Theopoetics of Unity:
with an Unknown Verb
The Teachings of Baha’u’llah
About Art and Science
To Unify Humankind and Bring Peace
Name of Student: Thomas George Key, JD MBA
Claremont School of Theology, M-Div Chaplaincy Program
Name of Class: TWR 3037 Future of Religions
Name of Teacher: Professor Doctor Roland Faber
Date the Paper is Due: May 3, 2017
Table of Contents
Theopoetics of Unity:
Having Relations with an Unknown Verb
Der alte Heilege sagt, “Go not to men, but stay in the forest! Go to animals! Why not be like me—bear among bears, bird with birds?”
“And what doeth the Saint in the forest?” asked Zarathustra.
The Saint answered: “I make hymns and sing them; and in making hymns
I laugh and weep and mumble: thus do I praise God.
With singing, weeping, laughing, and mumbling
I praise the God who is my God. But what dost thou bring us as a gift?”
When Zarathustra had heard these words, he bowed to the Saint and said: “What should I have to give thee! Let me rather hurry hence lest I take aught away from thee!”—And thus they parted from one another, the old man and Zarathustra, laughing like schoolboys.
When Zarathustra was alone, however, he said to his heart:
“Is it possible? Has the old Saint in the forest not yet heard? Gott ist Tod!”
The aperture of hindsight enables us to review the birth of a new old religion and the Eternal Return of the old new god. In 1844, a Prophet known as The Bab announced the arrival of a Manifestation of God in Persia. In the same year, Friedrich Nietzsche was born in Prussia. He grew up in Europe, and in 1886, published a “poem-song”, Alzo Sprach Zarathustra, about a Persian Prophet who comes down from the mountains and confuses people about Eternal Return and then tells them that “God is Dead”.
While making no attempt to provide the details of the localized events which continue to globalize in paroxysms of visionary theophanies, we note that the proclaimed Birth and Twilight of deities were carried upon the arching back of the Arts: Both dispensations arrived in theopoetic forms. No actual gods were hurt, but many people were. The burden of this Essay is to expose the bones.
Finally, behind the deconstruction of Questions, we analyze the triangulation of Religion with Art and Science. The unification of the world is taking place behind Baha’u’llah’s invitation – he said it was “inevitable”. People are fickle; belief is rare and has a melting point.
In 1844, the Baha’i Faith was trumpeted to the world from the storied city of Shiraz.  Persia was famous for its poets of the past, and intensely devoted Muslims of the present. Three losing wars had just been fought with Christians, the Turkic Qatar rulers were unstable, and a messianic “12th Imam” was expected.  A merchant, Sayyid ‘Ali Muhammad—known as the Bab -- collected 18 disciples and announced his Advent. He and his followers were persecuted by Islamic authorities as heretics, and remain so to this day. Many thousands were martyred, and the Bab himself executed on July 9, 1850.
Thereafter, persecutions intensified. One of the Babi’s followers and half-brother, now known as Baha’-u-llah, lost his remaining family wealth and was arrested. In the detention, divine revelations began with a vision of a Maiden. Baha’u’llah was freed from prison to exile in Bagdad where he continued to write poetry as scripture, and wandered as a recluse in the Kurdistan wilderness among the Sikhs. His fame gradually grew. The leaders of the ‘ulama met and said, “This man is an enchanter”, and the Shah asked the Ottoman government to remove him from the proximity.
On the eve of his second exile, in 1863, in the garden of Ridvan outside of Bagdad, Baha’u’llah declared his station and mission. He was never freed again. Eventually the Ottoman authorities sent Baha’u’llah to Akka, now in Israel, “unwittingly” fulfilling many prophecies “that occur in the books of hadiths”. Baha’u’llah died in exile in 1892, living quietly and piously, under constant persecution by Islam fighting the perceived impurity of heresy.
In the same advent year of 1844, Friedrich Nietzsche was born in Prussia, grew up studying ideas, and in 1886, published a “poem-song”, Alzo Sprach Zarathustra. Nietzsche himself explains why he chose a majestic Persian prophet to incarnate the message:
“Zarathustra was the first to see in the struggle between good and evil the essential wheel in the working of things…Zarathustra had more courage in his body than any other thinker before or after him. To tell the truth and to aim straight -- that is the first Persian virtue. Am I understood?... The overcoming of morality through itself—through truthfulness, the overcoming of the moralist through his opposite—through me— that is what the name Zarathustra means in my mouth.”
In an overlapping time period, the remarkable mix of messaging and poesia coming from two very different men but similar generic forms, Nietzsche and Baha’u’llah spread ideas across almost impenetrable linguistic, cultural, class, and geographic barriers. They never met, but as two sources of creative theophanies and poesia, they changed the world. What moved these men, and how do they continue to touch us? Not surprisingly, many Questions ask themselves.
Questions “arise in the mind”.  We do not know the source of our arisings. Zarathustra and Baha’u’llah speak of getting it “through me”. Questions are created creators, they guide and ignite, twisting between reason and passion. Language is what we resort to after becoming impatient with howls and gestures—with throwing our hands up into the air, for example, to express our daily despair.
The first problem with Questions, of course, is that there is no one to ask. “No one has seen God.” John 1:18. We are faced with noise, distraction, political posturing, or a silent Monad. And of course, we are also faced with the weeping. The naked fact remains that for 100,000 years of burning torches in the caves of lamentation, tears, and begging, no god has answered a Question. Rhetorical questions are useful, and often gracious. For example, the Universal House of Justice poses “How To” questions broadly to inspire, frame and engage the Bahai contribution to the civilization-building process.
Secondly, by what authority does anyone speak of authority? Who speaks for the People? Who leads the ‘umma? What citation can I bootstrap to my paper, to my claims, to my Messianic dispensation? Is there any resolver of difficulties, save God? Baha’u’llah had to face the question of the validity of his manifestation, by members of cults who have fought over who leads the ‘umma after the death of Muhammad—a question which remains unsettled for centuries.
In a sense, Baha’u’llah prophetically finds that a kind of answer—answering—takes place as the mind takes its position atop the robust fire-hose feed from presumption and tradition. He himself uses words to make a “point” and open a “gate”. He “bridges” the lofts of heaven for its treasure. These metaphors are invitations to learning, to transport, to engagement in vast universes unimagined by the mundane or by minds in the grip of habits, suffering, and the illusion of a “Self”.
