Baha’i Blog’s Trivia Quiz: Ridvan

The most holy time of year in the Baha’i calendar is almost here, so that means it’s also time for another Baha’i Blog trivia quiz

Ridvan is a time of celebration and jubilation for Baha’is around the world, and if you’re still trying to come up with ideas on how you can celebrate it with your community, then check out this Baha’i Blog post for some great ways to celebrate: 16 Novel Ideas for Your Next Holy Day

You may also want to have a read of these past two Baha’i Blog articles about Ridvan in order to brief yourselves on the significance of Ridvan before you jump head-first into the quiz!

  1. What is Ridvan and why does it have 12 days?
  2. The Two Gardens of Ridvan

We hope you enjoy the quiz, and of course, the team at Baha’i Blog would like to wish everyone a very happy Ridvan!
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Kindle: An Interview with Natasha Chiang

One of the things I absolutely love discovering is new Baha’i inspired music, and one of the wonderful benefits of running Baha’i Blog is that we get to share these awesome musical discoveries with the rest of the Baha’i world!

A friend of mine recently introduced me to the beautiful music of Natasha Chiang, a new Baha’i artist in Australia who just released her debut album a few weeks ago entitled Kindle.

Kindle was produced and arranged by musical legend Louie Shelton, and the whole album is based on Baha’i prayers.

There are also a couple of tracks where Natasha sings in Mandarin, and it’s really great to hear the Baha’i Writings being sung in Chinese.

I decided to catch up with Natasha Chiang to find out more about her and her music.
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Divine Transcendence: Closer than your Life-vein

A profound mystery lies deep inside all of us. Buddhists call itEnlightenment”; Christians call it “Grace”; and Baha’is call it “Divine Bounty”.

But any mere words we try to use to describe it will always fall short. It is imperative, however, that we find a way to tune into that mystery because this is what makes our lives meaningful, happy and enriched. And getting there is not nearly as hard or as painful or as elusive as we might think. Continue reading

Two Wings: Women, Men, and the Bird of Humanity

One of the most important principles of the Baha’i Faith is the oneness of religion, or the belief that all of the major world faiths teach the same fundamental truths and are entirely in agreement. Being raised Baha’i, this principle seemed so intuitive that I never really questioned it when I was young. But during my time as an undergraduate in university I was surprised to encounter a number of people who disagreed with the teachings of the Baha’i Faith precisely because of our belief in the principle of the oneness of religion. Oftentimes people of a particular faith would take issue with this principle because they were raised to believe that religions other than their own were inherently wrong. While I disagreed with their perspective, this didn’t necessarily surprise me as such views are somewhat common. But other times I would meet someone who wasn’t particularly religious, who loved all of the other teachings of the Faith, but who disagreed with the principle of the oneness of religion because it implied our acceptance of the principles from older religions that they disagreed with.

“How can you say you accept other religions when their teachings are the complete opposite of yours?” they’d ask. “Could you give me an example?” I’d reply, “I’m not sure exactly what you mean.”

One person’s response was particularly interesting: “Just look at how women have been treated in so many other religions,” He said. “I thought Baha’is believe in the equality of men and women. Other religions obviously don’t, right? How can you believe that all religions are in agreement when the status of women differs so much between them?”

It is absolutely true that the Baha’i Faith professes the complete and absolute equality of men and women. As Abdu’l-Baha states:

The world of humanity has two wings – one is women and the other men. Not until both wings are equally developed can the bird fly. Should one wing remain weak, flight is impossible. Not until the world of women becomes equal to the world of men in the acquisition of virtues and perfections, can success and prosperity be attained as they ought to be.

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Where to find Baha’i Sheet Music Online

In this day and age it’s become much easier to get a hold of new information and materials. Years ago, if you wanted to play an instrument like your guitar or keyboard at a gathering or camp, you’d have to get things like sheet music off other people and from books at Baha’i stores. Now, all you have to do is get online, grab the music yourself from the comfort of your own home and print it off!

Music is a important ingredient at feasts, firesides, devotionals, childrens classes, and many other Baha’i meetings, as it is a ladder to the soul. So getting those upbeat tunes to sing along with and liven up your events is a must!

As Baha’u’llah says,

We, verily, have made music as a ladder for your souls, a means whereby they may be lifted up unto the realm on high.
-Baha’u’llah, Kitab-i-Aqdas

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Science and Religion: Best Friends Forever

Image Credit: ESO/L. Calçada/Nick Risinger (skysurvey.org)

Last year, when NASA’s robotic rover, Curiosity, successfully made its way to our planetary neighbor, everyone celebrated. Unsurprisingly, on the Internet, some people tweaked: “Dear Religion, While you were debating what chicken sandwiches were okay to eat, I just landed on Mars. Sincerely, Your Pal Science.”

