The right to the Right

A photo of my darling gazing off toward the horizon of grace at Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia.

During this Fast, I’ve cherished my moments of early morning solitude by immersing myself in the sacred Word, and reflecting on their implications. This is a short meditation that happened upon my thoughts today…your reflections would be welcomed.

Revelation is the only platform granted the right to make claims of moral objectivity, and to prescribe moral standards to which adherents are duty-bound. If one chooses to believe in the truth-claims of Revelation, then they are also obliged to follow its ordinances as they are absolute and universal. The catch is that the claims of Revelation cannot be challenged by any human standard, a priori or a posteriori. The claim of Revelation is testimonial, and insists on being recognized as True, without question, as Revelation is the touchstone of faith. It is, therefore, the expectation that “believers” regard the testimony of Revelation as unquestionable and absolute.

Otherwise, all moral claims are tentative. The standards prescribed by law, tradition, culture, or even those endorsed through empirical evidence are only true insofar as they receive consensus. The moment the popular vote changes its normative stance, the moral standard must also change. There are, of course, limits to this argument. For example, the masses might agree on Virtue A, but clamour for a contradicting Policy B. In such cases, it is the role of the learned to advance clear arguments that are difficult to refute, and to expose the incoherence of common understandings. Despite this, even the most learned must acknowledge that Virtue A is not grounded in any ontological reality, but is itself an object of consensus so long as it is not recognized as “Revealed.”

Know thou, O seeker, that, in the books they have penned, the philosophers have brought forth arguments for the existence of a Fashioner, even as the mystics have adduced proofs for His unity. But these books are all refuted by the testimony of the very proofs they contain, inasmuch as the latter are all contingent, and it is impossible for the proof of the divine Essence to be contingent. Nay, rather, should anyone fix his gaze upon the Point of Truth, pierce the veils, and unravel the allusions, he would know of a certainty that to provide any argument for the existence of the Incomparable One or any proof for His unity, other than God’s own description, is a cardinal sin and a most grievous transgression. Verily, I find no proof for His existence and His unity save His own self.

The Báb, Sahifiy-i-‘Adliyyih, p. 17
Provisional translation commissioned by the Universal House of Justice
As cited in Saiedi, Gate of the Heart (2008)

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