One God is the Source of All Religions.
Since I was a child I wondered why there were so many religions and why they disagreed. I wanted to put them all together into one big whole. Baha'i does just that.
All prophets come from one Source and form one religion. All prophets are given equal status. It must be this way to have unity because no group wants their culture taken from them. To respect the prophet is to respect the culture.
The various prophets each have their own point of view and specific message for their time and culture. Baha'i acts as an umbrella organization over all of them. Baha'i is kind of like the General Motors of religions. Stop looking at the various brands and look to the One Source of all brands (of religion).
All GM brands are still from GM, the source. All religions come from One Source.
There is only one source or Sun for all Prophets.
All Religions are part of One unfolding plan.
Baha'i believe that there really is only one God, and that every major religion on earth is part of a single, unfolding plan that leads humanity to a greater understanding of our Creator. We live in a world of constant change. We see the world has changed dramatically over the past five thousand years. Cultures have grown, progressed and matured over the course of centuries.
To the spiritually minded, if humanity has advanced, it is because God wants humanity to advance, God plans for humanity to advance and God guides humanity's progress through His Messengers, who are the Founders of the world's major religions.
Many people recognize that Abraham, Moses and Jesus were all sent by the same God at different times and if we look at their teachings, we can see that they build upon one another in a progressive way. Abraham taught there is one God Who controls the laws of nature. Moses taught that God expects us to follow moral laws, and Jesus taught we should follow laws out of a spirit of love for God and each other. Each lesson built on the one before. Each step seems small to us, but was significant at the time.
Understanding the importance of progress in God's plan for humanity helps explain why there are so many different religions, but it does not entirely explain why they appear to be so different. The answer is that there are, indeed, some legitimate differences, but they are not as great as the differences that humans have made up along the way.
The world has many schools of religion.
Consider the world as a school. The purpose of a school is to educate and guide students so they can grow, advance and prosper. The Baha'i Teachings say the purpose of religion is to help us grow and advance spiritually. In a school, students may have many teachers over the years, as they advance from class to class. Baha'is believe the world has also had many teachers that have guided us as we matured and advanced from age to age.
If a first grade teacher warns students they can't subtract big numbers from small numbers and the fifth grade teacher says they can, both teachers would be correct. First-graders live in a concrete world where you can't have less than none, while a fifth-grader is able to grasp the abstract concept of negative numbers.
Religious understanding has also progressed from the purely concrete practices of animal sacrifice that the early Jewish community required, to the more abstract concepts of spiritual rebirth. When Christ taught we must be "born again," He was using a metaphor that was beyond the reach of the earliest followers of Moses who worshiped a golden calf soon after leaving Egypt. It was the lessons learned through Moses that prepared the Jews for the message of Jesus, just as it is the lessons of the first grade teacher that prepares a student for fifth grade.
The Golden Rule exists in ALL Major Religions.
One Light - Many Lamps
"Know thou assuredly that the essence of all the prophets of God is one and the same. Their unity is absolute, God, the creator, saith: There is no distinction whatsoever among the bearers of My Message. They all have but one purpose; their secret is the same secret. To prefer one in honor to another, to exalt certain ones above the rest, is in no wise to be permitted. Every true Prophet hath regarded His Message as fundamentally the same as the Revelation of every other Prophet gave before Him." Baha'u'llah
"The measure of the revelation of the Prophets of God in this world, however, must differ. Each and every one of them hath been the Bearer of a distinct Message, and hath been commissioned to reveal Himself through specific acts. It is for this reason that they appear to vary in their greatness. Their Revelation may be likened unto the light of the moon that sheds its radiance upon the earth. Though every time it appears, it reveals a fresh measure of its brightness, yet its inherent splendor can never diminish, nor can its light suffer extinction." Baha'u'llah.
Warriors usually get killed or suffer from PTSD.
On Fighting and Self Defense
From the Baha'i scriptures:
The world is but one country and mankind its citizens... Let not a man glory in that he loves his country; let him rather glory in this that he loves his kind. "The Tabernacle of Unity, " Bahaullah
“O people of the earth!
“The first Glad-Tidings which the Mother Book hath, in this Most Great Revelation, imparted to all the peoples of the world is that the law of holy war hath been blotted out from the Book. Glorified be the All-Merciful, the Lord of grace abounding, through Whom the door of heavenly bounty hath been flung open in the face of all that are in Heaven and on earth.
“The second Glad-Tidings . . .”
