a- The punishment for Arson

Is this law about arson logical?

"Should anyone intentionally destroy a house by fire, him also shall ye burn; should anyone deliberately take another痴 life, him also shall ye put to death. Take ye hold of the precepts of God with all your strength and power, and abandon the ways of the ignorant. Should ye condemn the arsonist and the murderer to life imprisonment, it would be permissible according to the provisions of the Book. He, verily, hath power to ordain whatsoever He pleaseth."
Bahaullah, The Kitabi Aqdas, p. 203

Bahaullah announces that arsons who destroy a house are to be burned alive or alternatively they can be imprisoned for life. No conditions have been specified whatsoever about the severity and extremity of the offence that will lead to this punishment. This law must be implemented irrespective of anyone dying as a result of this fire. This law is so harsh and illogical that in the complementary notes of the Book of Aqdas, the following explanation has been added:

"The details of the Baha段 law of punishment for murder and arson, a law designed for a future state of society, were not specified by Bahaullah. The various details of the law, such as degrees of offence, whether extenuating circumstances are to be taken into account, and which of the two prescribed punishments is to be the norm are left to the Universal House of Justice to decide in light of prevailing conditions when the law is to be in operation. The manner in which the punishment is to be carried out is also left to the Universal House of Justice to decide. In relation to arson, this depends on what "house" is burned. There is obviously a tremendous difference in the degree of offence between the person who burns down an empty warehouse and one who sets fire to a school full of children."

The interesting point is the fact that the above statement was neither uttered by Bahaullah, nor `Abdu値-Baha, nor Shoghi, and none of these characters had stated anything about these conditions and matters whatsoever. They had all accepted the law as it had been announced without the need for further interpretation. As can be seen elsewhere, the Universal House of Justice has put forward an interpretation for one of Bahaullah laws that none of the authorized interpreters of Bahaullah teachings-meaning `Abdu値-Baha and Shoghi -had mentioned. The unauthorized interpreter of this law (the UHJ) has designated it as one being "designed for a future state of society," to prevent it from being implemented and to silence any criticism that might occur. This attitude can be seen in many problematic Baha段 laws in which they are simply ignored and disregarded, by claiming this law is for the future.

b- Nuclear Physics or Alchemy?!

The following quote is propagated by Baha段s in a bid to prove Bahaullah had spoken about nuclear physics:

Consider the doubts which they who have joined partners with God have instilled into the hearts of the people of this land. "Is it ever possible," they ask, "for copper to be transmuted into gold?" Say, Yes, by my Lord, it is possible. Its secret, however, lieth hidden in Our Knowledge. We will reveal it unto whom We will. Whoso doubteth Our power, let him ask the Lord his God, that He may disclose unto him the secret, and assure him of its truth. That copper can be turned into gold is in itself sufficient proof that gold can, in like manner, be transmuted into copper, if they be of them that can apprehend this truth. Every mineral can be made to acquire the density, form, and substance of each and every other mineral. The knowledge thereof is with Us in the Hidden Book.
Bahaullah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha置値lah, pp. 197-198

This text is completely misleading for it has a number of errors in the translation and has been taken out of context. We have translated the complete text from the original Farsi words below:

From amongst the doubts that the polytheists have induced in this land is [the question] that how is it possible for gold to transmute into copper? Say, "Yes [it is possible], by my Lord, but we have the knowledge and teach it to whoever we want through a knowledge from our side. Whoever has doubts should ask his Lord to show him so that he becomes one of those who has certitude." The [fact] that copper can attain the state of gold is a clear reason that gold can retain its original state (meaning copper), [they would understand] this if they had any sense. All metals can attain the weight (wazn), face (surat), and substance (maddih) of each other, but we have this knowledge in a hidden book. We say that the knowledge of the deniers has not reached a state for them to understand that gold transmutes into gold and they have not understood yet that it can turn into earth. This state is visible for all those who have any sense, that they all originated from earth and to earth they will return. Earths importance and price is cheaper than copper for [earth] is from the masses (ajsam) and copper is from the bodies (ajsad). This is very obvious and evident and if the people had been mature and worthy we would have definitely uttered some of the secret Divine Sciences.
Abdul-Hamid Ishraq Khawari, Ma段diy-i asimani, vol. 7, pp. 18-19

In this quote Bahaullah has used a number of terms that are peculiar to alchemy. Such as weight, face (surat), masses, bodies, copper and gold transmuting to each other, earth being less important and cheaper than copper, etc. The esoteric language that he has used, which is customary of alchemists is further proof that he is explaining his own alchemical beliefs in a strictly alchemical language.

