The Baha’i Faith - Cal Poly CLA

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Transcript The Baha’i Faith - Cal Poly CLA

The Baha’i Faith

Lisa Molin San Luis Obispo, CA

Objectives

 Baha’i History  Central Principles

History

  Originated in Iran in 1844 Founded by Baha’u’llah (Glory of God)   Preceeded by the Bab – the Forerunner of the Baha’i Faith ‘Abdu’l-Baha: the appointed successor of Baha’u’llah

Baha’u’llah

 Incarcerated in 1852 in Iran and exiled to the Holy Land where he passed away in 1892

Baha’u’llah

 He remained a prisoner of the Islamic authorities during this time  Numerous tablets and letters that comprise the Baha’i holy text

‘Abdu’l-Baha

 Baha’u’llah appointed ‘Abdu’l-Baha as the sole Interpreter of His Teachings and Center of His Covenent  He was imprisoned with his Father for 40 years of His life and later travelled to the US and Europe to teach the Baha’i Faith

Central Principles

Oneness of God

 The first and preeminent core principle of the Baha’i Faith

Oneness of Humankind

 The central pivot around which the Teachings of Baha’u’llah revolve

Oneness of Humankind

 Advocates unity in diversity, not unity in uniformity   “The gift of God to this enlightened age is the knowledge of the oneness of mankind and of the fundamental oneness of religion.”-’Abdu’l-Baha “The well-being of mankind, its peace and security, are unattainable unless and until its unity is firmly established…He Who is your Lord, the All-Merciful, cherisheth in His heart the desire of beholding the entire human race as one soul and one body.” –Baha’u’llah

Oneness of Religion

“The Truth is one…the light is the same though the lamps may be different; we must look at the Light not at the Lamp. If we accept the Light in one, we must accept the Light in all. The teaching is ever the same, it is only the outward forms that change.” ‘Abdu’l-Baha

Oneness of Religion

  “All the Prophets of God abide in the same tabernacle...and proclaim the same Faith…” Baha’u’llah “Say: In whatsoever Books God hath sent down do I believe….Between us and you let there be no strife: God will make us all one: And to Him shall we return.” -Muhammad

Progressive Revelation

Progressive Revelation

    All the major religions are seen as steps in a progressive revelation of Divine Will each renews the fundamental spiritual truths of all religion brings social teachings adapted to the needs of its particular time and place The teachings of Bahá'u'lláh are seen as the most recent step in this progression  provides guidance to resolve the particular challenges of today and to lay the spiritual foundations for a coming world civilization.

Progressive Revelation

   Religious renewal Likened to chapters of a book; grades in school Each successive religious system builds upon what went before and brings new knowledge to address the needs and challenges of the time  “…religious truth is not absolute but relative, that Divine Revelation is a continuous and progressive process, that all the great religions of the world are divine in origin, that their basic principles are in complete harmony, that their aims and purposes are one and the same, that their teachings are but facets of one truth, that their functions are complementary, that they differ only in the nonessential aspects of their doctrines, and that their missions represent successive stages in the spiritual evolution of human society.” –Shoghi Effendi

Progressive Revelation

 “Each of the Divine religions embodies two kinds of ordinances….the first is those which concern spiritual susceptibilities...these are essential and fundamental, one and the same, in all religions…The second kind of ordinance….is those which relate to the material affairs of humankind…which are subject to change in each day of manifestation according to the exigencies of the time…”-’Abdu’l-Baha

Universal Education

 Imperative that all mankind is given the opportunity to receive an education  Once limited to the privileged in society  “There are certain pillars which have been established as the unshakeable supports of the Faith of God. The mightiest of these is learning and the use of the mind, the expansion of consciousness, and insights into the realities of the universe and the hidden mysteries of Almighty God.” –Baha’u’llah

The Independent Investigation of Truth

The Independent Investigation of Truth

 Demands that faith be based on conscious knowledge, not blind imitation  “The essence of all that We have revealed for thee is Justice…is for man to free himself from idle fancy and limitation, discern with the eye of oneness His glorious handiwork, and look into all things with a searching eye.”-Baha’u’llah

The Independent Investigation of Truth

 “We ought not to be embarrassed of appreciating the truth and of obtaining it wherever it comes from, even if it comes from races distant and nations different from us. Nothing should be dearer to the seeker than the truth itself.”-Al-Kindi

