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Oneness of Religion? Just Look at the Mess!

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Outwardly, the Baha’i notion of the oneness of religion is the furthest thing from the present babel of creeds competing to win the hearts and minds of mankind. It would be folly to deny that the belief systems and religious observances today represent a discordant cornucopia of theologies and rites.

Outward observance and formal theology is one thing. The actual living faith of billions from different religious backgrounds is an entirely different thing. The latter is usually far less defined and often has a lot in common across cultures and faith traditions. In my travels I’ve become completely sold to the notion that ordinary believers the world over, irrespective of faith tradition, have much more in common than theologians and so-called scholars. Intuitively these sincere ordinary folks possess a pure idea of the Divine.  Continue reading

Baha’i Blogcast with Rainn Wilson – Episode 5: Payam Zamani

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Hello and welcome to the Baha’i Blogcast with me your host, Rainn Wilson.

In this series of podcasts I interview members of the Baha’i Faith and friends from all over the world about their hearts, and minds, and souls, their spiritual journeys, what they’re interested in, and what makes them tick.

In this episode I interview Payam Zamani, Iranian-born entrepreneur and philanthropist living in San Francisco. He tells me about his escape from Iran to the United States, his early religious experiences as a Baha’i, including the discrimination he experienced in Iran, his family’s pioneering journeys in different countries, his humble beginnings, switching careers, becoming a business owner and his desire to find the spirit of service in his work, plus a lot more. Payam is the Founder, Chairman and CEO of One Planet Ops and the Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief of www.bahaiteachings.org. Continue reading

What Does it Mean to Trust in God?

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Trusting in God is important and potentially challenging for Baha’is. We might think this is particularly true because, every now and then, we face tests and difficulties and life gets rough.

But this raises a question: what does it mean to trust in God? To trust in someone, as I understand it, is to expect some action or inaction from them. When I trust that Jeff will tell me if a particular piece of clothing makes me look fat, I expect something from him – in this case, an honest opinion.

But what should we expect God to do when we trust in Him?

Some might think this question sounds odd. We’re not God, so how blasphemous is it to then think that we can expect God to do things as if we know what God would will?  Continue reading

Amazingly Intricate Nine-sided Origami Creations


Because of the significance of the number nine in the Baha’i Faith, one of the most common symbols associated with the Faith is the nine pointed star. It’s not by any stretch of the imagination an easy number to work in origami, but it can be done, and to beautiful effect. We’ve found and collected some truly impressive nine-sided origami creations, ranging from stars to bowls to boxes. Continue reading

Are We Violent or Compassionate by Nature?

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When human beings commit atrocities, whether individually or as a group, we are quick to judge our human race as nothing better than bestial, unable to control our grosser animal instincts. The fact that there exist people who are able to exhibit nobler qualities may, we reason, simply indicate that they are able to do this solely because they have not been pushed to their limits, but that they could easily descend to their brutish natures if provoked. However, Abdu’l-Baha tells us:

Signs of both these natures are to be found in men. In his material aspect he expresses untruth, cruelty and injustice; all these are the outcome of his lower nature. The attributes of his Divine nature are shown forth in love, mercy, kindness, truth and justice, one and all being expressions of his higher nature. Every good habit, every noble quality belongs to man’s spiritual nature, whereas all his imperfections and sinful actions are born of his material nature.

Continue reading

Baha’i Blogcast with Rainn Wilson – Episode 4: Layli Miller-Muro

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Hello and welcome to the Baha’i Blogcast with me your host, Rainn Wilson.

In this series of podcasts I interview members of the Baha’i Faith and friends from all over the world about their hearts, and minds, and souls, their spiritual journeys, what they’re interested in, and what makes them tick.

In this episode I interview Layli Miller-Muro, founder and Executive Director of the Tahirih Justice Centre, a non-profit which provides free legal services to women and girls who are fleeing human rights abuses. The organization which was founded in 1997 and serves nearly 19,000 women aims to promote a world where women and girls enjoy equality and live in safety and dignity. In this interview Layli and I talk about her aspirations for service as a youth, her early experience as a lawyer, how the Tahirih Justice Centre came about, keeping the Faith at the center of what you do, personal detachment and welcoming tests, engaging with the wider community in your own field, plus a lot more. Continue reading

Education for Girls: A Personal Reflection

(Photo: courtesy Baha'i World Centre)

(Photo: courtesy Baha'i World Centre)

On July 12th, Malala Yousafzai celebrated her 19th birthday. This Nobel Peace Prize winner (the world’s youngest) caught the world’s attention in 2012 when she was shot in the face by the Taliban for attending school and for championing the right of girls to be educated. On her 16th birthday, Malala gave a speech at the United Nations — the first after the attack on her life — renewing her commitment to fight for the right of children to go to school. The UN dubbed that July 12th as “Malala Day” and some have celebrated it since.

Education is a universal right. Abdu’l-Baha states:

The education of each child is compulsory…. In addition to this wide-spread education each child must be taught a profession, art, or trade, so that every member of the community will be enabled to earn his own livelihood. Work done in the spirit of service is the highest form of worship…

The education of girls is a principle distinctly upheld in the Baha’i Writings. It is a subject that I think of often, and it is a subject more complicated than a simple Baha’i Blog article can address. Here are a few of my thoughts about the education of girls and how this goal is linked to the equality of men and women and the importance of children’s classes.  Continue reading

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