The Baha’i Faith has as its scope – service to the entire earth and all its people, no matter their religion or lack thereof. Baha’u’llah, the Prophet Founder of the Baha’i Faith, proclaims, “The earth is but one country and mankind its citizens.” Also, “O people! Consort with the followers of all religions in a spirit of friendliness and fellowship.” And, in reference to the entirety of humanity and its essential and divinely confirmed inseparability, “Ye are all the leaves of one tree and the drops of one ocean.”
Although the Baha’i Faith is an independent world religion, some think it is a completely new religion, however, Baha’u’llah teaches the principle of progressive revelation and that the revelator, in addition to being a prophet, is the Manifestation of God on earth, and, in the words of Baha’u’llah, “… each Manifestation of God hath a distinct individuality, a definitely prescribed mission, a predestined revelation, and specially designated limitations. Each one of them is known by a different name, is characterized by a special attribute, fulfills a definite mission, and is entrusted with a particular Revelation.”
The purpose of the Baha’i Faith is to act as a servant and beacon of hope to humanity as it passes from a crumbling civilization to the establishment of a world civilization inspired by the Manifestation of God for this age. Baha’u’llah spent 40 years as a religious prisoner, however, He did not lament for Himself, nor did He ever seek to free Himself from His imprisonment by denying His prophethood in order to satisfy his oppressors, instead He accepted His imprisonment and revealed more than 100 major books and thousands of exhortations, letters, tablets, and prayers beseeching God to rain blessings on humanity, and, at the same time, imploring humanity to turn to God for all their needs and to work towards the establishment of Peace on Earth.
Baha’u’llah’s revelation includes teachings that declare there is only one God, humanity is one family, all true religion comes from God, science and religion agree, men and women are equal in the sight of God, slavery is forbidden, religious authority and every vestige of priesthood and monastic life are abrogated, work done in the spirit of service to humanity is worship. He calls for universal education as a necessary means to free humanity from superstition and ignorance. He calls for the adoption of a world language, He calls for the establishment of a world monetary system. He calls for the elimination of the need for standing armies, and, in short, reorders the disordered lives of humanity with a Divine Authority to do so that is both awe inspiring and astonishing.
The light of the Baha’i Faith protects women and children as treasures of God and His mercy to humanity. While the Revelation of Baha’u’llah eliminates and abrogates the priesthood and all prior religious authority, it imposes the responsibility on each individual to seek to know God and follow His commandments and be accountable for their own individual spiritual development and approach to God. In addition, Baha’u’llah established an administrative order that reflects a collective recognition that an enlightened humanity as a whole is responsible for their governance and development.
The Baha’i Faith condemns prejudice of every kind and condones the establishment of a new heaven and a new earth through the adoption and implementation of the Laws and exhortations of Baha’u’llah which in all cases will realign and reorder the lives of humanity in a benevolent and supportive way that eliminates the need for armies and warfare which have always been a bane to humanity, and, instead, replaces them with a reign of justice guaranteed and conferred by the establishment of His government on earth which humanity recognizes by their own volition as God’s government on earth.
How the Baha’i Faith, which is an instrument of Baha’u’llah, the Manifestation of God for this age, will unfold and be adopted across the earth by the prior adherents of all religions can only be dimly perceived. However, even at this moment this adoption and its attendant transformation of character and thinking is occurring across the earth as men and women of all religions and a myriads of differing beliefs everywhere are compelled by their examination of the Baha’i sacred text to become Baha’is and struggle to live in the full light of what Baha’u’llah sacrificed His life to see established – a new heaven and a new earth built along divine principles having all the markings of the loving Hand of God guiding and protecting humanity from themselves and from corrupt and haughty rulers and leaders, and, also, from every sliding back into ages of darkness, and, instead, creating a new world that is made in the image and likeness of God and that is in keeping with humanity’s own true nature as spiritual beings who live here but for a while – and ephemerally – on a planet prepared by God to provide for them and on which God has loving provisioned for all their needs.