However, even freed from traditions or fears, how sufficient are metaphors and parables in the face of unexplained facts? Where the empirical facts about how life on Earth evolved, or facing contradiction and pathologies of “hatred”, are we fully accounting for those facts? If “theology” is about “God”, are metaphors about what God is Not, a sufficient answer?
One of the precious things that is at stake is a vision of what it means to ask, and answer, the question "Why?" Darwin's perspective, for example, turned the Abrahamic assumptions upside down, deconstructing both Creation and its Creator. It is not just that the Beginning is gone, but we are also linked to gaps: We have a million years of evolving human consciousness, of which 35,000 years are clearly pictured on the walls of caves, without gods, without kings, and without a priesthood. In other words, not one lineage, authority, or exercise of power can point to external, eternal, sacred, or even gamely traditional validity.
These “gaps” are not small; they occupy entire categories and warring tribes of Questions. For example, David Whitley finds no evidence that Cro-Magnons practiced “religion” or theology. The cave artists did not depict a single god, pantheon, or any forms of subordinated worship. No bowing to a post or a direction. However, he suggests that our forebears had supernatural beliefs – they clearly prayed, hoped, and feared. Dancing is clearly a feature; Arts are perhaps built into their/our brains, along with "consciousness". They blow-painted their individual hands upon the walls, creating lovely monuments to their “equal” community—male, female, children, colors, choices. They could think abstractly, conceptually, and had the ability to craft objects of no immediate utility: Flutes, string skirts (that do not conceal but only reveal), pipes, wall paintings! They held hands dancing—we boldly infer their hugs, holdings, and rhythms from their footprints!
Looking for “religion”, Whitley finds Arts and Sciences in the caves. Apparently the arrival of Gods and Priests must await the hierarchies of development of post-agricultural Cities. Religion was not invented in Nature, but in its opposition. In the natural caves, we find clear evidence of "sanctity" and “spirituality”, along with ritual psychotropics (mushroom pipes, hemp-lamps) developing in the pre-Ice Age caves of western Europe, at least 35,000 years ago. It appears that artists and drug-users created the cultural amenities for human life. Amanita Muscaria Christo. Abundant evidence points to abundant fully-actualized Arts, and the sciences of Chemistry, Ceramics, and Fire, all preceding all gods by millennia. An aspect of the “Beauty”, perhaps, which Baha’u’llah frequently invokes. “The Maiden” message of unity and love, overcame the trauma of the Black Pit, and Beauty as the foundation “Life”.
We start with Questions, not because they give birth to Science and Arts, and even Language, and not because they ever have satisfying answers. But because they don’t—Questions do not have Answers. Really ever. And they are still unescapable. With all their “baggage” – their value-laden assumptions, wicked motivations, and elbow-pointed privileges. In this post-Nietzschean age, there is no such thing as “free” science. In other words, even science comes with baggage on board. Whitehead suggests that “the merest hint of dogmatic certainty as to finality of statement is an exhibition of folly.”
Fractious questions are resolved by resort to Scripture to avoid disunity. Otherwise, Baha’u’llah either refuses to participate or engage in the endless debates, or elides the issue. Interestingly, the atheist functionalist Daniel C. Dennett also adopted what appears to be this nonconfrontational approach. Citing the fact that minds are rarely changed by facts, Dennett seems to be going full Baha’i.
But what about Questions which clear the air? What about investigating phenomena by interrogating their polemics and manifestations? Simple questions can expose deception and manipulation, by professionals, and by the fakirs/fakers. And unless one has questions, one may not be conscious. Indeed, having confusion, may be a test of consciousness. Even, and especially, for God. Perplexity, which is an invitation to the questioning dialogue, is a test of wisdom.
Put another way, Beliefs barely exist; it is Doubts which last. Theologians and historians largely agree that the Books of the Tanak, which are all in “tension” with each other, owe their collective and remarkable preservation to the fact that they presented perduring Questions.
The legacy of Baha’u’llah is Scripture. Is this not curious? He provides writings. Offered by him to all his contemporaries, and to us, just like the Cave Painters who crawled into caves and painted their scripture on the walls in the alphabet of bears, buffaloes and cows. Even those who were jealous of his ability regarded him as "an enchanter". The Tablets of Baha’u’llah are richly incantatory and filled with rhythmic rhyme. Did the religious doctors think that Prayers are “enchantments”? Unlike all previous Scripture, Baha’u’llah’s texts do not have to be memorized, re-copied and preserved in caves. Technology saves us from the redactors, the scribes and the insufferable saints with polemics on their shoulders.
So the question becomes, Why did the authorities persecute a man who wrote Scripture? Both the Babi and Baha’u’llah suffered terribly while producing extraordinary, even puzzling, quantities of Scripture. Why did Baha’u’llah devote himself to study and add to the arts of language, while enduring such suffering?
A comparison of Baha’u’llah with Book of Job is warranted, just for its Beauty. Some experts hold the Book of Job is the most well-crafted beautiful theopoetic literature in the Tanak, telling the story of a righteous man suffering terribly. Book of Job has the most brilliant, artful, wise, and vocabulary-rich poems found in the Middle East from its time period. Poetry has its own why, like the God in the story who appears as a phantasm hidden in wind, and answers the Question with another Question: “Who are you to ask?” We suspect that the same whirlwind was speaking and “dictating” to Baha’u’llah.
Self-sanctifying scripture is the proleptic tank in which Religion is digested, converting chunks into broth. This description is not itself proleptic– anticipating objections or questions—that would be like trying to repurpose a water cistern to imprison alleged heretics awaiting a trial they will never receive. Religion is an art-form intended to unite. Many Religions are without a deity—no actual “entity”, no theophany. But no Religion has ever been found without Music and Dance. And only one “Faith” finds its founder enchanted with Science.
Science, Poetry and Art often expose Religion as an “un-natural act”—the single one of this quadrifecta which archly sends heretics to eternal suffering for eternity; who does that kind of thing? Baha’u’llah almost alone redeems Religion from this Un-Naturalness. Instead of damning heretics, instead of requiring belief in non-existence, instead of trying to label a single thing or person on this Creation as “impure”, he looks to entire diverse Nature including the intellect of humankind for its truth. And resorts to Science, Poetry and Arts as means. Baha’u’llah is the only religious leader who not only invokes Nature for what it is, but he also invokes the trinity of Science, Language, and Art – a trifecta of Beauty – to set the stage for the “unification of the human race”, as a slowly maturing process of civilization. Since Spinoza, Emerson, and Baha’u’llah, we are able to read the view and see in Nature, the unifying religion which is not an un-natural act of “purification”, rituals, pointless hate-mongering.