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The Independent Investigation of Truth

“if…thou shalt seek the Lord thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.”-Moses “Seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.”-Jesus Christ “Whoso maketh efforts for Us, in Our ways will We guide them.”- Muhammad

The Harmony of Science and Religion

 "Religion must stand the analysis of reason. It must agree with scientific fact and proof so that science will sanction religion and religion fortify science. Both are indissolubly welded and joined in reality. If statements and teachings of religion are found to be unreasonable and contrary to science, they are outcomes of superstition and imagination. Innumerable doctrines and beliefs of this character have arisen in the past ages.“-’Abdu’l-Baha

The Harmony of Science and Religion

Religion devoid of reason is in danger of degenerating into superstition and fanaticism, while science, lacking a moral compass, can be as much an instrument of destruction as it has been of benefit and progress 

"Science without religion is lame.

Religion without science is blind." - Albert Einstein

The Harmony of Science and Religion

 “The most beautiful and most profound emotion we can experience is the sensation of the mystical. It is the power of all true science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead.”-Einstein

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The Harmony of Science and Religion

“All created beings embody the potentiality of material perfection, but the power of intellectual investigation and scientific acquisition is a higher virtue specialized to man alone…the means by which man finds a pathway to God.”-’Abdu’l-Baha “Science is the first emanation from God toward man…the development and progress of a nation is according to the measure and degree of that nation’s scientific attainments. Through this means, its greatness is continually increased and day by day the welfare and prosperity of its people are assured.” ’Abdu’l-Baha

The Elimination of Prejudice

   Prejudices are irrational Take many forms:  Racial, sexual, political, economical, etc… Considered one of the greatest challenges and major barriers to peace  “As to religious, racial, national and political bias…all these prejudices strike at the very root of human life; one and all they beget bloodshed, and the ruination of the world. So long as these prejudices survive, there will be continuous and fearsome wars.”-’Abdu’l-Baha

The Equality of Men and Women

  Historical suffering and abuse of women and children Inequalities in the workplace

The Equality of Men and Women

 “The emancipation of women, the achievement of full equality between the sexes, is one of the most important, though less acknowledged prerequisites of peace. The denial of such equality perpetrates an injustice against one half of the world’s population and promotes in men harmful attitudes and habits that are carried from the family to the workplace, to political life, and ultimately to international relations. There are no grounds, moral, practical, or biological, upon which such denial can be justified. Only as women are welcomed into full partnership in all fields of human endeavour will the moral and psychological climate be created in which international peace can emerge.”-UHJ

The Equality of Men and Women

 “The world in the past has been ruled by force, and man has dominated over woman by reason of his more forceful and aggressive qualities both of body and mind. But the balance is already shifting; force is losing its dominance, and mental alertness, intuition, and the spiritual qualities of love and service, in which woman is strong, are gaining ascendancy. Hence the new age will be an age…in which the masculine and feminine elements of civilization will be more evenly balanced.”-’Abdu’l-Baha

Work as Worship

 Work done in the spirit of service is worship  “It is enjoined upon every one of you to engage in some form of occupation, such as crafts, trades and the like. We have graciously exalted your engagement in such work to the rank of worship unto God… Waste not your time in idleness and sloth. Occupy yourselves with that which profiteth yourselves and others.”-Baha’u’llah

The Elimination of Extremes of Wealth and Poverty

 “The inordinate disparity between rich and poor, a source of acute suffering, keeps the world in a state of instability, virtually on the brink of war…

The Elimination of Extremes of Wealth and Poverty

…The solution calls for the combined application of spiritual, moral and practical approaches. A fresh look at the problem is required, entailing consultation with experts from a wide spectrum of disciplines, devoid of economic and ideological polemics, and involving the people directly affected in the decisions that must urgently be made. It is an issue that is bound up not only with the necessity for eliminating extremes of wealth and poverty but also with those spiritual verities the understanding of which can produce a new universal attitude. Fostering such an attitude is itself a major part of the solution.”-The Universal House of Justice

Other Teachings

 The establishment of an auxiliary universal language

Conclusion

References

 Baha’i Reference Library  www.reference.baha’i.org

 The Promise of World Peace- UHJ  Baha’u’llah and The New Era  Tablets of Baha’u’llah  http://info.bahai.org/  http://www.bahai.us/  Email  [email protected]