Monday, October 6, 2014

"How does someone introduce the Baha'i Faith without having a debate?"

Recently, the Baha’is were contacted by someone through and asked this question:

How [does someone] introduce the Baha'i Faith to other people w/o having a debate?” 

This is of course a wonderful question, and the response that was provided by a Baha'i is as follows . . . . 

There is a wonderful opportunity to learn more about becoming a better teacher of the Baha’i Faith by attending a study circle, or informal, small study group using the book “Teaching the Cause,” the sixth book in a series of books published by the Ruhi Institute that all Baha’is are encouraged to participate in, which also includes putting what one learns into practice. 

Some quotations shared in this book from Baha’u’llah, ‘Abdu’l-Baha, and the Guardian of the Baha’i Faith, that you may find helpful include the following: 

"Among the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh is His declaration that religion must be the cause of love and fellowship, must be the source of unity in the hearts of men. If religion becomes a cause of enmity and hatred, it is evident that the abolition of religion is preferable to its promulgation . . .”  

“If ye be aware of a certain truth, if ye possess a jewel, of which others are deprived, share it with them in a language of utmost kindliness and good-will. If it be accepted, if it fulfil its purpose, your object is attained. If any one should refuse it, leave him unto himself, and beseech God to guide him. Beware lest ye deal unkindly with him. A kindly tongue is the lodestone of the hearts of men. It is the bread of the spirit, it clotheth the words with meaning . . .”   

“The teaching work “should be tempered with wisdom--not that wisdom which requireth one to be silent and forgetful of such an obligation, but rather that which requireth one to display divine tolerance, love, kindness, patience, a goodly character, and holy deeds . . . ”   

"Not everything that a man knoweth can be disclosed nor can everything that he can disclose be regarded as timely, nor can every timely utterance be considered as suited to the capacity of those who hear it."   

“In accordance with the divine teachings in this glorious dispensation we should not belittle anyone and call him ignorant, saying: "You know not, but I know". Rather, we should look upon others with respect, and when attempting to explain and demonstrate, we should speak as if we are investigating the truth, saying: "Here these things are before us. Let us investigate to determine where and in what form the truth can be found." The teacher should not consider himself as learned and others ignorant. Such a thought breedeth pride, and pride is not conducive to influence. The teacher should not see in himself any superiority; he should speak with the utmost kindliness, lowliness and humility, for such speech exerteth influence and educateth the souls.”   

“They must be neither provocative nor supine, neither fanatical nor excessively liberal, in their exposition of the fundamental and distinguishing features of their Faith. Thy must be either wary or bold, they must act swiftly or mark time, they must use the direct or indirect method, they must be challenging or conciliatory, in strict accordance with the spiritual receptivity of the soul with whom they come in contact, whether he be a nobleman or a commoner, a northerner or a southerner, a layman or a priest, a capitalist or a socialist, a statesman or a prince, an artisan or a beggar. In their presentation of the Message of the Baha'u'llah they must neither hesitate nor falter. They must be neither contemptuous of the poor nor timid before the great. In their exposition of its verities they must neither over stress nor whittle down the truth which they champion, whether their hearer belong to royalty, or be a prince of the Church, or a politician, or a tradesman, or a man of the street. To all alike, high or low, rich or poor, they must proffer, with open hands, with a radiant heart, with an eloquent tongue, with infinite patience, with uncompromising loyalty, with great wisdom, with unshakeable courage, the Cup of Salvation, at so critical an hour, to the confused, the hungry, the distraught and fear-stricken multitudes . . ."  

Finally, we are assured that . . .

“Whoso openeth his lips in this Day and maketh mention of the name of his Lord, the hosts of Divine inspiration shall descend upon him from the heaven of My name, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise. On him shall also descend the Concourse on high, each bearing aloft a chalice of pure light.”


Monday, September 22, 2014

"Baha'i might fulfill our needs"

Jennifer first discovered the Baha'i Faith by driving past the Baha'i House of Worship located in Wilmette Illinois.  Here is what that discovery now means to her.

I passed the Baha'i temple and thought it was absolutely beautiful.  I googled what it was . . . I didn't even know a religion like this existed. It is exactly what I believe essentially.  I was raised Greek Orthodox, and I enjoyed it, but I just feel like I am not exclusively Christian.  In fact, I am simply in support of all religions and anybody working towards peace.  I have a 3 month old baby and would love to introduce religion into her life and think Baha'i might fulfill our needs.