He claims that all metals can transmute into each other but mechanisms involved are Divine secrets that he will not speak about because people are not worthy and mature enough to know these sciences. The first thing that would come to the mind is that he was probably speaking about nuclear physics and the mechanisms that can be performed in particle accelerators-by consuming large amounts of energy-to transmute very minute amounts of elements to others. Baha段s would want you to think that since the laws governing nuclear physics were not known in those times, the phrase that the people are not mature means they currently lack the means to understand these sciences. Fortunately, Bahaullah has revealed elsewhere the exact mechanism by which he believes copper transmutes into gold.

When Bahaullah wants to speak about the "Divine Elixir" that can transform people in an instant, he gives the example of the transformation of copper to gold. He explains that just as copper transforms into gold, the Divine Elixir can transform the people. Then he explains how this transformation happens in detail:

For instance, consider the substance of copper. Were it to be protected in its own mine from becoming solidified, it would, within the space of seventy years, attain to the state of gold. There are some, however, who maintain that copper itself is gold, which by becoming solidified is in a diseased condition, and hath not therefore reached its own state. Be that as it may, the real elixir will, in one instant, cause the substance of copper to attain the state of gold, and will traverse the seventy-year stages in a single moment.
Bahaullah, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 157

Bahaullah states that if copper is prevented from becoming dry in a mine, it will turn to gold after 70 years! The fallacies in this statement are unjustifiable. Shoghi has used the word "solidified" to translate "yubusat." This must not be confused with solid as opposed to liquid or gas, for "yubusat" was used by alchemists to refer to dryness as opposed to wetness. Either way, the statement is completely wrong and contradicts established physical laws about the conversion of elements, for copper does not turn into gold if left in a wet (or liquified) state for 70 years.

Some Baha段s try to justify these words by claiming that Bahaullah was merely narrating the beliefs of others. The context of the words prove elsewise and the only sentence that might be the belief of others is the one that comes after his statement: "There are some, however, who maintain that copper itself is gold . . ." This shows that the first statement was his own and the second the belief of others. Furthermore, there are other alchemical statements in Baha段 scripture that clearly show he was uttering his own beliefs:

The King of the Names (God) has made the possibility in some things to change and in others He hasn稚. For instance, copper can transmute into Gold but earth/soil (turab) does not have this possibility in actualness (bil-fi`l). Since the scientists [meaning alchemists] have already mentioned these subjects this servant did not like to mention it comprehensively.
Abd al-Hamid Ishraq Khawari, Ma段diy-i asimani, vol. 7, p. 44.

The last sentence clearly shows that his beliefs about alchemy were based on the science of those days and he had nothing new to utter. Most-if not all-of those beliefs about alchemy have been proven wrong today. If, Religion Must Be in Conformity with Science and Reason, Bahaullah words in no means fulfill this criterion.

c- Earth痴 Age

Bahaullah claims: The learned men, that have fixed at several thousand years the life of this earth [the age of this world], have failed, throughout the long period of their observation, to consider either the number or the age of the other planets. Consider, moreover, the manifold divergencies that have resulted from the theories propounded by these men.
Bahaullah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha置値lah, p. 163. The original Farsi quote can be found in Bahaullah, Muntakhabati az athar Hazrat Bahaullah, p. 109.

What we have placed in square-brackets is the correct translation of the original Farsi text that has been distorted by the Baha段 translation committee. There are more errors in the translation of this quote that we will ignore for now.

The fallacy in these words is that the learned men had noy fixed the age of the earth at several thousand years during Bahaullah life. The estimates ranged from tens of thousands to the millions. In the mid-eighteenth century, Russian scientist Mikhail Lomonosov, widely viewed as the founder of modern Russian science concluded that earth had been created several hundred thousand years ago. The French naturalist, Comte du Buffon, gave an estimate of 75000 years in 1779. The physicist, William Thomson of Glasgow, gave the estimate of between 20-400 million years in 1862.

These are estimates about the "age of the earth." The original Farsi words used by Bahaullah translate to "the age of this world." Many scientists contemporary to Bahaullah believed that this world is eternal (not a few thousand years claimed by Bahaullah).

The articles have been based on the book "Avaze Dohol" - the Beating of the Drum by Masoud Basiti, Zahra Moradi.

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