Baha'i Library Online

COLLECTIONTranscripts of videos and audio
TITLEWhat Is Baha'i?: World's Newest Major Religion
AUTHOR 1Drew Binsky
NOTES Transcript prepared by Doug Couper from video online at
TAGSAlan Coupe; Introductory; Rainn Wilson

1. Transcript (see video below)

What Is Baha'i? World's Newest Major Religion
uploaded by Drew Brinsky
2020 July 16
10:45 minutes
Video description: Exclusive interviews with Rainn Wilson, Steve Sarowitz and Radiance Talley follow up on Mr. Brinsky's attraction to Baha'i beliefs after first encountering them at the Lotus Temple in Delhi.
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Rainn Wilson (RW) - Hi, I'm Rainn Wilson and today we're going to learn a little bit about the Baha'i Faith [Music].

Drew Brinsky (DB) - Back in 2015, when I was on a solo backpacking trip around India, I found myself at this beautiful white temple in Delhi that looks something like the Sydney Opera House in the shape of a flower. A very kind Indian man told me that the temple belongs to the Baha'i Faith, a religion that I had never heard of before, but as I continued to travel across 191 countries, I kept seeing more and more of these unique temples like in Uganda, Germany and Panama. I met countless Baha'is who introduced me to their faith and I find it so beautiful and uplifting that I wanted to tell you all about it in this video, because I think many of you guys out there can resonate.

(DB interviewing RW) - How would you explain Baha'i in a nutshell to someone who has no idea what it is?

(RW) - There's only one God. God educates humanity by sending divine teachers every once in a while - the Buddha, Jesus, Muhammad - these are some of these divine teachers. They're essentially teaching one religion so there's one God, one religion that is gradually unfolding like chapters in a course book and Baha'u'llah is the most recent of these divine teachers, and his teachings are totally relevant to what's going on in the world today, (the) #MeToo (movement), #BlackLivesMatter, economic disparity between rich and poor (and the) environment.

Radiance Talley (RT) - There's a quote that says to be Baha'i means to love the world, to love humanity and try to serve it, to work for universal peace and universal brotherhood, so service is so central to the Baha'i revelation - understanding that all the teachings of the Baha'i faith revolve around the oneness of humanity; this belief in this one God that loves us all, this one progressive religion and this one human family.

Steve Sarowitz (SS) - So the Baha'i faith is all about ridding the world of all our prejudices like racism, sexism, nationalism and religious prejudice; and understanding the true oneness that humanity is one human family. ... [Music] ...

(DB) - The Baha'i faith is an independent world religion founded in Iran in 1844. It has been described as the youngest of all the world's major religions and it has a quickly growing following, so how does one practise Baha'i?

(RW) - So to be a Baha'i is to be a Christian or a Jew or a Muslim.

(SS) - The way I like to say it is this: I'm a Jew as long as I can also be a Christian. I'm a Christian as long as I can also be a Muslim, and I'm a Muslim as long as I can also be a Baha'i.

(DB) - I love it.

(SS) - and I'm a Hindu and a Buddhist too along the way.

(RW) - So to practise being a Baha'i, it's really pretty simple. We read some writings in the morning and the evening plus

(SS) - (we say) 95 Allah-u-Abhas. Allah-u-Abha is 'God is most glorious' and we say that 95 times a day [Allah-u-Abha repeated 5 times by SS while walking].

(RW) - That's part of our kind of daily ritual. We say a prayer between noon and sunset. You know the Muslims bow five times a day to Mecca. The Baha'is just say one very short prayer: "I bear witness O my God that thou has created me to know Thee and to worship Thee, I testify at this moment to my powerlessness (and) to Thy might, to my poverty and to Thy wealth; that there is none other God but Thee, the help in peril, the self-subsisting." That's it.

(DB) - That's all?

(RW) - That's it.

(DB) - Morning and night?

(DB) - No, just between noon and sunset.

(DB) - What is the text of the Baha'i? So obviously we have the Bible and the Torah and the Quran. What is it called in (the) Baha'i faith?

(RT) - So our most holy book is called the Kitab-i-Aqdas and now with the Baha'i faith, it's not like we were just given one book. We have many books, so we don't limit ourselves to just reading and studying one. We have thousands of prayers and thousands of texts.

(DB) - How many Baha'is can we find in the world?

(SS) - About officially maybe six or seven million, but unofficially there's probably closer to ten.

