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At the age of 30, my husband John and I had two small children — and we also took in teenage foster children. Over a period of two years, we took in five of them.
Sadly, the teens seemed to have no plans for their lives and didn’t express any purpose to their existence. Naturally, this raised questions for us about what our own children would eventually see as their purpose in life.
We had several big questions we didn’t have answers to, so our search began for meaningful religious standards and explanations. Church, as we knew it, didn’t give answers that satisfied us. I didn’t feel we women were equal in the church teachings. The subject of the return of Christ was unclear. Some Christians felt He had already returned, while others were awaiting the event. I believed that we needed His return immediately, to address the world’s many injustices.
The more John and I thought about it and discussed it, the more our questions and concerns multiplied: Who was likely to get to heaven and who among us had the right to decide? Were only Christians eligible? Science and religion were often pitted against each other. Party politics and nationalism were causing serious conflicts. We talked about these important questions and hoped to find the answers.
Then one day the Baha’i Faith came to our rural neighborhood, via the sale of a property once owned by a former Governor-General of Canada. A wonderful Baha’i family bought the property and moved in. We met and became friends with this family over the course of six years, and what we saw impressed us.
(One observation we made right away — Baha’is don’t drink alcohol. But we liked our scotch and an occasional beer, which partially explains why it took us six years before we began investigating other aspects of the Baha’i Faith.)
As we came to know this Baha’i family better, early in our search, we asked all of our questions. The answers we received moved and satisfied us — and we discovered that we had more and more questions. The Baha’i Faith had clear, rational answers that made sense to us. Here are some of them, in brief:
- The Baha’i teachings say life’s purpose for an individual is to know and love God, and to serve humanity — to carry forward an ever-advancing civilization.
- Men and women are equal. They are meant to learn together, work together and be two equal wings for the bird of humanity. If either wing is weak or inferior, the bird can’t fly well. This Baha’i principle will require many adjustments in our current ways of thinking and behaving.
- Christ has returned in the person of Baha’u’llah. He is the return of Christ and all the former prophets, coming with a new name and like a “thief in the night”. This is the time of the fulfillment of prophecy and the unity of all religions, ushering in the golden age of the human race.
- There is only one God. Baha’is believe that one God has sent us all of the great teachers, the Founders of the world’s Faiths, over time. These Manifestations of God come from the same source and bring God’s message to humanity in a progressive, unified way.
- Science and religion must work in harmony. Pure science produces materialists, and pure religion leads to superstition. Science and religion must balance each other in order for us to find security as we move forward with our civilization.
- Party politics and governmental corruption can divide people at a time when unity is the goal. Baha’u’llah has given us a new, democratic administrative order guided by spiritual principles. It helps us to walk a spiritual path with practical feet.
- Nationalism has become obsolete – Baha’u’llah said that the earth is one country, and mankind its citizens. We must put the well-being of humanity ahead of the interests of our own countries. We affect each other in both positive and negative ways. The world has literally become one, and we have to learn this new global way of thinking if we are to survive. Your air pollution affects my health. My monetary practices affect your economy.
The challenge is huge but the benefits of working together are exciting. We became Baha’is because this new Faith answers our questions, and appeals to our souls, our minds and our hearts. We invite you to investigate the Baha’i teachings and join us in this wonderful Cause.