Specific Teachings

Beauty in the Universe and Ourselves

beauty Camille_Pissarro_-_Peasants'_houses,_Eragny_beauty

There is a beauty in the following verse from the Qur’an, which inspired the title for this article. It is sometimes translated as follows: “We will show them our signs in the universe and themselves, until it becomes manifest to them that it is the truth.” [Qur’an 41:53] Beauty, is one of the many signs…

The Purpose of Justice

Like prophets before him Bahá’u’lláh counselled kings and rulers of society to observe justice. Referring to the suffering inflicted on himself and his followers by the rulers of his time he writes: Twenty years have passed, O kings, during which We have, each day, tasted the agony of a fresh tribulation. … They that rose…

The Interconnection of All Things

interconnection of all things

All things are interconnected. … every part of the universe is connected with every other part by ties that are very powerful and admit of no imbalance, nor any slackening whatever.[1] When Abdu’l Baha made comments of this kind he had in mind the interconnection between the material, plant, animal and human kingdoms. The atoms…

Death: The Last Taboo and What Comes After

death the last taboo

There is virtually nothing that is a taboo in modern society. Death is the one exception. Ironically so, as our nightly news and popular entertainment are so often full of death. Yet there are plenty of articles that identify the death taboo. So how is it taboo? It is taboo in the sense that we…

What does it mean to be a Baha’i?

to be a Baha'i

There is no single model of course – every Baha’i has their own story – which implies a multiplicity of ways of responding to Bahá’u’lláh’s teachings. The vision of what it means to be a Baha’i comes from Bahá’u’lláh’s writings. It is nothing like the stereotypes that might jump to mind. In one sense, Baha’is…

A Different Kind of Power

Lust for power, or an addiction to it, once acquired, or the endless contest for power, is at the heart of much human suffering. Baha’u’llah was a Persian nobleman. His birth gave him power over others, had he desired it. He rejected that kind of power although offered to him by the vizier of the…

Baha’i Elections

Baha'i elections

As explored in the article on religious institutions, Baha’i decision making bodies are elected bodies. So what do Baha’i elections look like? Perhaps our experience of elections isn’t very “spiritual” – their focus on exaltation of the individual – the tendency for the electoral contest to polarize a community – and a process with often…

Three Protagonists Generating the Future: Individual, Community and Institutions

individual, community and institutions

The title to this article draws on a concept described in letters of the Universal House of Justice to the Baha’i community – that there are three protagonists (three actors): individual, community and institutions; from whose interactions the future emerges. In the previous three articles we have examined Bahá’u’lláh’s reforms to religious institutions, the kind…

An Empowering and Supportive Community Life

In previous articles we have looked at how Baha’u’llah reforms religious institutions as consultative institutions with a duty to foster human well-being. We have also seen how the individual is framed by Baha’u’llah as an active citizen who is a partner in fostering human well-being. How then does community life change? Sometimes religious community life is viewed as…