Friday, March 20, 2009

Bowers, "On Faith"

Ken Bowers, awesome author of "God Speaks Again" and Secretary General of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United States is now a panelist on the Newsweek/Washington Post site "On Faith" that offers all kinds of perspectives on contemporary religion-related issues. This is a wonderful development not just because Mr. Bowers is cool but because it is a welcome acknowledgment that Baha'is having something to say that is worth hearing! The current discussion is about whether recent research religious identification indicates a decline in "faith" among Americans. Your's truly has already weighed in on this discussion and also left a comment on Mr. Bower's post. I encourage Baha'i Thought readers to share their thoughts as well.


  1. The recent report - The American Religious Identity Survey 2008 - is a tempest in a teapot -- and Baha'is get to enjoy the tea!

    If you read the document, certain unmentioned facts surface. Yes, the percentage of Christians declined from 86.2% in 1990 to 76.0% in 2008. However, 9.5% of this 10.2% decline occurred before 2001. In the last seven years the drop in numbers has been only 0.70%. It may be true, therefore, that the present state of religion is not in decline, but met its lowest point in 2001-2002 and is rebounding (no statistics to prove otherwise).

    Likewise the Baha'is, bundled like derivatives (Eastern Religions) with Buddhist, Hindu, Taoist, Shintoist, Zoroastrian, and Sikh, do not exhibit the same curve. The percentage for Eastern Religions was .40% in 1990, *rose* to 1.0% by 2001, and then declined to 0.9% by 2008. What may have caused this 0.1% drop? A wonderful new financial prosperity in India and China may have drawn the Hindus, Buddhists, and Taoists back to their homelands. [Although anti-immigrant sentiment may also have had an effect.] The major exodus of Sikhs from the Punjab occurred during the 1990's. So, it is entirely possible that while the "other" Eastern Religions were in decline, the Baha'i Faith experienced an upsurge in adherents, concealed by the exodus of the others.

    Just some thoughts.

    With warm regards,

  2. I had to diligently search for a post by Mr. Bowers, but from what I was able to find, he eloquently stated how Baha'u'llah has removed all misinterpretation of God's Law concerning domestic violence for this day--it is NOT allowed. There isn't even room for discussion, unless someone thinks they are big and strong enough to box with God. And a wise person who cares about the nature of his or her soul would do well to concede that fight.

    I was rather fascinating by proliferation of interpretations of God's Law for previous ages, particularly Islam and Christianity. That discussion could go on forever, and still consensus will be found. I don't know what the original intent was concerning social teachings within Christianity and Islam (i.e. references to a recent beheading of a Muslim woman by her husband here in the U.S.), but I'm sure that the abhorrent acts committed against women that have been done "in the Name of God" have little to do with the Holy Teachings, and more to do with the need for power and control, and the ego's need for to re-interpret Scripture in human beings' own image. I'm thankful that God's eternal message has been renewed and the confusion that has existed for thousands of years can be swept away, should mankind choose to listen.

  3. I met Mr Bowers about 2 years ago at the Birmingham AL Baha'i Center where he gave a fireside to some invited guests who were Christian but interested in the Baha'i Faith...

    The exchange was very interesting...

  4. Wow never knew what I'd find when I clicked on the link