All Scripture comes from the logos “God”—this is obvious, since no writer has any idea what they are doing. And writing really requires Wording – a language system. Explanations abound, but are they valid? The “authorities” should have validity, otherwise they would just be explanations that need more explanations. Perhaps this is why Rumi, the dancing poet saint who still speaks to us from the 12th century village in Persia, tells us to ask questions: “If you do speak, ask for explanations.”
And the Questions children ask have roots in rhymes—so deliberately employed by Baha’u’llah. The children and the mystics experience this: Alast is the primordial covenant that occurs when God addresses the not-yet-created humanity, "Am I not your Lord? Alastu Bi-Rabbikum." Who hears the music in the question? All forms of life come forth in a loving dance, and the dance is the only reply they will ever receive that is not another Question—remember the theophantic theodicy in the Book of Job? But the dance is enough, because the Arts are always "Yes!"
Around 1929, is the year that Whitehead published “Process and Reality”, which unfolds a felt sympathy for the proto-theology of Thales, Plato, and “flow”. Clearly Whitehead can be read for theopoetics as well as for principias of mathematics, where flow is a bridge and is itself flowing. The Unitarian theopoet, Ralph Waldo Emerson, speaks of “that Unity, that Over-soul, within which every man’s particular being is contained and made one with all others; that common heart of which all sincere conversation is the worship…by yielding to the spirit of prophecy which is innate in every man…”.
Like Baha’u’llah, Emerson found no justification for a priesthood. He resigned his own lucrative pulpit, and in his private journals of 1832 Emerson inscribed such passages as these:
“I have sometimes thought that in order to be a good minister it was necessary to leave the ministry. The profession is antiquated. In an altered age, we worship in the dead forms of our forefathers.”
The recognition of an individual gift of their own prophesy in the heart of each person, at once justifies and explains the abrogation of a priesthood also called for by Baha’u’llah.
Theopoetics concerns itself with “strategies of human signification in the absence of fixed and ultimate meanings accessible to knowledge or faith.” In this sense, for Baha’u’llah, the Scripture supplants the priesthood. In other words, a theopoetics exercises the “spiritual role”, instead of a predatory third-party.
Scripture can answer spiritual questions, and does not pretend to if it doesn’t. in other words, the supplantation is decidedly not about the same old same old. To speak specifically, Baha’u’llah candidly advances aphophacy: God is “unknown”. Stockman at 31, quotes from Gleanings 46-7: "...God, the unknowable Essence...beyond every human attribute...fathomless mystery...and will remain in His Reality everlastingly hidden from the sight of men".
Moojan Momen, Baha’u’llah: A Short Biography (Oxford: Oneworld, 2007), 193: "In common with most other religions, Baha’u’llah states that there is a highest reality, which the Western religions call God and the Eastern religions call by different names such as Brahman, Dharma, Shunyata and the Tao. This highest reality is described in different ways in each religion but Baha’u’llah says that this is because human beings whose minds are limited can never comprehend this ultimate reality which is infinite."
Clearly, we have Scripture – really all scripture from all times and places – because of Incomprehensibility. Mystery => Scripture. The “Messianic Mystery” in the Gospel of Mark. The apophacy of Maimonides, the Jew writing in Arabic in the Golden Age of Islam, who saw in the Tanach an Unknown God who “made Darkness his hiding place”. Quoting Psalms 17:12, and 138:6. The boatload of even earlier Fathers who studied Scripture, declaring God to be an unknowable mystery: Philo (10-60), Iranaeus (115-190), Origen (185-254), Clement of Alexandria (150-215), Plotinus (205-270), et cetera. Is it finally “clear” that we have Scripture because of Mysteries? The mysteries of generative doubts.
Standing on the metaphor of Zarathustra’s lofty heights, Baha’u’llah stood in the real mountains of Persia, and accepts “the absence of … ultimate meanings”. And so writes Scripture. This candor coupled with acts of language is resonant with some of the work of Derrida and Foucault who sort out and write through the lack of certainty, or even an ability to write in a fixed language with meaningful semantics. Baha’u’llah gently undertakes the task to put words to that which we know we cannot get right. To eff the ineffable, as it were.
Is there any idea or movement which can unite individuals? Or to put it politically, can hardened selfish people led by greedy idiots find graceful unity across ancient tribal feuds, religious fanaticism, and racial prejudice? Baha’u’llah has reached into and through the traditions of “Religion” to find the underlying Beauty of Art and Science.
Not incidentally, as Professor Faber opens up the Baha’i Faith in an academic process, he does so with cuts of musical performances and singers. Videography – Prayers sung by Nabil and Karim, for example:
“O God, guide me, protect me, make of me a shining lamp, the brilliant star.
I want to spread love like a wild fire.”
Thus, the Arts supplant the empty forms offered by priests who are not even holding food in their hands or pretending to dance. And an assigned text is authored by Doctor Esslemont who is a musician and married to one. They hear the future.
The emerging point is that the Bahai Faith as it is becoming has a heavy emphasis on the importance of aesthetic, sensual, “scientific” and heart-felt individually-experienced knowing. Far more “here” than the traditional Religion, even with its robust theopoesia. The roots of the Bahai religion are in the Arts and Sciences – feeling and observing, and prayers of work. The Bahai Faith discourages the growth of “gate-keeping” priesthoods or mentalities in which people must learn to speak and think a certain way to have their voices heard. It is a post-modern inflected style of theological and perhaps liminal discourse without the (always) slippery slope of pessimism which leaves people with no ability to say anything.
This is the exact terrain crucibled by “Zarathustra” in the face of Schopenhauer. And in the face of the silencing Orthodoxies. And where are we but on the familiar methodological terrain of science, the comforting assurance of dialectics (invitation, disputation) for philosophers, and all thinkers who have devoted themselves to formulating questions. Unlike sad theologians who have devoted themselves to formulating answers they know to be tortured, Baha’u’llah has devoted himself to peace and unity. But by invoking “spiritual authority” and traditional religious values, Baha’u’llah invites deconstruction of the intolerance and naked prejudice which causes so much division.
Close examination of this “new dispensation” through its own Scripture, which only ironically calls itself a “Book of Certainties”, reveals this principle of unity and peace, of which diversity is a protected part. Baha’u’llah opens the curtain on the metanoetics of “Becoming”, the great Play taking place with Nietzsche, Whitehead, Love, and the Hope of the Future, all working with fiddles and percussion in the Orchestra Pit. Of course there was Babi on trumpet as well. The point is that Art is involved.
‘Abdu’l-Baha states as the first principle of the Teaching of Baha’u’llah is “The Search After Truth”. This means setting aside prejudice, racism, sexism, and “all the traditional superstitions of the past”. Abdu’l-Baha names the global “religions” of the people—Jews, Christians, Buddhists, and Muhammadans—and urges us to “detach ourselves from the external forms and practices”, in order to find the “truth at the core of all religions”. He then states categorically: “Science must be accepted.”
With Art and Science enthroned, the stage is set for the second great principle, Unity. It appears to be his understanding that Nature is so beautiful, and humans so worthy, that we should stop destroying everything. Not a single Art or Science says otherwise; only some Religions.
So we turn to the question of the “religions”. Scientists, historians, poets and “spiritual” people have turned their hands to this clay. Synthetic functionalists find purpose, psychologists find intention, historians are revising as we speak, and theologians repeat dogmas having their day. Baha’u’llah sought to revive Religion. Why? To unify a humankind endangered by senseless divisions and war. He himself acknowledged the active role religions play in the fractures. In a Tablet revealed in 1913, Abdu’L-Baha said: “The deplorable wars going on in these days are caused by the fanatical religious hatred of one people for another, or the prejudices of race or colour.” It appears that by offering a “new dispensation” – a real religion -- Baha’u’llah willfully intends to take on the problem directly. At the Causes of disunity.
Nietzsche made it pretty clear that the gods were culpable, and believers gullible. The “religious” scriptural narratives – in the Tanak, the New Testament, the Qur’an, and Bhagavad-Gita-- are accounts of injustice in a thrall of superstition and violence. Baha’u’llah teaches a new dispensation of the Body, Mind, Spirit, and Self drawn out of the old narratives. The Teachings seem to include the world of humanity manifest in these “degrees”. It is true that the Body is often cured of its frailties through the Mind. The Spirit is free; for who claims having bought one? It is always free or it is not. And “true happiness” and progress are linked to “Spirituality”, coming back to the graces of what Religion so putatively proclaims.
Baha’u’llah curiously raises “hope for reward” and “fear of punishment” as the tent-poles of order and government, but only insofar as hope and fear are motivations. He does not promise 72 virgins in heaven or speculate with drooling anticipation of agony for others writhing in torment for an eternity. Is Religion required to elevate our behavior? Does it even help? Religion is quite resourcefully deployed to “justify” exactly the opposite and apposite kind of conduct.
In the past, it was often remarked that morals are in decline in the absence of a strong religion. Is this true? Esslemont fairly describes the Persia of the late 18th century as having “sunk to a condition of deplorable degradation” from a glorious past. Ancient Persia was syncretic unitarian universalist Zoroastrian -- pluralistic, tolerant and even encouraging multivalent forms of sanctification, particularly honoring Judaic and other traditions.
In contrast, the contemporary Iranian community of the late 1800’s was an intense cauldron of intolerance. The version of Islam at large was focused on purity and intolerance. This makes the awakening of the Bahai’ all the more fascinating. Edward Granville Browne, the Cambridge linguist anthropologist, dedicated his career to documenting the Babi movement as a neomorphic mirror of theogonic phenomenology. Browne describes the Babi beginnings of the Bahai Faith as “the stuff whereof world-religions are made”.
Baha’u’llah points out that a tradition of persecution has followed the Prophets. So often in the face of persecution, the saints fail or choose not to defend themselves. Perhaps they think that the warnings are metaphors, or their vision of hope blinds them to reality. So often, the “religious” and even morally upright people are systematically exterminated, by some of the worst. Perhaps the fact that saints are persecuted is proof of their authenticity, as some have suggested.  Still, the “path” illuminated by Prophets looks disastrous.
Baha’u’llah himself witnessed the intense devotion of believers willing to kill and be killed as martyrs to “religion”. The region in which he began teaching was one dominated by Islam, having “converted” or slaughtered, millions of Manichaeans, Zoroastrians, Yazidi, and other minor sects, before taking on the Babis. Although Muhammad is a historical figure, little is certain about what he taught. His earliest revelations, recorded by his literate wives, were liberal and progressive, and were used in the first schools “madrassa” while he was alive. After Muhammad died, his followers attacked his family (“Battle of the Camel”, Aisha and her father) and each other, and “remembered” his sayings and revelations. A great many of which contradict the letter and spirit of the Qur’an. Schisms dividing the Sunni and Shia “believers”, as well as the umma from the world, are perduring historical facts. It is understood by Muslims today, that Believers become impure if they “associate” with infidels.  This is not necessarily sanguine, but it might be, and it certainly has to do with the central concept of “purity” which Baha’u’llah had the prescience to understand. Muslims may have an affirmative duty to kill Infidels. As Bahais, and the scholars Momen and Saiedi, clearly understand, in some of the charming eschatons depicted in Muslim traditions, whoever refuses to accept the tradition “will have his throat slit”.
Three of the four largest global Faiths rise on the “foundation” of Judaism. The dependency is presented by the express adoptive “inerrancy” language of the New Testament and the Qur’an. And then the Shoah happened. The deliberate murder of over six million Jews, and the persecution and subordination of as many others across ancestral homelands all over the world, completely undermines the “moral foundation” of Scripture: How can any claims of divine justice, morality, or even hope survive the event?
The persecution of minorities today forces us to ask how to maintain “dialogue” or even survive those who continue trying to kill us? Do “they” think we are not listening to their speeches? The importance of the Baha’u’llah perspective and Baha’i Faith on this issue is salient. We live in an age where the non-religious are more moral by light years than the Fundamentalists of Christianity, Hinduism, and Islam.
