Posted by: samandal | February 26, 2011

Bahá’í Unitarianism, IV: Cakes for the Queen of Heaven

Ayyám-i-Há, the Days of Há

The Unitarian Bahai Association is a proposed affiliate organization of Bahá’í-identified Unitarian Universalists who seek to educate the denomination at both the local and the national level about the Bahá’í Faith. Bahá’í Unitarians also promote interfaith dialogue between Bahá’ís and other religions.

It has been suggested that the new spirituality that today flourishes in contemporary western societies represents a single form of religiosity, and that the Bahá’í Faith is merely one of its expressions. This new spirituality has now arisen as a response to a profound dissatisfaction with Christianity and Judaism. We find its forerunners among the Quakers, Unitarians and Shakers; therefore, the most important context in which to understand the Bahá’í Faith is a radical sectarian one: the Bahá’í Faith is not so much a new religion as religion renewed, despite the firm strand of authoritarianism that remains dominant in the ideological world of the Bahá’í International Community.

The heart of Bahá’í spirituality is the Holy Maiden, who is revealed through Bahá’u’lláh, the luminous mirror of an inscrutable God, who ultimately transcends attributes such as personality and gender.

Many Unitarians have rejected the patriarchal, authoritarian and hierarchical tenets of the Judaeo-Christian tradition; very few are likely to embrace yet another patriarchal, hierarchical construction. In fact, many Bahá’ís entirely dismiss the idea that God can or should be feminized, as they express it, and that to do so constitutes an artificial construction of its own. However, enough anthropomorphism should be retained to permit the personalistic, prophetic aspect of religious devotionalism that cares less for moralism than it does for the engagement of the self with the numinous and the sense of the divine. Indeed, the Hindí Súfí tradition envisions the hidden face of God as the feminine one, merciful and beautiful; so should we all.