Our Daily Bread: Of Sheep and Men

When I left my religion of birth, the Bahá’í Faith, it was due to one characteristic of that religion more than anything else: its contempt for humanity.

We previously discussed the authoritarian character of the Bahá’í Faith. We revealed the fact that the Bahá’í religion bases human virtue solely upon recognition of Bahá’u’lláh’s divine authority and obedience to him. What we didn’t mention is the poor opinion of men that underlay this authoritarianism:

Regard men as a flock of sheep that need a shepherd for their protection. This, verily, is the truth, the certain truth.

—Bahá’u’lláh, Kitab-i-Aqdas

This view is expressed in more than one place by Bahá’u’lláh:

Men at all times and under all conditions stand in need of one to exhort them, guide them and to instruct and teach them.

—Bahá’u’lláh, Lawh-i-Maqsud

I once held a very dim opinion of Christians for regarding men as sinners, and I still disagree with the view, but I now understand that Christian view leaves room for transcendence. I cannot say the same for the Bahá’í view of man. To Bahá’u’lláh, men are lower than sinners: they are blind, ignorant, utterly helpless, and, for the most part, unable to act virtuously except when threatened. Even the most submissive, deterministic views of Muslims seem to give humanity more credit.

Men are seen as so low, in fact, that they cannot even understand their own scriptures:

Man is unable to comprehend that which hath streamed forth from the Pen of Glory and is recorded in His heavenly Books.

—Bahá’u’lláh, Lawh-i-Maqsud

Thus the Bahá’í doctrine of the Covenant, which guarantees the sheep that they will never be left without a shepherd. This “Covenant”, Bahá’ís boast, is what makes the Bahá’í Faith special, and I agree; only I see it as a sign of what is most wrong with the Bahá’í Faith: its distinctive contempt for humanity.

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