Baha’u’llah taught that there is one God, the same Creator recognised by the great religions of the world.
He also taught that all the world’s major religions are successive stages in the ongoing revelation of the one Faith.
This is often referred to as “progressive revelation”.
We believe all the great religions come from the same Source, God, and have the same essential purpose – to guide and educate the human race.
Their spiritual core is one, but they differ in their secondary aspects such as social teachings, which change in relation to humanity’s evolving requirements.
The principle of the oneness of humanity is the pivot around which all the teachings of Baha’u’llah revolve.
For this reason Baha’is follow laws of personal morality and behaviour, as well as social laws and principles, all of which we see as promoting and establishing the oneness of humanity.
We believe the purpose of life is to know and worship God, to acquire virtues and to carry forward an ever-advancing civilisation. Once we die our soul progresses to the afterlife where it continues to develop spiritually.
Some social principles
Baha’u’llah taught that humanity – after a long and turbulent adolescence – is now reaching a stage of maturity where unity can finally be established in a global and just society.
The Baha’i Faith brings social principles appropriate to the needs of a global society. Many of these principles, while considered radical in the time of Baha’u’llah, are now increasingly accepted by many people.
The principles include:
- equality of women and men
- the elimination of prejudice
- the adoption of an equal standard of human rights for all people
- universal education for all
- the establishment of a world commonwealth of nations
- the harmony of science and religion as two complementary systems of knowledge that must work together to advance humanity
- spiritual solutions to economic problems and the removal of economic barriers and restrictions
- the abolition of extremes of poverty and wealth
- the adoption of a world auxiliary language, a world script, and a universal system of currency and weights and measures
The Baha’i teachings include laws for the spiritual and moral life of the individual and for the governance and development of society.
Rather than seeing these laws as restrictive, we view them as liberating. We believe they improve our lives and free us from many of the debilitating afflictions of our times.
Although we see the Baha’i laws are advantageous to anybody who obeys them, we do not expect people who are not Baha’is to follow them, nor do we criticise them for not doing so.
The laws for our personal lives include daily prayer, observance of an annual period of fasting, obedience to the law of the land and abstention from partisan politics.
Other moral and ethical principles include prohibitions against backbiting, extramarital sex, gambling, and the non-medical use of alcohol or other drugs.
Obedience to the government
We take our civic responsibilities seriously and uphold the authority of the Australian Government through loyalty and obedience to the laws of our country.
Although Baha’is participate as voters in general elections, we abstain from partisanship. We do not join political parties or factions, run for elected political office or accept political appointments. This is due to our belief in the vital need for unity in society. This view does not stop us from respecting the work and dedication of the elected representatives of the land.
Baha’is may, and often do, serve the Government in administrative posts.
Because we see unity as a necessary foundation for peace, we refrain from participating in aggressive public debates or socially disruptive activities.
We believe that our best contribution to society can be made by working with others to help build a world that is just, peaceful and united.