Do we have a moral duty to bring others to faith?
Most of the world’s great religions encourage their members to spread
the message of their faith by word and by deed: to teach the faith and
to live the life. Such a moral duty follows naturally from belief in an
omniscient, all-powerful, supremely loving Divine Being who desires to
communicate His will to humanity.
Bahá’ís believe that a
rational, loving God desires to make Himself known to humanity through
the Prophets or “Divine Manifestations,” who embody supreme love for
humanity, but who also express the divine Will, revealed through
“progressive revelation,” the periodical but co-ordinated appearance of
a series of Divine Messengers who reveal the various holy books
according to the needs of an evolving humanity.
We believe that
the twin messengers, the Báb (the Gate) (1819-1850) and Bah’u’lláh (the
Glory of God) (1817-1892), are the latest, authentic True Prophets for
our age, whose teachings are designed to establish a richly diverse but
united world community, based on the oneness of mankind and the unity
of religion, their essential teachings. Naturally we feel an urgent
duty to share the news of this latest revelation, particularly at such
a critical juncture in mankind’s troubled history.
certain restrictions apply. Bahá’ís are exhorted to teach their faith
passionately, but courteously and wisely. The listener should be open
and receptive. Proselytizing is forbidden. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, (Servant of
Glory) (1844-1921), the son and successor of Bah’u’lláh, wrote in The
Secret of Divine Civilization: “Nothing in the world can ever be
supported by words alone” (p. 56). Consequently, we are encouraged to
teach by the most effective means — example: “O Son of Dust! Verily I
say unto thee: Of all men the most negligent is he that disputeth idly
and seeketh to advance himself over his brother. Say, O brethren! Let
deeds, not words, be your adorning” (Persian Hidden Words, no. 5).
we are always ready to engage in faith-based conversations, we are
prohibited from quarrelling with people of other faiths. Consultation
is recommended. Nor do we condemn followers of our sister religions or
take an exclusive stance of moral or doctrinal superiority over other
faiths. Ours remains an invitation, timely but urgent. -