On May 21, 1844, the Bahá’í faith was born into this world. For the next 48 years, the twin founders of the faith, the Báb and Bahá’u’lláh were wrapped in heroic and messianic events that took them and their followers from comfortable lives in Persia, to prison, exile and martyrdom.
Today, the Bahá’í faith circles the globe with adherents in virtually every country in the world. The Bahá’í faith teaches that we are all children of God, living together as a single race on a single planet. That all religions worship the same “changeless Faith of God, eternal in the past, eternal in the future.”
Society itself is shaped by religion, and as humanity learns the lessons of love espoused by all religions, we grow in maturity and have the capacity for an increasingly evolved understanding of our spiritual nature. The feedback between religion, society and culture is a process that spans millennia. For Bahá’ís, our faith addresses the reality we live in today. Some of the specific spiritual principles addressed by Bahá’u’lláh are: The equality of women and men, the harmony of science and religion, the requirement for the independent investigation of truth, and the elimination of all forms of prejudice.
At its core, the Bahá’í faith is a practice in hope and optimism. “Yet so it shall be; these fruitless strifes, these ruinous wars shall pass away, and the ‘Most Great Peace, shall come…” For members of the faith living in the world today, we understand that getting from here to there will require the work of legions. The practice of our faith is evolving as our capacities grow. We offer children’s spiritual classes, we have organized junior youth groups (12 to 15 years old), study circles for older youth and adults, and community devotionals. These activities help us walk the path of service for our community, our neighborhood and our planet.
The Faith operates without a clergy, under the organization of a series of elected institutions at the local, national, and global levels. We are in the world and of the world, working to build a future foretold by religions since time immemorial.
I encourage you to discover more about the Bahá’í Faith either at the Alaska Bahá’í National website http://www.akbahai.org or the world center site https://www.bahai.org – Yes, the Bahá’ís of Alaska have our own national status in the institutional order – we were incorporated before statehood.
• Adam Bauer is a a member of the Baha’i community. Bauer resides in Juneau. ”Living & Growing” is a weekly column written by different authors and submitted by local clergy and spiritual leaders. It appears every Friday on the Juneau Empire’s Faith page.