Have you ever met a Baha’i? You may not think you’ve met any Baha’is yet, but chances are you already have – because millions of Baha’is now exist, all over the world.
We are your grandparents, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews, and cousins.
We are your teachers, mail carriers, doctors and nurses, storekeepers, local government clerks, professionals, pizza deliverers, police and fire workers, and Lyft and Uber drivers. We are your spouses or mates, friends, co-workers, neighbors, and classmates. We are your customers, users, licensees, and franchisers. We are scientists, lab technicians, website developers, tech support, psychiatrists, psychologists, and therapists. We are bus drivers and sanitation technicians, construction workers, laborers, road builders, engineers, carpenters, plumbers, and electricians. We are actors and actresses, artists, singers and songwriters, entertainers and stage productionists.
We are your loved ones, and we love you.
We are human beings of all ages and genders, backgrounds, colors, and races. In fact, Baha’is comprise the most diverse group of human beings ever assembled and united under one banner.
We come from all religious creeds or none. We hail from all social and economic classes, and from cultures ancient and new. We live in every part of the planet, on islands, mountains, plains, hills and valleys, cold places and warm, dry or wet, calm or rough.
We hold the door open for you at the grocery store, contribute to good causes, drive out of our way to give people a ride or a hand, say “Please” and “Thank you,” and volunteer in our communities.
At our core, Baha’is are like everyone else – we are all spiritual beings, with a soul and mind, body and heart. We all have emotions and feelings, ideas and thoughts, make mistakes and do things right. We strive to do our best, to at least try, and we don’t give up easily. We all have goals and dreams. We all hope to be respected and to show respect to others. We all love to be loved and want to share our own love.
With the Baha’i teachings, Baha’is have a spiritual roadmap that includes improving our own character, loving others more than we do ourselves, and serving those in need and want. Our goal: to achieve the oneness and wholeness of the human race. Our objectives: to cooperate peacefully, to live and function as equals, and to bring justice to all peoples.
This Baha’i roadmap begins with the independent investigation of truth. It involves realizing that there is only one God, that He loves us and wants the best for us, and that deep down, we love Him. The road to understanding the Creator, and ourselves, is through service to others. At times that road can become difficult, and at other times we find real joy in one another’s happiness. The road has bumps, potholes and setbacks, but the Baha’i writings assure us we can overcome any obstacle – and that the human race has a lofty, noble destiny.
The only difference between us is how we decide to get there, to get where we each want to be.
I drive a Honda, you a Volkswagen. He an SUV, she a sportscar. She a 2-door, he a 4-door. The vehicle may be different, but once we realize we are on the right road, and make the right choices, we will arrive at our destination. If we agree on the destination, regardless of the time or turns or traffic lights, we will have achieved our goal.
Baha’is see the roadmap laid out by Baha’u’llah as a superhighway that will get us to a better world quicker and more peacefully. To me, using Baha’u’llah’s roadmap laid down in his writings is like using Google Maps, Mapquest or Waze. Each provides a navigational system with up-to-the-minute information, current for the age and times we live in. That knowledge – essentially, the knowledge of God – means that we can navigate our way safely and effectively through life:
… that which leads to everlasting life, eternal honour, universal enlightenment, and true success and salvation is, first and foremost, the knowledge of God. It is clear that this knowledge takes precedence over every other knowledge and constitutes the greatest virtue of the human world. For the understanding of the reality of things confers a material advantage in the realm of being and brings about the progress of outward civilization, but the knowledge of God is the cause of spiritual progress and attraction, true vision and insight, the exaltation of humanity, the appearance of divine civilization, the rectification of morals, and the illumination of the conscience. – Abdu’l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, newly revised edition, p. 346.
Baha’is believe that the prophets and messengers of God update this knowledge from age to age for all of humankind.
The Baha’is claim no exclusive lock on this knowledge – in fact, we open it freely to all for your investigation. Much of this knowledge is available at Bahai.org through simple keyword search on any topic you desire.
I hope you find something there.