Why would a man seek a relationship with God? Baha’u’llah and Abdu’L-Baha point out that many of the most devoted worshipers have yet to live in peace and harmony with each other. Almost all the Prophets are persecuted, often by “their own people”, for claiming a relationship with God. The claim seems to create an inverse benefit.
Hermann Ebbinhaus’ dictum, “Psychology has a long past, but a short history”, continues to inspire and sustain the belief that psychology has a “prehistory” prior to the discipline’s professionalization in the last third of the nineteenth century. Of course, finding beginnings of the discipline in Aristotle’s de anima runs the risk of anachronism and misconstrued context, not to mention distortion by idiosyncrasies. I found, for another example, the roots of “scientific method” clearly laid out in four verbs in the Hymn to Wisdom embedded in the 28th verse of the 29th Chapter of Book of Job. The authors knew no god. They clearly story the search, and the result: Theodicy, with a theophany of pure fantasy. The best they could find was Science and Poetry.
In a final address in London 1913, Abdu’l-Baha urges the exercise of our native “faculty” which discerns the reality of things, and “brings forth from the invisible plane the Sciences and the Arts”. Of course this sounds “mystical”, and parts of “bringing forth” are not spelled out. Of course! Because life. Mystery has always attended Arts, Sciences and Language – we do not know what the parts and the verbs are!
So it is a fair Question, to ask Are these tools sufficient? And the Answer is Yes!
Art and Science have had a perduring and productive “relationship” with us. We learn and discern. This can work because human beings are using their hearts and minds. Creativity will invent the Verbs out of diversity and understanding. And the Bahai insight into alternatives is clear:
Peace is inevitable. Either humans stop blowing things up, or they do. Either way, peace.
We are fairly pointed in this direction by Baha’u’llah, and by a process of theology developing in parallel with actualized biological evolution extending a vector towards “awareness”. Theilard de Chardin described this vector, this movement, by saying “It wants to become conscious.” Religion as a process, free of superstition and “belief”, can ride upon and bridge the Arts and Sciences. As it unifies and pacifies the warring factions, it is entirely sufficient, compatible and creatively self-replicating. Peace really is “inevitable”, and it will be joyfully peopled.
 Footnote Abstract: The “Verb” is God, the “being” in all things where all things are a process related to each other in flow, optimally understood as Art and Science, both of which are realized Religion.
 No disrespect is intended by the lack of capitals for the generic label used to reference any deity who has not provided a Name. The word “God” will be used in a traditional manner to refer to the Abrahamic “I am” aka Allah, El, Elohim, Jehovah, and the early Unitarian deity worshiped by the “Goth” believers after their conversion with New Testament Scriptures translated by the Unitarian missionary, Ulfilas. Will Durant and Ariel Durant, The Age of Faith; A History of Medieval Civilization--Christian, Islamic, and Judaic--from Constantine to Dante: AD 325--1300. (New York: MJF Books, 1993), 56–57.
 Nader Saiedi, Gate of the Heart: Understanding the Writings of the Báb, 2010, Page 1. Siyyid ’Ali-Muhammad Shirazi, took the title of Bab (the Gate), and at age 25 “announced that he was the promised figure of Islamic prophecy.” His home was in Shirazi, where he wrote much of the Scripture (at 126), married, buried a son, endured house arrest (172). Further persecution “culminated in the execution” by firing squad in Tabriz square.
 Persian poets include Ferdowsi, Sa'di, Hafiz, Attar, Nezami, Rumi, Sanai, Hafi Shirazi and Avicenna (Ibn Sīnā, c. 980-1037) one of the most significant writers of the Islamic Golden Age. Omar Khayyam (Ghiyath ad-Din Abu’l-Fath, 1048-1131) remains influential, especially with the translation of Rubaiyat, by Edward Fitzgerald, reintroducing the poet to Persia. Although it was once abundant, very little pre-Islamic poetry survives anywhere. Persian poetry peaked in the 13th century, never recovering from the cloud of Al-Ghazali (died 1111 AD) orthodoxy. Much of the famous Love-poetry is male-oriented. Jalal al-Din Rumi et al., The Essential Rumi, (1997), First page, “On Rumi,” notes that Rumi was born “Jelaluddin Balkhi” an Afghan village which was part of the Persian empire, in1207. His family fled the Mongols, emigrating to Konya, Turkey. His father was a theologian, jurist, and mystic of uncertain lineage, and accounts of visions which shock Islamic orthodoxy. Rumi assumed the position of Sheikh in the Sufi school, with a normal life, until 1244 when a stranger “put a question to him”. Rumi fainted.
 Saiedi, Gate of the Heart, 1: "In the middle of the nineteenth century, the world of Shi’ih Islam was in a state o fervent messianic expectation. Devout believers were awaiting the advent of the holy figure known as the Twelfth Imam, who had been in concealment for a thousand years.
 Brian D. Lepard, In the Glory of the Father: The Baha’i Faith and Christianity (Wilmette, Ill: Baha’i Pub, 2008), 26, noting the account by Edward Browne, who interviewed Baha’u’llah, and translated an account of the martyrdom of the Bab, in his 1891 book, “A Traveler’s Narrative”.
 Universal House of Justice, “To the Bahais of Iran; Letter from the Universal House of Justice Dated March 2, 2013,” The American Bahai, April 2017, 4: "For three and a half decades now, wave after wave of persecution, varying in intensity, has bttered your sorely tried and valiant community, a barrage that is but the latest in a series unleashed over one hundred and sixty years ago."
 Moojan Momen, Islam and the Baháʾí Faith (Oxford: G. Ronald, 2000), 196: "Baha’is consider that [each martyrdom] were a testimony to the words of the Qur’an: “Then seek for death if ye are sincere” (2:94, 62:6)". At 196-197, the first regiment “discharged its rifles at him yet failed to kill him”. According to reports, “the ball had broken the ropes by which he was bound”. A second regiment of riflemen were required.
 Ibid., 199: "He was placed along with the other Babis in a damp underground chamber that had been a water cistern and was now simply called the Siyah-Chal (“Black Hole”). It was here that he had the experience that Baha’is regard as being the equivalent of what Muhammad experienced on Mount Hira when the angel Gabriel first appeared to him." In his words, "I beheld a Maiden--the embodiment of the remembrance of the name of My Lord--suspended in the air...".
