As the editor of the Journal of Baha’i Studies, I have the pleasure of reading hundreds of wonderful articles and papers submitted on a variety of subjects relating to the Baha’i Faith.
In the most recent issue of the Journal of Baha’i Studies (volume 26 number 4), an article by current member of the Universal House of Justice, Mr. Paul Lample, really grabbed my attention, as it is, in my opinion, a milestone treatment of the often discussed topic, and attempts to clarify what is intended in the Baha’i texts by harmony (or unity) of science and religion. Titled In Pursuit of Harmony between Science and Religion, this discussion is a highly organized and insightful rendering of a talk given by Mr. Lample on 20 May, 2016 at the Baha’i House of Worship in Wilmette, Illinois, but it is much more than a mere transcript, and I wanted to share some of my personal thoughts on the article, which you can read in full here. Continue reading
There are a lot of wonderful Baha’i resources available online (many of which we list here in our directory) but in this article we wanted to highlight one site in particular that aims to help groups have spiritual conversations. The site is bahai.tools and they offer more than 70 discussion guides on topics ranging from “The Eye of Oneness”, “Science, Faith & Reality” to “A Hero for Every Season”. The guides are made up of slideshow presentations that include talks, quotes and questions to generate elevated group conversations. To help you out, each presentation is summarized, its target audience is explained and a list of the technological requirements you’ll need is provided. Steve Moses and Caleb Gilleland, the dynamic duo behind bahai.tools, kindly shared the details behind this great resource! Continue reading
The question, “Is God real?” was posed to me by my four-year-old daughter. A simple “yes” would not suffice and she further asked; “But I can’t see Him, so how do I know He’s real?”
I admittedly struggled with her question. How do you explain the unseen force of God to anyone, let alone a four-year-old?
I was on a quest to answer my pre-schoolers seemingly simple question, but my journey took me into the world of metaphysics and beyond. Continue reading
Participants of a Study Circle in Preah Vihear, Cambodia (Photo credit: Baha'i World Centre)
All of us feel the sadness and pain that the peoples of the world are experiencing in this day and age. Yet as Baha’i’s, we know we must not lose sight of humanities’ bright future, focussing our energies on contributing our part to building a flourishing spiritual and material civilization. In it’s 2015 Ridvan message, the Universal House of Justice wrote: Continue reading
For many people, the heading of this article will seem absurd. “Religion: A cause of prejudice?” well of course it’s a cause of prejudice, they will state, why bother with a question mark. You only have to pick up the paper, or read any history book to see the horrific injustices caused in the name of religion.
But does any label, including “Baha’i”, foster religious prejudice? Continue reading
It is often said that our thoughts shape our reality, and that what we think, we become. But is there really a link between our thoughts and our reality?
Does meditating on visions of future success, for example, really do anything to address the very real obstacles that you face in your daily life?
Some people are firm believers that positive thinking works wonders, while others are more skeptical. Continue reading
While it is often easy to focus on the differences between the various religions of the world, there are definitely many similarities which unfortunately often get overlooked. Beyond the many similarities relating to customs and rituals, such as fasting and prayer, many of these similarities are based on what could be classified as the “core values”, or the “essence” of these religions, rather than the “details”.
These similarities are very evident in the teachings of these different religions when it comes to the subject of how we should treat others, so I thought it would be interesting to list the “Golden Rule” of what each religion says about how we should treat others. Here’s just one quote from a short selection of major world religions in alphabetical order: Continue reading
Religion has produced some of the greatest achievements of humanity but this fact is often obscured today as people and the media focus on the horrors resulting from its power.
By now we should all know that if people want to use religion as a method to get their own way, they have an ominous weapon.
Religion taps the very source of motivation because it has to do with the absolute and the eternal, so if somebody or a group successfully manipulates it for negative ends they can achieve their aims with the help of followers whose morale is sky high.
Down the centuries there have been many wars and atrocities because of this manipulation of religious feeling and allegiance. When that happens, religion becomes a counterfeit version of the real thing. Continue reading
Children in a Haitian slum showing off their Western-taught ‘gangsta’ moves. (Photo courtesy of the author.)
I’ve been a Baha’i all my life and yet it never ceases to amaze me how intuitive the Baha’i Faith seems. Most Baha’i ideals quite simply feel true. They resonate and appeal to what some call “our modern sensibilities”.
And yet for many of us there remains that fraction of the totality of Baha’i ideas which is difficult, even daunting, to truly accept in one’s heart of hearts.
Many teachings stand in stark contrast to the majority view in any given culture. Some teachings challenge what is hip and trendy. Some defy what is passed down as a proud tradition. Almost all Baha’i teachings defy strong selfish impulse or entrenched habit. A new Baha’i or someone looking into the Baha’i Faith, may become so enamoured by the beautiful and instantly palatable core teachings that they unwittingly ignore a host of other fundamental principles which may later come as an unpleasant surprise — usually in the inconvenient personal challenge they present. Time should be given, and loving sympathy and utmost patience shown for every individual to process the most personally challenging Baha’i ideas whatever they may be. Continue reading
I find that sometimes having a question in the forefront of my mind can make certain answers more apparent — like when you close your eyes, think of the colour blue, and then open them again. Everything blue pops out in sharper contrast than before. What was muted becomes vibrant, and impossible to ignore.
These days I am wondering about oneness and am trying to keep the question in the fore of my personal deepening. What does “oneness” truly mean? The Merriam-Webster dictionary tells us that it is “the state of being completely united with or a part of someone or something” but what does that mean in practical terms? What effect does it have on our spiritual lives?
I have often explained the Baha’i Faith in terms of believing in the three onenesses: the oneness of humanity (that we are all equal despite differences in culture, ethnicity, gender, and our physical bodies), the oneness of the Manifestations (that They are all divine in origin), and the oneness of God (regardless of whether we call Him Dieu, Allah or Jehovah, He is one in essence). These words have rolled off my tongue without deeper, significant thought but recently I have been contemplating these five points: Continue reading