--Tablets of Baha’u’llah, pp. 21-22
“Beware lest ye shed the blood of anyone. Unsheathe the sword of your tongue from the scabbard of utterance, for therewith ye can conquer the citadels of men’s hearts. We have abolished the law to wage holy war against each other. God’s mercy, hath, verily, encompassed all created things, if ye do but understand. Aid ye your Lord, the God of Mercy, with the sword of understanding. Keener indeed is it, and more finely tempered, than the sword of utterance, were ye but to reflect upon the words of your Lord. Thus have the hosts of Divine Revelation been sent down by God, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting, and thus have the armies of divine inspiration been made manifest from the Source of command, as bidden by God, the All-Glorious, the Best-Beloved.”
--The Summons of the Lord of Hosts, p 23
O ye lovers of God! In this, the cycle of Almighty God, violence and force, constraint and oppression, are one and all condemned. (Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 149)
I charge you all that each one of you concentrate all the thoughts of your heart on love and unity. When a thought of war comes, oppose it by a stronger thought of peace. A thought of hatred must be destroyed by a more powerful thought of love. (Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 29)
Peace Officers are taught to use the least amount of force.
Teach "Officer Behavior" Not "Warrior Behavior."
Everyone is an individual with freewill. Everyone gets to choose how they live. This is to suggest we teach our children to mature out of "warrior" behavior" to "officer behavior."
Parents often use religious teachings as a guide in training their children. The problem with the ancient religions is they teach "warrior" behavior: fight for your country or for religious principles.
In Hinduism, Arjuna fights and kills his cousins to impose his religious principles.
In Judaism & Christianity, Joshua fights and kills men women and children to establish Israel.
In Islam, Mohammad (PBUH) declares it is OK to fight and kill defensively.
It is time for a change. Teach children to become "Officers" instead of "Warriors." This occurs with a shift of intent from," Kill the enemy," to "Arrest the citizen." Warriors kill; officers arrest without harm.
We as common people should not fight, kill or harm at all. Teach our children to walk away from a fight. Get smart, there is always another way. We can see most trouble coming, so get out of the way!
Nothing in this article should be construed to support harming oneself or another. Get smart, be alert and move away from danger. Moses moved his people out of Egypt and the Dale Llama moved his people from Tibet to avoid persecution. I believe in a God who does not want people to suffer.
The Baha'i organization should get in independent audit annually to authenticate their spending. Now, the local spiritual assemblies contribute to nationals and the nationals contribute to the International House of Justice in Israel. The problem is, there is no way to know how the money is spent. All large corporations have independent audits for management purposes, to avoid fraud and to market their organization. Baha'i needs independent audits.
Baha'u'llah teaches about the common foundation of religion, oneness of humanity, the elimination of prejudice, the harmony of science and religion and the application of the Golden Rule to our daily lives.
Baha'i is like the General Motors of religions. It consolidated various divisions into one holding company.
Jay C OBrien (author) from Houston, TX USA on June 22, 2020:
Thank you Umesh
Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on June 22, 2020:
This is a wonderful article. Very well told and explained. Thanks.
JourneyHolm on August 09, 2017:
I agree with you. Thanks for the clarification. It seems to make a bit more sense :)
Jay C OBrien (author) from Houston, TX USA on August 02, 2017:
Luke, The Baha'i say The Bab was to Bahaullah as John the Baptist was to Jesus. True or not, I believe all religions should come together at least on the basics.
JourneyHolm on July 29, 2017:
Jay C, well written and poetic in tone. This religion has always interested me, but I always seem to stumble around the two most recent prophets. All the other prophets came in thousands or hundreds of years increments and from different parts around the world. Then, in the 1800s, two happen within 20 years of each other (both being in Persia)? To me, these prophets are more like the apostles than beings like Krishna or Jesus. What do you think?
Jay C OBrien (author) from Houston, TX USA on July 01, 2017:
Thank you Demas W. Jasper. That is the nicest comment I have ever received.
Demas W Jasper from Today's America and The World Beyond on July 01, 2017:
My hometown in Maine is Eliot, Maine. There on the eastern bank of the Piscataqua River is a Bahai Center which one day will house a major Bahai university.
I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS). My wife was raised Buddhist and is also LDS now, without giving up her Buddhist beliefs.
Her grandfather, who was a king and a prophet for his people in Laos, taught her that God will never leave us without a great teacher to guide is.
We have found that in the LDS prophets. Thomas S. Monson is the current prophet.
We have great respect for adherents to the Bahai faith, and believe they are correct that God still communicates through His servants His prophets.
I hope other readers will find and read this summary of Bahaism beliefs and ponder them for themselves.
If they do, they will find, as I did, that you have done a great service for them.