In 1995 the Baha’i International Community’s Office of Public Information, in Haifa, prepared a statement entitled The Prosperity of Humankind that was distributed for the first time at the United Nations World Summit on Social Development in Copenhagen. The statement, based on insights derived from the Baha’i Writings and an analysis of contemporary society, shares some important concepts and principles for building a strategy for global development. I truly loved reading it and thought of sharing my personal views on the statement in the hope it motivates others to study it if you have not done so yet (in can be read in full online or downloaded from the Baha’i Reference Library). Continue reading
Photo: courtesy of the Baha'i International Community
The materials prepared for the 114 youth conferences held around the world in 2013 tell us that youth have a great responsibility to contribute to the betterment of society. Their efforts are more effective if they are able to multiply their society-transforming powers by developing the capacity to create an atmosphere of mutual support and assistance among themselves and in their communities. This can complement their reliance on God’s unfailing assistance and act as a positive force that helps them overcome the negative forces in society which attempt to sap their powers and lead them astray from their purpose. Continue reading
Photo taken in Biharsharif, India. (Courtesy Baha'i World Centre)
Participation in the prevalent discourses of society is one of the three areas of activity that the worldwide Baha’i community is trying to learn about (the other two being expansion and consolidation and social action). Broadly understood as a contribution to the evolution of thought, there are several principles and ideas that can help us understand how to contribute most effectively to the discourses around us. These are a few of my reflections on this weighty subject. Continue reading
One Common Faith is a document commissioned in 2005 by the governing body of the Baha’i community, the Universal House of Justice. It follows an open letter sent three years earlier by the same institution to all the world’s religious leaders which called on them to reflect on the meaning and implications of the truth that the religion of God is one and reminded them of the danger of sectarian hatred.
By reviewing passages from both the Writings of Baha’u’llah and the scriptures of other faiths regarding the role of religion in relation to the conditions of contemporary society, One Common Faith provides profound insights about how religion affects the advancement of society. Continue reading
Photo: Courtesy of the Baha'i International Community
By reading the Tablets of the Divine Plan alongside recent messages of the Universal House of Justice, we can learn about what aspects of our current work trace their origin to these tablets revealed by Abdu’l-Baha 100 years ago. I encourage everyone to dive into these texts themselves and see what parallels they are able to make. Following are four points I was able to find: Continue reading
Reading to children in Tiriki West, Kenya (Photo courtesy Baha'i World Centre)
In 2010 the Universal House of Justice called the Baha’is of the world to reflect on the contributions that their growing vibrant communities make to the material and spiritual progress of society and one of these contributions is social action. If we imagine the Baha’i community as a fire, social action is one of its properties: released heat.
The Baha’i community is striving to translate Baha’u’llah’s teachings into reality in order to contribute to world unity and collective spiritual and material prosperity. Baha’u’llah said: Continue reading
Religions are often perceived as a means to answer questions about what happens after we die. Will it be absolute non-existence after our body’s last breath? Is there life after death at all? And if there is, will we remember our life on this earth? Do we really go to heaven or hell?
Shoghi Effendi states:
Evolution in the life of the individual starts with the formation of the human embryo and passes through various stages, and even continues after death in another form.
In order to understand better the concept of life after death and what could be meant by “another form”, it can be helpful to start by looking at the reality of the human soul. Continue reading
One of the things we often get asked about as Baha’is is our conviction of the principle of the oneness of religion. As it is one of the central teachings laid down by Baha’u’llah, it is of great importance that we are able to understand the implications of seeing all religions, in essence, as being as one. This way we are able to answer common questions we are asked, such as, “How can all religions be true when they appear to disagree in the ways they are practised?” or, “Sure, different religions can get along, but clearly they advocate for different things, no?”
A response to these questions will be inherently based upon the concept of Progressive Revelation, a core concept that suggests that religious truth is, in essence, one, and that it is progressively revealed by God through a series of divine Messengers. Christ, Muhammad, Moses, Krishna, Baha’u’llah and the Bab are some examples of these Messengers that are like perfect mirrors that reflect and manifest the perfections and attributes of God and reveal His Word. Through the lens of Progressive Revelation we are able to clearly see how all the great religions of the world are divine in origin and regard their founders as divine Manifestations of God. Continue reading