The Bahá’í Faith
The Bahá’í Faith is the youngest of the world’s independent religions. Bahá’ís live in 235 countries and territories throughout the world. They come from over 2100 ethnic, racial, and tribal groups and number some five million worldwide. Founded in Iran in 1844, the Bahá’í Faith was introduced to Canada in 1898. There are now some 30,000 Canadian Bahá’ís living in local communities spread throughout every province and territory. For more than a century, Bahá’ís in Canada and around the world have been working to eliminate prejudice of all kinds, contributing to a new model of global society that is characterized by unity and harmony, justice and peace.
Bahá’u’lláh, the Founder of the Bahá’í Faith, taught that there is one God Who progressively reveals His will to humanity. Each of the great religions brought by the Messengers of God - Moses, Krishna, Buddha, Zoroaster, Jesus, Muhammad - represents a successive stage in the spiritual development of civilization. Bahá’u’lláh (1817-1892), the most recent Messenger in this line, has brought teachings that address the moral and spiritual challenges of the modern world. Bahá’u’lláh’s message that humanity is a single race, and that the time has come to establish the unity of our global society, provides a powerful perspective that enables us to understand current history.
God, Bahá’u’lláh said, has set in motion forces that are breaking down traditional barriers of race, class, creed, and nation and that will, in time, give birth to a universal civilization. The principal challenge facing the peoples of the earth is to accept the fact of their oneness and to assist the processes leading humanity to unity. Bahá’í principles include the oneness of humanity and the oneness of God and the belief that all the great religions of the world are divine in origin and one in their essential message of love. Bahá’í teachings encourage world-mindedness and promote the development of international institutions of world governance capable of managing the global challenges that confront humankind today.
The equality of women and men, the harmony of science and religion, universal education, and the eradication of all forms of prejudice are among Bahá’í social principles. Prayer, the development of one’s capacities and talents in service of humanity, the pursuit of knowledge, and the practice of a profession or trade are among those principles vital to personal and family life and to the healthy development of the soul towards a future life beyond our physical existence. Bahá’ís place great emphasis on the importance of developing vibrant local communities devoted to principles of unity, service to others, education of children and young people, and the central role of knowledge and the arts. Just as the Bahá’í International Community has consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council, working with UN agencies and non-governmental organizations at the international level, the Bahá’í Community of Canada collaborates closely with governments and organizations of civil society in this country.