Inspired
by the
Baha’i Faith
The views expressed in our content reflect individual perspectives and do not represent authoritative views of the Baha'i Faith. The official website of the Baha'i Faith is: Bahai.org. The official website of the Baha'is of the United States can be found here: Bahai.us.
GOT IT
The views expressed in our content reflect individual perspectives and do not represent the authoritative views of the Baha'i Faith.
How do I become Baha’i?
Religion

Why Share Your Faith with Others?

Maya Bohnhoff | May 29, 2024

PART 5 IN SERIES Baha’is, the United Nations, and World Unity

The views expressed in our content reflect individual perspectives and do not represent the authoritative views of the Baha'i Faith.

Interested in Other Topics?

We’ve got something for everyone.
Maya Bohnhoff | May 29, 2024

PART 5 IN SERIES Baha’is, the United Nations, and World Unity

The views expressed in our content reflect individual perspectives and do not represent the authoritative views of the Baha'i Faith.

In an essay riddled with misinformation about the Baha’i Faith and the U.N., the author, ”Jen,” mistook the Baha’i concept of the unity of religion for the belief that all religions are interchangeable. She wrote: 

Baha’i writings also consider simple proselytizing to be coercive. … to present your truth to another is to violate that spiritual right. They believe all religions are equally valid and just different expressions of the same God, so there is no reason to share your faith with others.  

The right Jen refers to is the independent investigation of truth — a core Baha’i principle and the reason Baha’is have no clergy. However, her suggestion that Baha’is do not feel the need to share their Faith with others is completely untrue, and anyone who’s ever been in contact with Baha’is will know that. Baha’is are encouraged in the strongest terms to share the Faith with others and to consort with people of all faiths in a spirit of fellowship and concord, even visiting their houses of worship. 

RELATED: What’s the Main Goal of the World’s Baha’is?

Baha’u’llah, the prophet and founder of the Baha’i Faith, wrote: “O people! Consort with the followers of all religions in a spirit of friendliness and fellowship.

Baha’is do not believe that simply “presenting your truth” to another violates anyone’s spiritual right to independent investigation. Rather, we reject the practice of coercively converting people to our Faith through fear or deceit or by barraging them with our beliefs. 

I’m a Baha’i, and I frequently share my love of the Baha’i Faith with people in one way or another. Baha’is often hold meetings in our homes and in Baha’i Centers for the purpose of teaching the Faith. Baha’i Houses of Worship, too, are teaching centers — in fact, their Arabic name, Mashriqu’l-Adhkar, means “Dawning Place of the Mention of God.” In addition, one of the global Baha’i institutions that sits upon Mount Carmel is the International Teaching Center. So Baha’is don’t proselytize or force our beliefs on anyone but do definitely share our Faith with others in a spirit of enthusiastic joy.

Jen asked why we would teach people about our Faith if we believe all religions are the same. Her question was based on the misperception that acknowledging the common Source of the world’s revealed religions means there is no distinction between them. The reality is less simplistic and at once more simple. Baha’u’llah warned against making distinctions between the revealers of religion in these words:

Beware, O believers in the Unity of God, lest ye be tempted to make any distinction between any of the Manifestations of His Cause, or to discriminate against the signs that have accompanied and proclaimed their Revelation. This indeed is the true meaning of Divine Unity … Be ye assured, moreover, that the works and acts of each and every one of these Manifestations of God … are all ordained by God, and are a reflection of His Will and Purpose.

The Baha’i teachings say that each revealed religion is like a new chapter in the same book of Faith written for our salvation and education as individuals and as a species. Like the chapters of a book, they progressively reveal the story of human spiritual history that we all take part in.

In other words, while all religions come from the same Source, and their teachings propel us toward the same goal — raising humanity spiritually to the task of building the Kingdom of God on Earth — their teachings are aimed at the people and the age in which they were revealed. We are evolving spiritually just as we have evolved physically, which means that while the spiritual principles on which all revealed religion is founded do not change, our capacity to live by those principles does—it grows.

Jesus made this point to the Pharisees when he changed the law of divorce, recounted in Matthew 19:7-8. The Pharisees were scandalized and asked: 

“Why then did Moses command to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?” 

He said to them, “Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.” 

Although some Christians may miss it, the idea that God progressively reveals His will and His Faith to us age after age is writ large in the books of the Bible. The verse above is but one example of it, as are the advents of Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Jesus, and the many minor prophets, each with their own message for their particular place and time. Baha’is believe that in other parts of the world, God also progressively revealed spiritual guidance through messengers like Krishna, Zoroaster, Gautama Buddha — who came long before Jesus — and Muhammad, who came after.

RELATED: Baha’u’llah’s Claims: How Do I Decide If They’re True?

This makes sense in light of a vision recorded in the Book of Acts that changed the Apostle Peter’s ideas about who was welcome in God’s kingdom and awakened him to the universal implications of God’s Faith. Peter said:

In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him. The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ — He is Lord of all …

Before his vision, Peter considered Jews alone to be worthy of God’s grace. Afterward, he understood that God’s love was not restricted to the children of Israel — that God is Lord of all. Baha’u’llah revealed a prayer that sums up his teachings about God’s intention in establishing and renewing His Faith among humankind from age to age:

O Thou Who art the Lord of Lords! I testify that Thou art the Lord of all creation, and the Educator of all beings, visible and invisible. I bear witness that Thy power hath encompassed the entire universe, and that the hosts of the earth can never dismay Thee, nor can the dominion of all peoples and nations deter Thee from executing Thy purpose. I confess that Thou hast no desire except the regeneration of the whole world, and the establishment of the unity of its peoples, and the salvation of all them that dwell therein.


Baha’u’llah’s teachings affirm, as the teachings of Christ and his Apostles also confirm in 1 Timothy 2:4, that God “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

You May Also Like

The Parallels Between John the Baptist and the Bab
Religion

The Parallels Between John the Baptist and the Bab

Challenging Old Religious Traditions
Religion

Challenging Old Religious Traditions

Abdu’l-Baha’s Ascension: Unity in the Holy Land
Religion

Abdu’l-Baha’s Ascension: Unity in the Holy Land


Comments

characters remaining
x
x
Connect with Baha’is in your area
Welcome!
What's your name?
Thanks my friend ! We want to connect you with a Baha’i in your area, where would that be?
Thank you so much! How can they best reach you?
To put you in touch with a Baha’i in your area who can answer your questions, we would like to kindly ask for a few details about yourself.