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Thursday, August 22, 2019

The Bahá’i Religion: Theological Problems

The Bahá’i religion is based on the monotheistic teachings of Bahá’u’lláh, the nineteenth-century prophet whom Bahá’i’s maintain is the prophet even for the twenty-first century. The monotheism dovetails with the religion’s earthly goal of unity even in diversity.[1] At the same time, the religion is universalistic in that it holds that truth can come out of various religions, including non-deism Buddhism and polytheistic Hinduism. Bahá’i aims to be a tolerant religion in principle, although it seems to me that the monotheistic religions would naturally be favored. Although Hindu and Buddhist teachings and prayers are incorporated, Bahá’i does seem to emphasize Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Yet this does not absolve Bahá’iism from the tension in being both monotheist and inclusive of truth from non-monotheist religions. Even within Bahá’i’s grasp of the three monotheist religions an underlying tension can be found. Specifically, although Bahá’iism aims to accurately represent all three of the Abrahamic religions, the desire to emphasize what those religions have in common comes at the expense of taking each in its own, distinct terms. In particular, Bahá’i teaching treats Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed similarly even though they are different types in their respective religions. The imposed isomorphism enables Bahá’iism to claim Bahá’u’lláh as the fourth is a series of the same prophet-type. This type stresses the divine-connection of the prophet at the expense of his human nature. Meanwhile, the goal of unity—the Kingdom of God—is also portrayed in distinctly earthly terms, albeit idealized, as the unity possible around the world of different peoples in “a civilization founded on justice, equality and unity in diversity.”[2] Viewing the Kingdom of God in such concrete, even partisan terms can arbitrarily narrow and even skew the divine into terms that are human, even all too human.

The full essay is at "The Baha'i Religion."

For more, see: God's Gold: Beneath the Shifting Sands of Christian Thought on Profit-Seeking and Wealth Spiritual Leadership in Business: Transcending the EthicalBoth are available at Amazon.

1. This is similar to Schopenhauer’s ethical theory of compassion being based on Plotinus’s (a second-century Christian philosopher) notion of the One.
2. From the 2019 Grassroots Teaching Conference of the Four Corners Region.

Limits to Overused Fiscal and Monetary Policy Can Result in Self-Induced Governmental Impotence

“The [U.S.] federal budget deficit is growing faster than expected as President Trump’s spending and tax cut policies force the United States to borrow increasing sums of money.”[1] This observation was made just after the Federal Reserve Bank relented under pressure from the White House to lower interest rates because bond investors had been investing with a possible future recession in mind. With the U.S. Government’s accumulated debt standing at $22.4 trillion and interest rates already low, the limits to both fiscal and monetary policy were apparent even if most Americans in the political and business elite were focused on avoiding a possible recession in 2020.

The full essay is at "Overused Fiscal and Monetary Tools."

See also: Skip Worden, Essays on Two Federal EmpiresAvailable at Amazon.

1. Jim Tankersley and Emily Cochrane, “Budget Deficit Is Set to Surge Past $1 Trillion,” The New York Times, August 22, 2019.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Anticipating a Recession: Economic and Political Indicators in the E.U.

Anticipation in August, 2019, at least among bond purchasers on Wall Street, of an impending recession in 2020 had at least in part to do with the E.U. In particular, a large state, Germany, had a disappointing second quarter in terms of contracting economic output, and the increasing prospect of Britain seceding from the Union was thought to result in the E.U. economy turning recessionary. I contend that both of these baleful indicators were over-emphasized. Additionally, adding the increasing political polarization in the E.U. as another contributor to an upcoming recession would be too much.

The full essay is at "Anticipating a Recession."