Tuesday, December 29, 2009

On the Flight to Dar es Salaam: a crash course in Baha'i

An airplane is a good place to learn more about the Baha'i Faith, apparently. -gw
On the flight back to Dar, I sat next to a Canadian woman who grew up in Zimbabwe and now lives in Lusaka. She was actually Bahai, which was an odd coincidence because I grew up 10 minutes from North America’s only Bahai Temple (located in Wilmette, IL). And yet, I didn’t know much about the Bahai faith. Here’s a crash course from what I learned/re-learned from her. It’s a “new world religion” only about 160 years old. It was founded by Baha’ullah in Persia, and it is based on the concepts of unity in religion, mankind, and god. The religion is a combination of all other world religions, as people like Buddha and Moses are all seen as divine messengers to the people of their time. Apparently, Baha’ullah once said “If religion is a source of disunity, it is better to have no religion at all” which is interesting given the state of today’s affairs.  The governing body for Bahais is called the Universal House of Justice, made up of 9 elected representatives.  The reps range from being world-renowned doctors to peasant farmers. Also, parents cannot force their children to be Bahai – they choose at age 15 whether or not they want to adopt the faith. There’s only about one temple on each continent. Oh, and of course, this woman’s husband turned out to be a die-hard member of the Lusaka Rotary Club.

Posted via email from Baha'i Views

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