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As a young teenager, I had a huge collection of comic books about superheroes with extraordinary powers (particularly Superman and Spiderman), and I naturally fantasized about somehow developing a superpower of my own. I mostly wanted super strength, super speed, and the ability to fly, but I wouldn’t have turned down the ability to read minds or predict the future.

So when my wife and I served as instructors for a group of Baha’i teenagers, in trying to appeal to the minds of 13 to 15-year-olds, I thought about my own teenaged obsessions. I decided to present them with the Baha’i perspective on evil spirits, angels, paranormal powers, and extra-terrestrial beings, intrigued to find out what the Baha’i teachings have to say about these topics.

Baha’is believe in the agreement of science and religion. Abdu’l-Baha said:

If religious beliefs and opinions are found contrary to the standards of science they are mere superstitions and imaginations; for the antithesis of knowledge is ignorance, and the child of ignorance is superstition. – Abdu’l-Baha, Baha’i World Faith, p. 239.

While some aspects of the paranormal will be confirmed by science in the future, others–according to the Baha’i Writings–are mere superstitions.

The Baha’i writings speak passionately of an afterlife in which souls continue to progress and develop spiritually, but what do they say about evil spirits? It turns out that the Writings have a clear perspective on this topic. They state, for example, that God has not created any intrinsically evil spirits. In fact, for Baha’is the concepts of evil and Satan actually refer to humanity’s “lower nature” or “the insistent self.” Those who have given in to total selfishness can certainly harm us in this life, but the Baha’i teachings say they have no power over anyone once they have passed into the spiritual world. In other words, the idea of intrinsically evil spirits harming us from beyond is a superstition.

On the other hand, Baha’is do believe in angels, although not in the usual sense. For Baha’is, angels symbolize selfless people who have devoted themselves to service in this life, and who continue to exert a positive influence from the next world. The angels among us are those beautiful people who, through their spirituality, selflessness, and acts of kindness, make life better for others:

Angels are blessed beings who have severed all ties with this nether world, have been released from the chains of self and the desires of the flesh, and anchored their hearts to the heavenly realms of the Lord. – Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 81.

Ultimately, the Writings of Baha’u’llah attach no importance to occult experiences. Instead of focusing on auras, mystic voices, or evil spirits, the Baha’i writings encourage us to use scripture as our guide in spiritual and practical matters. Similarly, Baha’is attach little importance to astrology or horoscopes, which may have an appearance of accuracy but generally cannot predict the future.

Crystal BallWhat about psychic powers and experiences such as premonitions and communication with the dead? Interestingly, the Baha’i Writings do acknowledge the existence of psychic powers and experiences, but state that these should not be used or cultivated, even if the intention is to help others. The language about this is quite strong, even suggesting that attempting to develop these faculties can weaken a person’s spiritual capacities. Cultivating or using these powers is also problematic because they are not understood, they are potentially dangerous, and we have no way of knowing whether or not they provide true information. While some people do occasionally experience premonitions (such as dreams) that come true, the writings state that these premonitions are a gift from God.

On the subject of telepathy, however, the writings state decisively that it’s impossible to read the thoughts of those we love, let alone other people. In short, this power doesn’t exist.

Finally, the Baha’i writings do affirm the existence of life on other planets. Specifically, Abdu’l-Baha refers to beings on other worlds that are capable of knowing God, and Baha’u’llah states that the number of beings in the universe can’t be calculated. These creatures may or may not be similar to us, although the Baha’i writings do refer to beings that have different “states of consciousness” than ours. There’s no information, though, about whether or not any of these beings have visited Earth or even have that ability. (If they did, the Baha’i response would no doubt be to try to establish commonality and unity with them.)

I suspect the teenaged members of our youth group may have felt a bit disappointed about the Baha’i perspective on paranormal topics, since they probably hoped to hear about heroic super powers they might develop. I was glad, though, that the Baha’i writings don’t give these topics much importance. As a Baha’i, I’d rather take part in a movement focused on inter-religious understanding and unity, the elimination of poverty and all forms of prejudice, the establishment of world peace and the equality of women and men.

For me, those truly super-heroic goals give us all something real to work toward.