(DB) - In fact, Baha'i is considered to be the second most widespread religion in the world as there are members in 236 unique countries and territories. What I really love about the Baha'i temples is that every one of them is open to every human being regardless of race, religion, gender. It's open to all and that is such a beautiful thing.

(DB) - So you grew up Jewish?

(SS) - I did.

(DB) - When did you become interested in Baha'i and convert? I guess, do you call it convert?

(SS) - We call it 'declare' because what you don't do with Baha'i is you don't abandon your religion so, for example, I was raised Jewish (and) I'm not saying that Judaism is wrong. In fact, I'm saying Judaism is right AND I'm a Baha'i.

(DB) - What does being a Baha'i mean to you?

(RT) - One thing that it means to me is that world peace, it's not just a 'what if', or a possibility. It is inevitable and it will happen one day, and as a Baha'i, it is my job to have hope and do what I can to serve and bring about this oneness.

(RW) - To be a Baha'i really just means to be of service to humanity, so Baha'is, wherever you go around the world, are trying to make the world a better place.

(SS) - As a Baha'i, we see everything as reflecting God - all of God's creation, every living thing, and we are the caretakers. As humans, we're the highest created thing. We are higher than animals, we are higher than plants, and we're in charge of the world, and so we must love animals - not less because we're higher than them, but more so because the animals can't defend themselves. We, as you know, are the greatest predator on earth, and instead of being the greatest predator, we should be loving and kind to all the animals.

(RT) - Being a Baha'i, it comforts me, it provides solace and hope, it confirms me and what I do, and what I love to do; and it inspires / shines light on the path I need to take; and what I need to do to get there.

(RW) - We definitely need to work to be more internationally cooperative; and the more that we can have treaties and cooperation, and love and trust built up between countries, the more that war can be put on the back burner.

(DB) - As you've already heard me say a million times, my single biggest realization from visiting almost every country in the world is that every human being is the same. After learning that this is also the core belief of the Baha'i faith, I am looking forward to reading and learning more about it on my spiritual journey around the world.

(DB) - Thank you guys so much for watching. I hope you learned a thing or two, and please comment below with your thoughts. Have an awesome day and I will see you later. [Music]

(DB) - Aside from racial injustice, what are the other biggest issues that the world faces, in your opinion, right now?

(RW) - The biggest issue for me on the plate of the world right now is climate change because we have to take steps now. It is so urgent that we have to take steps to reduce carbon emissions; to not have our children and grandchildren living in hell where there's hundreds of millions of climate refugees which will throw any kind of economic progress the world is making into complete disarray.

(RW) - But this is the thing - I think gender equity is super important in the Baha'i writings and in the world, universal education is super important, in both the Baha'i writings and in the world (and) the elimination of extremes of wealth and poverty is a really important teaching in the Baha'i faith as well, so I think those are those are the big ones, but listen - here's the problem. All these systems are broken.

(RW) - Every system you can imagine is broken because it's built on a faulty foundation: the banking system, economic system, food distribution system, agriculture system, health care system (and) education system. Talk to anyone that works in any system (like) philanthropy. They'll tell you how corrupt it is, and how it's barely hanging on and it's on the verge of falling apart. There's not a system out there that people are like 'Hey, that's a pretty darn good system that's working right there'.

(DB) - The reason is because of greed?

(RW) - It's built on greed and it's not built on a foundation of spiritual truths which is (that) we are beautiful children of the divine, we need to love one another, we need to connect hearts, we need to be in service to one another, following in the footsteps of Jesus and Muhammad and the Buddha, and build our systems based on mutual trust, cooperation (and) love. It sounds like hippy-dippy kind of airy-fairy, pie-in-the-sky naive dreams, but if we want to make a better world, that's where we have to put our focus.

(SS) - We live, all of us, in what will be known in the future as the Baha'i era. This is the era when the world is going to finally arrive at world peace. I believe that Baha'u'llah has revealed to the world, in his 60 Christian Bibles of writing, the whole road map that the world needs to get to world peace, and I would ask you to read his writings for yourself. Baha'u'llah said that everyone should investigate truth for themselves. I would encourage everybody to investigate His writings, His faith and decide if you like it. Now alternatively, if you have a better answer; if you know the way to world peace, pursue it and work side by side with us, but if you're not sure; if you think that maybe you might want to look and see if there's a better way to get to peace, look at what the Baha'is have to say; and consider it and, who knows, you might like it.

DB - Great. Thank you so much. I'm Drew Binsky and if you like my travel videos, please click Subscribe and join me as I plan to visit every country in the world.

2. Video

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