In this installment of Just Ask!, I was approached by a gentleman named Christian of the Baha’i faith. Knowing nothing of Baha’i, he gladly filled me in on the basics. I found it quite interesting and thought others would be curious to learn more from someone in the know.
Please leave your questions in the comments area and I’ll pass them to Christian once we have enough. Although Christian has provided some basic information about the Baha’i Faith, do a little reading here to get a good summary. Once you have a good grasp, feel free to ask away!
I will do my best this time to have a more intuitive navigation system in place. However, I’ll still have each Q/A on it’s own page so that comments can be made seperately for each one.
My name is Christian Gruber, and I am a Baha’i (member of the Baha’i Faith) from Canada. I was born into an Anglican (episcopalian) Christian family, and joined the Bahá’í Faith at age 16 (I’m now in my thirties). As an information technology consultant by trade, I travel frequently between the US and Canada. I am quite interested in comparative religion, philosophy, issues of global governance and political science. I have participated in both large and small Baha’i communities (congregations), and currently live in a small city near Toronto with a cozy little Baha’i community of some two dozen believers.
People approach the Baha’i faith from a huge variety of spiritual and intellectual backgrounds and attitudes, and some approach it broadly and others focus in very narrowly on certain aspects and elements. Because of this, the Baha’i Faith looks different when described by different people. The unifying feature is a Belief in Bahá’u'lláh and the role, or station He claimed for Himself, and a commitment to follow His teachings as well as the clarifying guidance of His successors and the institutions they established.
The next bit (after the bold) is from the www.bahai.org website. The first two paragraphs are general description. The second two paragraphs are very very brief statements of summary of belief described by the great-grandson of the founder of the Baha’i Faith. It is not exhaustive, but is a nice summary of some important principles. Key beliefs and doctrines about the nature of God, cosmology, purpose of existence, and all that aren’t really summed up in these quotes, largely because they are subtle and complex if one wishes to avoid oversimplification. Additionally, a highly important aspect of the Baha’i Faith is the notion of service to humanity and, most particularly, its unity. Because of this, many Bahá’ís don’t even care much about the details of such matters, focusing on acts of service, promoting the oneness of mankind, putting out literacy programs, working in local communities on community development projects, etc.
About the Bahá’í Faith
The Bahá’í Faith is a world religion based on the teachings of Bahá’u'lláh. He explained that there is only one God and one human family, and that all religions are spiritually united. Bahá’u'lláh’s writings offer spiritual guidance as well as directives for personal and social conduct.
The more than five million Bahá’ís around the world are engaged in the process of learning how to translate that guidance into realities of individual and community life. Though they come from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds, they are united by their belief in Bahá’u'lláh and by their desire for a united, prosperous, and peaceful future for all of humanity.
Principles of Bahá’í Belief
"The Bahá’í Faith recognizes the unity of God and of His Prophets, upholds the principle of an unfettered search after truth, condemns all forms of superstition and prejudice, teaches that the fundamental purpose of religion is to promote concord and harmony, that it must go hand-in-hand with science, and that it constitutes the sole and ultimate basis of a peaceful, an ordered and progressive society.
"It inculcates the principle of equal opportunity, rights and privileges for both sexes, advocates compulsory education, abolishes extremes of poverty and wealth, exalts work performed in the spirit of service to the rank of worship, recommends the adoption of an auxiliary international language, and provides the necessary agencies for the establishment and safeguarding of a permanent and universal peace."
- Shoghi Effendi, Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith
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