Baha’is long for the day when scholars of all faiths seek to shed their light upon the teachings of the Baha’i Faith, and much to their astonishment they’ll find what Baha’u’llah has established for humanity is not a philosophy nor a stratum for ethical behavior that can be employed to set things aright in the world, but, instead, it is the work of a all-Knowing Divine Physician who “… hath His finger on the pulse of mankind. He perceiveth the disease, and prescribeth, in His unerring wisdom, the remedy. Every age hath its own problem, and every soul its particular aspiration. The remedy the world needeth in its present-day afflictions can never be the same as that which a subsequent age may require. Be anxiously concerned with the needs of the age ye live in, and center your deliberations on its exigencies and requirements.”
The sacred texts of the Baha’i Faith are almost beyond measure because they include the revelation of Baha’u’llah and the writings of His son, Abdu’l-Baha, on whom He confirmed successorship and made the Interpreter of His Word and the Exemplar of His Cause, and, then, also, the institution of the Guardianship to which Abdu’l-Baha named, Shoghi Effendi, His own prodigious grandson, who, in turn, also poured out a great river of authoritative guidance for Baha’is, and, then, culminating, in the establishment of the Universal House of Justice which, today and for a thousand years, is an instrument of the Will of Baha’u’llah onto which He has confirmed a full measure of divine authority and infallibility.
No man can say that Baha’u’llah did not exist, or that His Writings have been corrupted. No one can contend that God has not made His Will very clear to all of humanity in this most extraordinary of all revelations, or that the Will of God is for them to hold onto the multiplicity of their constricted and divisive old forms of religion, when, instead, the Ancient Religion of God has been lifted up and been restored by the Manifestation of God whose own life is an open book and proof of the existence and love of God, and the patience that God manifests with the wayward generations who people the earth. If these words seem too strong for you or are off-putting, forgive me, and be assured that God is grinding all of us in His mill, and the time has come for us to be bold and take action to discover for ourselves whether or not Baha’u’llah is the Manifestation of God. While others may question the existence of Christ or Muhammad because they lived in antiquity, Baha’u’llah lived in the modern age and invites humanity to attempt to disavow His Revelation, saying, “… by the One in Whose hand is my soul, they are not, and never shall be able to do this, even should they combine to assist one another.”
In the words of Baha’u’llah, “Verily I say, this is the Day in which mankind can behold the Face, and hear the Voice, of the Promised One. The Call of God hath been raised, and the light of His countenance hath been lifted up upon men. It behoveth every man to blot out the trace of every idle word from the tablet of his heart, and to gaze, with an open and unbiased mind, on the signs of His Revelation, the proofs of His Mission, and the tokens of His glory.”
While others wait for the Founders of their varied Religions to “return” or arrive and confound and punish those who do not believe in the form and substance of their religion, Baha’is everywhere are working to establish the new heaven and the new earth which Baha’u’llah provides for in His revelation. They know it can never be established through warfare or contention of any kind, but only through loving kindness and the will to sacrifice themselves for the sake of God and His creation.
Baha’is are encouraged to walk the spiritual path with practical feet and to eschew fanaticism, violence and disunity. The Baha’i Faith is first and foremost a practical religion which is free of superstition and other ills that confound humanity, and whose adherents are humans just like you, made of flesh and bones, and filled with tears and a longing to see justice reign across the earth as a balm to all future generations, and a light to humanity even now at a time when despair and confusion are common everywhere.
The hope of every Baha’i is that you be happy, and that you let God’s benevolent Will be a beacon in your life, and in the lives of your family. No Baha’i would ever dream for an instant of forcing anyone to adopt their religion or its precepts because the faith of every individual is up to them and is in the Hands of God. Also, because there is no Baha’i priesthood there are no rituals or superstitions.
Baha’is are the friends of humanity and the champions of women and children everywhere who are the hope of humanity because they people the earth with new generations who will turn to God.
No one can say that the Will of God for this new age has not been clearly made known or thoroughly expressed. All any contender or challenger of this Will must do is look across the mountain of Baha’u’llah’s Writings and try their best to refute its claims and purposes because there is no saner or alternative way to live upon the earth than the way Baha’u’llah manifests and provides for in His Revelation. All the alternatives have been tried – from living in isolation to tribalism to the creation of nation states with and without representative governments, to communism, despotism, anarchy, and every iteration in between – and all of these worrisome perturbations have been thoroughly exhausted. Because, in fact, all prior governments have been created by the schemes of men, and thus are all the same, and fall short of the government created by the infallible pen of the Manifestation of God on earth whose incontestable and divinely inspired Word prescribes the remedy that will establish the Kingdom of God on earth.