Saturday, January 2, 2010


I am writing a book on the search for eternal life and which religions lead to it. As part of my research, I'm seeking to learn firsthand from the faithful in each religion. My inquiry is focused on the proof of your faith, how do we know whether it's teachings inform us correctly.Your answers only need to be a few sentences long for each question, although more detail is welcome. I do request that you give your faith's standard position, reflecting the majority opinion. Many heartfelt thanks for taking the time to answer these questions on such an important topic.

Lawrence BerknerRoseville,

Answer as if each question begins with: "According to the standard teachings of your faith, . . ."

What is the name of your religion?

The Baha'i Faith Is there one supreme being or God, and can you give a brief description? There is one God. God is the ultimate cause of all things existing and that everything reflects His power, man particularly reflecting His attributes. To the Baha’is, God is Himself, unknowable, and can only be known through his manifestations: Adam, Abraham, Moses, Zoroaster, Krishna, The Buddha, Jesus, Muhammad, the Bab, and Baha’u’llah.

How does God communicate with mankind, and how do we know for sure if it is God speaking?

God sends a Manifestation (teacher) approximately every thousand years. The Manifestation comes to renew the spiritual teachings which are the same in all religions (i.e. the Golden Rule) and to bring new social teachings appropriate for mankind in that day.

Is eternal life offered, and what is it like? T

The worlds of God are infinite. The first world is the womb world, then the physical world into which we are born. The spirit, after the death of the body, progresses through all the worlds of God. The spirit is immortal.

Is there reward and punishment after death, and on what is it based?

God is the most merciful. The spirit can be born into the next life with no more spirituality than that of a stone--having ignored the spiritual teachings and lived a material life.

Are there sacred writings (scriptures) defining your faith, and roughly how long are they?

There are numerous sacred writings by the key figures in the Baha'i Faith. These writings are held in the Baha'i International Archives Building, erected in 1957, on Mount Carmel in Haifa Israel. The Archives building is a museum which holds the original writings of the Bab, Baha 'u' llah and Abdu' l Baha.

When were these scriptures written down and by whom?

The Bab is the Forerunner of the Baha'i Faith with many of his writings accomplished during his ministry during the 1880's. Baha 'u' llah is the prophet founder of the Baha'i Faith and the Manifestation of God for this day. He wrote volumes of teachings and letters during His ministry which extended from the 1860's through to His passing in 1892. Abdu' l Baha is Baha 'u' llah's eldest son and His designated successor. He, too, wrote many documents, letters, and prayers during his travels through the Middle East and America. Writings by Shoghi Effendi, first Guardian of the Baha'i Faith and only infallible interpreter of the sacred writings, are also stored here in the Baha'i International Archives Building.

How much of these scriptures contain historical accounts with real people, places and events?

Many of the writings of the key figures of the Baha'i Faith were in response to events taking place during their time on earth. Many documents have been written by those close to the key figures of the Baha'i Faith. One such example is a book referred to as, The Dawn-Breakers: Nabíl’s Narrative of the Early Days of the Bahá’í Revelation. The complete work carries the history of the Baha'i movement up to the death of Bahá’u’lláh in 1892.

Does your faith make a deliberate effort to translate these writings into many languages and distribute them?

Many of the writings of the Bab, Baha'u'llah, Abdu'l Baha, and Shoghi Effendi, as well as authors of texts describing the Baha'i Faith, have been translated into more than 20 languages.
One such source for the writings of the key figures of the Baha'i Faith and many other of the world's religions is the “Interfaith Explorer” ( ) which is free software offering over 5000 books in 20 languages.

Is there the concept of sin, and can it be forgiven?

There is no concept of sin in the Baha'i Faith. What is the main benefit of your faith, that is, what would motivate someone to convert to it? Baha'is believe in progressive revelation in that God sends to mankind teachers to impart new social teachings as the material/intellectual advancements of mankind develop and to renew the spiritual teachings which are one and the same in all major religions. Baha'is are responsible for their own spiritual development--there is no clergy in the Baha'i Faith. Independent investigation of the truth is a hallmark of the Baha'i Faith. What is the final destiny of this world, will it go on forever or experience an abrupt end?

Speaking of such things as wars which have plagued mankind for centuries and continue to do so to this very day, Baha'u'llah promises that, "These fruitless strifes, these ruinous wars shall pass away, and the 'Most Great Peace' shall come." This is what Baha'is believe to be the final destiny of this world.

What is the primary proof that your faith informs us correctly on what it teaches?

Baha’i teachings are taken directly from the writings of the key figures of the Baha'i Faith. If there is uncertainty over what is meant by any of these writings, Baha'is believe that the Guardian is divinely guided in his interpretation of these writings.

Did the founders of your faith do miracles, and can you give examples?

Though Baha'u'llah did perform miracles, these are not used as proofs of his prophet-hood. A miracle is a miracle only to him who witnesses it.

Did the founders of your faith make predictions that came true, and can you give examples?

Baha'u'llah wrote tablets to the kings and sovereigns of the time in which he lived and predicted what are now historical facts about the downfall of their governments. Napoleon is one such sovereign.

Does your faith have stories of troubled, addicted or immoral people whose lives have been dramatically improved through converting to your faith?

Such stories are always of a personal nature, but many who have accepted the teachings of the Baha'i Faith are more than happy to explain how their conversions have improved their lives.

How has the authenticity of your faith been challenged by skeptics, and what are the standard answers to those challenges?

All religions have been and will continue to be challenged by skeptics. We believe that when people challenge the beliefs of each other, both parties are wrong. Baha'is share their beliefs with those who seek answers and then leave them to God. One key Baha'i principle is the independent search for truth.

Will other religions lead someone to the same results as yours?

If someone fully understands his own religion and investigates the teachings of the Baha'i Faith with an open mind, it is very possible that he will be lead to the same results.

Are faithful practitioners of your religion supposed to persuade people to convert to your faith?

We teach our faith, but we are forbidden to proselytize. If you would like to comment on a topic not covered by the questions, please do so.