Sharing Baha'i Beliefs
How do Baha'is spread their faith?
Although the Baha’i Faith forbids proselytizing — including any form of psychological pressure or material inducements to effect conversion — efforts to share the faith with the general public and attract receptive populations have been a focus of Baha’i activity from the faith’s inception. Baha’is believe that Baha’u'llah’s message offers specific and important answers to the diverse and grave problems facing humanity. Accordingly, Baha’is are eager to share this message with those who express interest.
The Baha’i world community is in the midst of a vast, global process of systematic learning, growth and expansion. For a period of 25 years (1996 to 2021) the Baha’i world will focus on a single overarching purpose: to "advance the process of entry by troops." A study of the Baha’i sacred writings on this subject shows that this phrase refers not only to the dramatic increase in the numerical size of the Baha’i community, but more importantly, to the expression of a dynamic Baha’i culture and way of life to a degree that could not be realized before.
Baha’is believe each person has the responsibility of investigating truth for himself or herself. Baha’is can best contribute to the process by making information available and providing opportunities for interested individuals to explore Baha’u'llah’s message. Baha’i classes for children, which are open to those who aren’t Baha’is, focus on moral development as expressed in the Baha’i teachings of the oneness of humankind and the unity of the world’s religions. Devotional meetings aim to provide participants, whatever their religious backgrounds, with the opportunity to discover their inner nature and begin practicing the spiritual virtues latent in the human soul. Study circles, as the term implies, are small gatherings devoted to the exploration of Baha’u'llah’s writings. Baha’is also host "firesides" — informal gatherings in their homes, where short talks and discussions about the faith are shared in a warm and hospitable atmosphere.
Baha’is also endeavor to spread their faith by "pioneering" — moving to areas where there are few Baha’is. This differs sharply from traditional missionary work, because those undertaking it are expected to pursue their own careers, be self-supporting and integrate themselves into their adopted communities.
All these activities reflect the Baha’i view that the traditional division between "believers" and "unbelievers" is a misunderstanding of the Divine purpose and an impediment to human progress. Whether a spiritual seeker is led to become a Baha’i is a matter of individual conscience and a decision to be respected by others.
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“If they arise to teach My Cause, they must let the breath of Him Who is the Unconstrained, stir them and must spread it abroad on the earth with high resolve, with minds that are wholly centered in Him, and with hearts that are completely detached from and independent of all things, and with souls that are sanctified from the world and its vanities.”— Bahá’u’lláh