Throughout history, God has revealed Himself to humanity through a series of divine Messengers, whose teachings guide and educate us and provide the basis for the advancement of human society. These Messengers have included Abraham, Krishna, Zoroaster, Moses, Buddha, Jesus, and Muhammad. Their religions come from the same Source and are in essence successive chapters of one religion from God.
Bahá’u’lláh, the latest of these Messengers, brought new spiritual and social teachings for our time. His essential message is of unity. He taught the oneness of God, the oneness of the human family, and the oneness of religion.
Bahá’u’lláh said, “The earth is but one country and mankind its citizens,” and that, as foretold in all the sacred scriptures of the past, now is the time for humanity to live in unity.
Founded more than a century and a half ago, the Bahá’í Faith has spread around the globe. Members of the Bahá’í Faith live in more than 100,000 localities and come from nearly every nation, ethnic group, culture, profession, and social or economic background.
Bahá’ís believe the crucial need facing humanity is to find a unifying vision of the nature and purpose of life and of the future of society. Such a vision unfolds in the writings of Bahá’u’lláh.
The core tenets of the Bahá’í Faith:
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All humanity is one family.
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, national, 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.
For more information about the Bahá’í Faith, please visit info.bahai.org