Rainn Wilson: Hollywood Baha'i
The star of 'The Office' talks candidly about his Baha'i faith and his spiritual journey
BY: Deborah Leigh Wood
This interview originally appeared on www.bahai.us and is reprinted with permission.
You know that studiously goofy guy in "The Office," "Rocker," "My Super Ex-Girlfriend" and "Saturday Night Live"? He's a Baha'i. And when he talks about the faith in which he was raised, Rainn Wilson is seriously articulate.
What was it like to grow up in the Baha'i Faith?
When you grow up with a spiritual foundation that asks you to be conscious of the fact that all races are created equal, that men and women are equal and that all religions worship the same (God), it helps you see the world as one family and not get lost in the traps of political, social and economic belief systems that can lead you astray. I always think of myself as a world citizen. It's a powerful thing.
You stepped away from the Baha'i Faith in your 20s and returned to it 10 years later. What happened in that decade?
I was in New York City, going to acting school, and I was going through a rebellious phase. I didn't want anyone telling me what to do. I was disenchanted with things that were organized. It was a spiritual journey I was on. And this is reflected in and supported by one of the central tenets of the Baha'i Faith, which obliges every spiritual seeker to undertake an individual investigation of truth.
I started at ground zero. I decided I didn't know if there was even a God. I read religious books of the world. I asked myself, "If there is a God, how do we know what He wants us to do and what He wants for us? Do we read books? Do we buy crystals? Do we follow certain gurus? Do we sit under a tree? Because surely this omniscient creator has some kind of plan in store for mankind."
And that line of thinking led you back to the Baha'i Faith?
Yes, it brought me back to the Baha'i way of viewing things. I came to realize I did believe in God. I couldn't conceive of a universe without someone overseeing it in a compassionate way. It just made the most sense to me that God gradually is unfolding a plan for humankind. That there is progressive revelation -- the Baha'i belief that God sends Messengers for each day and age. I re-read books about the Baha'i Faith. And I came back to believing that Baha'u'llah was the Promised One and Messenger for this day and age. My quest took me from age 21 to 31. I'm 41 now.
Your wife (author Holiday Reinhorn) recently became a Baha'i. How did that come about?
She wasn't a Baha'i when we got married in a Baha'i ceremony almost 12 years ago. I never pressured her to join the Faith. But she started attending Ruhi (Baha'i education) classes in the L.A. area and became interested. And the birth of our son, Walter, now 3, was such a miracle that she found herself saying prayers and spiritually connecting to the Faith. She became a Baha'i in 2004. We pray with Walter every night before he goes to bed.