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The Baha'is Believe ...  

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Basic Concepts

One God

"The central purpose of the divine religions is the establishment of peace and unity among mankind. Their reality is one; therefore, their accomplishment is one and universal -- whether it be through the essential or material ordinances of God."1 "[Essential ordinances] . . . concern spiritual susceptibilities, the development of moral principles and the quickening of the conscience of man. These are . . . one and the same in all religions . . . [Material ordinances] which relate to the material affairs of humankind . . . are subject to change in each day of manifestation, according to exigencies of the time, conditions and differing capacities of humanity."2 "All the Prophets of God . . . appeared in the world for the education of humanity, to develop immature souls into maturity. . ."3 "They have taught that men should love and mutually help each other in order that they might progress."4

1. Promulgation of Universal Peace, page 98
2. Promulgation of Universal Peace, page 106
3. Promulgation of Universal Peace, page 40
4. Promulgation of Universal Peace, page 32

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The Oneness of Mankind

"A fundamental teaching of Baha'u'llah is the oneness of the world of humanity. Addressing mankind, He says, 'Ye are all leaves of one tree and fruits of one branch.'  By this it is meant that the world of humanity is like a tree, the nation or peoples are the different limbs or branches of that tree and the individual human creatures are as the fruits and blossoms thereof. In this way Baha'u'llah expressed the oneness of humankind, whereas in all religious teachings of the past the human world has been represented as divided into two parts: one known as the people of the Book of God, or the pure tree, and the other the people of infidelity and error, or the evil tree. The former were considered as belonging to the faithful, and the others to the hosts of the irreligious and infidel . . . Baha'u'llah removed this by proclaiming the oneness of the world of humanity, and this principle is specialized in His teachings, for He has submerged all mankind in the sea of divine generosity. Some are asleep; they need to be awakened. Some are ailing; they need to be healed. Some are immature as children; they need to be trained. But all are recipients of the bounty and bestowals of God."5

5. Promulgation of Universal Peace, page 454

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Independent Investigation of Truth

"Furthermore, know ye that God has created in man the power of reason, whereby man is enabled to investigate reality.  God has not intended man to imitate blindly his fathers and ancestors. He has endowed him with mind, or the faculty of reasoning, by the exercise of which he is to investigate and discover the truth, and that which he finds real and true he must accept. He must not be an imitator or blind follower of any soul. He must not rely implicitly upon the opinion of any man without investigation; nay, each soul must seek intelligently and independently, arriving at a real conclusion and bound only by that reality. The greatest cause of bereavement and disheartening in the world of humanity is ignorance based upon blind imitation. It is due to this that wars and battles prevail; from this cause hatred and animosity arise continually among mankind."6

6. Promulgation of Universal Peace, page 291

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The Essential Agreement of Science and Religion

". . .Religion must reconcile and be in harmony with science and reason. If the religious beliefs of mankind are contrary to science and opposed to reason, they are none other than superstitions and without divine authority, for the Lord God has endowed man with the faculty of reason in order that through its exercise he may arrive at the verities of existence. Reason is the discoverer of the realities of things, and that which conflicts with its conclusions is the product of human fancy and imagination."7 "[Religion] must agree with scientific fact and proof so that science will sanction religion and religion fortify science."8

7. Promulgation of Universal Peace, page 316
8. Promulgation of Universal Peace, page 175

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Equality of Men and Women

"In proclaiming the oneness of mankind [Baha'u'llah] taught that men and women are equal in the sight of God and that there is no distinction to be made between them. The only difference between them now is due to lack of education and training. If woman is given equal opportunity of education, distinction and estimate of inferiority will disappear. The world of humanity has two wings, as it were: One is the female; the other is the male. If one wing be defective, the strong perfect wing will not be capable of flight . . . [God] has endowed both sexes with perfections and intelligence . . . without differentiation or distinction as to superiority; therefore, why should woman be considered inferior? This is not according to the plan and justice of God. He has created them equal; in His estimate there is no question of sex. The one whose heart is purest, whose deeds are most perfect, is acceptable to God, male or female."9

