2 Baha’i Teachings Independent investigation of truth Oneness of God Oneness of religionProgressive revelationOneness of mankindUniversal EducationEquality of men and womenElimination of prejudiceAbolition of extremes of wealth and povertyUniversal auxiliary languageThe harmony of science and religionThe promise of world peace
3 Independent investigation of truth “By its aid thou shall see with thine own eyes and not through the eyes of another, and shall know of thine own knowledge and not through the knowledge of thy neighbour. Ponder this in your heart; how it behoveth thee to be. Verily justice is My gift to thee and the sign of My loving kindness. Set it then before thine eyes.”“He does not ask us to follow Him blindly…God has endowed man with a mind to operate as a torchlight and guide him to the truth.”Independent investigation of truthBahá’is believe that every one of us has the right and the duty to search for truth without undue influence from others.“See through thine own eyes and not through the eyes of others… know of thine own knowledge and not through the knowledge of thy neighbour.” wrote Bahá’u’lláh in The Hidden Words“The essence of all that We have revealed for thee is Justice, is for man to free himself from idle fancy and imitation… and to look into all things with a searching eye.” –Bahá’u’lláh, Tablets p157
4 Oneness of God“ He is, and hath from everlasting been, one and alone, without peer or equal, eternal in the past, eternal in the future, detached from all things, ever abiding, unchangeable, and self-subsisting.”“Every created thing in the whole universe is but a door leading unto His knowledge.”“So perfect and comprehensive is His creation that no mind or heart, however pure, can ever grasp the nature of the most insignificant of His creatures; much less fathom the mystery of Him Whom is the daystar of truth” Oneness of GodBahá’is believe that there is only one God, the Creator, no matter how He is worshipped or what name is used to describe Him. God is essentially beyond human comprehension.
5 Oneness of religion“The religions brought to mankind by a succession of spiritual luminaries have been the primary link between humanity and that ultimate reality, and have galvanised and refined mankind’s capacity to achieve spiritual success together with social progress.”“The religions have one truth underlying them; therefore, their reality is one… In brief, every one of the divine religions contains essential ordinances, which are not subject to change, and material ordinances, which are abrogated according to the exigencies of time…By investigating the truth or foundation underlying their own and others beliefs, all would be united and agreed, for this reality is one; it is not multiple nor divisible.” Oneness of religionsBahá'ís believe that religion progresses from one age to the next, as conditions change and mankind's spiritual capacity develops. In this sense all religions are one, in that they are all inspired by God and are part of His great plan for humanity. In the way that they arise at different places and times they are of course quite distinct.In each of the great world religions, the spiritual truths such as the message of love, the need for honesty, truthfulness and purity, can be found. They may be developed from one age to the next, but they always remain true, and they are re-emphasised when the next religious cycle begins:"...these foundations of the Religion of God, which are spiritual and which are the virtues of humanity, cannot be abrogated; they are irremovable and eternal, and are renewed in the cycle of every Prophet."
6 Progressive Revelation “Everyone of them is a mirror of God, reflecting naught else but His Self, His Beauty, His might and Glory…”“For every age requires a fresh measure of the light of God. Every Divine revelation hath been sent down in a manner which befitted the circumstance of the age in which it hath appeared”“God’s purpose in sending His prophets unto men is twofold. The first is to liberate the children of men from the darkness of ignorance and guide them to the light of true understanding. The second is to ensure the peace and tranquility of mankind, and provide all the means by which they can be established.” Progressive revelationFollowing on with this theme of oneness of all religions, Bahá’is believe that God’s instruction to mankind, through the Manifestations, has been progressive – each Messenger building on the teachings of the former as humanity develops materially and spiritually.“…And yet, is not the object of every Revelation to effect a transformation in the whole character of mankind…that shall affect both its inner life and external conditions? For if the character of mankind be not changed, the futility of God’s universal Manifestations would be apparent.” – Bahá’u’lláh, Kitáb-i-Iqán, p240
7 Universal Education“…inasmuch as ignorance and lack of education are barriers of separation among mankind, all must receive training and instruction… universal education is a universal law.”“ The education and training of children is among the most meritorious acts of humankind”“ Knowledge is as wings to man’s life, and a ladder for ascent…The knowledge of such science, however, should be acquired as can profit the people of the earth…’“ Regard man as mine rich in gems of inestimable values, education can alone, cause it to reveal its treasures and enable mankind to benefit there from.” Universal education“Among the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh is the promotion of education. Every child must be instructed in reading, the sciences and arts as much as is necessary. If the parents are able to provide the expenses of this education, it is well, otherwise the community must provide the means for the teaching of that child.”“The primary, the most urgent requirement is the promotion of education. It is inconceivable that any nation should achieve prosperity and success unless this paramount, this fundamental concern is carried forward. The principal reason for the decline and fall of peoples is ignorance. Today the mass of the people are uniformed even as to ordinary affairs, how much less do they grasp the core of the important problems and complex needs of the time?”“Observe carefully how education and the arts of civilization bring honour, prosperity, independence and freedom to a government and its people.”
