Bahai’s celebrate World Religion Day on Sunday, Jan. 20, a day instituted by the Baha’I National Spiritual Assembly in 1950 to recognize the commonalities between religions. The hope is that this awareness will assist in the establishment of universal peace.
This was in response to guidance from Abdu'l Baha, the Perfect Exemplar of our faith. He said:
“All must abandon prejudices, and must even go to each other’s churches and mosques, for, in all of these worshipping places, the name of God is mentioned. Since all gather to worship God, what difference is there? None of them worship Satan. The Muhammadans (Muslims) must go to the Churches of the Christians and the Synagogues of the Jews, and vice versa, and the others must go to the Muhammadan Mosques. They hold aloof from one another, merely because of unfounded prejudices and dogmas. In America, I went to the Jewish Synagogues, which are similar to the Christian Churches, and I saw them worshipping God everywhere.
“In many of these places, I spoke about the original foundations of the divine religions and I explain to them the proofs of the validity of the Divine Prophets and of the Holy Manifestations. I encourage them to do away with blind imitations. All the leaders must likewise, go to each other’s Churches and speak of the foundation and of the fundamental principles of the divine religions. In the utmost unity and harmony, they must worship God, in the worshipping places of one another, and must abandon fanaticism.”
Abdu'l Baha made this statement at the beginning of the last century, when this was a revolutionary idea, and in the space of 100 years, his vision has come to fruition.
We are particularly blessed in Toledo. The Multifaith Council of Northwest Ohio, headed by Judy and Woody Trautman, works tirelessly to attain this lofty goal.
Greater Toledo is well on its way to being designated as a Compassionate City. The National Spiritual Assembly named this one day in January as World Religion Day, but for us here in Toledo, the Multifaith Council is animated by the spirit of World Religion Day 365 days a year. The dream has become a reality. The loving hearts of members and clergy of all faiths collectively act in accordance with the guidance of Abdu'l Baha.
In addition, this ToledoFAVs website also represents the realization of this dream. Here, gathered together, in one publication, are the thoughts and wisdom of writers and clergy from many ways of thinking, all dedicated to one purpose: to contribute to the advancing understanding and burgeoning fellowship of man. I hope that our efforts will contribute to the ultimate unification and to the universal peace.
Prayer by Abdu'l Baha:
“Thou kind Lord! Unite all. Let the religions agree, and make the nations one, so that they may see each other as one family and the whole earth as one home. May they all live together in perfect harmony.
God! Raise aloft the banner of the oneness of mankind.
O God! Establish the Most Great Peace!
Cement Thou, O God, the hearts together.
O Thou kind Father, God! Gladden our hearts through the fragrance of Thy love. Brighten our eyes through the Light of thy Guidance. Delight our ears with the melody of Thy Word and shelter us all in the Stronghold of Thy Providence.
Thou art the Mighty and the Powerful, Thou art the Forgiving, and Thou are the One Who overlooketh the shortcomings of all mankinds.”