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How do I become Baha’i?
Religion

Why Should I Commit to a Religion?

David Langness | Sep 19, 2014

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

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David Langness | Sep 19, 2014

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

A while ago, my friend Darnell asked me this intriguing and important question: “Why should I commit to a religion?”

You have to know Darnell to understand how he asked his question. He’s been coming to Baha’i meetings for a while, and loves the Baha’i teachings. Darnell is a kind person with a caring heart, and a hilarious sense of humor. His humor tends toward sarcasm or cynicism, with a light touch that I think he uses to hide that good heart.

Us guys have to be cool, you know?

So when he asked the question, Darnell’s voice had a little tinge of sarcasm in it, but I could tell hear his sincerity underneath. I knew from discussions we’d had in the past that he had a hard time trusting any Faith; a bad childhood experience in a church had left him wary. He had also told me “I’m just not a joiner” once before, and I knew that the “organized” part of organized religion tended to put him off a bit, too.

“Hey, I believe in the Baha’i principles,” I had heard him say to another friend, “isn’t that enough? What? I have to learn the secret handshake, too?”

He knows that Baha’is have no secret handshake–or secret anything, for that matter.

So I tried to give him a list of reasons:

  • When you become a Baha’i, you join an incredible global community of like-minded people,
  • Believing in the Baha’i Faith means you accept all Faiths,
  • The fellowship, joy and unity among the Baha’is will make your life happier and fuller,
  • The diversity of the Baha’is will enrich your life immensely—you’ll meet and get to know people from every race, ethnicity class, background and nation,
  • You’ll feel like a participant rather than just an observer—you’ll become part of a spiritual movement to remake the world,
  • And the sense of unity you’ll experience will transform your consciousness, validate your identity as a world citizen and bring you a sense of peace.

Darnell thought about those things. I could see him really mulling them over, meditating on them. A week later he said to me “Okay, those were all good reasons. I agree. But I still don’t know why I should actually become a Baha’i. Can you give me another reason, something a little more, I don’t know, personal?”

My turn to think about it. In a minute I said “Because the Baha’is need you.”

“Me? Why?” He seemed shocked at the idea.

“Because any Faith is really the sum total of its believers and their love and devotion.” I pulled a book from a shelf and read Darnell this quote from the Baha’i writings:

Group-of-Baha’is

Now is the time for the lovers of God to raise high the banners of unity, to intone, in the assemblages of the world, the verses of friendship and love and to demonstrate to all that the grace of God is one. Thus will the tabernacles of holiness be upraised on the summits of the earth, gathering all peoples into the protective shadow of the Word of Oneness. This great bounty will dawn over the world at the time when the lovers of God shall arise to carry out His Teachings, and to scatter far and wide the fresh, sweet scents of universal love. – Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 19.

“Wow,” he said. He thought about it. “Sounds like hard work.”

“Yes, it is—but it doesn’t seem like it.”

“Why not?”

“Love. Nothing done with love seems hard. When you become a Baha’i, you feel that love. It’s the love of God and the love that Baha’u’llah…”

I didn’t finish the sentence. Instead I turned to the next passage in the book I held and read it aloud:

A trusted messenger hath arrived and hath, in the world of the spirit, delivered a message from God’s loved ones. This auspicious courier bringeth fragrances of great ardour and wafteth the life-giving breezes of the love of God. He maketh the heart to dance for joy and filleth up the soul with an ecstasy of love and rapture. So intensely hath the glory of Divine Unity penetrated souls and hearts that all are now bound one to another with heavenly ties, and all are even as a single heart, a single soul. – Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 19.

I could see Darnell’s cynical façade fade away. His face softened and his eyes looked directly into mine. He nodded. I realized I had tried to give him the rational, logical reasons he should commit to becoming a Baha’i; while he was searching for the truly spiritual reason.

“Okay. Teach me that secret handshake, will you?” he said.

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Comments

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  • Steve lockie
    Nov 27, 2016
    -
    Very helpful story....so many people with cynicism and lack of trust for religions!
  • Kae Serafin
    Jul 14, 2016
    -
    This was awesome! I love reading articles like this.
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