8 Equality of Men and Women “ Among the teachings… is the equality of women and men. The world of humanity has two wings. Not until both wings are equally developed can the bird fly.” Equality between men and womenBahá’u’lláh, proclaimed the equality of man and woman. He did not leave this pronouncement as an ideal or pious hope but wove it, as a basic factor, into the fabric of His social order. He supported it by laws requiring the same standard of education for women as for men, and equality of rights in society. Equality of the sexes is, for Bahá’ís, a spiritual and moral standard essential for the unification of the planet and the unfoldment of world order. Without the qualities, talents, and skills of both women and men, full economic and social development of the planet becomes impossible.“The world of humanity is possessed of two wings — the male and the female. So long as these two wings are not equivalent in strength the bird will not fly. Until womankind reaches the same degree as man, until she enjoys the same arena of activity, extraordinary attainment for humanity will not be realized; humanity cannot wing its way to heights of real attainment.”1In the Bahá’í view, "As long as women are prevented from attaining their highest possibilities, so long will men be unable to achieve the greatness which might be theirs."
9 Elimination of Prejudice “All prejudice, whether of religion, race, politics or nations, must be renounced, for these prejudices have caused the world’s sickness.”“The fact that we imagine ourselves to be right and everybody else wrong is the greatest of all obstacles of the path toward unity”Elimination of prejudiceThe Bahá’i teachings strongly condemn the holding of prejudices of any kind, be it religious, racial, patriotic or political in its origin, as they separate people from each other, lead to conflict, devastation and destroy the human foundations. Bahá’u’lláh emphasized the equality of all human beings.“ God has sent forth prophets for the sole purpose of creating love and unity in the world of human hearts. All the heavenly Books are written words of love. If they prove to be the cause of prejudice and human estrangement, they have become fruitless. Therefore, religious prejudice is especially opposed to the will and command of God” –Abdu’l-Baha-“In His estimation all are one, the children of one family; and God is equally kind to them. The earth has one surface. God has not divided this surface up by boundaries and barriers to separate race and people” –Abdu’l-Baha-
10 Abolition of extremes of wealth and poverty “It is important to limit riches, as it is important to limit poverty. Either extreme is not good.”“In all matters moderation is desirable – if a thing is carried to excess it will prove a source of evil” –Bahá’u’lláh The Abolition of Extreme Wealth and PovertyThe disparity between rich and poor not only causes great suffering but also keeps the world in an unstable state with war and unrest almost inevitable. Bahá’u’lláh taught that we must find global solutions to limit extremes of wealth and poverty, whilst not imposing complete economic equality.
11 One universal auxiliary language “ The day is approaching when all the people of the world will have adopted one universal language and one common script… these things are obligatory and absolutely essential.” A Universal Auxiliary LanguageA single universal language should be chosen, by mutual consent, to be taught to all peoples of the earth in addition to each people’s mother tongue, thus removing barriers of understanding and easing communication between the peoples of the world.
12 The Harmony of Science and Religion “Religion and science are the two wings upon which man’s intelligence can soar… should a man try to fly with the wings of religion alone he would quickly fall into the quagmire of superstition, whilst on the other hand, with the wings of science alone he would also make no progress.. but fall into the despairing slough of materialism.” Abdu'l-Baha“There is no contradiction between true religion and science” – ‘Abdu'l-Baha Harmony of Science and ReligionBahá’is believe that science and religion must develop hand-in-hand if humanity is to achieve true peace and unity.“Religion and science are the two wings upon which man’s intelligence can soar… Should a man try to fly with the wings of religion alone he would quickly fall into the quagmire of superstition, whilst on the other hand, with the wings of science alone he would also make no progress… but fall into the despairing slough of materialism.” -‘Abdu’l-Bahá“When religion, shorn of its superstitions, traditions and unintelligent dogmas shows conformity with science, then there will be a great unifying, cleansing force in the world which will sweep before it all wars, disagreements, discords and struggles.” - Bahá’u’lláh“There is no contradiction between true religion and science” – ‘Abdu'l-Baha
13 The promise of world peace “ Should any king take up arms against another, all should unitedly arise and prevent him”“peace must first be established among individuals, until it leadeth in the end to peace among nations”“The wellbeing of mankind, its peace and security, are unattainable unless and until its unity is firmly established. The Promise of World PeaceBahá’u’lláh called all nations to work together to establish a lasting peace for the planet. Bahá’is believe that through the above principles of the Faith, this peace is achievable and inevitable.
14 “The Earth is but one country And mankind its citizens”