Belief in God
“Every true Prophet hath regarded His Message as fundamentally the same as the Revelation of every other Prophet gone before Him.” (Gleanings, p. 78)
Baha’is believe that there is only one God whose attributes and message have been revealed to us through the Divine Founders of the major religions. Though the essence of God is unknowable, each person has the capacity to recognize the signs of God around us and believe in God as the creative force of the universe.
“Consort with the followers of all religions in a spirit of friendliness and fellowship.” (Gleanings, p. 95)
According to Baha’u’llah, each divine revelation is relative and progressive, not absolute and final. That is to say, all the great religions are individual chapters of the same holy book. The Manifestations of God appear every thousand years or so in an ordered progression, each one building upon the lessons taught by His predecessors and leading into more advanced truths to be revealed by the Manifestations to follow. To make the claim that any particular religion brings the best, the only, or the last true Word of God is to deny the infinite nature of God and any potential for further spiritual growth or social progress of mankind.
Baha’u’llah explains that each divine message contains both spiritual and social teachings. The spiritual teachings restate and renew the values found in all religions, with special emphasis on a particular spiritual truth appropriate for the current level of man’s spiritual development. For example, Moses emphasized righteousness among the “children of God”, Jesus stressed love to a spiritually adolescent mankind, and Muhammad taught submission to the will of God when the human race was in its spiritual youth. Baha’u’llah teaches the importance of unity and justice as mankind enters its age of spiritual maturity.
The second aspect of each divine message is a set of social laws and teachings which provide the necessary framework for implementing the spiritual thrust of that revelation. These teachings include rules of conduct for individuals and groups, dietary laws, marriage and divorce procedures, community organization, and so forth. These laws represent the practical guidelines for achieving the social progress needed by human society at the time in which the revelation is given.
Each Manifestation of God brings a renewal of fundamental spiritual principles common to all religions, while at the same time establishing a spiritual emphasis and social laws specific to the needs of the time. Thus, while Baha’is believe the Baha’i Faith to be the religion for this time, Baha’is also accept the validity of the previous world religions: the Bab’i Faith(the predecessor to the Baha’i faith), Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, the Zoroastrian and Sabean Faiths. Baha’is wish to.