Readers of my column may have noticed I often quote texts from the Baha’i Faith, but may not know what it is.
The Baha’i Faith is an independent world religion with adherents in virtually every country. Washington has multiple Baha’i communities. The guiding principle of the Faith is the oneness of God, the oneness of his religions and the oneness of humankind.
The Baha’i Faith unequivocally maintains the principle of equal rights, opportunity and privileges for all peoples.
I have been a member of this religion for the past 34 years, and have since devoted most of my life to the investigation, study, and application of these spiritual teachings. Yes. Baha’is believe in Christ and the Bible. We believe religion is progressive, and as with other great religions, like the Christian, Judaism and Muslim Faiths, the origin of the Baha’i Faith, is also from the middle east. You will see reference to Baha’u’llah, which is a Persian word that means “Glory of God” Abdu’l-Baha, is also a Persian word, meaning “Servant of God”
Here is a summary of my previous columns, and will be an introduction to where my beliefs represented in those articles are founded.
First: “An Introduction” about some of my life experiences and discovery.
Second: “Independent Investigation of Truth” which speaks of individual achievement and maturity sufficient to investigate and make our own decisions.
Third: “The Gift of Education” is a sincere appreciation of those who educate and the necessity of educating and preparing our children for their entrance into adulthood.
Fourth: “The Magnificent Power of Youth”, which speaks to the potential, needed guidance, and appreciation while taking responsibility for their own intellectual and spiritual growth and contributing to society.
Fifth: “Purposeful Education”, about our need for purpose, looking at the elements of material, human and spiritual education.
Sixth: “A little Education on Politics” is really about not who, but how, to make the wise decisions in the elections, that effect our personal and our country’s future.
Seventh: “A Story of Oneness” This is about how to live without the common practices of prejudices prevalent in too many elements of life.
Eighth: “Two Wings of a Bird” The need for equality of women and men
Ninth: “Spiritual Solutions for Economic Problems”, explores methods and thoughts on problem solving
Tenth: “Work and Service” The elevation of work into service for others
Eleventh: “Building Community Projects”, Process in development and ideas for successful projects.
Twelfth: “About the Baha’i Faith”, which has been the source of information and beliefs that are represented in all of my prior articles in this series.
An important factor in the Baha’i Faith that I feel is important, is that we do not solicit funds from others. We not only do not ask for funds, but will refuse them if offered. The Faith is supported solely by its own membership in a private and unpressured manner.
We also do not believe in pressuring individuals to join our religion. This is a very personal decision between each individual and God, and the choice is not ours to make. Our outreach to the public does not go beyond a general appeal, such as this one. We have social gatherings, and those for prayers and study, which all are welcome to attend. There is no charge to participate. We offer to share and provide information to those who would like to know more about the Faith. Following are some of the quotes and passages, and one prayer that represent a touch of the principals that were part of my decision to join this Faith.
“The fundamental purpose animating the Faith of God and His Religion, is to safeguard the interests and promote the unity of the human race, and to foster the sprit of love and fellowship amongst men. (“Gleanings From the Writings of Baha’u’llah,” by Baha’u’llah).
“Baha’u’llah’s Revelation, implies the achievement of a dynamic coherence between the spiritual and practical requirements of life on earth.” (Letter from the Universal House of Justice, Sept. 16, 1993).
“God’s purpose in sending His Prophets unto men is twofold. The first is to liberate the children of men from the darkness of ignorance, and guide them to the light of true understanding. The second is to ensure the peace and tranquility of mankind, and provide all the means by which they can be established.” ( “Gleanings, from the Writings of Baha’u’llah”)
“First and foremost among these favors, which the almighty hath conferred upon man, is the gift of understanding….This gift giveth man the power to discern the truth in all things, leadeth him to that which is right, and helpeth him to discover the secrets of creation.” (“Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah”)
Our Faith is not about having unique abilities to do the work of the Cause, but that we do it out of a love for God. It gives us strength to serve in ways that by ourselves we are incompetent to achieve. Religion is the light of the world. It guides our steps and opens to us the doors of unending happiness. The Writings of the Baha’i Faith rest on the betterment of ourselves and the world around us. I often say this prayer.
“Oh God! Refresh and gladden my spirit. Purify my heart. Illumine my powers. I lay all my affairs in Thy hand. Thou art my Guide and my Refuge. I will no longer be sorrowful and grieved; I will be a happy and joyful being, O God! I will no longer be full of anxiety, nor will I let trouble harass me. I will not dwell on the unpleasant things of life. O God! Thou art more friend to me than I am to myself. I dedicate myself to Thee, O Lord.” (“Prayers and Meditations”, by Abdu’l-Baha,)
For more information, head to bahai.org, us.bahai.org, call 1-800-22-unite or speak to a local member at 253-219-6523.