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World Religion Day was initiated in 1950 by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the United States and it is often celebrated on the third Sunday of January. The day has been marked by hosting discussions, conferences, and other events which foster understanding and communication between the followers of all religions. Its purpose is to call attention to the harmony of spiritual principles and the oneness of the world’s religions and to emphasize that world religion is the motivating force for world unity. In many ways, celebrations in honor of World Religion Day strive to embody these words of Baha’u’llah:
O ye children of men! 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 spirit of love and fellowship amongst men…Whatsoever is raised on this foundation, the changes and chances of the world can never impair its strength, nor will the revolution of countless centuries undermine its structure.
Although World Religion Day originated in the United States, many communities the world over have taken it on. For example, in this Baha’i World News Service article, you can read about commemorative stamps that were created in Sri Lanka and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Some communities, particularly those in the United States, now celebrate World Religion Day at another time, in order to not take away attention from Martin Luther King Jr Day, which falls on the third Monday of January.
In the spirit of World Religion Day, which seeks to strengthen interfaith understanding, we thought we’d share seven Baha’i Blog resources devoted to the unity of religions:
In this article, Naysan shares 13 different forms of the Golden Rule from various religions, traditions and cultures.
We interview host Jack Gordon, a professional media producer and photographer, about his podcast that has a unique and unifying format.
Portraits in Faith is a series of video interviews and portrait photographs aimed at taking a look into the lives of people of faith around the world. We interview its creator, Daniel Epstein, who used this project as a sort of spiritual exercise where he would keep his own faith alive by gaining from the experience of others – regardless of their religion or beliefs.
In this short list you’ll find documentaries about the religions of the world, their histories and beliefs.
This video, created for the 2015 Parliament of World Religions, beautifully encapsulates the vision behind this worldwide interfaith movement.
In this podcast episode from the Baha’i World News Service, Rachel Bayani from the BIC Brussels Office, Lyazzat Yangaliyeva from Kazakhstan, Arash Fazli from India, and Geoffrey Cameron from Canada discuss the efforts of regional and national Baha’i communities to participate in one particular discourse: the role of religion in society.
One of the things we often get asked about as Baha’is is our conviction of the principle of the oneness of religion. In this article, Iko shares some introductory thoughts on this foundational belief.
And that wraps up our little list! For those organizing events in the coming weeks, happy World Religion Day!
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