spiritual Assembly for approval through a review process. This process has not been without its critics, some of whom have characterized this requirement as a form of censorship, since there are penalties for non-compliance.[1]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Momen, Moojan (2007). "Marginality and Apostasy in the Baha'i Community". Religion. 37: 187–209. doi:10.1016/j.religion.2007.06.008. Retrieved 5–3–2012.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)

References[edit]

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