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A Profile of the Bahá'í Faith and its Worldwide Community

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bullet.gif (837 bytes) The Bahá'ís
bullet.gif (837 bytes) Unity in Diversity
bullet.gif (837 bytes) Bahá'u'lláh
bullet1.gif (837 bytes) Social and Moral
Teachings
bullet1.gif (837 bytes) Spiritual Beliefs of
the Bahá'í Faith
bullet1.gif (837 bytes) A System for
Global Governance
bullet1.gif (837 bytes) A Century of
Growth and
Expansion
bullet1.gif (837 bytes) New Approaches
to Old Problems
bullet1.gif (837 bytes) Towards the New
World Order

Unity in Diversity

AROUND THE GLOBE, BAHÁ'ÍS WORK FOR CHANGE, SHARING A COMMON PURPOSE AND A UNIFIED VISION

Kimiko Schwerin lives in a suburb of Tokyo with her American husband John, where together they operate a successful language school. Born in Nagasaki, Ms. Schwerin has in many ways broken the mold for a Japanese woman of her generation. Not only did she marry a foreigner--an act for which she was once slapped in the face by a disapproving stranger--she is also active in a variety of activities aimed at promoting the equality of women.

Stanlake Kukama, who as a young man was a regional official for the African National Congress in South Africa, gave up politics in the 1950s to pursue a different path towards ending apartheid in his native land. Although he is now retired, his goal or the last 30 years has been to assist in the building of an integrated community of people that could serve to demonstrate the possibility of harmonious relations between blacks and whites in Southern Africa.

"All men have been created to carry forward an ever-advancing civilization." --Bahá'u'lláh

Primo Pacsi lives high in the Andes mountains of Bolivia, where he grows potatoes on steep hillside land that has been in his family for generations. A member of the Aymara people, Mr. Pacsi has only a fourth grade education.

Nevertheless, he has helped to start a pre-school for the children in his village, which provides an important educational boost during their most important developmental years. He has also led the way in bringing a new kind of inexpensive solar-heated greenhouse to his village, a project which has permitted him and his neighbors to grow a variety of fruits and vegetables--items which do not otherwise grow at such altitudes.

Although different in their cultural heritages, educational backgrounds, and national origins, Ms. Schwerin, Mr. Kukama, and Mr. Pacsi are united by a common belief in the Bahá'í Faith--and a commitment to its ideals.

The worldwide Bahá'í community may well be the most diverse and wide-spread body of people on earth. It is also among the world's most unified organizations, a feature that is perhaps its most distinguishing characteristic.

Bahá'ís the world over come from all religious backgrounds: Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jain, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, Zoroastrian, animist, and non-religious. Yet they study a common set of sacred writings, observe a unifying code of religious laws, and look to a single international administrative system for continuing guidance.

"Let your vision be world-embracing, rather than confined to your own self " --Bahá'u'lláh

Their sense of unity goes beyond a shared theology. It is expressed in an abiding commitment to a global program for moral, spiritual and social progress that represents many of the finest ideals of civilization.

Promoting equality of women and men is a primary goal, as is ending racial and ethnic strife. Encouraging the concept of economic justice for all peoples is another major objective. So is ensuring access to good education for all. The community eschews all forms of superstition and sets for its followers the goal of meeting the highest moral standard. World peace and the establishment of a united global commonwealth has been and remains a distinguishing concern.

Indeed, no other world organization of similar diversity, whether affiliated along religious, political, or social lines, can claim a membership as committed to a vision that is at once so singular, coherent and universal.

The source of this vision is Bahá'u'lláh (1817-1892), the Founder of the Bahá'í Faith. A Persian nobleman who spent the last 40 years of His life as a prisoner and an exile, He authored the equivalent of more than 100 volumes--writings which today form the foundation on which the worldwide Bahá'í community stands. continues continues


"Excerpted from The Bahá'ís, a publication of the Bahá'í International Community."


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Photo from page 8

Bahá'ís from Native American backgrounds perform a traditional dance at an international Bahá'í conference in Montreal in 1982.

Photo from page 9

Primo Pacsi, center, stands with his pre-school class in the village of Laku Lakuni, high in the Bolivian Andes.

Photo from page 10
John and Kimiko Schwerin, in the living room of their home in a Tokyo suburb.

 

 


 

 

 

 

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