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Old August 8th, 2011, 12:00 AM   #1

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Daniel bell: R.i.p.


The discinguished sociologist Daniel Bell died this year(25/1/'11). I have followed his writings with interest all my academic life. He began to teach sociology at Columbia in 1959, the year I joined the Baha’i Faith. He then taught at Harvard until his retirement in 1990. I won’t give you chapter and verse of his distinguished career which you can easily access on the Internet. I began studying sociology in 1963. I taught it from 1974 until my retirement in 2005. I won’t give you chapter and verse of my quite undistinguished career since I have been a generalist and taught many subjects. I was not the precocious student, nor the specialist academic and prolific writer that made Bell the famous professional in the social sciences.-Ron Price, Pioneering Over Five Epochs, 8 August 2011.


You were born the very year
those Tablets1 were unveiled
in New York……I always liked
your writings on ideology and
post-industrialism in your two
books listed as among the 100
most important books: 1950 to
2000.2 There is, as you say, an
ambiguity, irony, complexity, &
paradox woven into our very real
world politics,3 you who were, a
socialist in economics, a liberal in
politics, a conservative in culture.
Thanks Daniel Bolotsky! I’ll write
more about you on another day.


1 Daniel Bolotsky(10/5/’19-25/1/’11 had his name changed to Daniel Bell in 1932; The Tablets of the Divine Plan, Abdul-Baha, 1919.
2 The End of Ideology(1960) and The Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism (1976) were so listed by the Times Literary Supplement.
3 Russell K. Nieli, “R.I.P. Daniel Bell,” The Socjournal: The New Journal of Sociology and Media, 15February 2011.

Ron Price
8 August 2011

Last edited by RonPrice; August 8th, 2011 at 12:24 AM. Reason: to add some words
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Old August 8th, 2011, 01:24 AM   #2

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My condolences.

Would this be an appropriate place/time to post on the Baha'i' teachings on life after death?
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Old August 8th, 2011, 02:33 AM   #3

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Interesting Suggestion


Note: There is a spelling error in my initial post in this thread; the word "discinguished" in line 1 should read "distinguished."
------------------------
Had crossroadclarence not suggested the idea, it is not likely I would have posted some Baha'i teachings on life after death.But these teachings are relevant due to my own special appreciation for this distinguished sociologist who passed away some 6 months ago and my own views of life after death.
-----------------
As in the world's other religions, the Bahá'í concept of life after death is deeply integrated into teachings about the nature of the soul and the purpose of this earthly life. Bahá'u'lláh, the Founder of the Baha'i Faith(1817-1892) confirmed the existence of a separate, rational soul for every human. In this life, He said, the soul is related to the physical body; it dwells with but not in the body. It provides the underlying animation for the body and is our real self.The real self is not some unconscious entity; it is highly conscious but just not observable.

And so, although undetectable by physical instruments, the soul shows itself through the qualities of character that we associate with each person. The soul is the focal point for love and compassion, for faith and courage, and for other such "human" qualities that cannot be explained solely by thinking of a human being as an animal, as a sophisticated organic machine, as a simple product of socialization or as a product of some socio-historical process.

The soul does not die; it endures everlastingly. When the human body dies, the soul is freed from its ties with the physical body and the surrounding physical world and begins its progress through the spiritual world. Bahá'ís understand the spiritual world to be a timeless and placeless extension of our own universe--and not some physically remote or removed place in this universe.

Entry into the next life has the potential to bring great joy. Bahá'u'lláh, in His massive corpus of writings written over a forty year period (1852-1892), likened death to the process of birth. He explains: "The world beyond is as different from this world as this world is different from that of the child while still in the womb of its mother."

The analogy to the womb in many ways summarizes the Bahá'í view of earthly existence. Just as the womb constitutes an important place for a person's initial physical development, the physical world provides the matrix for the development of the individual soul. Accordingly, Bahá'ís view life as a sort of workshop, where one can develop and perfect those qualities which will be needed in the next life.

"Know thou, of a truth, that if the soul of man hath walked in the ways of God, it will, assuredly return and be gathered to the glory of the Beloved," Bahá'u'lláh wrote. "By the righteousness of God! It shall attain a station such as no pen can depict, or tongue can describe."

