Baha’i Faith: Day 1

Today marks the beginning of the Bahá’í 19-day fast. It is a dawn-til-dusk fast for Baha’i adults and ends on Naw Ruz, our new year.

It is a time for turning your heart and mind to God, so I’ve decided to blog once a day for these 19 days and talk a little bit about the Bahá’í faith. Since the vast majority of my readers are not Bahá’í, I’d love for you to leave some questions in the comments section and I will answer them in the coming days.

So, for starters, how about a crash course? Bahá’í 101.

Bahá’ís believe in progressive revelation. We believe that God, in His wisdom, has offered humankind an unfolding religion that builds over time, sort of parceling out knowledge as we are ready for it. This is sometimes compared to our own life cycle – with our babies and toddlers we start small, use broad concepts. As they grow, we share more, get more detailed, more abstract.

We recognize 9 Manifestations of God, each of whom brought a piece of God’s word: Abraham, Moses, Krishna, Buddha, Zoroaster, Jesus Christ, Mohammad, the Bab, and Bahá’u’lláh. We consider them perfect mirrors who reflect the light of God.

Our faith is founded on the teachings of the most recent manifestation, Bahá’u’lláh.

Our other core beliefs include:

  • abandonment of prejudice
  • equality of men and women (often described as two wings of one bird)
  • elimination of extremes of poverty and wealth
  • universal education
  • the responsibility of the individual to search for truth
  • establish a global commonwealth of nations
  • recognition that religion is in harmony with the pursuit of scientific knowledge

Of course, there’s more to it than that and just like any religion it is hard to encapsulate belief into just a few sentences. So, throughout these 19 days I will share more about the faith and will be posting some of my favorite selections from the writings.

To my Bahá’í friends, I hope for you 19 days of peace and prayer.

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7 responses to this post.

  1. Okay…….sounds interesting. What I don’t understand his the part about recognition that religion is in harmony with the pursuit of scientific knowledge.

    The biggest problem I have with basic Christianity is that it says that God created everything and the Earth is only 6000 years old (or something like that – I wasn’t a good Methodist). They cannot explain dinosaurs, carbon dating, or evolution (among many other things).

    How does this fit in with the Baha’i faith? Do you believe that humans and dinosaurs walked together 6000 years ago or do you actually place some stock in what science has said?

    Honestly, I’m not being snarky! I really don’t know.

    Reply

  2. I’m just stopping by to say this was great and I enjoyed it – and of course, reading the previous comment, can’t help but jump in – !!

    Yeah, science and religion go hand in hand in the Baha’i Faith – “religion without science is superstition; science without religion is materialism” – and yes, yes, yes Baha’i believe in evolution. But following that thread, humankind was always that – we might have looked like fish/apes/whatever along the way, but we were always humankind. An analogy that was given to me as I was growing up was how a fetus develops in utero: it looks like an alien/egg/fish/all that and then VOILA born and a baby! But it was always a baby.

    I’ll go now.

    Reply

  3. Posted by Marita on March 2, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    Again responding to the first post, may I say that the idea that the world is only 6000 years old is not a basic belief of Christianity? Some Christians do believe that, but many Christians (I’d even go so far as to say most) believe that the biblical creation story is a metaphor, and God created humanity through the scientific process of evolution.

    Happy New Year to you and your family Mel! May you have a peaceful fast.

    Reply

    • I know it’s not a basic belief of Christianity but I do know many that believe that…and I just wind up shaking my head at them sometimes.

      It was just one of those things that sticks out in my mind when I think of those that are……ultra-Christian, so to speak.

      Reply

  4. Sou Bahá´í de Bahia (Brasil) que parabenizar pelo Blog “O Jardim do Meu Coração”

    Reply

  5. I love learning about other religions and am excited for your series of posts!

    Reply

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