"God has sent me to you . . ."

Jack simply shared this . . .
I’ve prayed for guidance and god has sent me to you. I’ve never heard about you from any other source.

"Lots of people are ready for this"

Jerry, age 30, who inquired about the Baha'i Faith, then later registered his formal declaration to become a member, shared this about him beliefs.
Lots of people are ready for this; the world is becoming ripe for this message. I already have come to all of the exact same conclusions in my own religious-free spiritual development. Thank God Baha'u'llah has come.  I have often wondered how this truth would get out to the masses  . . . He was a master teacher. Looking very forward to having a life as an active participant within the Baha'i faith. Excited!! Never thought this would happen! :)
Jerry is connecting with the Baha’is near him and has already been invited to participate in local activities.

The Baha'i Faith "is so nourishing, and I cannot get enough of it"

Recently, Keith contacted by Baha'is having visited a website about the Baha'i Faith.  Here is how Keith described his journey thus far.
I have been a spiritual wonderer for over three decades and haven't found a spiritual home, but if I ever did have a permanent spiritual home, it is with Baha'i.  I've been investigating and learning for a little over 2 weeks.  It is so nourishing, and I cannot get enough of it.
Upon receiving communication from two Baha’is, Keith shared what he enjoyed about the explanation of the core tenets of the Baha'i Faith, which were shared concisely and clearly.
I bet I'm not the only one who has ever said this but -- the Baha'i faith appears very common-sensical.  What I mean by that is for people who have belonged to other faiths or religions; [they] are used to an incredibly complex and difficult set of principles and tenets that are sometimes fuzzy, unclear, and just plain odd.  
To each principle, Keith shared his own thoughts . . .
In having studied many different religions, I can't say that I've ever come across principles like the ones in the Baha'i faith:  personal investigation [of truth] (this is typically frowned upon in other religions), oneness (unfortunately, this is never the case with religions that shun or damn others), unity of science and religion (who would ever think that these subjects could intertwine?), equality of women (this is simply unheard of), [and] universal education (I don't know if I have ever encountered education being a goal of a religion/faith).  If the world was filled with Baha'is, or friends of Baha'is, it would be a much safer, happier, and educated world in which to live.
I cannot find one principle that is listed in those 9 that I disagree with or have issues with.  They are all beautiful and they all resonate with me as true.  
Thank you both so much for going out of your way to correspond with me and make me feel 'at home.
Keith is now connected with some Baha'is who live near him and shared this comment in an email, “Even though things have been very busy, I never forget to think about my new home in the Baha'i faith”.


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

At age 13, he investigated the Bahai Faith online using words from the Kitáb-i-Aqdas

When he was 13 years old, Marcus investigated the Baha'i Faith online using particular words that resonated with him from the Kitáb-i-Aqdas!  At 16 years old, he went to a youth leadership camp and met a Baha'i there who presented an overview on the Baha’i Faith.  When he was 18 years old, he returned to the camp and met the sister of the Baha’i he met previously who also presented the Faith to her fellow campers.  At 19 he returned to the camp again and met another Baha'i, with whom he became good friends. 

Marcus shared that on the seventh day of his visit to a summer session at one of the national Baha’i schools, it was then that he realized that all the spiritual ideas which he carried within him were brought by Baha'u'llah, and with this realization, he decided to become a member of the Faith.   

Marcus and a Baha'i are studying together “Reflections on the Life of the Spirit” and he continues studying the Baha'i writings and prayers online.  Marcus is 21 years old.

At age 16, he explained, "we're trying to change the world, and I want to help"

Jay grew up in a Baha'i home.  He was born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and when he was a young child he lived in Uganda.  He remembers attending Baha’i children's classes and classes as a junior youth at the Temple in Uganda!  He said it was very peaceful there with large flowers.  

"The Baha'i Faith has been a part of me all my life.  I like the Faith so much.  We're trying to change the world and I want to help," he explained.  

Jay is participating in a study group on “Reflections on the Life of the Spirit”.  His mother also just declared her belief and became a member of the Baha’i Faith.  Jay currently lives with family members who were pioneers to Tonga and are tutoring a study group.  Jay just turned 16!