A representative of the local Baha’i community will give a lecture about the religion on campus Thursday. The event is sponsored by the Religious Studies Program.

Dr. Lisa Molin is a fourth-generation follower of the Baha’i faith and will speak about the history, beliefs and teachings of the religion in her lecture titled “Baha’i New World: The Global Vision of the Baha’i Faith.”

“Baha’is believe in the unity of all religions and the oneness of God,” Molin said.

Molin was raised in a multi-religious household. Her mother Baha’i and father Jewish. Her father later converted to Baha’i.

Industrial engineering senior Adib Behjat practices the Baha’i faith. He said the central beliefs are about bettering the world they live in and being a loving, positive influence in it.

Behjat said for him being a Baha’i is about being a citizen of the world.  For him part of the contribution is running a website where others can share their prayers for spiritual growth. He said Molin’s lecture will show people what Bahai’s plan to do to change the world.

Molin said her lecture will focus on the Baha’i beliefs and what they call Progressive Revelation — the continuing message from God to his followers.

The Baha’i faith was started in Iran in the mid 19th century by the prophet Bahá’u’lláh who taught his followers that there is only one God and one human race.

Molin said the religion sprang from Islam, as Christianity did from Judaism.

Bahá’u’lláh taught his followers that God was working through them to unify all of humanity and that the world is actually made up of one single race, according to Bahai.org. The website also said the religion emphasizes the importance of family, marriage and the equality of husband and wife.

Religious studies professor Devin Kuhn said the Baha’i traditions go beyond promoting equality.

“The Baha’i’s also advocate to end prejudice and oppression,” Kuhn said.

The religion spread from Iran and now has a global following of five million people who try uniting people and religions to create a peaceful world. Peace is something that has been elusive for many in the Baha’i faith since its beginnings.

Molin said like all new religions the Baha’i’s have suffered persecution — mainly from the orthodox Islamic community. The new religion is thought to be heretical and in opposition to Islam. Molin said followers of earlier messages are threatened by new religion.

“Early followers are persecuted because it is difficult for people to accept new belief systems,” Molin said.

There is an historical cycle of this treatment throughout the mainstream religions. Molin said the Jews persecuted the Christians, who then persecuted the Muslims and Muslims turned against the Baha’is. Even now in Iran there are several people currently imprisoned because of their beliefs.

Behjat said he is fortunate to live in a free country where he can openly express his beliefs. In Iran Baha’i followers are not allowed higher education and many jobs, Behjat said.

Molin said students who attend will gain a better understanding of the purpose of religion. The Baha’i faith is just one of many religions that provide social and spiritual teachings needed for human advancement, she said.

Kuhn said the talk is going to be a great opportunity for students to learn about the relatively new religion.

“The Baha’i tradition provides an interesting example of interfaith beliefs for this era,” Kuhn said.

The lecture will be held Thursday at 11:10 a.m. in the Bio-Resouce and Agricultural Engineering Building, room 123.

Join the Conversation

1 Comment

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *