What Bahá'ís Believe

Central tenets of the Bahá'í Faith, based on the questions in the Belief-O-Matic quiz.

 



  Belief in Deity
One personal God Almighty, creator, omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent--incorporeal spirit.

  Incarnations
The prophets of many religions, e.g. Jesus Christ, Moses, Muhammad, Buddha, are revered as Manifestations and Messengers of God, pre-existent spirits (with individual souls) sent to reveal God's message. Each of the Manifestations is considered equal in stature as the perfect reflection, the infallible word, and the divine spirit of God. Bah'u'llh was the latest but not final Messenger, bringing Gods revelation to the modern world, and is considered to be the fulfillment of the promised return of Christ. The Messengers are not worshipped as equal or identical to God but are considered an intermediate level of existence between human and God.

  Origin of Universe and Life
God created all from nothing and controls all phenomena that modern science reveals about the origins of the universe and life. They support scientific study and education, as they believe science serves to reveal rather than dispute God's awesome creative powers.

  After Death
Literal interpretations of resurrection, heaven, and hell are regarded as figments of imagination. Resurrection is the spiritual awakening that occurs upon the appearance of a new Manifestation. Heaven is the indescribable bliss of closeness to God, harmony with God's will as revealed by the Manifestations--eternal spiritual life. The closer one is to knowing and loving God, the greater the joy of paradise. Hell is the self-made torture of isolation from God--spiritual death. Unlimited spiritual growth toward perfection continues after death.

  Why Evil?
No original sin or Satan. The human nature that God created is all good, including both animal and spiritual aspects. God also gave people free will, and some will choose to express their inherently good nature in imperfect ways. The concept of Satan in the scriptures is symbolic for humans' choice to express the lower or animal side of their nature in ways that separate them from God. Those farthest from God are most prone to wrongdoing.

  Salvation
Salvation lies in the search for truth as revealed by the Manifestations of God--the achievement of spiritual perfection and closeness to God, deliverance from one's imperfection or base nature. This is achieved by faith in God and strict obedience to the commands of God; turning to the latest Manifestation of God, Bah'u'llh, for spiritual guidance; study of the scriptures of the Manifestations; required daily private prayer; meditation; active participation in service work (tantamount to worship). No sacraments, e.g., baptism.

  Undeserved Suffering
All suffering, including that caused by natural disasters, are God's will as a punitive, educational, or remedial response to individual or to humanity's denial of God and disobedience to the Divine Commands. All of humanity suffer when one commits wrong, and all benefit when one does good. The best often suffer the most for humanity's misdeeds. Nonpunitive suffering is part of God's plan to challenge the soul with adversity. Suffering educates the sufferer and aids spiritual growth toward perfection. Suffering helps people to remember God in their grief. The suffering of innocents will be greatly rewarded in the world to come.

  Contemporary Issues
Devoted to world unity--one world government and religion, peaceful conflict resolution (but opposes disobedience to one's government), gender equality and women's rights (which does not include promotion of abortion rights), anti-poverty, and anti-discrimination. Service to others is considered a form of worship. Discourages divorce but doesnt punish or condemn; disapproves of homosexuality.


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