In the final analysis, heaven can be seen partly as a state of nearness to God; hell is a state of remoteness from God. Each state follows as a natural consequence of individual efforts, or the lack thereof, to develop spiritually. The key to spiritual progress is to follow the path outlined by the Manifestations of God. Beyond this, the exact nature of the afterlife remains a mystery. "The nature of the soul after death can never be described," Bahá'u'lláh writes.

For more on this subject go to the link below:

Life, Death, and the Soul

Last edited by RonPrice; August 8th, 2011 at 02:34 AM. Reason: to add some words
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Old August 8th, 2011, 02:46 AM   #4

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Yes; that is what I was taught by Baha'i's so long ago.

So why the Christian phrase "Rest In Peace" (RIP)? This is a Christian concept, resting in the grave (or by some in a temporary heavenly state) until the coming of Christ,then comes the Resurrection, Judgement etc.

If Baha'i's say Baha'u'llah IS the return of Christ, the traditional salutation to the dead would be repulsive to a Baha'i' mind, I would think.
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Old August 8th, 2011, 03:27 AM   #5

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Thanks Again


Good point! Baha'is bring a cultural baggage into their religion, their new-found faith. I have often thought in my several decades of Baha'i activity that much of what we all are, what we believe and do, is cultural. This applies to all human beings. It was not until 1926, for example, that the Baha'i Faith was recognized as an independent religion and separate from Islam. This was some 50 years after Baha'u'llah's public declaration that His was a new religion and that He was indeed, the Return of Christ. This new faith/religion has a similar relation to Islam that Christianity has to Judaism, but they are each and all separate relegions.

As far as the Baha'i view of the afterlife is concerned and, given the extensive writings on the subject, as opposed to the meagre amount in the New Testament, the Baha'i view is much more dynamic than static. R.I.P. is, then, as you say, not really an appropriate epitaph or idiom to express wishes of eternal rest and peace for a person who has died, although I'm sure an argument could be made for its use if someone wanted to.

The Baha'i view of the afterlife has, on the whole, a high degree of consistency, as opposed to the views that have inevitably proliferated over the several thousand years in the other Abrahamic religions. For a useful commentary on Baha'u'llah's writings in general and, what you might call a type of context for His comments on the afterlife in particular go to the published article: Ocean of His Words, by John Hatcher, a review by Sen McGlinn. This review, somewhat long and perhaps a little too technical for some readers, was published in Baha'i Studies Review, 9 by the Association for Baha'i Studies English-Speaking Europe, 1999---at this link: Ocean of His Words, by John Hatcher

Last edited by RonPrice; August 8th, 2011 at 03:33 AM. Reason: to add some words
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Old August 8th, 2011, 04:35 AM   #6

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I'm glad you agree: RIP is an utter contradiction to Baha'i' ideas. I am surprised you would use it (although a Freudian slip of the sociological kind), and would have thought "given the extensive writings on the subject", that a resting soul would not even enter your mind.

I will disagree with you, however, with the idea that the state of the dead is a "meagre amount" in the NT.

Ernest Christians will always study the OT along with the NT, never sweeping aside principles in one for pet loves in another. The state of the dead, the Return of Christ , the ending of sin, is the whole theme of the entire Bible, not a minor subject as you seem to claim.

My time with Baha'i's showed a rather cursory understanding of this. Not saying Baha'i's were dull: far from that. Western Baha'i's come from a rather educated class, generally. I'm saying they have a shallow understanding of the Bible, especially on this subject.
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Old August 8th, 2011, 05:24 AM   #7

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Meagre Amount


When I say there is a "meagre amount" on the subject of the afterlife, I mean specifically a meagre descriptive base in both the O and N Testament. One gets only very general references and little detail on the afterlife. This is not to say that the tradition has not expanded on the little that there is producing a massive quantity of interpretive material.

For some of this tradition of interpretation the following link is an excellent example: Heaven and Hell in the Afterlife The interpretations are multitudinous; the base for the interpretations one could argue is either scanty or extensive depending on one's exegisis. The real issue, it seems to me is not so much the amont of material in the Bible but on the truth or the interpretations. Who is right? Which sect, cult, denomination, branch, ism, or wasm, in what one writer calls "our age of a 1000 Christanities?" -Ron

Last edited by RonPrice; August 8th, 2011 at 05:25 AM. Reason: to add some words
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