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Warning!

I haven't had a chance to look through the following sites throughly. 
I take no responsibility for their content.

Please, view these sites with an open mind, but try to keep your own
religious/spiritual beliefs firmly in hand.

Enjoy your learning experience.


http://www.bahai.org
http://www.lightworx.com/torbahai
http://soc.religion.bahai
http://www.bcca.org/~cvoogt/unity-equality.html
http://www.fragrant.demon.co.uk/marriage.html
http://oneworld.wa.com/bahai/
http://www.bcca.org/~glittle/
http://www.sunsite.unc.edu/Bahai/Pilgrimage/node3.html
http://www.tc.umn.edu/nlhome/g052/umba/structures.html
http://www.efn.org/~msayer/bahai/index.shtml
http://members.tripod.com/~botabano/spirit-2.html

From a member of the Baha'i Faith:

The Baha'i Faith is the newest of the world's independent religions, having had its beginnings in Persia in 1844.

The Prophet/Founder of this religion, Baha'u'llah (1817-1892), whose name in English means 'The Glory of God,' proclaimed in letters addressed individually and collectively to the elected heads of state, the kings, rulers and religious leaders of the world that the dawn of the Day of God was at hand.

He taught that the Hand of God was impelling the destinies of the nations toward the time referred to in Isaiah as the moment when: "Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more." (Is. 2:4) And the time that Jesus spoke of as the Day when " there shall be one fold, and one Shepherd." (John 10:16)

Among His most basic teachings are the following: That there is one God who is the Source of all life and all knowledge. That most of the great religious systems of the earth had their beginnings in Revelations from God and their Founders were Prophets or Manifestations of God's Word and Will amongst the varying people of the world. Each appeared with Book of God's laws and guidance in direct proportion to the needs of the people at the time and place in which the Revelation arose.

Baha'u'llah wrote: "... The purpose of the one true God, exalted be His Glory, in revealing Himself unto men is to lay bare those gems that lie hidden within the mine of their true and inmost selves. ...That the diverse communions of the earth, and the manifold systems of religious belief, should never be allowed to foster the feelings of animosity among men, is, in this Day, of the essence of the Faith of God and His Religion.... ...These principles and laws, these firmly-established and mighty systems, have proceeded from one Source, and are the rays of one Light. That they differ one from another is to be attributed to the varying requirements of the ages in which they were promulgated....."

And again: "There can be no doubt whatsoever that the peoples of the world, of whatever race or religion, derive their inspiration from one heavenly Source, and are the subjects of one God. The differences between the ordinances under which they abide should be attributed to the varying requirements and exigencies of the age in which they were revealed.... ...All of them, except a few which are the outcome of human perversity, were ordained of God, and are a reflection of His Will and Purpose. Arise and, armed with the power of faith, shatter to pieces the gods of your vain imaginings, the sowers of dissension amongst you. Cleave unto that which draweth you together and uniteth you... ...This, verily, is the most exalted Word which the Mother Book hath sent down and revealed unto you. To this beareth witness the Tongue of Grandeur from His habitation of glory."

Baha'u'llah taught that these Revelations are much like grades in a school, each has a particular teacher, with a particular book. Through them God has gradually expanded the knowledge and guidance of the human race. They all, however, have been facets of a single Purpose and are in fact, aspects of a single religion: The Religion of God.

He taught that the conflicts that have arisen between the followers of these Prophets stems from human misunderstanding and error.....and are not, in fact, based in the teachings of the Prophets themselves. The purpose of true religion is to foster the well-being of humanity and guide its spiritual and social progress.

Baha'is are also taught that all forms of prejudice must be abolished....whether that prejudice stems from perceptions of race, religion, nationality or ethnic origins, or social status. Baha'u'llah also taught that extremes of wealth and poverty should be avoided....and that in the estimation of God there is no distinction between the capacities of men and women, and their status must become equalized.