9. Promulgation of Universal Peace, page 174

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Elimination of Prejudice of All Kinds

"Other sources of human dissension are political, racial and patriotic prejudices. These have been removed by Baha'u'llah. He has said, and has guarded His statement by rational proofs from the Holy Books, that the world of humanity is one race, the surface of the earth one place of residence and that these imaginary racial barriers and political boundaries are without right or foundation. Man is degraded in becoming the captive of his own illusions and suppositions. The earth is one earth, and the same atmosphere surrounds it. No difference or preference has been made by God for its human inhabitants; but man has laid the foundation of prejudice, hatred and discord with his fellow man by considering nationalities separate in importance and races different in rights and privileges."10

10. Promulgation of Universal Peace, page 232

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Universal Compulsory Education

"Baha'u'llah has announced that inasmuch as ignorance and lack of education are barriers of separation among mankind, all must receive training and instruction. Through this provision the lack of mutual understanding will be remedied and the unity of mankind furthered and advanced. Universal education is a universal law."11"Through the broadening spirit of education illiteracy will disappear, and misunderstandings due to ignorance will pass away."12

11. Promulgation of Universal Peace, page 300
12. Promulation of Universal Peace, page 317

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Spiritual Solution to Economic Problems

". . . The readjustment and equalization of the economic standards of mankind . . . deals with the question of human livelihood. It is evident that under present systems and conditions of government the poor are subject to the greatest need and distress while others more fortunate live in luxury and plenty far beyond their actual necessities. This inequality of portion and privilege is one of the deep and vital problems of human society. That there is need of an equalization and apportionment by which all may possess the comforts and privileges of life is evident. The remedy must be legislative readjustment of conditions. The rich too must be merciful to the poor, contributing from willing hearts to their needs without being forced or compelled to do so."13 ". . . Baha'u'llah set forth principles of guidance and teaching for economic readjustment. Regulations were revealed by Him which ensure the welfare of the commonwealth. As the rich man enjoys his life surrounded by ease and luxuries, so the poor man must, likewise, have a home and be provided with sustenance and comforts commensurate with his needs." 14

13. Promulgation of Universal Peace, page 107
14. Promulgation of Universal Peace, page 181

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A Universal Auxiliary Language

"Today the greatest need of the world of humanity is discontinuance of the existing misunderstandings among nations. This can be accomplished through the unity of language. Unless the unity of languages is realized, . . . the oneness of the human world cannot be effectively organized and established because the function of language is to portray the mysteries and secrets of human hearts. The heart is like a box, and language is the key. Only by using the key can we open the box and observe the gems it contains."15

15. Promulgation of Universal Peace, page 60

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Universal Peace Upheld by a World Federation

". . . Universal peace will be established among the nations of the world by international agreement. The greatest catastrophe in the world of humanity today is war. . . Implements of war and death are multiplied and increased to an inconceivable degree, and the burden of military maintenance is taxing the various countries beyond the point of endurance. Armies and navies devour the substance and possessions of the people; the toiling poor, the innocent and helpless are forced by taxation to provide munitions and armament for governments bent upon conquest of territory and defense against powerful rival nations. There is no greater or more woeful ordeal in the world of humanity today that impending war. Therefore, international peace is a crucial necessity. An arbitral court of justice shall be established by which international disputes are to be settled. Through this means all possibility of discord and war between the nations will be obviated."16

16. Promulgation of Universal Peace, page 317

Baha'is acknowledge the enormity of the task that lies ahead of them as they attempt to implement these principles throughout the world. "And yet," as Baha'u'llah explains, "is not the object of every Revelation to effect a transformation in the whole character of mankind, a transformation that shall manifest itself, both outwardly and inwardly, 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 Manifestation would be apparent."17

17. Kitab-i-Iqan, pages 240-241

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