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Discussion in 'Interfaith Discussion' started by IsaiahX, Nov 23, 2018.

  1. IsaiahX

    IsaiahX Ape That Loves

    Oct 28, 2018
    Liberal Christian
    Can someone please explain to me the central doctrines and ideas of the Baha'i faith? I would love some insight.
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  2. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
    Staff Member Premium Member

    Aug 5, 2014
    Hi @IsaiahX,

    To get you started....

    Throughout history, God has sent to humanity a series of divine Educators—known as Manifestations of God—whose teachings have provided the basis for the advancement of civilization. These Manifestations have included Abraham, Krishna, Zoroaster, Moses, Buddha, Jesus, and Muhammad. Bahá’u’lláh, the latest of these Messengers, explained that the religions of the world come from the same Source and are in essence successive chapters of one religion from God.

    Bahá’ís believe the crucial need facing humanity is to find a unifying vision of the future of society and of the nature and purpose of life. Such a vision unfolds in the writings of Bahá’u’lláh.

    The Bahá’í Faith - The website of the worldwide Bahá’í community

    Throughout history, the great religions have provided the primary driving force behind the civilizing of human character, eliciting self-discipline, devotion and heroism from their followers. Many of religion’s moral principles have been translated into structures and patterns of conduct which have served to elevate human relationships and advance humanity’s collective life.

    Every time a Manifestation of God appears, a fuller measure of inspiration for the next stage in the awakening and progress of humanity is released into the world. A human being—ordinary in every outward respect—is called to be a mouthpiece for God. One may call to mind Moses standing before the Burning Bush, the Buddha receiving enlightenment under the Bodhi tree, the Holy Spirit descending upon Jesus in the form of a dove, or the archangel Gabriel appearing to Muhammad.

    In the middle of the 19th century, God summoned Bahá’u’lláh—meaning the “Glory of God”—to deliver a new Revelation to humanity. For four decades thousands of verses, letters and books flowed from His pen. In His Writings, He outlined a framework for the development of a global civilization which takes into account both the spiritual and material dimensions of human life.

    I have never aspired after worldly leadership. My sole purpose hath been to hand down unto men that which I was bidden to deliver by God…

    — Bahá’u’lláh

    Bahá’u’lláh suffered 40 years of imprisonment, torture and exile for bringing God’s latest message to humanity. Today, His life and mission are becoming increasingly well-known across the planet. Millions of people are learning to apply His teachings to their individual and collective lives for the betterment of the world.

    Bahá’u’lláh | What Bahá’ís Believe

    Who is Bahá’u’lláh?

    The Life of Bahá’u’lláh | What Bahá’ís Believe

    In exploring a religion it’s good to hear from what followers of that religion have to say, and for that reason I’ve introduced you to the official Baha’i website.

    It’s good to read external sources too and I often use Wikipedia. It’s not 100% accurate but a useful starting point. I’m happy to answer any questions.

    Bahá'í Faith - Wikipedia
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  3. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee
    Premium Member

    Feb 10, 2011
    Saivite Hindu
    I (and others) have had long discussions with several Baha'i on these forums. The information on Baha'i is all over the place ... here, on the Baha'i sites, on ex-Baha'i sites, on interfaith sites. All you have to do is some searching, and reading with an open mind.
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  4. Sen McGlinn

    Sen McGlinn Member

    Jan 13, 2009
    Adriaan has zeroed in on the key teaching, that religion is one progressive unfoldment through history of the same essence, adapting to the needs of the age. That leads to the next question: what are the Bahai teachings about the needs of our age? Baha'u'llah and Abdu'l-Baha wrote a lot of in-depth stuff, but also some lists of Bahai teachings which enumerate the key points in their vision. Unity and peace are central, with the hope that the nations of the world should combine in a world federal system, with an elected legislature, a executive and an elected judiciary ("tribunal"), with the goal of fixing the boundaries of every nation, eliminating warfare, reducing the cost of armaments to what is required for internal purposes.
    In the Tarazat, Baha'u'llah explains six principles.
    In a Tablet known as "ignited candle", Abdu'l-Baha explains ten principles.
    In a talk on "eleven essentials", Abdu'l-Baha sets out (guess how many) teachings.
    If you look at these and many more like them, you can see that they write and speak almost always to individuals with particular interests. They do not send each and every enquirer a list of forty-odd principles, but select what will be relevant. In one case however we have a "universal" list intended for a world audience. It is a letter that Abdu'l-Baha wrote to the Central Organisation for Durable Peace in The Hague, The Netherlands on 17 December 1919. He says that the core principles and values are:

      • Declaration of universal peace.
      • Independent investigation of reality.
      • Oneness of humanity.
      • Religion must be the cause of fellowship and love.
      • Religion must be in conformity with science and reason.
      • Abandonment of religious, racial, political, economic and patriotic prejudices.
      • One universal language.
      • Equality of women and men.
      • Voluntary sharing one's property.
      • Man's freedom from the captivity of the world of nature.
      • Religion is the ideal safeguard.
      • Material civilization should be combined with Divine civilization.
      • Promotion of education.
      • Justice and right.

    • (source: Tablet to The Hague - Wikipedia )
      You can read the letter here : Tablet to the Central Organization for a Durable Peace, The Hague

      I said above that there are forty-odd principles. This is based on a partial inventory of these lists of Bahai principles by Peter Terry:
      'Abdu'l-Bahá's Explanation of the Teachings of Bahá'u'lláh Tablets and Talks Translated into English (1911-1920)
      It is partial, because it does not include lists in the original languages, and does not include Baha'u'llah's lists. But it does include some reports of talks that are not authenticated, ie the Bahai apocrypha, based on notes taken by somebody that cannot be checked against an original. Terry finds 45 principles, which I will list below.

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  5. Sen McGlinn

    Sen McGlinn Member

    Jan 13, 2009
    Terry's list of 45 Bahai principles in the talks of Abdu'l-Baha,:

    In the thirty-seven sources studied we find forty-five separate Bahá’í teachings .Only one of these teachings is found in virtually every one of those sources (32out of 37),and twenty-three of these teachings are only found in one of the sources. Here are these principles, beginning with those mentioned the most frequently and ranging to those which are mentioned in only one source ( the number of sources each principle is cited in is found to the right of that principle, in parentheses) :
    1. oneness of humanity(32)
    2. Religion must be in agreement with science and reason (27)
    3. Religion must be conducive to love and unity (26)
    4. Equality of men and women(23)
    5. Abandonment of prejudices(23)
    6. Independent investigation of reality/search for truth(21)
    7. Universal Peace(20)
    8. Universal education and curriculum(17)
    9. Humanity must depend upon the Holy Spirit(13)
    10. Economic readjustment(13)
    11. Foundation and reality of all religions are one (13)
    12. Equal rights for all(11)
    13. Universal language(10)
    14. International Tribunal(5)
    15. Universal justice(4)
    16. Spiritual brotherhood(4)
    17. Training in useful craft, art, science or profession(3)
    18. Material civilization must be combined with divine civilization(3)
    19. Heavenly morals and spiritual civilization(3)
    20. Work to the best of one’s ability is worship(2)
    21. Religion must be free from dogma and imitation(2)
    22. Reconciliation of religious systems(2)
    23. Oneness of God(2)
    24. Religion must not mix with politics(2)
    25. Religion is a mighty bulwark(2)
    26. Universal employment: all must work, work for all(1)
    27. Religion must be a factor for human progress(1)
    28. Oneness of reality(1)
    29. Reconciliation of science and religion through science and art(1)
    30. Love for animals(1)
    31. Love for all men(1)
    32. Education of women(1)
    33. Agreement of the peoples of the world(1)
    34. Inter-racial peace(1)
    35. Voluntary sharing of property with humanity(1)
    36. Demonstration of Divinity and inspiration(1)
    37. Power of the influence of Bahá’u’lláh (1)
    38. True freedom for man is from the world of nature(1)
    39. Establishment of the House of Justice(1)
    40. Social classes reformed but ranks preserved(1)
    41. Establishment of the Center of the Covenant
    42. Dawn of the Sun of Reality from Persia(1)
    43. Religion is the divine remedy(1)
    44. International unity(1)
    45. Find a common point of agreement; those who insist they are right are wrong(1)

    source: 'Abdu'l-Bahá's Explanation of the Teachings of Bahá'u'lláh Tablets and Talks Translated into English (1911-1920)
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