The views expressed in our content reflect individual perspectives and do not represent the official views of the Baha'i Faith.
Religion is humanity’s response to Divine guidance. God initiates through Prophets and we observe, ignore, reject or distort such guidance. Religion is the teacher and generator of civilization – a social and cultural structure built upon universal virtues such as kindness, compassion, service, truthfulness, peace, justice, wisdom and unity. The following are a set of quotations that I have collected over the years, defining religion as understood in the minds and hearts of the Prophets of God and great thinkers.
Al-Ghazali: “The core of religious experience cannot be apprehended by study, but only by immediate experience, tasting, ecstasy and moral change”.
Immanuel Kant: “Two things fill the mind with ever-increasing wonder and awe… the starry heavens above… and the moral law within…”
Georg Hegel: “Religion is the consciousness of God… the Absolute Spirit (or pure potentiality)… which progressively reconciles Itself with human self-consciousness (in the forms of science, art, religion and philosophy)”.
William Ellery Channing: “The Infinite light would be forever hidden from us, did not kindred rays dawn and brighten within us”.
Karl Marx: “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. It is the opiate of the people”.
Arnold Toynbee: “Religion is the directing force in history… helping humanity transcend self-centeredness… and find a direct, personal relation with the transcendent reality in and behind and beyond the universe”.
Carl Jung: “Authentic religion is… a living, incontrovertible experience of an intensely personal relationship between man and an extra-mundane authority”.
Robert Bellah: “Let me define religion as a set of symbolic forms and acts which relate man to the ultimate conditions of his existence”.
Patricia Mische: “Religion has evolved out of a human sense of a reality greater than self, greater than the sum total of quantifiable physical, economic, political, or social facts and phenomena… Religions constitute a powerful moral force… a form of governance in human affairs”.
Book of James: “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God… is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world”.
Baha’u’llah: “Religion is the chief instrument for the establishment of order in the world, and of tranquility amongst its peoples… (it is) a radiant light and impregnable stronghold for the protection and welfare of the peoples of the world”.