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Opinion Relays Edition

Voices of religion: Bahai

Zaeri is a senior International Relations and magazines  major and can be contacted at afsaneh.zaeri@drake.edu

I feel pretty lucky. I was raised to know that all people are part of one human family, regardless of their race, background, gender, social class, or religion.

I answered the question “what is the Bahá’í Faith?” so many times my first year at Drake that my roommate could give an explanation better than myself. It is hard to be concise about what gives my life a sense of purpose, but I will try my best.

From before recorded history God has sent divine Messengers including Abraham, Buddha, Christ, Mohammad — and many more — to educate humanity relative to the capacity of the people at the time. The concept is called progressive revelation and the belief is that there is essentially one religion that has been revealed overtime by God through various Messengers.

The latest of these Messengers is Bahá’u’lláh who, a little over a century and a half ago, brought new social and spiritual teachings including the harmony of science and religion, equality of men and women and the importance of each person’s independent investigation of truth (that is, stop the blind imitation and follow what you believe). The central belief is that humanity has finally reached a stage of maturity in which the oneness of mankind can be realized.

It is these teachings that, when translated into concrete action, serve as a pattern for the betterment of the world. Bahá’í s work together with neighbors, friends, co-workers from whatever faith or non-faith to build community based on the recognition of the inherent nobility of every individual. It is fun!  And it is in many ways a bit challenging. Our society feeds us countless opportunities to entertain ourselves that do not go beyond the surface. Needless to say, it is all too easy to live passively and ignore the development of our soul.

I am grateful to be able to fill the space between classes at Drake playing a small part in developing a new culture by working to empower youth and also for the chance to have   meaningful conversations with all people (like the friendly man with the long beard who is often in Cowles library). Ultimately I believe that religion should serve as a platform for tearing down the illusion of otherness — if it creates divisiveness it is better to do without.

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3 Comments

  1. Mack Ezzell April 25, 2011

    Great brief explanation!

  2. Afsaneh Zaeri April 25, 2011

    why, thank you : )

  3. Singster April 25, 2011

    This is perfect. Sounds like it is what humanity really needs to hear and believe, but like you said – not be pushed into it. They have to see it for themselves and realize how perfect it is, without tricks or traps. Thanks for your honest and quick explanation.

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