Talk:Bahá'í Faith/Archive 5

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This was archived on 2005/7/20 Cunado19 03:54, 20 July 2005 (UTC)

Articles size

We're at 39kb which is double the maximum target size of 20kb Wikipedia:Article_size. This section is for people to discuss what needs to be converted into a new article.

I suggest much of the history, and backing up of the history. Example of the history of the covenant, and chunks from the Bab, Baha'u'llah and Abdul-baha pages. Basically most up until (but not including) restrictions on publishing would go under my knife. I'm happy to do much of the work (although I'm sure others will put back in sections they believe were inappropriately removed). Opinions? -- Tomhab 15:14, 8 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Any opinions? I don't want to do this just for someone to tell me I'm wrong and revert it all. -- Tomhab 02:43, 9 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Not disagreeing... but I think that controversies like "restrictions on publication" need to be moved down to BELOW beliefs and teachings.

Also, I would cut the "brief timeline" down to 4 to 6 elements... refering to the "non brief" one on a different page. Or, put it in paragrpah form and dump the brief timeline all together. Rick Boatright 02:48, 9 Mar 2005 (UTC)

New Baha'i template

Now I've just finished a load of work, I've got around to building a new template. Let me know what you think. I made it to be similar to the equivalent of Christianity's and Islam's template. -- Tomhab 16:03, 4 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Sweeeeeeeeet!!! I love it. -- Christian Edward Gruber 16:10, 2005 Jun 4 (UTC)

Hmm. Looking at it again, I realize that it might make sense for the info-bar on the right to contain a prominent link the the Category:Baha'i thingy. These are nice featured articles, but as we improve the linkages and keep adding the articles to the cateogry, having that index would be very valuable if someone didn't see what they were looking for on the bar. I know the category link is at the bottom there, but an index link on the bar would be better, IMV. Otherwise, rock-on. -- Christian Edward Gruber 16:19, 2005 Jun 4 (UTC)

Ok, I added a link at the bottom of the panel "Index to Baha'i Articles" with a wiki link to the category index page. Call it fearless editing. :) -- Christian Edward Gruber 16:36, 2005 Jun 4 (UTC)

My biggest problem is where to include Shoghi Effendi? He's not typically refered to as a central figure, but he is, in fact quite central as figures go in the Baha'i faith :) -- Tomhab 16:52, 4 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Thanks Tomhab with the fine is very useful. As Shoghi Effendi is not one the central figures of the Faith, I suggest that you have a new heading "Heads of the Faith" to include Shoghi Effendi and the Universal House of Justice. This could be followed by "Other Baha'i Institutions", which would include Continental Boards of Counsellors etc. Perhaps the Key Individuals heading could be changed to Prominent Individuals. Thanks again. --Occamy 22:24, 4 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Abrahamic descendants

Can anyone think of a better woding for this part of the open paragraph. It currently suggests genitic decent.Geni 22:34, 4 Jun 2005 (UTC)

I've been scratchin my head about what you mean by genitic. After thinkin for a while I think you meant genetic? Was really baffled there :) -- Tomhab 23:19, 4 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Just re-read the opening paragraph. Well... Actually they are kind of genetic decendants. The middle east and in particular Iran are quite keen on keeping their family trees and they go back a looong way (although I gather they sometimes skip a few generations. Image:SF41.gif and Image:SF41.gif cover both (if you have as much trouble following it as I did you can try [1], but this is a covenant breaker site that goes odd after Abdul'Baha).
Baha'u'llah was a direct decendant of king David (and thus Abraham through Isaac) and also Zoraster (and thus Abraham through Median). This is because he was a decendant of ancient Persian kings (last time I checked they died out 900AD) that were themselves decendants of King David. According to common belief (well actually the Old testament) King David and Zoraster was a decendant of Abraham. Both of the Bab's parent's families were Siyyids (and thus so was he) which meant he was a direct decendant of Muhammad (and thus Abraham through Ishmael.
The question of authenticity? Can't really say to be honest, but theres no reason to doubt it. -- Tomhab 23:40, 4 Jun 2005 (UTC)
I've reworked this phrase, and done some minor edits on other parts of the intro that didn't read well to me. I don't like this stuff about "Baha'u'llah was a direct descendant of David", because, really, who knows - and it's not a central claim of the Baha'i Faith such that it warrents consideration in the intro para to the Baha'is. I've looked at the Abrahamic religion article, and over there the sentence:
What constitutes an Abrahamic religion varies from each observer's point of view, as a universal classification system cannot be agreed by everyone.
seems to cover it - again, the fact that Baha'is think their religion is Abrahamic isn't that big a deal to most Baha'is. I think this sentence just stuck in there for a long time out of inertia, really. PaulHammond 07:04, Jun 5, 2005 (UTC)
I get the impression its far more important to people in the East than the west to be honest. I've just noticed the easier-to-read one is far (faaaar) more detailed than the hand written one. In the House of ‘Abbúd theres a genealogy of Shoghi Effendi that stretches back 10 generations which I'd say would be hard to fake (its even got dates when they lived). That goes bak to the 17th century. The hand written one then takes only 2-3 generation (say... ten in total from Baha'u'llah) before it hits Bostanai a Jewish Persian King from around the time of Muhammad. The other has fourty-eight!
Anyway, yes, its not fundamental to my belief but I do find it very interesting :) -- Tomhab 11:51, 5 Jun 2005 (UTC)
You know, I can believe a genealogy going back to the 17th century no problems - amateurs researching their family tree for a hobby can get back that far, or further, though I'm not sure about times wher records might be scarce in Iranian history. It's just that when you are trying to tie someone's family in to semi-mythical forbears from 1000 BC, like Abraham, Moses and David, it seems more like a story than history - it reminds me of things like Roman Emperors who started claiming descent from Roman Gods so that they were on a level with sons of gods by mortal women like Perseus, Achilles and Heracles. I think questions of supposed genelogies might make an interesting sub-article, but shouldn't be up there at an intro to the Baha'i Faith as a whole, something that, if it really is working like an encyclopedia, might be nearly the first thing somebody has read about the Baha'is. PaulHammond 15:04, Jun 6, 2005 (UTC)
It's just like Tomhab says. As Mirza Buzurg's family would have been, aristocracy everywhere is very protective of their lineage; they would not allow their offspring to marry just anyone. Backgrounds were checked and researched, and details of lineage were recorded carefully from generation to generation...wholly different from today's disposable society. Consider how careful enthusiasts are nowadays about their champion pets' pedigrees and your get some idea how how serious a business lineage was and still is for many. Detailed details about descent are probably inappropriate for this Baha'i Faith article, but they should be retained at least on the Baha'u'llah page. --Occamy 20:54, 6 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Recent changes

I have let an admin know about the changes. Please don't just revert it as it certainly won't help the matter. -- Tomhab 12:36, 6 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Oops. I didn't revert it, but semi-reverted, attempting to synthesize the gist of the distinction into something nice and neutral. There is still some content on the Baha'i faith (haifa) page, which is there because I can't think of how to integrate it, and some of it is relevant to Baha'i Administration (and redundant), and some of it is quite specific to modern-day practice of the majority of Baha'is. I think it should go somewhere, but I don't know where.

I'm happy with a full revert, but there's the odd thing about how he structured things that clicked in my mind and led to the current presentation, which I think might be better for those who are not up on the history (or the history of this revert garbage...) -- Christian Edward Gruber 13:31, 2005 Jun 6 (UTC)

the anon's version isn't very good however I think they may have a point. The sub divisions are not mentioned until quite late in the article and the line " it was clear that Mason Remey had no right to the claim" could be better phrased. I think changes would be a good idea but they would best be based on the pre-anon version of the article.Geni 16:30, 6 Jun 2005 (UTC)
I tried to NPOV it a bit. Paul made it pretty thick there. :) I also provided a link to paragraph 18 of the Will and Testament in reference to the Hands' right to expel people from the Faith. The only matter of opinion is what constitutes "opposing the guardian" as a trigger, but the mandate of the Hands to do so is right there. The presumption of the Hands at the time was likely that claiming to be a false guardian against the provisions of the will constituted opposition to the guardian, since the guardian said no one had the right to advance a claim, etc. Ergo, if no explicit succession == no succession possible, ergo the hands do their thing. -- Christian Edward Gruber 17:01, 2005 Jun 6 (UTC)

Hi, name's Dawud. I'm the guy who did those changes and no, I'm not any kind of Baha'i. The original problem I was trying to solve was that the "Baha'i Faith" page assumes that the Haifa group more or less equals the Baha'i Faith (because of size and/or divine favor, arguments I reject). My changes were aimed at removing this bias and treating the various groups in an equal fashion. The alternative would be to include neutral treatment of "schisms" and "covenant breakers" on this page.

I split after Abdul-Baha because to my knowledge, there don't seem to be any Baha'is who do not accept him. The disagreements begin with Shoghi Effendi. (Not counting Babi / Bayani stuff which is a separate page.) Thus, Shoghi Effendi and the UHJ--or their pronouncements--cannot be used as symbolic of Baha'i as a whole (i.e. the fractuous family of Baha'i religions).

Well, what do you propose? -- 01:31, 7 Jun 2005

Hi Dawud. We're trying to get to a neutral treatment of all the groups. Certainly shoghi effendi should be added back, as none of the groups mentioned differ about him regardless of anything else. It is in the succession after the Guardian that the conflict comes. Even the Orthodox Baha'i Faith accepts the institution of the Universal House of Justice, since they accept hte Will and Testament. What the OBF doesn't accept is the possibility of a currently existing UHJ. However, a body called the Universal House of Justice exists, holds the rights to call itself the Baha'i Faith in most countries, and that is simply a fact. Even your comment "the fractious family of Baha'i religions" is very POV. You are making an assertion that there is a fractious family. What you are seeing is, statistically, one cousin at a family reunion screaming loudly and getting a lot of attention. That isn't a fractious family, that's one loud cousin. To report in a local paper "family torn apart at local reunion" would be a gross misrepresentation. "Family gathering disrupted by loud cousin - things quieted down when kicked out" would me more accurate. You can say that's my POV, but that's a cop-out. It's just obvious journalism.
Personally, I have no problem with people knowing all about the Orthodox Baha'i Faith, or BUPC, or other groups. I have no problem with people knowing about them from each group's perpsective. That's scholarship. What I have a problem with is with knee-jerk "equal weight" approaches. They are not intellectually honest, and reflect a frustrating abandonment of context. It's like taking the Wall Street Journal, and making them write like Fox News. Ok, that comment was very POV. :)
What providing "equal weight" to all sides does, unfortunately, is bias heavily in favour of an extreme minority. It's like providing equal weight to Intelligent Design on the page about Evolution. They should both be mentioned, especially because there's controversy. However, there is evidence for the latter, and little for the former. Having a seperate page that details the conflict - that's contextual - it's great. Present it all, fine. But your approach seemed to accord equal weight. I understand that you "don't accept those arguments" mentioned above, but I'm not trying to convince you or anyone else which one is true. Wikipedia is supposed to report facts neutrally. The fact is, almost every Govnernment that is not hostile to Baha'is, treats the group led by the Universal House of Justice as "The Baha'i Faith". Similarly with the United Nations, similarly with the Vatican, Canterbury, and other seats of religious leadership. In all practical ways, it is a reasonable and neutral generalization. Court challenges attempted by the groups following Remey have failed, on the strength of property law, and on the failure of evidence. Courts have consistently upheld the rights of the larger group to the properties in USA and elsewhere. If these courts who don't care in the slightest about the Baha'is one way or the other don't give equal validity, then why should the wiki pages upset that balance?
You'll note, incidentally, that I trimmed the relevant section and re-worked it to incorporate your desire to see the groups better defined, and removed some pro-haifa boosting like "clearly evident" that was very POV. No fear of truth, but it works for you too.
In short, by providing equal view, that is adding the POV that the groups are equal, which, from the perspectives of number, renown, world-wide cache, and legal status, they are not, isn't NPOV. It goes against Wikipedia policy, and such edits should be reverted. The reason yours wasn't reverted by an admin (with cause) is because before I knew Tom put a note to an admin, I had re-worked the article to try to be fair to some of the structure you were putting out there.
Indeed, by specially mentioning them as frequently as is done, these groups, and espectially the Orthodox Baha'is are given far more weight than a neutral, non-interested party ever would. I have met non-Baha'i scholars who have neutrally studied the Faith, and come to this same conclusion. They see the other groups as negligable - certainly not comparable to Shi'a or Protestant Christianity or other serious schisms. An attempt to schism and make a lot of noise does not automatically mean successful splintering of the religon. Look at the stats and be fair. None of the above assumes the truth of one or the other. Rather, in relative importance in practical matters, and in the minds of the vast bulk of the world that chooses to interact with Baha'is, there is only one Baha'i Faith, and it's the one based in Haifa. Whether you buy the rightness of the claims of the Universal House of Justice or other Baha'is is quite irrelevant. And you're not a Baha'i, so it's not relevant to you either. Wiki requires balance and NPOV. "leveling the playing field" in a 7,500,000/10,000 universe adds POV. It effectively handicaps (in the Golf sense) the smaller group. -- Christian Edward Gruber 03:49, 2005 Jun 7 (UTC)

Urgh, Christian got in there as I was editing. Oh well - I'll just add highlights anyway - sorry if it repeats.
I know wikipedia is all about "anyone can edit" etc, but your first step is to get an account - you instantly get credit as it shows your not afraid of showing your bias (consistently) and therefore get more respect from other wikipedians.
I have long been wondering about this problem of distinction between Baha'i schisms as they have different beliefs. There are a couple of points to take into account though:
  1. "Haifan" Baha'is represent, quite literally 99.9% of all Baha'is. This article claims 7 million haifan Baha'is, whereas orthodox, the undisputed second place claims 72 localities. Even if thats 100 per locality on average (which I personally doubt), then thats 7000, or 0.1%. I welcome any more accurate numbers. Before wikipedia, I have never met, seen or even heard of a non-Haifan Baha'i. Just as London means London, UK not other versions of London I think that Bahá'í Faith should be Haifan. I attempted to add a disambiguation link at the top last week [2], but it got rejected
  2. There is so much that is different between the different shisms. Contrary to your understanding there has been schisms at every change in "power" of the faith. Bab to Baha'u'llah we have Bayanis (or Azalis). Thats a unique case sure, but anyway. to Abdul'Baha we have Mírzá Muhammad `Alí who laid claim to the faith. They continued to form a Haifa based "Baha'i family society" with those who split at the point of the Gaurdian. Then a few (no guesses on numbers, tens?, maybe hundreds) Baha'is left the faith. Other than the "Baha'i family society", I don't know of any formal religion. You're familiar with the "Remeyites" sects. How can we compensate for all of them?
  3. The fact of the matter is almost all references to Baha'i in the media or any other form is a reference to the "Haifan" Baha'is. I defy anyone to find a reference to another schism (well a reference that isn't self made) that doesn't make a distinction.
I'm not saying that the other sects should be repressed, or that no distinction is neccessary, but I think any method used should make it clear that the term Baha'i is a synonym of Haifan Baha'i unless stated otherwise. Anyone not in the know would find the previous method proposed confusing.
A couple of proposed changes:
  1. Disambiguation at the top
  2. A page dedicated to where and why each shism occured. Much of the Orthodox Bahá'í Faith page can be used for that
  3. Moving any reference to shisms there (so this page doesn't mention other schisms at all apart from in the disambiguation italics at the top and possibly see also.
  4. Clearly specifying that this is only relevant to the Baha'i majority when a reference to the Universal House of Justice is used.
It will mean that we need to get rid of the Featured Article status and reapply as its a big change.
By the way, I suggest using the term "Heterodox Bahá'í Faith". Although it, like Haifan Baha'i faith is not in common usage, it is how the Orthodox distinguish Baha'is. Just a thought. -- Tomhab 03:58, 7 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Hi Tom. I have a problem with "Heterodox". First of all, it isn't self-labeling, nor is it a label applied by scholars to the majority of Baha'is. I'm furthermore uncomfortable in that it essentially puts definitions in the ball park of the Orthodox Baha'is. You might argue that the current situation is "in favour" of the majority. However, it is the status quo, and this isn't an opinion site, it is a reporting site. NPOV. If these are the common labels, then that needs to be reflected. If you want to add a note that other Baha'i groups chafe at this state of naming affairs, that's totally fair and reasonable. Were I in their shoes, I would chafe. To call Baha'is "heterodox" also casts a judgement on their orthodoxy, which is POV. The "orthodox" baha'is took this label on themselves. I wouldn't call an asian-canadian a "yellow" canadian, because that's not how they self-label. But I might call someone "black" if they prefer that to "African-Canadian" (some do). It's polite. The main body of Baha'is simply refer to themselves as "Baha'is", as does most of the rest of the world. -- Christian Edward Gruber 19:01, 2005 Jun 7 (UTC)

Dawud again. The basic problem is, "Baha'i" does not equal "Baha'i (Haifa)" (or whatever name we ultimately come up with for the big group), any more than "Mormon" equals "LDS Utah Mormon" (i.e. the big group) or "Communism" equals "Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong-Deng Xiaoping Thought" (I guess they're in the majority these days). However, the articles treat the Haifa Baha'is as normative, and the others as schisms or worse.

Christianity is not 100 times more important than Judaism, and the Catholic Church is not 10,000 times more important than the Quakers. I'm not saying size doesn't matter at all (the fact that the Haifa group has millions of members, probably, is important), but it shouldn't make them normative.

Possible solutions:

(1) Make "Baha'i Faith" a disambiguation page, and then "Baha'i Faith (Haifa)" (or whatever) the one for the Haifa group.
(2) Treat "Baha'i Faith" (with the "Faith") as the name of the Haifa group, and add "Baha'i religion" or just "Baha'i" as the main article. This means stop redirecting "Baha'i" to "Baha'i Faith."
(3) Transform "Baha'i Faith" into a fairer version of Baha'i history, with all its divisions and permutations. (It already has a bit about Mason Remey.)

As a technical point, there have existed anti-Shoghi groups in the past. The New History Society objected to Shoghi's claims to control the faith, saying that Baha'i was not a separate religion at all. (Einstein and Helen Keller spoke at their meetings.) And the Unitarian Baha'is said that per Baha'u'llah's will, Abdul-Baha should have been succeeded by his brother M. 'Ali (whom the former conveniently excommunicated).

Oh yes: With the name "Baha'i Faith (Haifa)" I was imitating the example of encyclopedias and directories who need to distinguish religious groups with identical names, for example the several networks of Churches of Christ. If the Baha'is don't like it, then by all means, let's come up with something else.

I await comments, and I suppose we should expect some sort of judgment from the administrator soon...? -- 00:33, 8 Jun 2005 (UTC)

No. That's not how wikipedia works. The article that is most likely to be the one a user wants should have the simplest name. The examples of London rather than London,_UK and Mormon rather than LDS_Utah_Mormon are most relevant here. (I bet Mormon is a redirect to an article called Latter Day Saints or some such)
If someone hears the name "Baha'i" and comes to wikipedia to find out about the Baha'is, they should not find that the first thing they read is a page rehearsing the rather technical and involved arguments between those Orthodox Baha'is who think that Mason Remey's appointment as chair of the IBC was a de facto appointment as second Guardian and those Haifan Baha'is who think Mason Remey was led astray by ambition to lead. Remember that at this point, the words "Guardian" is a piece of unknown technical terminology to our prospective encyclopedia user who only just heard the name "Baha'i", and she has no idea who these people "Shoghi Effendi" and "Charles Mason Remey" with these strange names are.
What they should find at Baha'i is an article saying it's a religion founded in Persia in the 19th century by Baha'u'llah, this is its basic beliefs, these are its significant figures, here are articles about Shoghi, Baha'u'llah, Mason Remey in more detail. There has been some dispute over leadership successions. Here is a link to an article about that.
As to "awaiting a judgement from "the" admin", that doesn't really happen either. Admins are just people who have been editing for a while and can do a few extra things that vanilla editors can't - like protect pages when edit wars occur. They generally won't get involved in making decisions about content of pages they haven't edited, and if they are well-behaved, they will try not to decide the outcome of editing disputes they *are* involved in on one side or another. The only point at which something gets decided from higher up, instead of from achieving consensus among editors, is if someone makes a formal request for an arbitration committee to be set up over some issue. PaulHammond 11:59, Jun 12, 2005 (UTC)

Generally speaking no judgement - Wikipedia aims for a consensus. If you want to know, Geni is someone who I asked to take a look and mention his opinion as a non-Baha'i. He happens to be an admin. By no means is his judgement binding, but in my opinion, I think as a neutral party his opinion (and any others that may enter the debate) should be weighted stronger.
If people are still not satisfied, I can get more neutral comments (I know one other admin reasonably well and can quite easily get two more who I only half know), or, should that fail, we can search for a Request-For-Comment (RFC) which is the same sort of thing, but more formal. I'd say their judgement is pretty binding although you can always ask for more.
By the way, admins have absolutely no elevated rights over others. It just happens that they're more likely to be online and more used to being neutral.
I'll make some changes and then we'll see if you and Geni approves of it. -- Tomhab 02:08, 8 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Using "Baha'i Faith" to mean "Baha'i Faith (Haifa)"

Ok, I've made a new section for this. I'm curious as to Tomhab's upcoming edits, but I just want to talk about this topic. You see "The Baha'i Faith" is not just any grouping of people using the term "Baha'i". (In fact, Bahá'í was a disambiguation page, last I saw) The Baha'i Faith as headquartered in Haifa is an organization with criteria for membership, that retains the trademark and legal rights to call itself exactly that in several countries.

In the USA, the National Spiritual Assembly holds trademark to "Baha'i", and other trade marks[3]. In Canada, the registered trademark is owned by the National Spiritual Assembly (originally the NSA of USA and Canada) for the word "Baha'i" and The Greatest Name (arabic symbol).

The following lawsuit's findings of fact are interesting, as regards the rights of the National Spiritual Assembly of the US to be considered the sole authority for "The Baha'i Faith" (with no further attribution) within the US. ( the linked text quotes from United States Patent Quarterly, Volume 150, pages 346-356) My favorite is finding of fact #36:

"36. The New Mexico group is not connected with the NSA and has no permission or authority from the NSA or the Universal house of Justice to use the trademarks, names, and other symbols of the NSA or to exercise any Baha'i Faith ecclesiastical authority."

Another good one (and on topic) is (and remember, these are findings of fact in a court - these are no longer in dispute, not even on appeal:

"6. The Baha'i Faith is a modern and independent religion. It is unaffiliated with any of the other religions of the world, and it has no separate denominations whatsoever. There is no clergy. Administration is through elected bodies at the local, national, and international levels. Elections are democratic in form, except that there is no campaigning or nominating. Baha'i administrative institutions use a spiritual approach to group consultation to serve the needs of the Faith, and the administrative order may expand and adapt to changing needs. The Faith has members in over two hundred and fifty different countries, dependencies, islands, and territories.
"7. The Baha'i Faith originated in Persia with the teachings of the Bab, who foretold that God would soon make manifest a new Prophet. In 1863, Baha'u'llah, a Persian, proclaimed Himself to be that Prophet, and He thereafter engaged in several decades of spiritual teaching and writing. In His lifetime Baha'u'llah provided for ultimate establishment of The Universal House of Justice as supreme world authority of the Baha'i Faith.
"8. Baha'u'llah died in 1892, designating His eldest son, Abdu'l-Baha, Spiritual Leader of the Baha'i Faith. Abdu'l-Baha, in turn, upon His death in 1921, designated his eldest grandson, Shoghi Effendi, as Guardian of the Faith. When Shoghi Effendi died in 1957, world spiritual authority of the Baha'i Faith became vested in the Hands of the Cause of God, twenty- seven individuals appointed by Shoghi Effendi as Chief Stewards of the Faith who effectuated the devolution of Baha'i spiritual authority to The Universal House of Justice. Their interim authority ended in 1963 with the formation of The Universal House of Justice, a nine-member body elected by member of The National Spiritual Assemblies throughout the world. Members presently serve for a five year term. The Universal House of Justice is the exclusive highest authority in the Baha'i Faith throughout the world, and it has legislative powers on matters not expressly revealed in the Baha'i scriptures. Shoghi Effendi was the only Guardian of the Baha'i Faith, and there is no Guardian at the present time and has been none since 1957. The procedures followed by the Hands of the Cause and the succession of authority from Shoghi Effendi to The Universal House of Justice were in full accordance with the controlling documents and sacred writings and teachings of the Faith. The Universal House of Justice is located at the Baha'i world Center on Mount Carmel, in Haifa, Israel."

Also of note are some of the conclusions of law:

"6. By virtue of their widespread activities, extensive dissemination of publications, and national publicity, the NSA and the Baha'i Faith have established invaluable and protectible good will among the general public in increasingly greater numbers. The public has come to recognize the designations "Baha'i", "National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United States," "Baha'i Publishing Trust," representations of the Baha'i house of Worship, the Arabic design "The Greatest Name," and related terms and symbols, as identifying the NSA and the Baha'i Faith as administered by the NSA, and no other. These terms and symbols, because of their long and widespread use and dissemination, have attained secondary meaning as relating to and identifying the NSA and the Baha'i Faith as administered by the NSA as the source of numerous publications and religious activities."
"7. The NSA's rights to the marks, names, and symbols "National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United States," Baha'i Publishing Trust," Baha'i," representations of the Baha'i House of Worship, and the Arabic design "The Greatest Name" in connection with the religious activities and publications antedates and is superior to any rights of the New Mexico group to use these marks, names, and symbols in connection with religious activities and publications. The NSA is legally entitled to the protection of these designations.


"12. The right to use the Baha'i symbols, names, and marks inheres in the Baha'i Faith, not in its members. When individuals are not or cease to be members, use by them of the designations of the Faith is misleading and deceptive. There is only one Baha'i Faith. The NSA is duly authorized by the Universal house of Justice as the highest authority for the Faith in continental Unites States and is entitled to exclusive use of the marks and symbols of the Faith."
"13. No question of religious liberty is involved. The New Mexico group has the right to organize and worship according to its dictates, but it has no right in doing so to utilize names and marks which will enable it to appropriate the good will which has been earned by an unrelated organization and to subject the general public to confusion, deception, and mistake.

It may be interesting to note that Mr. Remey directed this new-mexico-based group to cease their attempts at a second lawsuit against the NSA of the US, effectively ending any contrary claim in the USA to the term Baha'i. Essentially, no group that is not affiliated with the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States has the right to use these appelations without substantial adornment. According to the conclusions of law the term Baha'i (unmodified) is synonymous with the organization of which the NSA under the direction of the Universal House of Justice in Haifa is the chief administrative entity in the USA.

So while anybody can come with their opinion that Baha'i means all of them together, it is not the case, neither in practical effect, nor in law. To assert via the Wikipedia articles is to essentially add Point Of View to the article. There is nothing wrong with noting the dispute, or noting that other groups would like to refer to themselves as "The Baha'i Faith". They do not have the right to do so. Unlike Christianity or Islam, there is an "Official" Baha'i Faith, at least in US and Canadian law (and I'm pretty sure about Israeli and British law as well, though I don't have references handy). It would be like me setting up a "Roman Catholic Education Foundation", when I was unafilliated with the Roman Catholic church, which is a specific entity with rights it may defend. In this case, as a matter of Baha'i doctrine, as well as history, The Baha'i Faith is a single entity, and is recognized as such beyond its own membership.

I hope that helps clarify, particularly for admins seeking a neutral point of view. No one here is atttempting to eliminate reference to alternative views or groups, but it is specifically misleading to assert that The Baha'i Faith is more than one organization. One might say "Religions based on Baha'i teachings" or "religions based on Baha'u'llah's teachings". But the page The Bahá'í Faith can only reasonably refer to the organization run by the Universal House of Justice, with references to the effect that this control over the organization is contested by several groups, and pointing to pages that describe this in more detail.

-- Christian Edward Gruber 04:16, 2005 Jun 8 (UTC)

Dawud again. Obviously there are numerous judicial authorities scattered around the world, and it would be foolhardy to pick any of them as a guide to good practice. So much for appealing to "law" and who has the "right" to do use the name. In point of fact, the Baha'i (Haifa) folks have received at least one negative judgement over their claimed ownership of the name--if memory serves, from a New York circuit court--that ruled that they couldn't trademark the name of a religion.

We also have to remember that the identity of the "Baha'i Faith" for legal purposes--i.e. who legally controls the institutions and their bank accounts in a given country--may or may not match the identity of "the Baha'i Faith" for other purposes. Certainly the governance style is likely to differ (LSA versus board of trustees).

As an aside, there have existed, and continue to exist, "Roman Catholic" organizations not in communion with the pope.

The goal of avoiding confusion, at least, is a laudible one.

Thanks for that, at least, Dawud

Incidentally, such Roman Catholic organizations get sued in many districts, on service mark infringement, because they might be confused with organizations that are affiliated with rome. Also, FYI, the NYSC case is superceded by the one I quoted. Higher jurisdiction, precedent overruled. Anyway, what are your criteria here? I'm finding evidence, external to the Baha'is (of any flavour), that "Baha'i Faith" is seen to mean the group based in Haifa. If I say "evolution means that we all were created by a giant frog", post a website and add such to the "Evolution" page, it would get removed as vandalism, because that's not the recognized theory of evolution. It's not true. The "Orthodox Baha'i Faith" is not "The Baha'i Faith" by definition, and by legal recognition in many jurisdictions. Given that Wikipedia is a reporting site, and not an opinion site, then provide me with overriding evidence to the contrary, and not opinion of interested parties, and then we'll talk. I agree with the need to disambiguate. But to artificially make "Baha'i Faith" refer to groups that are, in no jurisdiction that I have found evidence for, not recognized as such, is not reporting. Having a footnote, or a link very close to the top that mentions the fact that other claimants to the name exist with references to their pages should solve the avoiding confusion problem. Surely there are other examples that take the main case and link to contrary views. Regardless of the above, it is Baha'i doctrine that there is and can only be one Baha'i Faith, and on this all claimants are (ironically) in agreement. So in that spirit, go with the one almost everyone identifies as the Baha'i Faith, and differentiate elsewhere.

I'm very curious why you have such a hard time with this. This really feels like an agenda beyond diambiguation. I have provided substantial evidence that there is no ambiguity, but you cling to your view. It seems you have formed your view as impervious to evidence. Is there any way you could be convinced? If not, then I suggest that you withdraw from this discussion and edit process, since such a position is incompatible with writing NPOV. If someone were to show that a substantial percentage of the world (greater than 1% to be generous) identifies the Baha'i Faith as something other than the religion based in Haifa, then I can start to see your point. Absent that, I don't see how it is reporting facts to state otherwise. -- Christian Edward Gruber 05:58, 2005 Jun 8 (UTC)

Dawud again. By the way I've made some changes to "Bahá'í divisions".
"Baha'i" is not a disambiguation page. It says "rediract" (sic) to Baha'i Faith. I avoided changing or correcting it, since somebody might be working on it.
Edward, if we can agree to reserve "Baha'i Faith" for the Haifa group, that's fine with me. In that case "Baha'i" should be the general article, no? (The one with all the other groups and / or disambiguation.) Is that your view? Or are you arguing that the Haifa group deserves both "Baha'i" and "Baha'i Faith" owing to overwhelming size? I can't agree with that, no matter what comparative percentages of populations we're talking about.
Evolution is a scientific subject with reasonably clear standards as to what is or is not an accepted part of discourse. No such consensus obtains with religion in general, or with the family of Baha'i religions in general. So the standards are not comparable.

Dawud's POV is surreal: there is no "family of Baha'i religions" or "Haifa group". Maybe in Christianity one can start one's own church and still be regarded as part of the Christian "family". But that is not possible in the Baha'i Faith, which has only one centre of authority, the Universal House of Justice, which is universally recognised as the supreme body of the Baha'i Faith. Baha'is are those persons who are registered as such by assemblies that are under the jurisdiction of the Universal House of Justice. In any case, the numbers of others who may claim to be Baha'is appears to be truly insignificant at the global level. Therefore the implication that the Baha'i Faith is some sort of family of competing groups is both unrealistic and untenable. --Occamy 10:37, 8 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Hey, Dawud. Would you mind signing your posts, since it's really hard to follow comment trails when there's no signature to indicate the end of a comment. Incidentally, my name is Christian, not Edward. Edward's my middle name.
Anyway, more on-topic, perhaps the topic "Baha'i" could simply be a short article that defines "a baha'i" as a member of the Baha'i Faith, with some working that indicates that members of other groups may also call themselves Baha'i, though in at least several western countries their rights to use the term are limited, with a see also The Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh or some page that defines the history of attempted divisions within the Baha'i community. In other words, make it read like a dictionary definition. I don't know, I'm really reaching here (ref Ocamy's comment), but it's the best I can come up with before I have my coffee. -- Christian Edward Gruber 12:13, 2005 Jun 8 (UTC)

Roman Catholic Church may be a good model. Traditionalist Catholics get mentioned where relivant but the aritcle mostly covers what would most of the planet would be describeing when they use the term "Roman Catholic Church". the relivant MOS page is Wikipedia:Naming conventions (common names).Geni 18:16, 8 Jun 2005 (UTC)

By the way, I changed Bahá'í to be inline with Baha'i. The accented one was a disambiguation page whilst hte unaccented one goes to this page. Whatever the outcome of this debate, they should both forward to the same page. -- Tomhab 18:19, 8 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Dawud, the point is that wikipedia does not provide a disambiguation page for every situation where there is a conflict in the name. Check out London, Boston, Washington, The Guardian (might mean Shoghi Effendi), Badi (might mean one of the greatest Baha'i martyrs Badí'), Cat, even obscur things like The State. I'm picking favourable examples, but its simpler for the reader and wikipedia custom.
You have raised a valid point that this article dealt with both every Baha'i and the majority in one which very much marginalised the minorities.
There is too much that is different between the sects for a common page but the Bahá'í divisions page sums up the differences relatively nicely.
If NOTHING else.... there is only one other Baha'i schism on wikipedia the Orthodox Bahá'í Faith and they largely distinguish themselves as the "Orthodox". If you were looking them up you would add orthodox in anyway. -- Tomhab 18:41, 8 Jun 2005 (UTC)


Tomhab has added "...The secular west has proved a difficult task, but in particular, the Christian Orthodox Church and the Communist North Korean people have been particularly resistant to the religion." This statement may (or not) be correct but I am concerned that it focusses on only two groups when there may be many other examples of peoples who have been slow to adopt the Baha'i Faith. Surely a better test of adoption is the proportion of the population that has already joined the Baha'is. If we are stating six or seven million as the global total, then that represents 0.1% of humankind. I feel that the article would be more balanced if the demographics section were to use some such figure as the benchmark of the Baha'i Faith's position, rather than by spotlighting specific faiths or countries. --Occamy 19:33, 8 Jun 2005 (UTC)

the whole section reads to me as slightly POV and I would be careful about declareing NK to be communist (or the west to be secular).Geni 20:42, 8 Jun 2005 (UTC)
ok I've rewriten it. We can't really speculate why a relgion is able to spread more quickly in some places than in others (no orignal research) even if in the case of NK the answer is pretty clear.
I just re-rewrote that bit, removing reference to NK. I cannot see why North Korea would even be called out as opposed to 208 other countries. The reference just seemed irrelevant. Instead, I mentioned the shift in demographics towards india and africa in the last 50 years. -- Christian Edward Gruber 22:47, 2005 Jun 8 (UTC)

Heh I can't do anything right at the minute. My point was there is varied success, such as there is very little penetration in the secular of the west and the communist of the North Koreans - as in those who count themselves as secular/communist in west/NK. Just ignore me for now though :) -- Tomhab 23:03, 8 Jun 2005 (UTC)

But you continue to make so many very useful contributions...maybe you need some sleep :) --Occamy 06:27, 9 Jun 2005 (UTC)

I'm just wondering why Anon keeps adding bits about "under-representation" in certain areas. It seems like an obvious point - that there wouldn't be even population density, and that the message would fare better or worse in different places at different times. I don't have a big problem with it, but it's very ephemeral, since 50 years ago there was almost no representation in India or Africa. All it means is that growth is slow or stagnant in the west, but that it shot up in the Third-World - not surprising for a Faith that actually lets individuals participate more fully in society, at least compared with some African and Indian societies where rigid hierarchies or dictatorships have kept everyone down. Again, though even that's speculation. I think the whole topic isn't worth much mention, unless there's good sociology that we can link to about it.

It's also very country-specifit. For example, there are about 30,000 baha'is in Canada, which more-or-less tracks with 31,000,000 canadians at 0.1%. This is the world-wide average, so you couldn't say that in this western country it was under-represented. Also, while under-represented in former-communist east-europe, it seems to be growing quite quickly there. But there we are, back to the temporary nature of such measurements. All you need is for a government to change and suddenly, under or over representation. It's all very circumstantial. Maybe the Anon (I think it's Dawud, but I can't remember his IP) could comment on why it's useful to add. -- Christian Edward Gruber 14:20, 2005 Jun 9 (UTC)

OK I know I'm partly to blame for this, but the article is coming up with some interesting comments... Saying that numbers vary from 3 million to 8 million as we don't know the exact numbers of believers per country then giving definite figures is odd without a source. Also, the middle east really is not underrepresented in the faith.... I'm sure we all know how many Persian Baha'is there are (don't forget we're talking about cultures, not countries - or at least were there)... -- Tomhab 15:43, 9 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Yeah - if someone is going to dispute numbers, and mention difference estimates, the estimates should be sourced - "The Baha'is themselves claim Y members (reference to Baha'i source claiming this) but these people over here estimated 3 million (ref, so you can see how they came up with that), while study N reported 8 million in year M." PaulHammond 12:10, Jun 12, 2005 (UTC)

The main sociological study is Peter Smith, "The Babi and Baha'i Religions" (sorry, I can't be bothered with diacritical marks just now), but that's like what, 20 years old? You're right, a lot of these changes are likely to prove ephemeral. The West might have some sort of revival, India might backslide, who knows. But these are trends that have been going on for fifty years now. Another fifty, maybe they'll need to be revised!

Baha'is are under-represented in the Middle East outside Iran. The main problem, other than official repression, seems to be that Sunni Muslims just aren't attracted to a Shi'i offshoot.

I think there should be a "Criticism" section and also a "Baha'i Spirituality" section (with mystical stuff like the realms of God, afterlife, etc.). Is there room to put them here, or do we need another page? Also a Baha'i joke page would be good!


Criticisms should be inline with this article's text, not in a separate article. Add the full amount about the problems of sexism in the universal house of justice page, with perhaps a short note in this page. In other words, if this page goes on about how great the Baha'is are because they believe in equality of sexes add in "however, some feel lalalalala [source]". As for anything that doesn't crop up, add something about criticisms but not at the top otherwise it starts to look like a polemic text.
Don't forget sources for anything contraversial - Adding decent sources solves 90% of all arguments on wikipedia in my experience. It also makes wikipedia an all round better encyclopaedia -- Tomhab 12:01, 10 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Recent Edits by

It is disappointing that should have made so many controversial, slanted and pejorative edits to the article yesterday. This was done to an article that had emerged in a fairly settled form after vigorous debates earlier this year, and all without prior discussion on the part of Definitely not NPOV. There is no question that the controversial/slanted/pejorative edits have to be balanced and made NPOV. But it is unfortunate that such POV contributions waste so much time and effort...his and of others who strive for NPOV articles. --Occamy 21:09, 10 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Dawud here. Could you possibly give examples?
I honestly feel the current version is an improvement. Just because you "settle" something among the people who were around before, doesn't mean that other people can't make it better. In that case wikipedia would be something entirely different. If I were a Baha'i (I like Baha'is but I'm not one and have never been one--or a Bayani either, by the way), I would feel the same way (about this version being better).
Specifics. The opening section (thanks largely to somebody ELSE'S edit of me) now reads much better, in terms of quickly getting across what the Baha'i Faith is. It now has "who what when where" sort of information up front.
Also, key distinctive concepts such as "Progressive revelation", the "three onenesses" (as somebody else titled the link), the Covenant, and most crucially the expectation that the world will unite (that's really cool and distinctive!) were not mentioned before, except much later and buried in the text. Now they have prominence, as they should.
The "demographics" section is more neutral now than before, when it read almost exactly like a Baha'i brochure that they used to give away.
I added sections of "mystical dimensions" and "symbols". They seemed important. (Before there was no mention of Baha'i views of the afterlife, for instance.)
Oh, for the people who wanted me to register, I did that. Let's see if it goes the name thingy at the end now. by
you need to sign you commments with four tides like this ~~~~Geni 00:12, 11 Jun 2005 (UTC)
You also have to SIGN IN. Rick Boatright 00:27, 11 Jun 2005 (UTC)
I'm really not sure whats going on at the moment as I don't have time to check over each edit. The Baha'i page(s) invite a reasonable amount of attention from people keen to disrepute the religion. Its fine for wikipedia and they often contribute useful points, but mixed in with a lot of POV. Its quite easy to spot - theres a flurry of edits etc similar to whats going on now. As said I've only been able to keep a rough eye on whats going on so certainly am not saying thats your motives, but explains Occamy's suspicion. Specific examples:
  • Your first edit was entirely based on what you thought was best for wikipedia.
  • The entire mysticism section implies a deeply mystical nature of the religion (which it isn't). It needs to be moved to a separate article.
  • Your edit on the disambiguation page is particularly odd. The page disambiguates between different Baha'i schisms so to add a link to a page about criticisms is particularly odd (especially as you were in the discussion that decided for it to be implemented in that way). The edits are welcome, but pushing forward an article about criticisms is very POV. As said the article will almost certainly be removed (under a peer-review vote) for being a POV fork.
In summary I think occamy's problem is that the entire tone has changed from something that has been discussed and been labeled a featured article into something that you feel is more appropriate after 3 days in wikipedia without using a talk page. Although wikipedia is free for anyone to edit its a community effort. -- Tomhab 03:36, 11 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Tomhab, I don't understand what you mean by "your first edit was entirely based on what you thought was best for wikipedia." Is that bad? I can see that you feel it's presumptious. Well, what do you think of the result--is it an improvement, or not?

