What is the Goal of the Bahá'í Faith?

Religion is the chief foundation of Love and Unity and the cause of Oneness. If a religion become the cause of hatred and disharmony, it would be better that it should not exist. To be without such a religion is better than to be with it. -‘Abdu’l-Bahá (The appointed successor of Bahá’u’lláh)

The first Bahá'í temple was built in 1908 in
Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. It was destroyed by an
earthquake in 1948 and later demolished.
The Bahá'í Temple (House of Worship) in Wilmette,
IL, now the oldest, was dedicated in 1953.
The Bahá'í Temple ("Lotus Temple") in New Delhi,
India, was completed in 1985.
Progressive Revelation Throughout the Ages

The Bahá'í Faith is a world religion whose purpose is to unite all the races and peoples in one universal Cause and one common Faith. Bahá'ís are followers of Bahá’u’lláh, Who they believe is the Promised One of all ages. The traditions and religions of almost every people include the promise of a future when peace and harmony will be established on earth and humankind will live in prosperity. The Bahá'ís believe that the promised hour has come and that Bahá’u’lláh is that great Personage Whose Teachings will enable humanity to build a new world and establish the world peace. In one of His Writings, Bahá’u’lláh says:

That which the Lord hath ordained as the sovereign remedy and mightiest instrument for healing of all the world is the union of all its peoples in one universal Cause, one common Faith. -Bahá’u’lláh

God is One and Unknowable

The first of Bahá’u’lláh's teachings is about God and our relationship with Him. That God, our Creator, is unknowable in His essence. This means that we cannot make images of God in our mind. Basically, the created cannot understand or comprehend the Creator. But, we know God through His attributes like love, justice, power, knowledge, forgiveness, etc. God has created us in His image. This does not mean that he has a physical body like us, but that He has endowed us with the capabilities to develop the same attributes. He states:
With the hands of power I made thee and with the fingers of strength I created thee; and within thee have I placed the essence of My light. Be thou content with it and seek naught else, for My work is perfect and My command is binding. Question it not, nor have a doubt thereof.

True Religion is One

The Bahá'í teachings state that there is but one religion which is progressively revealed by God, through His messengers or prophets to humankind. Abraham, Moses, Zoroaster, Jesus Christ, Muhammad, Krishna, and Buddha are some of Messengers of God from the Baha’i perspective. They have appeared when and where mankind has moved far away from God.

Bahá’ís refer to God’s Messengers as Manifestations of God and regard them as divine educators who bring a renewed Revelation to a spiritually needy humanity. As humanity matures and its capacity to understand also grows, the message evolves. So, the revelation of new religions to humankind may be likened to education of a child as he or she progressively advances through higher grades each year.

The outward differences in the religions, the Bahá’í writings state, are due to the spiritual and material needs of the time and place the religion was revealed. The spiritual teachings of all religions, such as practicing love, justice, humility, honesty, patience, etc., remain the same. Yet, a greater degree of spiritual insight must be stimulated or a particular spiritual lesson must be learned so that humanity may develop over the millennia. Thus, the social laws of the religion may be changed: some will be annulled while others are expanded and new laws are revealed according to the needs of the time and place. These may include such things as dietary restrictions, the constitution of religious institutions, and the performance of specific devotional rites.

Bahá’u’lláh, the founder of the Bahá’í Faith, claimed to be the most recent, but not the last, in a series of Divine Educators.

The Bahá’í writings state that the essential nature of the Manifestations is twofold: they are at once human and divine. They are divine in that they all receive a holy dispensation to be the Representative of God and expound His teachings, but at the same time they are separate individuals known by different names, who fulfill a unique mission, and are entrusted with a particular revelation.

Regarding this unity of religions and the Messengers of God, Bahá’u’lláh explains:

Know thou assuredly that the essence of all the Prophets of God is one and the same. Their unity is absolute. -Bahá’u’lláh

Humanity is One

In the Bahá'í Teachings, we are told that the reality of each individual is his/her soul which is immortal and not the body. That is to say human beings are essentially, spiritual beings. God loves His creation and all are equal in His sight. Bahá’u’lláh states:
The Great Being saith: O well-beloved ones! The tabernacle of unity hath been raised; regard ye not one another as strangers. Ye are the fruits of one tree, and the leaves of one branch... Deal ye one with another with the utmost love and harmony, with friendliness and fellowship. -Bahá’u’lláh
Although we differ from one another physically and emotionally, although we have different talents and capacities, we all spring from the same root: we all belong to the same human family. Bahá'ís strive to achieve unity in diversity.
Know ye not why We created you all from the same dust? That no one should exalt himself over the other. Ponder at all times in your hearts how ye were created. Since We have created you all from one same substance it is incumbent on you to be even as one soul, to walk with the same feet, eat with the same mouth and dwell in the same land, that from your inmost being, by your deeds and actions, the signs of oneness and the essence of detachment may be made manifest. Such is My counsel to you, O concourse of light! Heed ye this counsel that ye may obtain the fruit of holiness from the tree of wondrous glory.

The Reason for Creation

Bahá’u’lláh tells us that the reason behind creation is God's love for His creation and that we are created as noble and spiritual beings. He states:
I loved thy creation, hence I created thee. Wherefore, do thou love Me, that I may name thy name and fill thy soul with the spirit of life.
And ...
Veiled in My immemorial being and in the ancient eternity of My essence, I knew My love for thee; therefore I created thee, have engraved on thee Mine image and revealed to thee My beauty.

©2015 The Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Salem, Oregon. All Rights Reserved.