15 Comments

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  • Яша Фируз
    Jun 07, 2019
    Evil Spirits, Angels, Psychic Powers, and Aliens: Demons, are beings where they flourish in the dark side. Angels, are beings in incredible size, that resides close to god. Psychic powers are real, people have the choice to cultivate them or not. No right or wrong here. Alien's obviously real. To think humanity that lives on a small planet are the only beings in existence. A bit egotistical.
  • Aubrey J. Bacon
    Apr 07, 2019
    Very little quotation for all "your" input.
  • Tig Tricia Williams
    Aug 10, 2018
    I was surprised about your statement re telepathy, do you have another source for this? According to Lights of Guidance "1758. Telepathy
    "The Teachings bear no reference to the question of telepathy. It is a matter that concerns psychology."
    (From a letter written on behalf of the Guardian, February 28, 1938, to an individual believer: Spiritualism, Reincarnation and Related Subjects)"
  • Akka Bowden-Kerby
    Nov 07, 2017
    Personally I know telepathic communication is a real thing. I would have liked to see the quotes that so clearly say it isn't.. we even have examples of early believers who felt Abdul'haha fulfilled unasked wishes.. or the example if the Bab knowing exactly what to reveal to Mulla Husain, maybe the flat out denial is a wisdom to protect individuals who don't have sensitivities in that way. Thanks for post and feedback.. it's brilliant. :)
  • Jason Cogger
    Jun 01, 2017
    I was very impressed when I learned of the Baha'i belief. I have been doing tons of research lately starting with Baha'i then going back to the history of Christianity after Judaism which really made me cringe. No way did God want what Christians were doing from 1400's into this century and after the 1st Pope it makes sense why there are many different religions with different symbolics of God today. With an open mind Baha'is belief of several messangers and 1 God (creator) seem to make the most sense for all human unity. It ...doesn't make any sense at all that Baha'is don't believe in Astrology. It's God's Science with proven scientific facts we use daily. God created the entire Universe, why wouldn't we believe in it?
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    • Solace Collestan
      Jun 23, 2017
      So from my understanding. The Baha'i writings don't specifically deny Astrology. Abdul'Baha says that there is something to it, but it has largely been lost to history. And now with the advent of science we should not put our focus in reading the stars, because there is a great chance for error, finding superstition, and following it to a vain path. Instead we should put our focus on spiritual development, alongside scientific advancement. (don't know the page numbers, but look up Astrology in "Lights of Guidance"
  • Roozbeh Misaghi
    May 29, 2017
    I found this interesting:
    https://www.jashow.org/articles/occult/occult-aspects-of-the-bahai-faith/
  • Rachel Dell
    Apr 08, 2017
    I've recently become very interested on aliens, superior beings who were here before us, and evolution.... this post helps some. I still question if there are the "grey" "reptilian " aliens which are supposed to be evil
  • Daemonn Munticarlo Rivera
    Feb 08, 2017
    Im too bahai faith
  • Jan 08, 2015
    ctd...
    The subject of Aliens (which they don't particularly like to be referred too, i do believe they prefer star family/extraterrestrials) is rather an interesting one, there is a lot of rubbish floating around the internet much of which is dis information. While my experiences have effected me profoundly on a soul level they have changed my life for the positive. I asked Baha'u'llah to show me and i had my moment. I hope everyone gets to experience something of what i have experienced and still continue to experience today regarding this subject.
    • Rachel Dell
      Apr 08, 2017
      Please tell me how and what your experience was. I really want to befriend them and learn from them.
      My email is delgaudio99@gmail.com
    • Dec 04, 2016
      Dear Samareh
      You seem to have had interesting interactions. I would be glad to hear more
  • Jan 08, 2015
    Great article... random thought to add on the article about telepathy! as a Baha'i and an extraterrestrial contactee, on several occasions i have had telepathic communications with beings on ships from my close encounters, but from my impression it was technology assisted. While the writings that i can find mention that we should not cultivate psychic abilities there is nothing to note telepathic communication specifically. From what i understand with my interactions and experiences with our star family, is that they use Telepathy frequently, they are in tune with that ability, perhaps that is one of the things they have ...acquired being on their own planet, but many of them use technology to assist telepathic communications with people from other worlds such as myself. While i understand many might scoff at this fact, i take pride in the fact that i have seen and experienced these things with my own eyes and not through the eyes of others :D
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