As I recall, the first article I did anything for was Tahirih. I've also worked on New Age, Esotericism, and Burkhanism (of all things), and have been meaning to get around to expanding on Agni Yoga. Plus some comic book related stuff.

On reflection, I have to admit that the "disambiguation" marker seems to work pretty well. I can see how the inclusion of "criticisms" might seem out of place--by all means, delete the link if you feel strongly about it. My reasoning was that these criticisms are related to some of the schisms (esp. the recent ones).

The Baha'i Faith does have a mystical side. No, that's not its main focus, but it is important. We could quibble about what name to give this--I was following the example of "Mystical Dimensions of Islam," a standard work. It's not as weird as it might sound. Maybe "spirituality" would be better.

Let's see if this works now. Dawud 07:45, 12 Jun 2005 (UTC) Dawud

Anyway. Disambiguation is sorted and you did bring up a valid point (that previous versions made other schisms seem marginal).
My point about the mystical side is that most Baha'is don't believe in it literally. The large majority of published text (at least that thats published in English) is non-mystical so might be misleading. Its more a point of interest rather than a part of being a Baha'i - (camparing Baha'i belief to sufiism [spelling]). I think the ideal solution (again only my opinion) might be cut it down to one paragraph (or two smaller ones), make it clear that it is not a defining part of being a Baha'i, and start a new article Mysticism in the Bahá'í Faith, or perhaps more appropriately Mysticism in Bahá'u'llah's writings to make it clear that its relevant to other schisms. -- Tomhab 15:55, 12 Jun 2005 (UTC)

For "mysticism" read "life of the soul," surely an important concern. Possibly the Tablet of All Food reference is overkill--most Baha'is haven't read it.

If we really need another article, I recommend "Baha'u'llah's writings," period (including all aspects thereof). This could include some description of how these writings are used. Dawud 01:25, 13 Jun 2005 (UTC)

As you wish, although it will require the editor to be clear that there are many different ways Baha'u'llah wrote (sometimes God speaking, sometimes Baha'u'llah speaking, sometimes mystical etc). offers an explanation of a lot of the major tablets about who's talking etc. Check out [4] for all food, but if you go for something about all his writings I'd recommend you'd include Fire Tablet, Tablet of Ahmad and Tablet of the Holy Mariner as they are the best known three. Sorry if I'm missing anything out.
Oh if you do start the new article don't forget the accents. Just generally looks a little better :). -- Tomhab 10:51, 13 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Hey - if he writes it without accents, someone else can come along and fix it all up later. Personally, I find it a pain to put accents in and usually look around for another instance of Bahá'í to cut and paste before going to the special characters list at the bottom of the screen. Incidentally, Dawud's last edit, cutting down the paragraphs and sharpening up the Mysticism section, seemed like an improvement to me. PaulHammond 11:41, Jun 13, 2005 (UTC)

Only just seen it. Yeah if anything its gone a little far the other way :). If people deem the subtitle change irrelevant, then change it back, but seemed more appropriate as included little about mysticism. -- Tomhab 12:14, 13 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Thank you for your kind words, Paul (and for your hello).

Since there already exist pages devoted to at least five of Baha'u'llah's major works, it seems that the logical thing to do would just be to link to these from the "Baha'u'llah" biographical page, adding whatever other works people wanted.

The truth is, the Baha'i "house style" of accent markings is not particularly academic. For instance, this thing __'__ as they use it could mean three different things in Arabic. They like this style because Shoghi Effendi used it, and perhaps because some of the American "covenant breaker" groups used other styles (like "Beha Ollah"). Dawud 00:43, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Well... We really should pick one prefered style and if you think there are others mention them, but I haven't seen any active Bahá'í groups that use any other form of spelling. The only pre-Shoghi-Effendi Baha'i group I know of is the "Baha'i Family Society" in Haifa. I don't know what accents they use but its definitely Baha'i.
As for accents ' and ` are the two standard ways wikipedians seem to use. Other "floating commas" such as ‘ and ’ which are used in official Baha'is sites aren't used in wikipeida (I suspect largely because I can't find it on my keyboard). I've had problems with links using that before in my time :).
As the version used here is most widely recognised I suggest we stick with it.
At least 5 of Baha'u'llah's works? I only know of three here, (Iqan, Aqdas and hidden words), but yes ideally there should be an article about each. -- Tomhab 01:12, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)

It looks like The Four Valleys and The Seven Valleys also have pages. After that we come to a whole slew of smallish tablets--I guess the sensible thing would be to divide them volume to volume, the same way the Baha'is publish them. (Some clever person or group figured out where all the stuff from Gleanings came from.)

No, I don't suggest changing the diacriticals. It's a hopeless cause anyway--if people don't use the Shoghi Effendi system, they sure as hell won't use the house style of some Middle Eastern journal.

Oh, the ringstone apparently says "Baha", which is Persian. (Related to Sanskrit--hence the similarity of "Abha" with the end of "Amitabha".) Same writing system as Arabic (except for four letters--if you see a triangle of dots, that's Persian). I can't make out much of their calligraphy, unfortunately. Dawud 11:29, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Whoops! My mistake--no valleys. (Sigh.) Well, I'll think about doing something for "Seven." Dawud 11:31, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Diacritical marks

Starting a new section, since the conversation has drifted above. Like I said, personally I find it a pain in the bum, because they are in the titles of the articles and someone (I did a few yesterday) has to set up redirects from the plain text versions (can't explect average encyclopedia users to know how to write those special characters).

But, in the world it's common for non-roman script languages to have several competing transliteration schemes for translation, and in wikipedia, it's common for editors to push for the one they think is most correct. Also, academic styles and preferences change - Chinese most commonly uses pin-yin these days (hence the change from "Peking" to "Beijing"), Indian languages have updating transliterations (hence "Bombay" to Mumbai), and as Dawud notes above, Baha'is have a preference for the transliteration system that Shoghi used, but since Shoghi's time these things have moved on.

At the end of the day, someone put a lot of work into making the persian and arabic names of people and things "correct" before I started editing Baha'i articles at Wikipedia, and I think it's too minor a thing, and too much hassle, to try to change things around for a different "better" - moving articles is a big deal Wikipedia-wise, and there is no perfect solution anyway. We can't move all the articles back and forth whenever someone else comes along with a different opinion. PaulHammond 12:14, Jun 14, 2005 (UTC)

Well... As far as I have seen the "ideal" solution has always been the Shoghi diacritical marks....? Everything else has just been for simplicity. My biggest problem with simplifying is that Wikipedia "may set a standard" (possibly a standard of laziness).
Moving articles isn't that big a deal though. Sets up nice redirects every time.
My personal opinion is that we use the English as much as possible, but only the Perisian/Arabic where it is absolutely necessary (we can't call Baha'u'llah "The Glory of God" because he's not known as that, let alone the fact some might find it somewhat odd). An example, Hazratulkutz (I have no idea how to spell it) could just as easily be "Baha'i centre", or Mashradquladhar (I'm not even entirely sure how to say it, let alone spell it) could be just "House of Worship".
Open to ideas though -- Tomhab 13:30, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Yeah - when I said it was a big deal, I didn't mean it was difficult to do it, but rather that moving an article is almost always controversial. PaulHammond 17:55, Jun 15, 2005 (UTC)

I agree with Shoghi marks. The lazy way is the best way!