 Ibid., 200: "In order to prevent division in the ranks of the Babis, Baha’u’llah withdrew for two years, at first to wander as a recluse in the hills around Sulaymaniyyah and then to spend some time in a Sufi Takiyyah (retreat).".
 Ibid., 202. The Persian ’ulama acknowledged his wisdom, but asked Baha’u’llah to “show us a miracle”. He accepted the request, asking only that the ’ulama choose the miracle, and if performed, agree in writing “that no doubt will remain”. The ’ulama consulted, and did not dare push the matter, saying “This man is an enchanter”.
 Ibid., 203.
 Robert H. Stockman, Bahá’í Faith: A Guide for the Perplexed, First edition, Guides for the Perplexed (London ; New York: Bloomsbury, 2013), 105.
 Momen, Islam and the Baháʾí Faith, 204 constant persecution. At 207: Although “some of the eminent Islamic scholars who met Baha’ullah have written testimonies to his greatness.”
 Friedrich Nietzsche was born in 1844, the year the Bab collected 18 disciples and announced his Advent. For his part, Nietzsche published Alzo Sprach Zarathustra in 1886, suffered a mental collapse in 1889, died in 1900. After the Bab was executed in 1863, by comparison, Baha’-u-llah declared his advent, started a new Religion, and died in exile in 1892. Quote is from Nietzsche Archives, Weimar, December 1905. https://www.gutenberg.org/files/1998/1998-h/1998-h.htm#link2H_4_0004. From the beginning, Nietzsche-Zarathustra introduces two important Whiteheadian features—Coherent ordering of life, and Aim. These two themes were shown to be salient in Baha’u’llah’s writings in the Paper delivered by D.M. Elias “Witnessing a Religion in the Making: Summary of the Becoming, Origins, and Development of Bahai Faith” (April 12, 2017).
 Nietzsche Archives, Weimar, December 1905. https://www.gutenberg.org/files/1998/1998-h/1998-h.htm#link2H_4_0004. Friederich Nietzsche died in 1900, and his estate fell into the hands of his sister with whom he had not been on speaking terms. The Archives, have, however, been recovered and restored by scholars.
 Luke 24:38: “Why do questionings arise in your minds?” Jesus presents hard evidence of bone and flesh, and yet his own chosen disciples, eye ear and skin witnesses to all the signs and wonders of his dispensation, are “startled”, “perturbed”, and “terrified” instead of responding as “believers” (whatever that might be). And of course, there is Thomas, whose frailty of “doubt”is curiously persistent after the Empty Tomb. John 20:25.
 Moshe Barasch, Gestures of Despair in Medieval and Early Renaissance Art (New York: New York University Press, 1976), While this study of gestures in art traces despair, it clearly reveals and even calls out the parallel of babel. The theopoetic depictions are invariably religious, usually female.
 Universal House of Justice, “To the Bahais of Iran; Letter from the Universal House of Justice Dated March 2, 2013,” 4–7, exploring specific action–oriented “how to” questions as tools for "action, reflection, consultation and study".
 Nader Saiedi, Logos and Civilization: Spirit, History, and Order in the Writings of Baháʼuʼlláh (Bethesda, Md: University Press of Maryland, 2000), Ch. 1, page 31, the author writes: "As will become evident in the discussion of the Kitab-i-lqan, it is in fact only by detachment from presuppositions, traditional standards, and arbitrary constructs that the right questions can be asked."
 Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, The Phenomenon of Man (New York: Perennial, 2002), Teilhard establishes the fact that the fundamental “process” or motion of the universe is An Evolving. Consciousness itself is not new, but it is a heading-- a direction of evolution-- toward cerebralization--“Among the infinite modalities in which the complication of life is dispersed,” the “differentiation of nervous tissue stands out...as a significant transformation”. It provides a direction/ vector. Humans are at the point of the spear of this developing Consciousness, ever gradually becoming deployed.
 David S. Whitley, Cave Paintings and the Human Spirit: The Origin of Creativity and Belief (Amherst, N.Y: Prometheus Books, 2009). Whitley searched the world for evidence of Religion and God.
 Not to over-egg this pudding, but we use the terms “no such thing” deliberately, while hoping to eat dishes of free-range sciences and artisanal canards and canapes, none being “philosophy-free”. The subject being apophasy, the layers of ambiguity in the terms “no”, “such”, and “thing” admittedly render it ambiguous, at least with hindsight, and therefore also apophatically attractive.
 Alfred North Whitehead, David Ray Griffin, and Donald W. Sherburne, Process and Reality ; an Essay in Cosmology, First Free Press Paperback Edition (New York: Free Press, 1985), xiv.
 Stockman, Bahá’í Faith, 21–23.
 N. S. Thompson, “‘Has Dennet Given Up on Argument? A Review of Daniel C. Dennett’s Darwin’s Dangerous Idea,’” Behavior and Philosophy 24, no. 2 (1996): 169–74., Dennett Daniel Dennett, director of the Center for Cognitive Studies at Tufts University.
 Marvin A. Sweeney, Tanak: A Theological and Critical Introduction to the Jewish Bible, 2011, 4,
 Momen, Islam and the Baháʾí Faith, 201–202, leaders of the Persian “ulama asked Baha”u’llah to “show us a miracle in order to astisfy and tranquilize our hearts,” and they believed “This man is an enchanter; perhaps he will perform an enchantment...”.
 Moojan Momen, Baha’u’llah: A Short Biography (Oxford: Oneworld, 2007), 156–192 Chapter 7, “The Writings of Baha’u’llah,” providing translated examples, and characterizing at 165.
 J. E. Esslemont, Bahá’u’lláh and the New Era: An Introduction to the Bahá’í Faith (Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Pub. Trust, 2006), 56: "In his Writings...there is a wealth of poetic imagery, profound philosophy and allusions to Muhammadan, Zoroastrian and other scriptures, or to Persian and Arabic literature and legends...".
 Stephen Mitchell, ed., The Book of Job, Rev. ed (San Francisco: North Point Press, 1987).
 Yair Hoffman, A Blemished Perfection; the Book of Job in Context (Bath: Journal for the Study of the Old Testament, 1996).
 David Wolfers, Deep Things out of Darkness: The Book of Job: Essays and a New English Translation (Kampen, Netherlands : Grand Rapids, Mich: Pharos ; Wm. B. Eerdmans, Pub, 1995).
