November 14, 2007

Danger! Spiritual Lepers Ahead

Like many other religions, like many real and imagined political ideologies; like many sports, like many ethnicities and accents and regions, the Baha’i Faith has developed its own set of words and phrases that can only be fully understood within a Baha’i context. Some think that a group’s distinctive character can be unveiled by studying its invented terminology. The term ‘covenant breaker’ is an integral part of Baha’i-speak.


When Mr Erfanian Senior was described as being ‘aghast’ at seeing the covenant breaker Ahmed Afnan, it was not hyperbole. Let’s say Afnan was instead a very nasty looking alien with clear and present menace to earthlings. Let’s also say we set up a horror scale with ‘aghast’ at the extreme right end and anxious at the extreme left. Then, we’d ask Mr Erfanian Senior to pick where he would put his reaction to the new alien Afnan. ‘About the middle, or a little to the left’ he’d say.


Yes, covenant breakers baaad, very baaad. So bad they carry a contagious, hereditary, spiritual disease. It takes a miracle to cure them. The faithful need to be protected from them and their ideas. If you let them take hold, they have the capacity to completely annihilate all of the work that God’s Faith for today has undertaken and render the Faith impotent for ever. Once identified, they are immediately excommunicated and everyone must shun them. If you are married to one, then you must arrange a divorce. If it’s your son or daughter or mother or father, never speak to them or of them again. If you don’t comply you too will be declared a covenant breaker.


These days there are a minuscule number of such types. But they remain the quintessential Baha’i bogeyman. You could tell if they were nearby, the smell would be overwhelmingly odious. And if they catch your eyes or you read some of their vile texts you may become hopelessly, spiritually corrupted. Why are they so bad? Tell me!


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