BTW "Peking" is the old postal code. "Beijing" is hanyu pinyin--except that it lacks tone markings, without which the system breaks down. The other main possibility is Wade-Giles, which gives us "Pei-Ching".

BTW the Mashraq al-Adkhar ("Dawning Place") is NOT the same as a House of Worship. There exist 7 1/2 of the latter and zero of the former. (See revised section.)

I was actually wondering whether to mention the translation of "Baha'i." The previous version said it meant "a follower of Baha'u'llah" which is true enough, except that it is also an adjective for the religion. (English speakers sometimes use it as a noun out of ignorance.) Does the meaning seem obvious without an explanation? That would make it easier... "Baha'i Faith founded by Baha'u'llah" would seem to give it away, but you never know... Dawud 14:45, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)

It's not just that Baha'is have a preference for the Shoghi Effendi prefered use of diacriticals, there's two other issues. One is simple consistancy. The Baha'i administration mandating the use of the SAME transliteration scheme results in the names found in the documents being the same from decade to decade. Otherwise, you find yourself in the situation where you're reading two documents, one refering to Bombay and the other refering to Mumbai. Who's to tell you that they're the same thing? Consistancy is _not_ a minor point. The second issue is essentially theological. What is the wikipedia's standard for use? There generally are several. Consider for example the wikipedia entry for Abu Muzaffar Muhiuddin Muhammad Aurangzeb Alamgir, usually known as Aurangzeb, but also sometimes as Alamgir I. There are a LOT of competing transliterations for this guy, along with lots of different "call names" for him. But the article is at Aurangzeb. This follows the wikipedia "most common use" rule. On the other hand, there is a competing wikipedia pressure for most accurate as in the Mumbai/Bombay instance. Most of these can be resolved (as the Bombay one is) with redirects. If you choose to write articles without the diacriticals the Baha'i Vermin including me will probebly come along and fix it up leaving the appropriate re-directs in place. And yes, in day to day writing, I and essentially every other Baha'i uses Baha'i not Bahá'í (noting that the ' used there is also inaccurate, but html lacks the appropriate floating comma for the correct diacritical. Oh well.) Rick Boatright 18:08, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Hey Dawud. It seems to me that, in English, you can often use an adjective as a noun to indicate "one who is <adjective>". It's quite a common construction. It's the same with the word Christian. He is christian, or he is a Christian. He is german, or he is a German. You get the picture. But I agree, it should be noted that Baha'i also is the adjective. -- Christian Edward Gruber 18:22, 2005 Jun 14 (UTC)

There may be more correct to write things but this is the English wikipedia. You can use all the diatrical marks you want in the Persian wikipedia. Use the Latin alphabet that all English speakers use. Diatrical marks are not needed in English, so why include them? --metta, The Sunborn 18:23, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)

There are several words in English that have accents. Étude is the first I could find in my dictionary, coup d'état are two that are from french. I've just noticed that coupé, the car is correct only when spelt with an accent.
Having said all this, if wikipedia comes up with a policy of only using the typical English alphabet then I'm not that bothered with removing all the diacritical marks. -- Tomhab 19:28, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Off the top of my head there is Naïve and Façade. I read this book in which the author referred to the misuse or absence of diatrical marks as a "Perversion of the Arabic language." So it seems to me that some people are very picky or sensitive about how Arabic or Persian words are presented in English. Also they do help people pronounce the words properly, which I do find to be important. Ariadoss 08:04, Jun 15, 2005 (UTC)
If I can offer my piece, I'm an American who studied Arabic pretty extensively, and almost every Baha'i word in common usage (including Baha) comes from Arabic, not Persian. Arabic is pretty simple, with only 3 vowels, each having a definite long or short sound. To read Arabic, there is no ambiguity about how to pronounce it, only in how to transliterate it into a different character set. There are several transliterations of Arabic in the world, and Shoghi Effendi's method is very effective. I can look at any example of his transliteration and know exactly how to write the original Arabic, which is not true of any other form of transliteration that I know of. For most uses it doesn't matter whether you use accent marks, unless you're trying to do some kind of scholarly and professional writing, in which case I strongly suggest sticking with Shoghi Effendi's style, with accent marks and dots. Cunado19 08:15, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Mashriq'ul-Adhkar details

Dawud makes some important comments earlier about Temples not being synonymous to the Mashriq'ul-Adkhar. While the institution of Mashriq'ul-Adhkar is more than a House of Worship, the House of Worship serves as the central institution and structure of the complex that is Mashriq. In that sense, the extant Houses of Worship are sort of embryonic, or seedling Mashriq'ul-Adhkars. He is right, however - the full vision of the Mashriq'ul-Adhkar is vastly more than the Temple, however wonderous it is. To wit:

"But however inspiring the conception of Bahá'í worship, as witnessed in the central Edifice of this exalted Temple, it cannot be regarded as the sole, nor even the essential, factor in the part which the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar, as designed by Bahá'u'lláh, is destined to play in the organic life of the Bahá'í community. Divorced from the social, humanitarian, educational and scientific pursuits centering around the Dependencies of the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar, Bahá'í worship, however exalted in its conception, however passionate in fervor, can never hope to achieve beyond the meagre and often transitory results produced by the contemplations of the ascetic or the communion of the passive worshiper. It cannot afford lasting satisfaction and benefit to the worshiper himself, much less to humanity in general, unless and until translated and transfused into that dynamic and disinterested service to the cause of humanity which it is the supreme privilege of the Dependencies of the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar to facilitate and promote. Nor will the exertions, no matter how disinterested and strenuous, of those who within the precincts of the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar will be engaged in administering the affairs of the future Bahá'í Commonwealth, fructify and prosper unless they are brought into close and daily communion with those spiritual agencies centering in and radiating from the central Shrine of the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar. Nothing short of direct and constant interaction between the spiritual forces emanating from this House of Worship centering in the heart of the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar, and the energies consciously displayed by those who administer its affairs in their service to humanity can possibly provide the necessary agency capable of removing the ills that have so long and so grievously afflicted humanity."
- Shoghi Effendi, Baha'i Administration, pp. 185,186

Having said all that, it may be accurate, but is probably too complicated to make the distinction on this page. I recommend that a a simplified version of what you are saying be stated on this page, and a more detailed description of the institution, the role of the Temple at its centre, etc. be moved to and made on a seperate page linked-to by this one. I have to say, re-reading this description by Shoghi Effendi - it's a rather amazing vision. I hope to see it in my lifetime, though I suspect I will have to wait. -- Christian Edward Gruber 18:22, 2005 Jun 14 (UTC)

The three onenesses in the intro and their bracketed references

hey all. Listen, I'm kind of uncomfortable with the intro. It's an aesthetic thing, but until my last edit, we had each of the three onenesses listed, but only the first two had bracketed references (monotheism and perrennialism, respectively). The second and third onenesses then had two little paragraph/sentences right after that really belonged in the other sections. I suggest two options:

  1. Remove the bracketed bits entirely, and rather trust people to look at the article on the three onenesses adn maybe beef it up so it's better explained
  2. Find a better "oneness of humanity" explanatory bracket.

I think they should (aesthetically) all have them or none should have them. But the asymmetry was really bugging me. Then again, I could be OCD. <sigh> -- Christian Edward Gruber 00:20, 2005 Jun 17 (UTC)

Statistics and Shoghi Effendi

I just started using wiki a few days ago, and made a lot of changes before I realized that a talk page existed, or that edit summaries existed.

I changed one of the headings under history from "Shoghi Effendi" to "Formative Age of the Baha'i Faith", because this is the way Shoghi Effendi outlined the history in God Passes By. I think this resolves the earlier dispute about how to title that section. I also added a few relevant quotes from GPB, and I wasn't sure if long quotes were appropriate for the article, so feel free to delete those as you like.

