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Old 10-07-2017, 11:14 PM   #1
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Why hasn’t everyone in the world heard about the Baha’i Faith?

Why hasn’t everyone in the world heard about the Baha’i Faith? More specifically, why are there so many people in the United States that have not even heard of the Baha’i Faith? I have been encountering this frequently on forums, and I also encounter it in my day to day life. For example, on one forum I have been on for over three years, which is comprised of both believers and nonbelievers, nobody on that forum even knew what the Baha’i Faith was before I showed up there?

Moreover, many nonbelievers cannot understand why there are still so few Baha’is in the world, 0.01% of the population. I know there are many reasons, but most people I talk to just do not understand this and consider us a cult or a sect of Islam.

Just tonight on another forum a poster asked me “What is Baha’i?” I could hardly believe it! I don’t get it... Is there anyone who does not know what the Mormon Faith is? Yet we are supposed to have the latest truth from an Almighty God, the Promise of All Ages:

“Surely the advent of this “Educator of Mankind,” in the latter days, when He appears, must be the greatest event in human history. And the Bahá’í Movement is proclaiming to the world the glad tidings that this Educator has in fact appeared, that His Revelation has been delivered and recorded and may be studied by every earnest seeker, that the “Day of the Lord” has already dawned and the “Sun or Righteousness” arisen. As yet only a few on the mountaintops have caught sight of the Glorious Orb, but already its rays are illumining heaven and earth, and erelong it will rise above the mountains and shine with full strength on the plains and valleys too, giving life and guidance to all.” Bahá’u’lláh and the New Era, p. 2

What is wrong with this picture? Why don’t more people even know that the Baha’i Faith exists, let alone what it teaches? I wonder what Baha’u’llah is thinking about all this.

“O ye beloved of God! Repose not yourselves on your couches, nay bestir yourselves as soon as ye recognize your Lord, the Creator, and hear of the things which have befallen Him, and hasten to His assistance. Unloose your tongues, and proclaim unceasingly His Cause. This shall be better for you than all the treasures of the past and of the future, if ye be of them that comprehend this truth.” Gleanings, p. 330

“Be unrestrained as the wind, while carrying the Message of Him Who hath caused the Dawn of Divine Guidance to break. Consider, how the wind, faithful to that which God hath ordained, bloweth upon all the regions of the earth, be they inhabited or desolate. Neither the sight of desolation, nor the evidences of prosperity, can either pain or please it. It bloweth in every direction, as bidden by its Creator. So should be every one that claimeth to be a lover of the one true God.” Gleanings, p. 339
 
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Old 10-08-2017, 06:23 AM   #2
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Yeah, I often think how mysterious it is that the Baha'i faith is so small after ~150 years. But most religions did take a long time to grow substantially, I guess.

I think when comparing the Baha'i faith to other new religions such as Mormonism or Sikhism etc its important to note that they are often concentrated in one area. For Mormons the majority of Utah is Mormon. For Sikhs even when they emigrate out of India, they often converge in one area, and so become a very visible minority.

In comparison, the Baha'i mentality is to spread ourselves to cover as wide an area as possible, no matter how thin that spread is. It's one of the central strategies of the Divine Plan, coming from Abdu'l-Baha Himself. In the Tablets of the Divine Plan He commended New York for its burgeoning Baha'i community (at the time) but directed the Baha'is to cover the length and breadth of America, and later to spread all across the world.

While this has probably diffused the Baha'i character and spirit to a vast slice of the population, who knows if numerically we would have been larger if we'd focused our energies on fewer geographical areas. Well, at least we have the consolation prize of being "the second most widespread religion after Christianity" I guess we can hope that these seeds will bear abundant fruit in future, and maybe that was the plan all along.

Last edited by divan9; 10-08-2017 at 06:28 AM.
 
Old 10-08-2017, 11:33 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by divan9 View Post
Yeah, I often think how mysterious it is that the Baha'i faith is so small after ~150 years. But most religions did take a long time to grow substantially, I guess.

