Baha'i Library Online

COLLECTIONTranscripts of videos and audio
TITLEWhat is the Baha'i Faith?: History, overview, and more!
AUTHOR 1 I Am Your Target Demographic
NOTES Transcript prepared by Doug Couper from video online at
TAGSAlan Coupe; Introductory

1. Transcript (see video below)

What is the Baha'i Faith? History, overview, and more!
uploaded by I am Your Target Demographic
2022 August 23
6:22 minutes
Video description: An educational video on the history of the Baha'i faith and what Baha'is believe including a focus on interfaith work, and how the idea of progressive revelation plays out.
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Welcome to I Am Your Target Demographic and welcome to our newest video on world religions. Today we’re covering what’s called the Baha’i Faith and the people practising it, called Baha’is. What is this religion? What do people practising this faith believe? This is a superficial video, as you can tell by the length of the video, but hopefully this can help give you a zoomed- out summary, and if you find it interesting, you can do some deep dives into the parts that intrigue you.

The Baha’i faith is a relatively new one, dawning in the 1800s. A few key figures laid the foundation for the religion, including the founder of a religion called Babism, an independent religion springing out of Islam, just as Christianity was in relation to Judaism. The founder, a young Persian merchant named Siyyid Ali Muhammad, took the title of The Bab, meaning The Gate in Arabic. His purpose was to announce and prepare the world for the coming of a Manifestation from God, who would usher in an age of peace and justice, which has been promised in most of the world’s religions. This can be somewhat equated to the work of John the Baptist who was preparing for the arrival of Jesus in Christian religions.

The Bab’s Revelation was, after Islam, the next in a series of progressive revelations from God that began millennia ago, and have included multiple messengers such as Jesus, Buddha and Muhammad. The Bab’s revelation was the completion of the Prophetic Cycle and the forerunner of a universal prophetic cycle. I could do a whole video on just this foundation, but it ultimately ended in the execution of the Bab, killed by the Persian government, alongside thousands of His followers.

We then have a man named Baha’u’llah, who claimed that He received a new revelation from God and He claimed to be a messenger as outlined by the Bab before Him, believed to be the promised one spoken of by the Bab and by the divine messengers before Him. This was a blasphemy against His primarily Islamic state, so He was banished. He received many revelations and messages, reinforcing that He was on a vital mission. He was imprisoned on and off again for the rest of His life, eventually passing away at 74 in prison. Throughout His life, He wrote letters and books recounting his revelations, which would form the foundation for the Baha’i faith.

His son makes up the third central figure, named Abdul-Baha, who took these teachings and began to spread them across the globe, responsible for forming the body of what has become the Baha’i faith. While sprouting from Islam, you’ll see that the Baha’i faith is a very different and unique religion now. Some compare it to the way Christianity evolved from Judaism to become its own unique identity, but still holding many historical and cultural facets intact.

So let’s look at what the Baha’i faith believes. A major aspect is this idea of messengers, or sometimes called Manifestations of God. These are the leaders of world religions across time, like I mentioned Jesus or Muhammad, or even figures like Buddha, Krishna, Abraham, and Moses. Followers of the Baha’i faith believe that all of the world’s major religions are fundamentally unified in purpose - they just differ based on the time in which they were revealed and the requirements of those eras. These messengers are all sent to transform the character of mankind, it is said. The three big foundational principles of the Baha’i faith revolve around the unity of God (that He is an unknowable essence beyond any description), the unity of religion (that they are all working to develop moral qualities in people), and the unity of humanity - meaning that things like racism and sexism have absolutely no place in our world and each person has been created equal in the likeness of God. This all culminates in a unified world order, where people from all nations and across all classes can prosper. The Baha’i faith has been at the forefront of interfaith efforts and promoting co-existence mentalities, in an effort to bridge these religions that are often at-odds.

What does the Baha’i faith say about God? As I said before, He is unknowable, they believe, just as a table can’t comprehend the carpenter who made it - All-Powerful, All-Knowing, Eternal. They also believe God to be inaccessible, though they believe He showed purpose in our creation and He delivers new revelations through these messengers (and more are to come in the future). [Last phrase included in video cc but not audio. (-D.C. 2024)]

Now, followers of the Baha’i faith do still pray, but they pray in order to achieve a spiritual state and to feel closer to God, to better their own conduct. The Baha’I faith is also fairly unique among most religions (in) that it has no clergy, again valuing unity amongst its members versus a hierarchy. The only authority, so to speak, is what’s called the Universal House of Justice, created to settle any disagreements or attempts to fracture the religion. This body is nine individuals, elected every five years. Physically this building resides in Israel, on Mount Carmel. Across the world, there are Spiritual Assemblies, which are responsible for the everyday affairs of their members at local and national levels.

Something is working when it comes to spiritual outreach, as the Baha’i faith is considered one of the fastest growing religions, somewhere between 7 and 9 million members worldwide. Many people come to this religion because of its focus on inclusivity, including its gender views. The Baha’i faith likens man and woman to the two wings of a bird, each essential and balance is crucial in order to fly. So hopefully this helps you understand the basic gist of the Baha’i faith. Like all of my videos, this is incredibly superficial. To go into all the texts and letters that were written to form the Baha’i faith [captions vary from audio], would be a daunting project.

So if this is interesting, hopefully you continue your research and dive a little deeper on your own. I want to thank the members of the Baha'i faith that reviewed this script and video, because accuracy is extremely important to me. Let me know in the comments what other religions you’d love a snapshot of and thanks for watching.

2. Video

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