I did a makeover of the "demographics" section because it wasn't very good. Now it has a link to Baha'i statistics and Baha'i pioneering which takes away some of the mess on the main page. And now the "demographics section is brief and to the point. The details of the information is completely accurate as far as I know, but I couldn't find many references, and I never found an actual Baha'i source for number of adherents.

I also added to the Ten Year Crusade page, which was previously blank. Cunado19 07:17, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)


I have merged the text from Bahá'í criticisms here as per the VfD result. That page had a cleanup tag affixed to it; that recommendation for cleanup still applies as I only copy/pasted and reformatted section headings. -- Jonel | Speak 05:08, 23 Jun 2005 (UTC)

You're not kidding! Now we have an already long article which has had another article just pasted into it. I guess that's one of the problems with dealing with article bloat by hiving sections off into dubious secondary articles. Really, these critical perspectives need to be merged into the relevant sections of the main article text where possible, so that this section can be deleted, but without ruining the flow of the main article. A tough job. PaulHammond 11:20, Jun 23, 2005 (UTC)

Article size revisited

While I was archiving this page, I noticed the comments above about how long this article was getting. Since Baha'i criticisms got dumped here for future merging, the article is now 50k long.

I guess the point is, guys, if you're editing the article don't just write a new section and carry on making it longer - try to write something that is an improvement on what is already there so that you can replace. Right now, I guess we are actually looking to try to lose at least half of the text that is there, or get it into subsidiary articles that actually *are* relevant and important enough to justify being an encyclopedia article in their own right. The Biographical sections, for instance, and articles about the history of the succession disputes are good examples, I think. PaulHammond 11:45, Jun 23, 2005 (UTC)

Have a look at Wikipedia:Article_size for some useful suggestions on how to go forward. PaulHammond 11:51, Jun 23, 2005 (UTC)

Cunado19's recent edits and moving forward

While I have no issue with people editing this stuff, and when I was first making edits, I made a lot of them, but once I found out that there was a talk page, and history, I scaled back my edits, and tried to make them "evolutionary", not "revolutionary". I'm really concerned that we have a new friend who is drastically cutting up articles without discussion. There was a lot of consensus building that happened here, and we still don't have good consensus on what needs to go on the main page, and what should be in supplimentary articles. I fear that such broad-strokes changes will drag us back into old arguments and cause a re-hash of "baha'is are just making a propaganda page" nonsense, or "baha'is are colluding to eliminate oppositional views" and such. I see a lot of hard work and consultation ignored here.

I know that it isn't with any intention to mess this flow up, that Cunado19 is making changes. I know that he (she) is simply trying to improve the quality of the article(s). However, I'm afraid that we've already gone away from NPOV, and are returning to old territory. Could we therefore come to some agreement on a few issues menitioned above, namely:

  1. How much text should any give topic have in the main article, before it becomes a summary of the issue with a supplimentary page
  2. How can we structure things in such a way that NPOV is maintained, and avoid language that would motivate Baha'is or their opponents to change the content to suit their divergent points of view. (maybe not possible, but the closer the better)
  3. Looking at the results of the rather sweeping changes from merging in the criticisms plus Cunado19's edits, can we chart a direction that restores the spirit of the article's consensus, without causing ever-more sweeping changes, at least outside of what can be conceded in this forum?

I'm not sure if this will help or solve anything, but I'm hopeful. It's very hard to track major and sweeping changes when they occur all at once like this, and without discussion. However new to Wikipedia I am, I have perhaps been somewhat culturally co-opted, in that I now consider such sweeping, un-consulted changes as quite rude, and disrespectful to the work of the previous editors. -- Christian Edward Gruber 23:31, 2005 Jun 26 (UTC)

To be honest with such drastic changes occuring over the last month, I think a complete rethink needs to happen anyway. Come up with a suggestion and we'll discuss it :) Btw I'll be on a wikibreak starting in a few days - moving town and gotta find a job. Not sure how long before I come back. -- Tomhab 23:40, 26 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Hi, this is (he) Cunado19.
Of course my intentions were good, I am trying to make a NPOV article that is clear, concise, and has links to more information if necessary. In (I think) every case where I moved or deleted information, I was shortening the main page (the size of the article was an issue that a lot of people were talking about but not doing anything). I made several new pages which took some mess off the main page while still preserving the information for people who are interested in learning more. I realize that while doing this I'm inserting my own POV, but you should realize it's difficult because I'm a Baha'i and it's not natural, and I expect less biased people to offer a less biased edit of anything I did. Some already have.
I think wikipedia is powerful because it has concise articles with links to more information. When I first got to the Baha'i page it was pretty messy, with unweighted amounts of information on different issues, and long ramblings on the main page. And to be honest, I think people that have been involved in the page for a long time have overlooked the simple question of "what do people want to see?". The main page is an introduction to the Faith for people who have probably never heard of it before, and to have huge amounts of details about covenant breakers on the main page is not fair to readers. Their movement was a small blip on the map of the Faith, and are now not considered significant by ANYBODY except scholars who are looking for schisms in the Faith. This is not suppressing a POV. In every case I accurately mentioned their existence and beliefs, and offered links to the two or three pages dedicated to such issues.
As for the Baha'i criticism page, I summarized it (which had some inaccurate information) and put it in a new page called Bahá'í apologetics, which is a more accurate wording of what it is. For example, "Christian Apologetics" is a common term. The main page has a brief summary and a link. The new page is in bad need of some references and editing, but I think this can serve the purpose that Dawud originally intended for the criticism page, while keeping it NPOV and still mentioning the highlights in the main page (I read all the comments about this subject). I actually added a few points about criticism which were not mentioned, so don't think I reduced the page simply to avoid people criticizing the Baha'i Faith. I think this page is important and deserves more attention.
I think I'm only improving the Baha'i pages, and not trying to make any propaganda. I don't think that's an issue. Cunado19 01:15, 27 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Wikipedia is also a community effort. Perhaps we should just discuss what should be done with this (and other related - ie Baha'i) pages. Bare in mind that prior to around 6 weeks ago the page had been stable for many months with relatively few additions or removals to it. Just to let everyone know I'm not really too bothered. I've always been more interested in adding about the history of the religion. -- Tomhab 02:43, 27 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Teachings and Laws

The section on Teachings and laws needs some reform. I moved the part about the "three onenesses" to its own page and made a link. These three principles are already mentioned in two other places, and that information takes up a large part of the page. I didn't change any information, so it will be easy to bring back if someone gets upset.

I couldn't really find any page dedicated to the teachings or laws of the Faith (Am I wrong?). I think we should make a page for "Baha'i Teachings" and another for "Baha'i Laws", then provide summaries and links on the main page. These subjects are too big to be entirely on the main page.

Look! I'm consulting! Cunado19 29 June 2005 00:48 (UTC)

Up until around 4-5 months ago there were only 5-6 pages on the Baha'i faith (Baha'i, and the central figures). That explains why a lot of the content is brief. I guess we could use a page on the laws, but thats going into a lot of detail... Your choice (ie its your own time) -- Tomhab 29 June 2005 03:05 (UTC)

Made a few changes again. Hope you like 'em. If not, you know what to do. The basic concept of a wiki is that it never stops evolving (as Baha'is say of religion). That said, I can see why a lot of people might wish that it would at least rest for a thousand years or so.

It's hard to be systematic with so many people involved. Go with the flow, I guess. On the question of when to link and when to summarize, that's hard. You can't not have stuff about the life of Baha'u'llah or the basics of Baha'i law. If it helps, I try to imagine what a complete outsider would want or need to know (and could be told conveniently)

On the apologetics page, I'll try to get around to it. To be honest, I don't have a lot of patience for exhaustive Christian/Baha'i or Muslim/Baha'i polemic, which is its main content so far. Perhaps I can add a Hindu section, but is that really going to be the focus of this article--a religion-by-religion critique? With science, secular scholarship, and political criticisms reduced to religion-like categories within that? To me that seems misconceived. I liked the "Baha'i social principles" page idea better.

But first, the "Baha'i humor" page. Let's have all your Baha'i jokes! Dawud 2 July 2005 09:49 (UTC)

Let's continue this conversation on Talk:Bahá'í apologetics Cunado19 3 July 2005 01:41 (UTC)