The Bahá’í Faith is the youngest of the world’s independent monotheistic religions. Founded in Iran in 1844, it now has more than five million adherents in 236 countries and territories. Bahá’ís come from nearly every national, ethnic and religious background, making the Bahá’í Faith the second most-widespread religion in the world.
Bahá’ís view the world’s major religions as a part of a single, progressive process through which God reveals His will to humanity. Bahá’u’lláh (1817-1892), the Founder of the Bahá’í Faith, is recognized as the most recent in a line of Divine Messengers that stretches back beyond recorded time and includes Abraham, Moses, Buddha, Zoroaster, Christ and Muhammad. The central theme of Bahá’u’lláh’s message is that humanity is one single race and that the day has come for humanity’s unification into one global society. While reaffirming the core ethical principles common to all religions, Bahá’u’lláh also revealed new laws and teachings to lay the foundations of a global civilization. “A new life,” Bahá’u’lláh declared, “is, in this age, stirring within all the peoples of the earth.”
The worldwide Bahá’í community, composed of people from virtually every racial, ethnic and religious background, is working to give practical expression to Bahá’u’lláh’s vision of world unity. We invite you to learn more about the Bahá’í Faith and benefit from the spiritual and practical insights found in the Revelation of Bahá’u’lláh, God’s message for humanity in this day.
For more information about the Bahá’í Faith, call 1-800-22-UNITE (1-800-228-6583), or contact local Baha’is: Mariposa 209-966-6396, Oakhurst 559-683-7702, North Fork 559-877-2849 or online at www.bahai.us
- All humanity is one. The Bahá’í teachings emphasize that all of us, as creations of one God, are part of one human family. Bahá’u’lláh said, “The tabernacle of unity hath been raised; regard ye not one another as strangers. Ye are the fruits of one tree, and the leaves of one branch.” People of nearly every background, in every nation, have become Bahá’ís.
- Women and Men are equal. Full equality and a firm sense of partnership between women and men are essential to human progress and the transformation of society. “Women and men have been and will always be equal in the sight of God,” said Bahá’u’lláh. The worldwide Bahá’í community has been at the forefront of the movement to advance the rights of women for more than a century.
- All prejudice—racial, religious, racial or economic—is destructive and must be overcome. Bahá’u’lláh gave special attention to the problem of prejudice. At the heart of His message is a call for mutual understanding and fellowship among nations, cultures, and peoples. There is, Bahá’u’lláh insists, only one human race. Prejudice—whether based on race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, or social background—must be overcome if humanity is to create a peaceful and just global society.
- We must investigate truth for ourselves, without preconceptions. One of the main sources of conflict in the world today is the fact that many people blindly and uncritically follow various traditions, movements, and opinions. Bahá’u’lláh emphasizes the fundamental obligation of human beings to acquire knowledge with their “own eyes and not through the eyes of others.”
- Science and religion are in harmony. The Bahá’í teachings stress the fundamental harmony of science and religion. Bahá’ís consider that it is the same unique God who is both the Author of revelation and the Creator of the reality which science investigates. If indeed there is only one truth (reality), it is not possible for something to be scientifically false and religiously true; contradictions are attributed to human fallibility and arrogance.
- Our economic problems are linked to spiritual problems. The Bahá’í teachings envision that economic justice and prosperity will come about only when the essential connection between the spiritual and practical aspects of life is recognized. A satisfactory solution to the world’s present economic crisis lies in a profound change of heart and mind which only religion can produce.
- The family and its unity are very important. Bahá’u’lláh came to bring unity to the world, and a fundamental unity is that of the family. Bahá’ís understand that the family is the basic unit of society and unless this all-important building block is healthy and unified, society itself cannot be healthy and unified. Bahá’í writings say, “If love and agreement are manifest in a single family, that family will advance, become illumined and spiritual.”
- There is one God. The Bahá’í belief in one God means that the universe and all creatures and forces within it have been created by a single supernatural Being. Such designations as God, Allah, Yahweh, and Brahma all refer to the One Divine Being, Whose nature is unknowable and inaccessible to humankind. We learn about God through His Messengers, who teach and guide humanity.
- All major religions come from God. When Bahá’ís say that the various religions are one, they do not mean that all the creeds and organizations are the same. Rather, they believe God has revealed Himself through a succession of Divine Messengers, Whose purpose is to guide and educate mankind. They are expressions of a single unfolding Divine purpose, “the changeless Faith of God, eternal in the past, eternal in the future.”
- World peace is the crying need of our time. Whether peace is to be reached only after unimaginable horrors precipitated by humanity’s stubborn clinging to old patterns of behaviour, or is to be embraced now by an act of consultative will, is the choice before all who inhabit the earth. The Bahá’í community believes that humanity can confront this supreme trial with confidence in its ultimate outcome.
- daily prayer and communion with God.
- high moral principles, including trustworthiness, chastity and honesty.
- independent investigation of Truth.
- a life dedicated to the service of humanity.
- fellowship with the followers of all religions.
- avoidance of excessive materialism, partisan politics, backbiting, alcohol, drugs, and gambling.
SOCIAL PRINCIPLES INCLUDE:
- full equality between women and men in all departments of life and at every level of society.
- harmony between science and religion as two complementary systems of knowledge that must work together to advance the well-being and progress of humanity.
- the elimination of all forms of prejudice.
- the establishment of a world commonwealth of nations.
- recognition of the common origin and fundamental unity of purpose of all religions.
- spiritual solutions to economic problems and the removal of economic barriers and restrictions.
- the abolition of extremes of wealth and poverty.
- the adoption of a world auxiliary language, a world script, a uniform and universal system of currency and of weights and measures.
Information gathered from the Bahá’í International Community.