Religion & Religions
Bahá’ís see the major world religions as being chapters in the same one book. Each religion has an original Founder, often termed by Bahá’ís as a “Manifestation of God” or “Messenger of God”. The teachings he brings are built upon that which has gone before, but are invariably presented in a fresh, new way. His “Revelation” has a spiritual force which gradually unfolds its impact as the new religion spreads, and there is a certain flowering of civilisation. However, over succeeding centuries the religion loses its freshness and its impact, until a point is reached at which a new Manifestation appears.
In the case of the Bahá’í Faith, it is the very newness of the religion which gives it some of its impact. Although there are families which have been Bahá’ís for several generations (there are even fourth-generation British Bahá’ís), a large proportion of the believers have accepted this religion for themselves, not being from a Bahá’í background. This involves personal investigation, personal decision and personal commitment, sometimes in the face of open opposition. Naturally, this all strengthens the impact of the individual’s belief.
As Bahá’u’lláh teaches his followers to treat all human beings as members of one family, to abandon their prejudices, to “Consort with the followers of all religions with joy and with fragrance”, these teachings guide Bahá’ís to behave in an open and loving way towards all humanity. Bahá’ís are also exhorted to be kind to animals, to regard knowledge and education as praiseworthy, to be honest, truthful and loyal citizens. These teachings directly address many of the deficiencies in current society, and should have a very beneficial impact on the world.