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Oct 15

The Open Gate

Happy (belated) Birthday Bab!

October 20, 1819 is seen as the birthday of the Bab, or Gate, who foretold the coming of Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í faith. Bab himself is part John the Baptist part Messiah as he is not just the herald but is also seen as a manifestation of the divine himself.

I doubt most of the Western world is terrible familiar with Baha'i. A relatively young faith, it didn't really begin until 1866 when its founder declared himself a Messenger of God in letters he sent to the worlds religious and secular rulers. In 2010 there were an estimated 7.3 million followers world wide.

The Baha'i faith is a monotheistic one that teaches that God has at various times spoken by messengers to bring enlightenment to humanity. Three core principles establish a basis for Bahá'í teachings and doctrine: the unity of God, that there is only one God who is the source of all creation; the unity of religion, that all major religions have the same spiritual source and come from the same God; and the unity of humanity, that all humans have been created equal, coupled with the unity in diversity, that diversity of race and culture are seen as worthy of appreciation and acceptance. According to the Bahá'í Faith's teachings, the human purpose is to learn to know and to love God through such methods as prayer, reflection and being of service to humanity.

Thus, if you are a follower of Moses, Jesus, Mohammad, or Buddha you are, in the eyes of the Baha'i, following the one of those Messangers of God. You haven't quite got it all yet, but it is OK. Or, to quote, from their sacred writings:

His Holiness Abraham, on Him be peace, made a covenant concerning His Holiness Moses and gave the glad-tidings of His coming. His Holiness Moses made a covenant concerning the Promised One, i.e. His Holiness Christ, and announced the good news of His Manifestation to the world. His Holiness Christ made a covenant concerning the Paraclete and gave the tidings of His coming. His Holiness the Prophet Muḥammad made a covenant concerning His Holiness the Báb and the Báb was the One promised by Muḥammad, for Muḥammad gave the tidings of His coming. The Báb made a Covenant concerning the Blessed Beauty of Bahá’u’lláh and gave the glad-tidings of His coming for the Blessed Beauty was the One promised by His Holiness the Báb. Bahá’u’lláh made a covenant concerning a promised One who will become manifest after one thousand or thousands of years. He likewise, with His Supreme Pen, entered into a great Covenant and Testament with all the Bahá’ís whereby they were all commanded to follow the Center of the Covenant after His departure, and turn not away even to a hair’s breadth from obeying Him.

Socially the Baha'i teach the following (this is but one of several slightly different lists you can find)
Unity of God
Unity of religion
Unity of humanity
Unity in diversity
Equality between men and women
Elimination of all forms of prejudice
World peace and a New world order
Harmony of religion and science
Independent investigation of truth
Principle of Ever-Advancing Civilization
Universal compulsory education
The need for a Universal auxiliary language
Obedience to government and non-involvement in partisan politics unless submission to law amounts to a denial of Faith.
Elimination of extremes of wealth and poverty.

"Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian. Baha'i. "

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