Criticism of the Bahá'í Faith
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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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Bahá'ís call for a universal auxiliary language, meaning in addition to one's native tongue.
Some criticism of the Bahá'í Faith has centered on apparently misleading statements concerning numbers of believers.
Bahá'í teachings only permit sexual relationships between a married husband (male) and wife (female).
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.
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.
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
Family of Bahá'u'lláh
Although polygamy is forbidden by Bahá'í law, Bahá'u'lláh himself had three concurrent wives.
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.
- 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:
- 'Abdu'l-Baha (1982). Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by Abdu'l Baha during His Visit to the United States and Canada in 1912. Bahai Publishing Trust, 2nd Edition. ISBN 978-0877431725.
- Abrahamian, E. (1993). Khomeinism: Essays on the Islamic Republic. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-08503-9.
- Afnan, Abul-Qasim (1999), Black Pearls: Servants in the Household of the Bab and Baha'u'llah, Kalimat Press, ISBN 1-890688-03-7
- Affolter, Friedrich W. (2005). "The Specter of Ideological Genocide: The Bahá'ís of Iran" (PDF). War Crimes, Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity. 1 (1): 59– 89. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-11-27.
- Barrett, David (2001). The New Believers. London, UK: Cassell & Co. ISBN 0-304-35592-5.
- Blomfield, Sara Louisa Ryan (2007). The Chosen Highway. George Ronald Publisher. ISBN 978-0853985099.
- Buck, Christopher (2003). "Islam and Minorities: The Case of the Bahá'ís" (PDF). Studies in Contemporary Islam. 5 (1): 83–106.
- Munirih Khánum (1987). Munirih Khánum: Memoirs and Letters. Kalimat Press. ISBN 978-0933770515.
- Nabíl-i-A`zam (1932), Dawn-Breakers: Nabil's Narrative of the Early Days of the Baha'i Revelation (1997 ed.), Bahá'í Publishing Trust, ISBN 978-0877430100
- Effendi, Shoghi (1974). Bahá'í Administration. Wilmette, Illinois, USA: Bahá'í Publishing Trust. ISBN 0-87743-166-3.
- Schaefer, U.; Towfigh, N.; Gollmer, U. (2000). Making the Crooked Straight: A Contribution to Bahá'í Apologetics. Oxford, UK: George Ronald. ISBN 0-85398-443-3. OL 11609763M.
- The Bahá'í Faith as Panopticon, by Juan Cole, detailing his criticisms of the American Bahá'í community.
- The Myth of the Objective Observer, reviewing the above article
- Review of The Bahá'í Faith as Panopticon, also reviewing the above article