The Bahá'í Faith in Nashville

  The Bahá'í Faith has been an active part of religious and social life in Middle Tennessee since the 1930's.

 

  We are a recognized advocate for spiritual solutions based on the Teachings of Bahá'u'lláh on issues such as the elimination of all forms of prejudice with an emphasis on race unity, the equality of women and men, the spiritual education of children, the importance of family cohesion, and the establishment of world peace.

 

  Bahá'u'lláh is God’s Messenger for this day, a day in which all humanity is spiritually mature and can visualize the reality of uniting to build the Kingdom of God on Earth.

 

Teachings on Christ

 

  Bahá'u'lláh fulfills the paradoxical promises of Christ's return "in the Glory of the Father" and as a "thief in the night."

 

  That the Faith was founded in 1844 relates to numerous Christian prophecies. Bahá'ís note, for example, that central Africa was finally opened to Christianity in the 1840s, and that event was widely seen as fulfilling the promise that Christ would return after "the Gospel had been preached 'to all nations.'"

 

   In Bahá'u'lláh's teachings Bahá'ís see fulfillment of Christ's promise to bring all people together so that "there shall be one fold, and one shepherd."

 

    Here is how this promise is reflected in the Bahá’í sacred texts:  "Thou hast created all humanity from the same stock.  Thou hast decrede that all shall belong to the same household.  In Thy Holy Presence they are all Thy servants, and all mankind are sheltered beneath Thy Tabernacle; all have gathered at Thy Table of Bounty; all are illumined through the light of Thy Providence...."

 

Race Unity

 

  Racism is one of the most challenging issues confronting America. A nation whose ancestry includes every people on earth, whose motto is E Pluribus Unum, whose ideals of freedom under law have inspired millions throughout the world, cannot continue to harbor prejudice against any racial or ethnic group without betraying itself.

 

   Racism is an affront to human dignity, a cause of hatred and division, a disease that devastates society.

 

  The oneness of humanity is the pivot round which revolve all the teachings of the Bahá’í Faith. It is at once a statement of principle and an assertion of the ultimate goal of human experience on the planet. More than a century ago, Bahá’u’lláh, the Prophet-Founder of the Bahá’í Faith, wrote: “The well-being of mankind, its peace and security, are unattainable unless and until its unity is firmly established.”

 

  The oneness of humanity is a spiritual truth abundantly confirmed by science. Recognition of this truth compels the abandonment of all prejudices of race, color, creed, nation, and class—of “everything which enables people to consider themselves superior to others.”

 

   The responsibility for the achievement of racial peace and unity in the United States rests upon Americans of all racial and ethnic backgrounds.

 

  To build a society in which the rights of all its members are respected and guaranteed, all races must be animated with the spirit of optimism and faith in the eventual realization of their highest aspirations.

 

  No one race of people should assume that the responsibility for the elimination of prejudice and of its effects belongs exclusively to another. All must recognize that unity is essential for their common survival.

 

  All must recognize that there is only one human species. All must recognize that a harmoniously functioning society that permits the full expression of the potential of all persons can resolve the social and economic problems now confounding a society wracked with disunity.

 

  All groups must understand that no real change will come about without close association, fellowship, and friendship among diverse people.

 

  Diversity of color, nationality, and culture enhances the human experience and should never be made a barrier to harmonious relationships, to friendship, or to marriage. “O well-beloved ones!” Bahá’u’lláh wrote, “The tabernacle of unity has been raised; regard ye not one another as strangers. Ye are the fruits of one tree and the leaves of one branch.”

 

Gender Equality

 

 

  Bahá'ís believe that the achievement of full equality between the sexes is essential to human progress and the transformation of society. Inequality retards not only the advancement of women but the progress of civilization itself.

 

  For more than a century the United States Bahá'í community has been involved in advancing the status of women and bringing to realization the principle of the equality of women and men through involvement with like-minded local and national programs and organizations.

 

Spiritual Education

 

  The purpose of religion is to bring about fellowship and harmony among people. True civilization is based on the laws and teachings of God, and is spiritual. For such a civilization to emerge requires that individuals dedicate themselves to serving others in the light of divine principles:

 

” Do not busy yourselves in your own concerns; let your thoughts be fixed upon that which will rehabilitate the fortunes of mankind and sanctify the hearts and souls of men. This can best be achieved through pure and holy deeds, through a virtuous life and goodly behavior...Cleave unto righteousness.”

 

  Education is an important aspect of human progress, because it helps to ensure that people acquire the outlook and skills necessary to contribute to an ever progressing society. Education should include moral issues as well as intellectual knowledge. As is stated in the Bahá’í writings:

 

  “It is incumbent upon the friends of God to exert such an effort and strive with such eagerness to promote Divine Knowledge, culture and the sciences, that erelong those who are schoolchildren today will become the most erudite of all the fraternity of the wise. This is a service rendered unto God Himself, and it is one of His inescapable commandments."