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Community Commentary:

Baha’i faith is dedicated to unifying people

April 12, 2008|By William P. Collins

I was interested in the opinions expressed by various clergy in the In Theory article, “Wide-ranging Sunday school curriculum” (March 29).

I happen to know the organizers of this children’s class and the religious community for which it is a core activity.

These types of children’s classes are not, as a couple of the commentators stated, a “destructive . . . New Age indoctrination” nor are they an attempt to create a generic, watered-down version of each religious tradition that will confuse the children.

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These classes are, in fact, organized by members of the Baha’i faith and impart the essential principles of that faith: that there is only one true God; that He has revealed and will continue to reveal Himself progressively throughout history at various times and to various people; that there is therefore only one religion of God, the various chapters of which we call Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, Islam or Baha’i; and that humanity is one, and all are God’s children.

The Baha’i faith is a world religion whose purpose is the unification of the peoples of the world in one universal cause, one common faith.

They are followers of Baha’u’llah (“the Glory of God,” 1817-1892), whom Baha’is believe to be the Promised One of all religions and the most recent of the great founders of religion or divine revealers that Baha’is call “Manifestations of God.”

In these classes, each religion and its traditions is respected; at the same time, the teachings of the Baha’i faith are shared in a spirit of love, as a gift to children and parents alike.

Baha’is believe, in the end, that there is a central truth taught by all the religions for the spiritual and ethical foundation of civilization: the Golden Rule, stated in such forms as “Wish not for others, that which you would not wish for yourself,” “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” etc.

It is fair to say, in my opinion, that some of the writers who disliked the idea of these classes are not sympathetic to the Baha’i faith or to its teaching of the oneness of religion.

But the classes are, in fact, the reflection of a religious tradition — the Baha’i Faith — more than 160 years old.

No one who attends the classes, whether child or parent, is ever pressured to accept Baha’i beliefs or to become a Baha’i.

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