Also among the laws Revealed through Baha'u'llah was the need for universal education of all of the people of the world. Along with that He taught of the necessity for the establishment of a universal auxilliary language that could be adopted from among the languages of the world...and a universal script...so that everyone could communicate with all others of the human family.

Baha'u'llah also taught of the need of a single international monetary system... saying that this would become a cause for the stabilization and integration of a global economy and would provide long-term benefits for all mankind.

He prohibited the development of a clergy in the Baha'i Faith and instead established elected administrative bodies composed of nine members of a given community (men and women) who serve without monetary benefit. This Body is currently called the Spiritual Assembly. There are also National Spiritual Assemblies (also an elected body of 9) which administers the affairs of the national Baha'i community.

The Universal House of Justice is the name of the elected body that Baha'u'llah established to Guide and administer the affairs of the Global Baha'i community, currently comprising some 6,000,000 Baha'is in over 200 countries of the world. The seat of the Universal House of Justice is situated at the Baha'i World Center on the slopes of Mount Carmel in Israel.

Other teachings are that true religion and science compliment each other and that the inspiration for each is derived from the same Source. Any apparent descrepancy between the two stems from human ignorance and/or lack of understanding. Religion, without the balance of science, can devolve into the promulgation of superstition. Science, without the ethical guidance and obligation of responsibility provided by God's law is dangerous.

The practice of justice and independent investigation of truth is obligatory: "...The best beloved of all things in My sight is justice; turn not away therefrom if thou desirest Me, and neglect it not that I may confide in thee. By its aid thou shalt see with thine own eyes and not through the eyes of others, and shalt know of thine own knowledge and not through the knowledge of thy neighbor.

"Ponder this in thy heart; how it behooveth thee to be. Verily justice is My gift to thee and the sign of My loving-kindness. Set it then before thine eyes."

"You must manifest complete love and affection toward all mankind. Do not exalt yourselves above others, but consider all as your equals, recognizing them as the servants of one God. Know that God is compassionate toward all; therefore love all from the depths of your hearts, prefer all religionists before yourselves, be filled with love for every race, and be kind toward the people of all nationalities.

Never speak disparagingly of others, but praise without distinction. Pollute not your tongues by speaking evil of another. Recognize your enemies as your friends, and consider those who wish you evil as the wishers of good. You must not see evil as evil and then compromise with your opinion, for to treat in a smooth, kindly way one whom you consider evil or an enemy is hypocrisy, and this is not worthy or allowable.

You must consider your enemies as your friends, look upon your evil-wishers as your well-wishers and treat them accordingly. Act in such a way that your heart may be free from hatred. Let not your heart be offended with anyone. If someone commits an error and wrong toward you, you must instantly forgive him. Do not complain of others. Refrain from repremanding them, and if you wish to give admonition or advice,....... let it be offered in such a way that it will not burden the hearer. Turn all your thoughts toward bringing joy to hearts. Beware! Beware! lest ye offend any heart. Assist the world of humanity as much as possible. Be the source of consolation to every to every sad one, assist every weak one, be helpful to every indigent one, care for every sick one, be the cause of glorification to every lowly one, and shelter those who are overshadowed by fear.

In brief, let each one of you be as a lamp shining forth with the virtues of the world of humanity. Be trustworthy, sincere affectionate and replete with chastity. Be illumined, be spiritual, be divine, be glorious, be quickened of God, be a Baha'i.

Ken Francisco 1997

This was quoted from RSFrog, the host at the time (Thu Apr 30 20:29:48 EST 1998) in the chat room #Baha'iFaith on the TalkCity server. If you'd like to go to this chat room click here, or set your ICR to server: chat.talkcity.com, port: 6667. The #Baha'iFaith channel operates at the following times: 5 - 7 PM Pacific, 6 - 8 PM Mountain, 7 - 9 PM Central, 8 - 10 PM Eastern; Monday through Friday.