Some Baha'i beliefs

Unity of man

In the Baha'i Teachings we are told that we are the fruits of one tree and the leaves of one branch. Although we differ from one another physically and emotionally, although we have different talents and capacities, we all spring from the same root; we all belong to the same human family.

Humanity can be likened to a vast garden in which grow side by side flowers of every form, color and perfume. The charm and beauty of the garden lie in this diversity. We should not allow the differences that exist among us in our physical characteristics, our temperaments, our backgrounds, our thoughts and opinions to give rise to conflict and strife. We should see the members of the human race as beautiful flowers growing in the garden of humanity and rejoice in belonging to this garden.

God

There is only one God, without beginning and without end.Baha'u'llah teaches us that God is unknowable in His essence. This means that we should not make images of God in our mind, thinking of Him for example as a man. God is not in the form of man. Man in the 'the image of God' refers not to physical form but spiritual qualities which man can reflect. God is the creator of everything including man. Therefore man cannot know Him. The table cannot understand the carpenter who made it. In general that which has been created cannot know or understand its creator. God is the creator of all things and the reason behind our creation is love. Baha'u'llah teaches us that God loved us, and we were created from this love.

Purpose of life

Life should be seen as an eternal process of joyous spiritual discovery and growth: in the beginning stages of earthly life, the individual undergoes a period of training and education which, if it is successful, gives him or her the basic intellectual and spiritual tools necessary for continued growth. When individuals attain physical maturity in adulthood, they become responsible for their further progress, which now depends entirely on the efforts they themselves make. Through the daily struggles of material existence, people gradually deepen their understanding of the spiritual principles underlying reality, and this understanding enables them to relate more effectively to themselves, to others, and to God. After physical death, the individual continues to grow and develop in the spiritual world, which is greater than the physical world, just as the physical world is greater than the world we inhabit while in our mother's womb. In summary, the spiritual reason for our life on earth is to provide us with a training ground; our life is a period of growth during which we focus on the development of our innate spiritual and intellectual capacities. Because these capacities are faculties of our immortal soul, they are eternal, and we must make great efforts to develop them. But such efforts are worthwhile, since the soul is the only part of us which endures. Whatever promotes our spiritual development is good, and whatever hinders it is bad.

Nature of man

The Baha'i Faith teaches that man is not entirely a part of nature. Although he depends on nature for his survival, he has the power to overcome and change nature to his advantage. It is not difficult to observe that man is driven by his innate survival and sexual instincts in order to survive and procreate. His ability to create his own destiny, to explore the universe and discover the mysterious works of creation, however, shows that he is more than just an instinctive higher form of animal. The Baha'is believe that man has a spiritual nature and the motivation to accomplish things beyond his own interests originates from his spiritual nature. To elaborate on the spiritual reality of man, it would be appropriate to dwell a little on the concepts of soul expounded by Baha'u'llah. The soul is a non-material entity, it cannot be measured or understood by material means. It is not confined by time, space and gravity. It first comes into being at the moment of conception, it has no pre-existence and lives on eternally after the physical body dies. When the soul passes on to the world beyond, it brings with it the powers of memory, knowledge, understanding and imagination, .the powers that the soul develops through its connection with the body while living in the physical world.

Life after death

After the death of the body the spirit perishes, is like imagining that a bird in a cage will be destroyed if the cage is broken. Christ said: 'In My Father's house, there are many mansions'. Baha'u'llah also taught that there are many worlds of God. When we die our bodies return to dust and ashes, but our souls go on to these other worlds. Our souls are freed like the bird released from the cage. Once free of this earthly body, our souls go on to the spiritual worlds always progressing towards God. Baha'u'llah tells us that the worlds after this world are so glorious that if we could see what they are like, we would not wish to stay on this earth, but would want to leave immediately.

Do Baha'is believe in heaven and hell? Baha'is believe that heaven and hell are not places but states of being. One can be in heaven while he is still on earth if he has done something good. He can also be in hell while on earth if he has done something wrong. Heaven is nearness to God; hell is separation from God. Heaven is the presence of spiritual qualities; hell is absence of these qualities or imperfection.