Thursday, February 15, 2007

Black Baha'is Testify: 2007

A Whole Bunch of Black Baha'i Men at Green Acre Baha'i School in Eliot, Maine in 2005

A friend who is learning about the Baha'i Faith recently seemed puzzled about what it is that attracts black people around the world to embrace the teachings of Baha'u'llah. Here is the testimony of a few black Baha'is in their own words:

What attracted me most during my initial contact with the
Message of Baha'u'llah was how He not only shows humanity the
interconnectedness of the Religions of the world and its peoples,
but His Revelation caused such a transformation in the hearts and
minds of the white and black Baha'is I met in Mississippi during
the 60's that whenever I was with them they always made me feel
welcomed and respected in a genuine way. Separation of the races
within the Baha'i Faith was not sanctioned in the least---it was,
and is, antithetical to the spiritual principles
laid down by Baha'u'llah and applies to the world-wide Baha'i
community, and to humanity as a whole.

Aaron Fowlkes, Manager of An Apartment Complex

I love the concept of unity and equality. Through my own life journey, other people want to put people in a hierarchy to themselves and they want to be better than someone else and let them know that. So in terms of race you have the majority population telling minorities they aren’t worth anything, the same thing with men and women and its so strong that you can feel it throughout the universe and mankind is off balance and with these spiritual teaching people can get back in balance.

Dr. Katherine Morrison
Social Scientist

I love that I don’t have to think about being a Baha’i as being a ‘Black Baha’i’ or a female Baha’i, but just as a human being.

Nuri Chandler-Smith, Educator

What I love most about being a Bahá’í is the feeling I get when I go to feast or other Bahá’í events and can talk about and listen to the blessing that Baha’u’allah has given me and the world. And when I have no one else to talk too or I do not want to talk to anyone else I can always talk to Baha ullah. Prayer, Prayer and more prayer as a black man I believe in the significance and the power of prayer.

Kevin Andrews, Headmaster of a School

I love being a Baha'i!

Growing up as a christian child, I always had a burning question that no one could answer to my satisfaction. The question was - if Jesus was so crucial to the salvation of the world, why did he come only approximately 2000 yrs ago? since he is the ultimate sacrifice and all sins (past, present and future) were forgiven by his crucifixion, I thought he should have come right after the apple incident in the garden of Eden. (smile, remember that I was about 6yrs old now)
why did he come to Israel and not to a place in Asia, Africa, the Americas or Australia? and since most of those places were not mentioned in the Bible, what spiritual guidance was available to the generations of people who lived there?

I was told by one Pastor, that all the people who didn’t know about Jesus and had already died, went to Hell and waited there until Jesus came to Hell and saved them.

As a child, this didn't make any sense. I couldn’t imagine generations of Africans, Latin Americans, Asians, Eskimos, etc. living good lives and dying only to go to Hell and wait for an eternity until Jesus was crucified. The best answer I found was in the Baha'i Writings. The Baha'i Holy Writings explain that all people have always had spiritual leaders and guidance from the one true God. That these spiritual leaders (the most recent being Moses, Krishna, Buddha, Jesus, Mohammed, The Bab, Baha'u'llah) come at different times to different peoples to help them advance in their spiritual and earthly lives. The Baha'i Writings also asserted that many many spiritual leaders have come since the beginning of time to every people. I can’t tell you how good it makes me feel to know that generations of my Ancestors had access to guidance from the same God we worship today. So I think the one thing I love most about the Baha'i Faith is: it honors the Worth of all peoples of this Earth as a fundamental principle!

Amma, MD/PhD student at Harvard Medical School

If you want to hear the testimony of some black Baha'is from the early 20th century, you can check it out here.