The Baha'i Faith & Religious Freedom of Conscience


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 "Whatsoever hath led the children of men to shun one another, and hath caused dissensions and divisions amongst them, hath, through the revelation of these words, been nullified and abolished."

(Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 95)

"Let them see no one as their enemy, or as wishing them ill, but think of all humankind as their friends; regarding the alien as an intimate, the stranger as a companion, staying free of prejudice, drawing no lines."

(Abdul-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdul-Baha, p. 1)

A fundamental teaching of Bahá'u'lláh is the oneness of the world of humanity. Addressing mankind, He says: "Ye are all leaves of one tree and the fruits of one branch." By this it is meant that the world of humanity is like a tree, the nations or peoples are the different limbs or branches of that tree and the individual human creatures are as the fruits and blossoms thereof. In this way His Holiness Bahá'u'lláh expressed the oneness of humankind whereas in all religious teachings of the past, the human world has been represented as divided into two parts, one known as the people of the Book of God or the pure tree and the other the people of infidelity and error or the evil tree. The former were considered as belonging to the faithful and the others to the hosts of the irreligious and infidel; one part of humanity the recipients of divine mercy and the other the object of the wrath of their Creator. His Holiness Bahá'u'lláh removed this by proclaiming the oneness of the world of humanity and this principle is specialized in His teachings for He has submerged all mankind in the sea of divine generosity. Some are asleep; they need to be awakened. Some are ailing; they need to be healed. Some are immature as children; they need to be trained. But all are recipients of the bounty and bestowals of God.

(Abdul-Baha, Baha'i World Faith - Abdul-Baha Section, p. 246)

"This movement eludes organization -- it is the realization of a new spirit. The foundation of that spirit is the love of God; and its method, the love and service of mankind. Many who have never heard of this revelation teach its laws and spiritual truths. These people are performing what Baha'u'llah hath commanded though they never heard of him. The power of Baha'u'llah's words is compelling -- therefore, you must know and love them. For instance, in the spring season trees burst forth into verdure, though they are not conscious of the sunshine, of the falling rain or the gentle breeze -- nevertheless, the power of nature urges them on to yield forth their fruits."

(Abdul-Baha, Divine Philosophy, p. 14)