So tell me something about the Bahai view of suicide that isn't encapsulated by the source I linked. Because that is my understanding of the Bahai view of suicide.
Cool. I've got no target to shoot at here, so here's a bunch of rambling.
In a nutshell, in specifics to suicide, there it is. I think it's more representative of Baha'i ideology as a whole, in quite a few different ways.
I think first and foremost, it reflects an attitude where Baha'is try their best to be non-judgmental and accepting as possible. We all come across tests and difficulties in life, both as individuals as well as societies, and that's partly because we live in an imperfect world and partly because tests and difficulties are how we learn, grow, and develop, once again as individuals as well as societies. So when we have problems and short comings, it's important to remember that we're not bad people, we're just people doing bad things. It's easy to lose sight of in the day to day though.
Looking back, my parents did a lot of things to embody and illustrate this philosophy when I was younger. To pick one from many stories, I remember a family friend had brought their children over to our house because their spouse was in an extremely agitated state. Somehow said spouse found out where the children were, because I remember looking out the window watching them pacing up and down the street visibly upset. My mother explained to me that they were going through a rough time, everyone goes through rough times, and that it's important to know and accept that while the person on the other side of the window is in a bad spot, they're not a bad person.
On a more personal level, that's a world view I tend to embrace for the most part. I do have a personal bias though, in that when it comes to individuals with an inordinate amount of money or power use their status to disenfranchise and take advantage of people beneath them, I view them much, much, less favorably. Personally, I think the more power you have, the more you should be held accountable for your actions. There's a difference between robbing a convenience store and cheating a large number of people of their hard earned money, for example.
As for this quote
“He will be immersed in the ocean of pardon and forgiveness and will become the recipient of bounty and favour.”
If you want I can look up where that's written and give you more context if you want. Once again, this is my personal view and interpretation and can't be taken as gospel, but it really lines up with how I view God and His forgiveness. The way I see it is, if from our perspective as individual human beings God is infinite and all encompassing, than as far as we're concerned His compassion is limitless. That said, that doesn't mean our actions are without consequence and don't affect our spiritual development, so it's important to try and live as long and a good of a life as possible, both for our spiritual development as well as to help others in their spiritual development.
It's why Baha'u'llah forbids Baha'is from becoming monks and hermits and why Baha'is are encouraged to find fruitful careers. If people as individuals isolate themselves or engage in idle behavior, they're doing nothing to help their fellow man.
I want to state that written, orthodox theology is a force that actively works to undermine the efforts of reformers, and gives substantial power to the conservative forces that would see things kept exactly how they are. I know this because I tried to be a reformer and got burned for it in a big way. I want to point out how toxic evangelicals and mega church organizations are growing in power while general church attendance drops, which means that organized religion is becoming more concentrated and more radical, while private 'spirituality' is losing political ground.
You didn't state all that earlier. I think in regards to Mega Churches, it's a new development and at the same time not. It was a while that in Europe, The Catholic Church had a ton of power, socially and politically. It's less now today, but a lot of that power and influence is still there. One of my religious history teachers used to say all the time "And such and such a religion stayed the same for centuries, until it hit America, and then it changed." I think in a lot of ways, Mega Churches strike me as similar behavior in a different environment.
While I personally don't see the appeal to them, it's obvious they appeal to at least someone, giving to their growing numbers. That they would use their numbers and developing influence to exert political change isn't surprising, because that's what big organizations do. Religious institutions, hospitals, banks, manufacturing industries, you name it. I'm not saying it's right and I'm not saying it's wrong, I'm just saying it's pretty natural and unsurprising.
As to them becoming more powerful and exerting more political influence, there are counter reactions starting to form. As you said, general church attendance continues to drop and I think as the number of the non-religious population continues to grow, they'll provide a secular counter balance. I also think that as they continue to grow, people are gonna start seeking alternatives more and more. There's a local Presbyterian priest I've been fortunate enough to have a conversation or two with. He told me that for a lot of Mega Churches, a lot of members only stick around for a year or so before moving on. While I can't find any statistics to back that up, judging from my personal viewpoints about the impersonal nature of large groups and how I view spirituality as something quiet and intimate, I'm inclined to believe him.
I bet we agree largely about what the world 'should' be with regard to the relationship between people and religion. You think it's possible, I think it's idealistic hogwash, because I was once an idealist, and was told my ideas were hogwash, with biblical citations.
The Bible says a lot of things. Judging from The Sermon on the Mount, Jesus was pretty big on idealism. Either way, idealism isn't about getting everything you want, idealism is about striving for what you believe is right and not giving up hope.