 James L. Crenshaw, ed., Theodicy in the Old Testament, Issues in Religion and Theology 4 (Philadelphia : London: Fortress Press ; SPCK, 1983), See Book of Job, in which “God appears” to prove he does not exist. Or not.
 Abdu’l-Baha, Paris Talks (Charleston, USA: unknown, 2016), 14, Section 11, “God’s Greatest Gift”.
 Ibid., 60: “Science must be accepted.” At 62, Fourth Principle, “there is no contradiction between true religion and science.”
 Ibid., 19–20, section 15, “Beauty and Harmony in Diversity” noting diversity in nature and the arts, including music. P. 79, Part III. 55 "Prayer" - "In the Bahai Cause, arts, sciences and all crafts are counted as worship."
 E. M. Cioran, Tears and Saints, trans. Ilinca Zarifopol-Johnston (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995), 122. Cioran includes Rumi among his biographies of tragic saints. "According to legend, Rumi met a vagrant dervish or holy man who asked him a question that made him faint." This is a love story. After his own friend murdered him, Rumi was overcome with grief and invented the “whirling dervish” dance as an expression of his grief.
 Jalal al-Din Rumi et al., The Essential Rumi, 143. In the ghazal of the Mouse and the Camel, Rumi ruminates on the “way of the prophets,” and says "Kieep silent. You are not God’s mouthpiece. Try to be an ear, and if you do speak, ask for explanations." (!).
 Ibid., [unpaginated] From “A Note on the Organization of This Book”: Coleman Barks, the translator who knew no Persian but understood theopoetics, provides “Notes”-perhaps meant musically-- to explain the primordial covenant with God. The scribe, Husam Chelebi, burdened by Rumi with prayers, dirty stories, and six books of poetry, documented a "constant, practical, and mysterious discourse Rumi was having with a dervish learning community."
 Thales of Miletus: “Everything is water”. John Lemprière, Lempriere’s Classical Dictionary (London: Bracken Books, 1984), 667b, “Thales,” one of the seven “wise men of Greece” who traveled throughout the Aegean in quest of knowledge, circa 600 BCE. "Like Homer, he looked upon water as the principle of everything." Cited by Plato in Phaedo and Timaeus.
 Whitehead, Griffin, and Sherburne, Process and Reality ; an Essay in Cosmology.
 The “Principia Mathematica” which Whitehead wrote with Bertrand Russell in 1913 did not survive Godel’s Incompleteness Theorem, but the failure is congruent with the principle of creativity—actual existence as a process of becoming—expressed in “Process and Reality”. Theology, philosophy, or even the Arts, may not always be “creative”, but the multivalent bridge is so obvious as to be provocation. Compare, John Thatamanil, P. 240, “Silence, Theopoetics, and Theologos; on the Word That Comes After,” in Theopoetic Folds, Project MUSE., Https://Muse.jhu.edu/ (New York, N.Y.: Fordham University Press, 2017).
 Ralph Waldo Emerson, Essays and English Traits., vol. 5, The Harvard Classics (New York: P F Collier & Son Company, 1909), 133–34. Since Origen, Unitarian Universalists have been unsuccessfully uniting humanity with poetry and religion for 2000 years.
 Mirza Abul Fazl Gulpaygan, Brilliant Proof, Burhane Lame: In Reply to an Attack upon the Bahai Revelation by Peter Z. Easton, n.d, 28 ff. Gulpaygan spells out ten "unique" ordinances, including substitution of actual valuable professions for those of the priests and imams, whose "authority" is abrogated and replaced with scripture.
 Thatamanil, “Silence, Theopoetics, and Theologos; on the Word That Comes After,” 270.
 Stockman, Bahá’í Faith, 31.
 Gospel of Mark (Phillips tr.) 1:44 “say nothing to anyone”; 4:11 “The secret of the kingdom of God…”.
 Esslemont, Bahá’u’lláh and the New Era.
 Ibid., 32, the author McDaniel explains why people are drawn to Whitehead: Because “The big questions. Many people turn to Whitehead because they want help [with] ... the big questions in life such as ‘What is truly important in life?’ and ‘What does it mean to be human?’ and ‘How are human beings situated within the larger context of the natural world?’ and ‘What is the nature of nature?’.”
 Matthew Elton, Daniel Dennett: Reconciling Science and Our Self-Conception, Key Contemporary Thinkers (Cambridge, U.K. : Malden, MA: Polity Press ; Distributed in the USA by Blackwell Pub, 2003).
 Roland Faber and Andrea M. Stephenson, eds., Secrets of Becoming: Negotiating Whitehead, Deleuze, and Butler, 1st ed (New York: Fordham University Press, 2011), 4: "Put in Whiteheadian terms, this metanoetics of becoming is formalized in his principle of process: That how an actual entity becomes constitutes what that actual entity is; so that the two descriptions of an actual entity are not independent. Its “being” is constituted by its “becoming.” This is the “principle of process”."
 Momen, Baha’u’llah, 16–18: In 1848, at Badasht, the Babi movement convened to “debate and consult” over pressing Questions while the Bab was in captivity in Maku. After the murder of her uncle, Baha’u–llah had Tahirih secretly brought to his house in Tehran for safety. Named as one of the Letters, it was Tahiri who appeared unveiled, and announced “The Trumpet is sounding! The great Trump is blown! The universal Advent is now proclaimed!” Before this time, the impact of a new dispensation had not been realized. It took a Trumpet, and a brave saint who shattered “all customary Islamic notions” with a waive of a veil.
 Abdu’l-Baha, Paris Talks, 59.
 Ibid., 60.
 Since the turn of the century, all the major powers were continuously at war in the Caucuses, Balkans, and portions of Africa. The conflicts culminated in World War I in 1914, just a few years after Abdu’L-Baha’s warning. https://wiki2.org/en/List_of_wars_1900%E2%80%9344.
 Abdu’l-Baha, Paris Talks, 65. Section III.45 November 13th.
 Ibid., 41: "There are in the world of humanity, three degrees: those of the body, the soul, and spirit." “Abdu”l-Baha goes on the examples, including references to the “celestial quality of the soul” as an intermediary between body and spirit. Beyond the occupation with a material world, "the heart’s ambition should ascend to a more glorious goal...and prepare a dwelling-place for the inexhaustible bounty of the Divine Spirit!" At 42.
