Baha’i Administrative Order: Towards the Social Construction of an Integrative Process

By Shahla Mehrgani.

Published by The International Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Society

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: April 1, 2016 $US5.00

Religions are known to be one of the most controlling systems in any society. Among the most effective methods used by religions to control their followers is the “spiritual hierarchical system,” such as the church hierarchy and clergyman hierarchy of Islam. Baha’i Faith is a very new religion and claims that it has neither clergy nor spiritual hierarchy; however, it has an organized management system called an Administrative Order. This study aims to focus attention on the Baha’i process of society building within its periodic context using Peter Berger’s conceptual framework. I will conduct a content analysis on the Baha’i main Scriptures which are relevant to the Baha’i Administrative Order. These scriptures are: Kitab-I Aqdas; Abdulbaha’s Will and Testaments; Shoghi Effendi’s letters, particularly The Dispensation of Bahaullah; and all the letters of the Universal House of Justice. I will interpret these writings using Berger’s theoretical conceptual framework to understand how Baha’i Administrative Order is constructed to contribute to the efforts of world building. Baha’i Administrative Order turns Baha’is’ individual religious practice into a collective. By applying Berger’s theoretical framework, I aim to frame and categorize Baha’is’ religious actions and interactions so as to interpret how they collectively try to contribute to the world building process. The result may be useful for the improvement of religious studies in terms of society building projects through the “the spiritual hierarchical systems.”

Keywords: Social Construction of Religion, Administrative Order, Unity, Externalization, Objectivation, Internalization

The International Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Society, Volume 6, Issue 2, June 2016, pp.61-70. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: April 1, 2016 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 560.179KB)).

Shahla Mehrgani

PhD Student, Department of Biblical Studies, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, UK