What Is World Religion Day?

Children participate in a devotional gathering in East Kanchanpur, Nepal. [Photo: Baha’i Media Bank]

World Religion Day was initiated in 1950 by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the United States and it is often celebrated on the third Sunday of January. The day has been marked by hosting discussions, conferences, and other events which foster understanding and communication between the followers of all religions. Its purpose is to call attention to the harmony of spiritual principles and the oneness of the world’s religions and to emphasize that world religion is the motivating force for world unity. In many ways, celebrations in honor of World Religion Day strive to embody these words of Baha’u’llah: 

O ye children of men! The fundamental purpose animating the Faith of God and His Religion is to safeguard the interests and promote the unity of the human race, and to foster the spirit of love and fellowship amongst men…Whatsoever is raised on this foundation, the changes and chances of the world can never impair its strength, nor will the revolution of countless centuries undermine its structure.

Although World Religion Day originated in the United States, many communities the world over have taken it on. For example, in this Baha’i World News Service article, you can read about commemorative stamps that were created in Sri Lanka and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Some communities, particularly those in the United States, now celebrate World Religion Day at another time, in order to not take away attention from Martin Luther King Jr Day, which falls on the third Monday of January.

In the spirit of World Religion Day, which seeks to strengthen interfaith understanding, we thought we’d share seven Baha’i Blog resources devoted to the unity of religions:

1. Different Religions, Same Golden Rule

In this article, Naysan shares 13 different forms of the Golden Rule from various religions, traditions and cultures.

2. Interfaith-ish: A Podcast Series About Humanity’s Common Ground

We interview host Jack Gordon, a professional media producer and photographer, about his podcast that has a unique and unifying format.

3. Portraits in Faith – Video Interviews About Faith from Around the World

Portraits in Faith is a series of video interviews and portrait photographs aimed at taking a look into the lives of people of faith around the world. We interview its creator, Daniel Epstein, who used this project as a sort of spiritual exercise where he would keep his own faith alive by gaining from the experience of others – regardless of their religion or beliefs.

4. 10 Documentaries About World Religions

In this short list you’ll find documentaries about the religions of the world, their histories and beliefs.

5. The Heart of Faith – The Parliament of World Religions

This video, created for the 2015 Parliament of World Religions, beautifully encapsulates the vision behind this worldwide interfaith movement.

6. BWNS Podcast: Why Religion Is in the Spotlight Again

In this podcast episode from the Baha’i World News Service, Rachel Bayani from the BIC Brussels Office, Lyazzat Yangaliyeva from Kazakhstan, Arash Fazli from India, and Geoffrey Cameron from Canada discuss the efforts of regional and national Baha’i communities to participate in one particular discourse: the role of religion in society.

7. The Baha’i Principle of Progressive Revelation

One of the things we often get asked about as Baha’is is our conviction of the principle of the oneness of religion. In this article, Iko shares some introductory thoughts on this foundational belief.

And that wraps up our little list! For those organizing events in the coming weeks, happy World Religion Day!

 

About the Author

Sonjel Vreeland

In her innermost heart, Sonjel is a mother, a wife and a bookworm but professionally she is a museologist and a library technician. She currently lives on Prince Edward Island, an isle in the shape of a smile on the eastern Canadian coast. Sonjel is a writer who loves to listen to jazz when she's driving at night.

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Discussion 1 Comment

  1. I had the great grace of God to teach and worship in all churches and religions. We had to know the religions in the universities – as organists. So I was allowed to be without Baha’i, study the religions. When I became Baha’i, I was far ahead of the believers, which would have been a great advantage for the faithful–! I quickly learned the faith of Baha’u’llah – thank God !!!

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