Our Daily Bread: The Twin Duties

Posted on Sunday, December 14th, 2008 at 2:45 pm

Any given religion can mean a variety of things to its adherents. The religion I was raised in, the Bahá’í Faith, is no exception to that rule of thumb, though that changed substantially with the long-overdue publication of Bahá’u'lláh’s “Most Holy Book” in 1993, five years after I had left the Bahá’í Faith. The book provides a definitive, unambiguous “mission statement” for the Bahá’í religion that runs counter to the pluralistic vision that some Bahá’ís had embraced previously.

The statement begins by declaring that the author is the sole representative of God in the universe and that men are duty-bound to recognize him as such:

The first duty prescribed by God for His servants is the recognition of Him Who is the Dayspring of His Revelation and the Fountain of His laws, Who representeth the Godhead in both the Kingdom of His Cause and the world of creation.

Bahá’u'lláh then goes on to state that those who recognize his exclusive divine authority are the good guys, and everyone else, however virtuous, is lost. Authority trumps morality.

Whoso achieveth this duty hath attained unto all good; and whoso is deprived thereof hath gone astray, though he be the author of every righteous deed.

However, he adds this critical afterthought: believers, though they have “attained unto all good,” must also be absolutely obedient.

It behoveth every one who reacheth this most sublime station, this summit of transcendent glory, to observe every ordinance of Him Who is the Desire of the world. These twin duties are inseparable. Neither is acceptable without the other.

Note that there are no concessions made to virtue per se. The only virtues recognized by Bahá’u'lláh are recognition of him and obedience to him.

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  1. [...] previously discussed the authoritarian character of the Bahá’í Faith. We revealed the fact that the [...]

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