Saturday, December 4, 2010

Paragraph 4

Ponder for a moment, and reflect upon that which hath been the cause of such denial on the part of those who have searched with such earnestness and longing. Their attack hath been more fierce than tongue or pen can describe. Not one single Manifestation of Holiness hath appeared but He was afflicted by the denials, the repudiation, and the vehement opposition of the people around Him. Thus it hath been revealed: "O the misery of men! No Messenger cometh unto them but they laugh Him to scorn."[Qur'án 36:30] Again He saith: "Each nation hath plotted darkly against their Messenger to lay violent hold on Him, and disputed with vain words to invalidate the truth."[Qur'án 40:5]

This is the second of four paragraphs that ask us to consider the past when looking at the present day events.

In the first of these four paragraphs, we were reminded that all the divine Messengers were denied when They came. In this second paragraph, we are asked to "ponder... and reflect upon that which hath been the cause of such denial..."

Although we are asked to consider this question, no answer is given at this time. Instead, we are reminded of Their sufferings, and a scale of opposition is hinted at. He reminds us that each of these Manifestations "was afflicted by the denial, the repudiations, and the vehement opposition of the people around Him." It also does not matter what our religious tradition is, whether or not we have one, for we will immediately recognize the historical truth of this statement. Once again, Baha'u'llah is giving us a solid foundation upon which to build the argument.

Looking at the three degrees of opposition that Baha'u'llah mentions, we noticed what appears to be another pattern:
  • "Denial" is defined as "an assertion that something said, believed, alleged, etc., is false".
  • "Repudiation" is a bit stronger: to reject with disapproval or condemnation.
  • "Vehement opposition" is the strongest of the three.
This type of crescendo, negative in this instance, is found often within the Writings of Baha'u'llah, and frequently in this Text. We have found it useful to identify these patterns when we see them, and ask ourselves what we can learn from the scale in question.

Here we seem to be shown the negative example from history, a negative example we are all familiar with. These stories are not new to us, and they are ones we already have sympathy for. By using these examples later in the Text, Baha'u'llah is calling us to act differently. He is cautioning us, so that we won't follow the same pattern of behaviour. Instead, this is a call for us to arise to the station of recognition and be regarded not as the enemies of a new Faith, but as one of its heroes.

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