I think when comparing the Baha'i faith to other new religions such as Mormonism or Sikhism etc its important to note that they are often concentrated in one area. For Mormons the majority of Utah is Mormon. For Sikhs even when they emigrate out of India, they often converge in one area, and so become a very visible minority.

In comparison, the Baha'i mentality is to spread ourselves to cover as wide an area as possible, no matter how thin that spread is. It's one of the central strategies of the Divine Plan, coming from Abdu'l-Baha Himself. In the Tablets of the Divine Plan He commended New York for its burgeoning Baha'i community (at the time) but directed the Baha'is to cover the length and breadth of America, and later to spread all across the world.

While this has probably diffused the Baha'i character and spirit to a vast slice of the population, who knows if numerically we would have been larger if we'd focused our energies on fewer geographical areas. Well, at least we have the consolation prize of being "the second most widespread religion after Christianity" I guess we can hope that these seeds will bear abundant fruit in future, and maybe that was the plan all along.
Thanks for your response. You raise a good point that we are the second most widespread religion regardless of our total numbers. I have many documents compiled regarding the reasons for the smallness of our numbers but below is the concise list I just posted to an atheist who keeps harping on the small numbers... He keeps saying that if a god had anything to do with using Baha’u’llah as his messenger to get out a message he wanted people to hear about and believe, then judging from results as conspicuously poor as 0.01% of the world believing what Baha’u’llah had to say, then reason demands that any god who did this would have been really stupid. The only other rational alternative, and the one that's most likely, would be that the god is imaginary.

I have told him many times that it is humans who are responsible for the poor results because humans have free will to choose to recognize or reject Baha’u’llah, but he has not changed his position because he insists humans have no free will. It is so illogical to blame an omnipotent and omniscient God for failing in communication, but he just keeps saying I am making excuses for god. He insists that God should communicate directly to everyone in the world because no messenger could ever represent a real God since most messengers represented what he calls imaginary gods. This dialogue has been off and on for three years and I am close to losing my mind... Why I still post to him is beyond my comprehension but it has to come to an end soon. After I posted the list below he just said I was making lame excuses for god’s failure, when obviously, all of it is related to humans.

Fact #1: ALL religions start out small and grow slowly during the first two or more centuries. How many Jews became Christians in the first century?

Fact #2: Many factors influence growth rate of religion. It is not just a matter of having the internet because the internet is just as much a hindrance as it is an aid in spreading the Baha’i Faith, given there are as many or more anti-Baha’i websites as Baha’i websites.

Fact #3: Baha’is are not allowed to proselytize in an effort to convert; we are only allowed to share our Faith when asked or if it comes up in a conversation. There have never been any forced conversions as there were in Christianity.

Fact #4: The biggest obstacle to the growth of the Baha’i Faith is the fact that about 84% of people in the world already have a religion and they are happy with their religion. So there you have 84% of the world’s population, the vast majority of which are not even willing to consider the Baha’i Faith in order to determine if it is true or not. Then we have the rest of the world’s population who are agnostics or atheists or people who believe in God but dislike any religion...

Fact #5: Because most people reject the Baha’i Faith out of hand, without even knowing anything about it, many Baha’is have become so disheartened that they have given up telling people about their Faith.

In spite of all of the obstacles that are in our way, it is amazing that the Baha’i Faith has grown as rapidly as it has and that it has the second fastest growth rate of any religion (2.8%), closely trailing Islam. Indeed, some statistics show that the Baha’i Faith is growing faster than Islam. Our growth rate far surpasses the growth rate of Christianity at 1.36%.
 
Old 10-10-2017, 01:38 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trailblazer View Post
He keeps saying that if a god had anything to do with using Baha’u’llah as his messenger to get out a message he wanted people to hear about and believe, then judging from results as conspicuously poor as 0.01% of the world believing what Baha’u’llah had to say, then reason demands that any god who did this would have been really stupid.
I find this type of thinking amusing. By his own standards, humanity was never meant to learn anything about science because we did not comprehend it in the stone age. Obviously, this means science was a failure. Of course, he would probably say that since humans were not created to be omnipotent from the outset, that too proves there could be no God. It sounds like he has a massive sense of entitlement (which of course is not his fault, since he allegedly has no free will).

I apologize for forgetting your religious background, but there are multiple quotes in the New Testament about leaving behind the places that do not welcome God's Word and "shaking the dust off your feet." It may be time to (re)visit this bit of Christian wisdom...

Last edited by Scribe; 10-10-2017 at 01:45 AM.
 
Old 10-10-2017, 03:30 AM   #5
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good question and I always think about it. in some days from now, it will be Bahaullah's 200th birthday; that means the SECOND CENTURY. it is a long time since it all started and why are we still so small a group?! when are we going to grow bigger in number? let's not say that number is not important. why are we progressing this slowly ??
 
Old 10-10-2017, 09:29 AM   #6
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This question has entered my mind as well. I was Mormon before I became Baha'i. There are some 15 million Mormons worldwide. There are only about 5 million Baha'is. Mormonism had about a thirty-year head-start, but that would not account for such a difference.

Who won in the case of the tortoise and the hare?

I once played a video game called Plague, Inc. In this game, you control the traits of a virus. Your goal is to infect and kill the entire world.

In this game, if the presence of your virus was too noticeable in any one place, it would be quarantined, and you would fail in your objective. But if your virus seemed harmless until it had established a presence in almost every nation, and then it suddenly became extremely lethal, you tended to be very successful.

The Baha'i faith has opted to establish a "harmless" presence in most nations -- one that does not significantly threaten existing political and religious structures any more than it must. Under the leadership of the Universal House of Justice, we stand poised to incite the germination of the seeds which we have sowed globally. This will take the form of the education of young people in the faith, and the education of many investigators whose curiosity is piqued by the Faith's progressive and unifying message.

We have today many resources which simply did not exist 70 years ago. Increasingly, the writings of Baha'u'llah are being translated and made available -- now for free in countries like the U.S., with the advent of the Internet.

Do not lose heart. The faith is as a rosebud in the springtime. Summer fast approaches!
 
Old 10-10-2017, 11:29 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djg View Post
This question has entered my mind as well. I was Mormon before I became Baha'i. There are some 15 million Mormons worldwide. There are only about 5 million Baha'is. Mormonism had about a thirty-year head-start, but that would not account for such a difference.

Who won in the case of the tortoise and the hare?

I once played a video game called Plague, Inc. In this game, you control the traits of a virus. Your goal is to infect and kill the entire world.

In this game, if the presence of your virus was too noticeable in any one place, it would be quarantined, and you would fail in your objective. But if your virus seemed harmless until it had established a presence in almost every nation, and then it suddenly became extremely lethal, you tended to be very successful.

The Baha'i faith has opted to establish a "harmless" presence in most nations -- one that does not significantly threaten existing political and religious structures any more than it must. Under the leadership of the Universal House of Justice, we stand poised to incite the germination of the seeds which we have sowed globally. This will take the form of the education of young people in the faith, and the education of many investigators whose curiosity is piqued by the Faith's progressive and unifying message.

We have today many resources which simply did not exist 70 years ago. Increasingly, the writings of Baha'u'llah are being translated and made available -- now for free in countries like the U.S., with the advent of the Internet.

Do not lose heart. The faith is as a rosebud in the springtime. Summer fast approaches!
I always consider that the new revival Faiths were pulling form the Believers in Christ, much like preaching to the converted.

I also consider that the Bab and Baha'u'llah were influencing the world well before they were born into it and once they were, the Mind of man was drawn as a magnet to what was unfolding.

