Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The Decision to Leave

The other day a friend emailed me, recalling that I had said that I never encourage Baha'is to leave the Faith and asking for a quote to that effect. I've said this several times, but in hunting down an actual quotes, I only found some on my Unenrolled Baha'i list -- which is for members only, and therefore not precisely a "public" statement.

So, here goes: I never encourage anyone to leave the Baha'i Faith. In fact, I'm not keen on telling others what they ought to do, period. On the UB list, what I hope to do is clarify issues and give the disillusioned Baha'i emotional support while they make their own decision.

It's strange that this is one area where both angry ex-Baha'is and Baha'i hardliners seem to agree -- both express a good deal of exasperation about the moderate, liberal, or unenrolled Baha'i for hanging on to the religion, seeing Baha'i fundamentalism as the "real" faith and anything else as just watered-down wishful thinking. To me this demonstrates not only an unwillingness to engage with the Writings of Baha'u'llah on their own terms, it is an uncharitable dismissal of the complex emotional and social factors that go into one's religious choices. One reason I never tell anyone what to do with regard to their official status is that I don't stand in their shoes. For some, getting out would be very difficult; for others, staying would be just as difficult.

And, there's a part of me that just feels like saying "It's none of your business what my religion is. Why do you care so much? It's no skin off your backside, after all."

That's why I tend to deal will folks that show up to my list with a light hand -- their choice is not really my business. I'll help folks with the emotional fallout, if I can, but it's not for me to argue with what they decide.

No comments: