McKenzie Journey
World Religions 160
Dr. Jonathan Siedel

Bahai


One of the newest religions, stemming from Iran no more than 150 years ago today , is Bahai. With about 5 million followers currently , Bahai is the newest monotheistic religion. Most of the 5 million followers are living in Africa and Asia, the religion is continuing to grow every day.
When trying to understand the Bahai religion, it is important to know where and how it came to be. Bahai started between 1844 and 1850. After the Persian cultures shifted toward Islamic religions post 1,000 years of Muslim rule, two new figures emerged in the religion world. Bab, or known as Gate, and Baha'u'llah, known as Glory of God. These figures where raised in Iran and brought up in a spiritual community who eventually became the two central spiritual figures for the Bahai religion. Throughout Bab's ministry, he came up with new laws for what now is the Bahai religion. People who worship Bahai are known as Babis. The B abis view ed Bab as "a gate that opened the way for Him Whom God shall make manifest" (Urubshurow 164) . Among the community of the babis was a person who professed himself to be the manifestation that was predicted by the Bab. This person became Baha'u' llah (Glory of God).
The ultimate pr inciple of the religion is the G od himself. The babis think of their g od as a unique , powerful, know-all deity who created the world. The B abis say G od is too great and too subtle to be fully understood by any being. Although, people can advance through stages of spiritual growth and eventually open their hearts to the exceptional beauty of their God. The religion has many signs and opportun ity's that B abis can get to the knowledge of God's quality's and characteristics. These characteristics include, all-powerful, all-loving, and infinitely just. The babis come to know God through contemplating hints of the characteristics in themselves and aspects of the world that God has given them. God sends messengers to teach people how you can develop the characteristics of trustwor thiness, mercy and many others. Developing these characteristics will help you in your spiritual growth.
According to Bab and Baha'u'llah's teachings, two worlds exist , the physical world and spiritual world. God sends signs from the spiritual world into the physical world, when these signs occur, humans receive divine revelations. Manifestations are an intermediate type of being between God and human beings. All signs have the same nature, they are all equal to each other from a philosophical point of view. The manifestations all display the qualities of God so that God can be approached through the beings.
In most religions, there is a spiritual path or guidance recommended for you to follow by the God or Deity. These paths are said to connect you to the God or help you along your spiritual journey. This is also the case when obtaining to the Bahai religion, there is a spiritual path called The Four Valleys. Baha'u'llah created this spiritual path tha t d escribes the aspects of God according to four Arabic words, intended one, praiseworthy one, attracting one, and beloved one. When starting in the first valley, the intended one, the seeker begins their spiritual journey to find the intended one. Finding the intended one means seeking God's signs a n d finding them everywhere, in yourself and in nature. Recognizing God is everywhere in nature and in you. Once you found these manifestations all around you, you move to the second valley. The second valley being, the praiseworthy one, you must acknowledge the truth of God's signs. The seeker must find a place to dwell in the praiseworthy one and attain the truth of God's signs. This is the stage of reason, reasoning cannot bring comprehension of these truths, you have to attain them as well . The seeker then will go through trials of these knowledges but yet these trials with the bestowal of the knowledges . Once you have made it through the second valley, you are onto the third valley, the attracting one. In the valley, the seeker