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Recognition of the unity and relativity of religious truth

“Religion,” writes Bahá’u’lláh, “is the greatest of all means for the establishment of order in the world and for the peaceful contentment of all that dwell therein. The weakening of the pillars of religion hath strengthened the hands of the ignorant and made them bold and arrogant. Verily I say, whatsoever hath lowered the lofty station of religion hath increased the waywardness of the wicked, and the result cannot be but anarchy.” “Religion,” He, in another Tablet, has stated, “is a radiant light and an impregnable stronghold for the protection and welfare of the peoples of the world, for the fear of God impelleth man to hold fast to that which is good, and shun all evil. Should the lamp of religion be obscured, chaos and confusion will ensue, and the lights of fairness, of justice, of tranquillity and peace cease to shine.” (in Shoghi Effendi The World Order of Bahá’u’lláh US Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1991).”

The principle of the unity of religion is at the center of Bahá’í teachings. Bahá’u’lláh states that humanity is engaged in a collective growth process quite similar to the growth process of an individual: just as a person begins life as a helpless infant and attains maturity in successive stages, so humankind began its collective social life in a primitive state, gradually attaining maturity. In the case of the individual, it is clear that his or her development takes place as a result of the education he or she receives from parents, teachers, and society in general. But what is the motive force in humankind’s collective evolution? “The Oneness of Religion” Baha’i International Community

In the Preface to his publication entitled The Promised Day Is Come Shoghi Effendi summarizes the teachings of the Baha’i Faith.

The fundamental principle enunciated by Bahá’u’lláh, the followers of His Faith firmly believe, is that religious truth is not absolute but relative, that Divine Revelation is a continuous and progressive process, that all the great religions of the world are divine in origin, that their basic principles are in complete harmony, that their aims and purposes are one and the same, that their teachings are but facets of one truth, that their functions are complementary, that they differ only in the nonessential aspects of their doctrines, and that their missions represent successive stages in the spiritual evolution of human society. Shoghi Effendi. The Promised Day Is Come

These principles and laws, these firmly-established and mighty systems, have proceeded from one Source and are the rays of one Light. That they differ one from another is to be attributed to the varying requirements of the ages in which they were promulgated. Bahá’u’lláh. Gleanings From the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh

References

Baha’i International Community BIC. 2014. Spiritual Truths: “The Oneness of Religion.”

Bahá’u’lláh. Gleanings From the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh US Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1990. Pages: 346

Shoghi Effendi. The Promised Day Is Come US Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1980 revised edition Pages: 124

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