The many called the few chosen becomes the verse to meditate upon here, as all things are made new.

Regards Tony
 
Old 10-11-2017, 04:35 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by tonyfish58 View Post
The many called the few chosen becomes the verse to meditate upon here, as all things are made new. Regards Tony
As a Baha'i, I want God to choose everybody, but that just is not how it works, they also have to choose God:

Matthew 7:13-14 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
 
Old 10-11-2017, 05:36 AM   #9
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A possible comparison might be Swaziland. How many people have heard of that country?? Most people I know could not point to it on a map, and the only reason I even know of its existence is the fact that sometimes I just pick a place at random and research its history.

Not many people have heard of Swaziland because of its small size and youth. Granted, the Swazi people are only 1/5th the size of the Baha'i Faith and the Baha'i Faith is around 50 years older than the Swaziland state, but I think the situation is comparable for both.

Bigger countries than Swaziland are much more well-known, like South Africa for example. Other countries with small populations are more well-known than Swaziland, like Mongolia as an example, but Mongolia, while small, has a very long and involved history. Or the Vatican state, which despite its tiny population, was and is highly influential throughout world history.

Compare to the Baha'i Faith. The bigger faiths, like Christianity and Islam are more well known. And while Zoroastrianism is smaller than the Baha'i Faith, it is more well-known because it has a long and involved history.

History and size drive worldwide public knowledge of populations.

Last edited by Walrus; 10-11-2017 at 05:38 AM.
 
Old 10-11-2017, 11:19 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Trailblazer View Post
As a Baha'i, I want God to choose everybody, but that just is not how it works, they also have to choose God:

Matthew 7:13-14 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

I have always found ths passage interesting;

“Be thankful to God for having enabled you to recognise His Cause. Whoever has received this blessing must, prior to his acceptance, have performed some deed which, though he himself was unaware of its character, was ordained by God as a means whereby he has been guided to find and embrace the Truth. As to those who have remained deprived of such a blessing, their acts alone have hindered them from recognising the truth of this Revelation. We cherish the hope that you, who have attained to this light, will exert your utmost to banish the darkness of superstition and unbelief from the midst of the people. May your deeds proclaim your faith and enable you to lead the erring into the paths of eternal salvation. The memory of this night will never be forgotten. May it never be effaced by the passage of time, and may its mention linger for ever on the lips of men.”

Bahá'à Reference Library - The Dawn-Breakers: NabÃl’s Narrative of the Early Days of the Bahá’à Revelation, Pages 582-595

Regards Tony
 
Old 10-11-2017, 01:58 PM   #11
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If one accepts that the manifestations are all,the same being , then surely the faith has been developing since man first walked the earth and people just haven't recognised that fact?
 
Old 10-12-2017, 10:21 AM   #12
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If god guides us because of our good deeds

If God guided us because of our good deeds and not others because of there bad deeds. Why shall we preach the faith and cause if God won't open them to it ? Or if God is the one who guides ??
 
Old 10-12-2017, 02:03 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Yousefy2 View Post
If God guided us because of our good deeds and not others because of there bad deeds. Why shall we preach the faith and cause if God won't open them to it ? Or if God is the one who guides ??
"Yousef", did you post on this forum before under a different name?
 
Old 10-13-2017, 10:46 AM   #14
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Nope

No how come? Is there an problem of some sort ? (Asking in a friendly tone btw)
 
Old 10-13-2017, 12:11 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Yousefy2 View Post
If God guided us because of our good deeds and not others because of there bad deeds. Why shall we preach the faith and cause if God won't open them to it ? Or if God is the one who guides ??
We should teach everybody because we don't know who God will guide.
 
Old 10-13-2017, 02:48 PM   #16
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[QUOTE=Yousefy2;78601]No how come? Is there an problem of some sort ? (Asking in a friendly tone btw)[/QUOT
There's no problem, why would there be? It's just your style of posting resembles another person from England who once posted here
 
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