Inspiration and Guidance for Baha’is

This page is a collection of Writings and statements from the central figures and institutions of the Baha’i Faith that can provide inspiration and guidance for our service in virtual worlds.

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“Alert to seize every opportunity which the revolutions of the wheel of destiny within their Faith offers them…”

(Shoghi Effendi, 1938 Advent of Divine Justice, p. 2)

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“An effort, moreover, can and should be made, not only by representative Bahá’í bodies, but also by prospective teachers, as well as by other individual believers, deprived of the privilege of visiting those shores or of settling on that continent, to seize every opportunity that presents itself to make the acquaintance, and awaken the genuine interest, of such people who are either citizens of these countries, or are in any way connected with them, whatever be their interests or profession. Through the kindness shown them, or any literature which may be given them, or any connection which they may establish with them, the American believers can thereby sow such seeds in their hearts as might, in future circumstances, germinate and yield the most unexpected results.”

(Shoghi Effendi, 1938,  The Advent of Divine Justice. Wilmette, Illinois, USA: Bahá’í Publishing Trust. p. 65. ISBN 0-87743-195-7.)

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“The Baha’is should not always be the last to take up new and obviously excellent methods, but rather the first, as this agrees with the dynamic nature of the Faith which is not only progressive, but holds within itself the seeds of an entirely new culture and civilization.”

(Shoghi Effendi, 5 May 1946 to an individual believer, Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-86, sec. 162.49, p. 313)

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“Where are the spiritual souls who will now seize their opportunity, and achieve immortal glory in the service of the Faith!”

(From a letter dated 14 April 1954 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States)

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“The powers released by Bahá’u’lláh match the needs of the times. We may therefore be utterly confident that the new throb of energy now vibrating throughout the Cause will empower it to meet the oncoming challenges of assisting, as maturity and resources allow, the development of the social and economic life of peoples, of collaborating with the forces leading towards the establishment of order in the world, of influencing the exploitation and constructive uses of modern technology, and in all these ways enhancing the prestige and progress of the Faith and uplifting the conditions of the generality of mankind.”

(Ridvan 1983, message from the Universal House of Justice to the Bahá’ís of the World)

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“The opportunity which electronic communication technology provides for more speedy and thorough consultation among the friends is highly significant. Without doubt, it represents another manifestation of a development eagerly anticipated by the Guardian when he foresaw the creation of “a mechanism of world intercommunication … embracing the whole planet, freed from national hindrances and restrictions, and functioning with marvellous swiftness and perfect regularity”.

“As you well appreciate, the extent to which such technology advances the work of the Faith depends, of course, on the manner in which it is used. As a medium for Bahá’ís to exchange views, it imposes on participants the same requirements of moderation, candour, and courtesy as would be the case in any other discussion. Likewise, those involved should avoid belittling the views of one another….

“Most important of all, as with any exploration by Bahá’ís of the beliefs and practices of their Faith, electronic discussion will serve the interests of the Cause and its members only as it is conducted within the framework of the Bahá’í Teachings and the truths they enshrine….”

(19 May 1995, written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer)

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“The Internet is one of this age’s most revolutionary and transformative technological developments. New terms, such as wikis, RSS, podcasting, blogs, FOAF, VoIP, and folksonomies2, while virtually unknown a few years ago, are rapidly becoming common currency among millions of Internet users. These new forms of communication technology represent major social trends that offer new ways of sharing Bahá’í perspectives, precepts, and experiences.

“As existing institutions and social practices disintegrate around us, the Bahá’í teachings indicate that there is a parallel process at work of creating new structures and tools that enable unifying patterns of collective life to emerge. The Internet appears to be playing a catalytic role in breaking down longstanding geographic, cultural and institutional barriers while facilitating the formation of new communities of interaction thatare increasingly global in nature.”

(Baha’i Internet Agency, “Bahá’í Participation on the Internet: Some Reflections”; also mirrored at http://bahai-library.com/bia_bahai_participation_internet )

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“We are now witnessing another transformation from the previous model of persons or organized entities being independent producers of content to what is now being called the “participation age.”

“The “participation age” is principally distinguished by its ethos of collaboration and sharing. One of the basic aspects of this new ethos is that the collaborative efforts of a group of ordinary individuals can lead to perspectives and outcomes not possible for an individual, even a recognized expert. Cooperative content generation and knowledge generation are among the most noteworthy manifestations of the participatory trend. With the emergence of interactive media, readers of news are no longer passive recipients of information, but participate in how that information is distributed and ultimately interpreted. Although the concept and feasibility of new modes of global participation and collaboration may represent a startling change for many, the Bahá’í teachings have anticipated this collective awakening and empowerment of peoples around the world, and provide a context for successfully operating in these new paradigms.”

(Baha’i Internet Agency, “Bahá’í Participation on the Internet: Some Reflections”; also mirrored at http://bahai-library.com/bia_bahai_participation_internet )

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“Each Internet space has its own norms and context of participation. Learning the culture of each medium requires observing how people behave. It usually does not take long to determine the characteristics and assumptions associated with a particular Internet space. One need not endorse all the tenets of a particular culture, but it is essential to understand the environment in which one operates, just as one does not need to approve of all the characteristics of a society in order to function within it.”

(Baha’i Internet Agency, “Bahá’í Participation on the Internet: Some Reflections”; also mirrored at http://bahai-library.com/bia_bahai_participation_internet )

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Additional guidance is available from the Baha’i Internet Agency.

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Baha'i endeavors in the virtual world