 Ibid., 34–35.
 Ibid., 70–72. Abdu’l–Baha describes human conduct motivated by hope and fear in separating religion and politics, but presuming that a ruler who believes that “consequences of his actions will follow him beyond his earthly life” and “he sows so must he reap” would act justly. The motive, incentive, and inspiration should be “enlightened by religion”.
 Plutarch, St. Paul, Clement of Alexandria, are all famous for scouring the world to find “better religion”. Clement described the Hellenic pantheon as setting a poor example of morals, and urged people to stop worshiping “misanthropic demons”. Is there a Deity who loves humankind enough to stop massacring them?
 Esslemont, Bahá’u’lláh and the New Era, 15–17.
 Jon L Berquist, Judaism in Persia’s Shadow: A Social and Historical Approach (Eugene, Or.: Wipf and Stock Pub., 2003), 16: Even in Babylon "...syncretism was well-entrenched". At 31, “Cyrus seems to have accepted almost any religion at all”. And accord, the Jews, at 38, Deutero-Isaiah “displays an affinity for combining ancient traditions in creative ways”. At 113-115, Darius rebuilt the Temples and Walls of Jerusalem, continued under Artaxerxes, and Ezra-Nehemiah. 121-127 Persia was most stable when pluralistic.
 Ibid., 236–237, the pluralism of the Persians extended to its colonies resulting in “religion in constant transition”. Yahwism, for example, canonized its literature at a phenomenal pace and expanding to dissent and apocryphal expressions. At 239, the Persian respect for pluralism continued into the Christian period, perhaps explaining the rejection of creedal statements for centuries.
 Ibid., 23 ff: King Cyrus freed the Jews from the Babylonian Captivity 539 BCE. At 87 ff, King Xerxes rebuilt the Temples throughout the Empire, including those in the Yehud and Jerusalem 486 BCE.
 Saiedi, Gate of the Heart, 2–3, quoting Browne, Traveller’s Narrative, 407.
 Esslemont, Bahá’u’lláh and the New Era, 52, comparing “let this cup pass” said by Jesus as his suffering approaches, and Baha’u’llah comparing his own, Tablet of Ishraqat and tribulation in Epistle to the Son of the Wolf. At 53-54, noting the conflicts around the advents of Zoroaster, Moses, Christ and Muhammad. Gospel of Mark, 6:4: “No prophet goes unhonoured—except in his native town or with his own relations”.
 Cioran, Tears and Saints. Cioran spent hours in the Transylvanian library poring over the lives of saints. At viii, the translator-author of Preface, Ilinca Zarifopol-Johnston notes that Nietzsche points to the “choice” of self-negation of the saints as superior to and feared by the mighty, in his Will to Power insight.
 Brian D. Lepard, In the Glory of the Father: The Baha’i Faith and Christianity (Wilmette, Ill: Baha’i Pub, 2008), 144, the fact that Bahai’ and their Prophets are persecuted is urged as proof of authenticity.
Abdu’l-Baha documents the persecutions suffered by the Bab, Baha’u-llah, and himself in the exclusive hands of Islamic authorities. Abdu’l-Baha, Paris Talks, 30–32. Israel provides a refuge at Acca to this day.
 Momen, Baha’u’llah, Bah’u’llah cared about and constantly addressed the fact of religious persecutions. Momen quotes his letter to Aqa Najafi, a cleric responsible for relentless persecutions in Isfahan: "Religious fanaticism and hatred are a world-devouring fire, whose violence none can quench. The Hand of Divine power can, alone, deliver mankind from this desolating affliction.".
 Momen, Islam and the Baháʾí Faith, 154: "While Muhammad emphasized in his teaching the unity of the Muslim community (ummah) and allowed a place within that community for the Jews and Christians (People of the Book) [as 2d-class isolated persons], he decreed that other unbelievers, such as polytheists [“Infidels” -- a euphemism for non-believers, unitarian universalists] should be excluded from it. Such people are unclean [sic]("najis", Qur’an 9:28) and therefore no Muslim community should include them.“...”The Baha’i scriptures reveal that the time has now come for the unity of the whole of the world of humanity. Therefore Allah has abrogated the concept of impurity, whether of people or of things...". As of the Day of Ridvan, God shed his exalted attributes on his creation, apparently ending the “impurity” of most of it. See Page 202.
 "Fight them (“qital”) until disbelief (“fitnah”) no longer exists in the society and people worship Allah alone." Surah 8:65. “Kill the unbelievers (“mushrikun”) wherever you find them.” Surah 9:5. Note that earlier liberal revelations recorded after Muhammad’s death by Aisha are superceded by the later additions “remembered” by the men who led wars against Aisha, under the principle of naskh expressed in Surah 2:106. Compare, Saiedi, Gate of the Heart, 358: "At first, in Mecca, at a time when Muhammad had no political power, there was no mention of holy war, and mild tolerance was the norm. Later holy war was made a duty. In Surih 9..." [sic. cf 8:65 above].
 Saiedi, Gate of the Heart, 85: "According to other traditions, the Qa’im would offer Islam to the Jews, Christians, Sabeans (Sabi’in), atheists, heretics, and infidels ...and ’whoever refuses to accept Islam will have his throat slit by him so that there will be left not even a single disbeliever on earth, either in the East or the West."
 Abdu’l-Baha, Paris Talks, 44, I:33 “On Calumny”. Delivered in Paris while the city was still recovering from total polarization over L’Affair Dreyfus. The dependency of Christianity and Islam on Judaism is often noted with ironic denunciation. Dating back to Roman empire policies of keeping Jews and Greeks divided, to Christian usurpation of the Jewish Messiah, followed by the adoption by Mohammad of the same arguments against Christians they used against Jews, arguing that some people are “deaf” to their own prophets. Clearly, Islam is deaf to the Bahai dispensation in this same pattern.
 Sweeney, Tanak, 14. Professor Sweeney summarizes the “dialogue” between scholars over the theological impact of the Shoah and the obligation to “repair” a broken world, Tikkun Olam.
 Abdu’l-Baha, Paris Talks, 30–31 Abdu’’l–Baha documents the accusations by “fanatical Mullas,” and “severe persecutions” at the hands of Islamic authorities. Gospel of Mark, 6:4, seems to suggest Jesus was not honored in his own home by his family.
 Ibid., 79.