To be fair, Science and Religion have been taking jabs at each other for some centuries now. Continue reading

Kahlil Gibran and the Baha’i Faith

Kahlil Gibran (Jan 6, 1883 – April 10, 1931)

In 1912, Hudson Maxim, the one-handed American inventor of explosives, went to see Abdu’l-Baha at His hotel in New York. It’s possible that his morning interview with the “Prophet of Peace” was a kind of reconnaissance mission for the great scientist, research for his work of war: know thy enemy. Elements of their conversation read like a comedy of opposites:

“What do you think of modern warfare?” demanded Maxim.

“Everything that prevents war is good,” replied Abdu’l-Baha.

“Do you consider the next great national war necessary?” Maxim asked.

“Why not try peace for awhile?” Abdu’l-Baha answered. “If we find war is better, it will not be difficult to fight again.”

The combative approach Maxim took was met with a gentle, finding-the-good-ness spirit in Abdu’l-Baha, which Maxim seems to have found hostile in its mildness. He resorted to drawing a picture for Abdu’l-Baha of the range of an exploded bomb, to illustrate the physical limitations of its destruction.

This man was a product of his age, thoroughly believing and, in fact, invested in the vain imaginings of 19th-century theories about war. The Master turned to the light in Hudson Maxim, appealing to him to use his exceptional talents in instead “invent[ing] guns of love” that “God will be pleased with you and from every standpoint of estimation you will be a perfect man.”

This story serves as a contrast to the entirely different sentiments and circumstances surrounding the introduction, in the same city and during the same year, of our real subject: the meeting of a young Lebanese poet Kahlil Gibran and that life-long Prisoner from Persia Abdu’l-Baha. Continue reading

Baha’i Blog Turns Two! …and Our Top 10 Posts of the Year are…

Baha’i Blog has just turned two years old (Yippee!) and the team at Baha’i Blog would like to say a big THANK YOU to everyone from around the world for their wonderful and continued support!

Over the last year Baha’i Blog has continued to soar – in fact, with thousands of readers located in 193 countries (we’ve literally had over 100,000 unique visitors!), we’ve been doubling our numbers in every way!

Our Calendar of Events and the Resource Directory also continue to grow, with users adding more and more content every week!

Our Facebook page followers and Mailing List subscribers have also more than doubled, so if you haven’t done so already, follow us on Facebook and join our mailing list if you want to be notified when we post something new.

So far we’ve published 193 original posts written by dozens of authors, and these posts continue to cover a wide variety of topics relating to the Baha’i Faith. We’re also always looking for good writers, so if you’re interested in writing for us, you can find out more about how you can write for us here.

Now, without further ado… (Drum roll please!) …Baha’i Blog is proud to present to you our 10 most popular posts of the year: Continue reading

Baha`i Blog’s Trivia Quiz: Naw-Ruz

Naw-Ruz has arrived, and the team at Baha’i Blog has come up with ten questions to test your knowledge of this Baha’i holy day.

Go ahead, take the Naw-Ruz quiz and see how you do!

If you don’t manage to get 100%, don’t fret. There’s always next year!

Feel free to familiarise yourselves with Naw-Ruz through these articles below – or see how you go without reading through them first.

1) A Time For Renewal

2) Is Naw-Ruz an Iranian Holiday or a Baha’i Holy Day?

3) Naw-Ruz: Spiritual Springtime

But most importantly, the team at Baha’i Blog would like to wish you all a very happy Naw-Ruz!

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Language: The Brick and Mortar of an Ever-advancing Civilization

One important component of building an ever-advancing civilization that merits careful reflection is the role of language in this process.

There are certain words one hears repeatedly—in the messages of the Universal House of Justice, in reflection gatherings, in conversations among friends, and in society at large. Some examples are ‘organic’, ‘empowerment’ and ‘coherence’. Perhaps at times, it would be fitting to pause and ask “Do I know what these concepts mean?” “Am I using these words carefully or am I treating them like jargon-du-jour?”

‘Organic’ and ‘empowerment’, notably, appear to have been appropriated by wider society, and are used so frequently and thoughtlessly as to render them virtually meaningless. For instance, a well-known singer recently described her new album as an exercise in “female empowerment”. Almost every track on that album was about sex and the objectification of one or both genders. How empowering?

Is this just a matter of semantics, or is there something more important at stake here? Continue reading