Sarah´s and Meghan´s Spiritual Journey to the Bahai Faith
Meghan is the mother of a little girl and moved to Jordan about a year ago. She was introduced to the Baha’i Faith while at university, having never heard of the Baha’i religion before. She was immediately drawn to the spirit and chose the Baha’i Faith as her faith from that point on. So, it was a religion by chose and not given by birth. Sarah’s father made the same choice. While her mother was a Bahai, her father changed his religion and chose to be Bahai, and so Sarah was brought up with the Bahai faith, which has been an important part of her life ever since.
After presenting us a prayer from the Bahai prophet Baha’u’llah, Sarah and Meghan explained some interesting background information about the Bahai religion. As the Bahai Faith is the youngest of the world´s independent religions, most contents were new to the participants of the Culture Café. The Bahai doesn´t see itself as another religious system, which is dividing humanity more. The central aspects of Bahai faith are oneness and wholeness of the entire human race and so it restates the eternal truths underlying all past religions. This unity and oneness also reveal itself in the recognition of all prophets. “Ye are the fruits of one tree and the leaves of one branch”
Progressive Revelation of God und Humanity
The progressive revelation of God has been explained by Meghan with the metaphor of a small child developing different knowledge and answers according to time and growth. And so, religions have developed and evolved throughout history, and as a natural process, according to the Baha’i Faith, there is a need for a new religion according to the new circumstances of humanity. This also means that there will be another prophet in the distant future who will continue the growth of human consciousness and faith. In the same way, the Baha’i see humanity in an age of progressive transition, in which “maturity begins to assert itself”.
Religion and Science
The harmony of science and religion is one of the fundamental principles of the Bahá’í Faith, which teaches that religion without science soon degenerates into superstition and fanaticism, while science without religion becomes merely an instrument of crude materialism. Together, these two sources of knowledge are essential to the liberation of individuals and communities from the traps of ignorance and passivity. Religion and science are both essential to the progress of civilization and are not in conflict with each other, moreover they complement each other.
Worship and Service
In Bahai’s Faith, worship and service go hand in hand, as this quote from Abdu’l-Baha describes really well: “There are three kinds of Faith: first, that which is from tradition and birth…This faith is weak traditional faith: second, that which comes from Knowledge, and is the faith of understanding. This is good, but there is a better, the faith of practice. This is real faith.” Service and worship need a physical structure and institution, wherefore the Bahai institution “Mashriqu’l-Adhkár”, which can be translated as “The Dawning Place of the Mention of God”. In these places people from every culture and every religion is invited to pray or participate in the activities of the community. The purpose reaches beyond praying, the house of worship is a place for education, gatherings, art, medical care and more. The idea is to create a space, in which community building can take place and activities or services are developed according to the needs of the people in the community.
Activities with youth in Amman
As an example of what this service can look like, Sarah told us about her experience with the young age (Children and Junior youth) in Jordan. She offers young people in her neighborhood “spiritual classes” where they can explore the common values and moral principles of different cultures and religions. The Ruhi Institute provides an educational program for these activities. In keeping with the idea that worship and service go hand in hand, these youth classes are also linked to community services in Amman. Sarah sees the positive impact of these training courses in the moral and spiritual growth of the youth.
We are very grateful to Sarah and Meghan for sharing their personal spiritual journey with us and for introducing us to a new religion that many of us had not known before. The idea of seeing humanity as one and overcoming religious conflicts and differences is a beautiful reminder of what we want to achieve and it represents the idea of URI Mena as a interfaith network.