SUNDAY, JANUARY 16: Embrace spiritual unity today, and join Baha’is worldwide as they observe World Religion Day. Spiritual unity has always been a central tenet of the Baha’i faith, but today, this core principle stands in the spotlight. Baha’is teach: “Religion should be the cause of love and agreement, a bond to unify all mankind; for it is a message of peace and goodwill to man from God.” (Baha’i.org has more.)
This year, devotees observe the 60th anniversary of World Religion Day, which was initiated in 1950. (Read more at the website of Baha’is of the U.S.) Baha’is point out that most world religions share very similar aims—and that belief systems, at their best, should motivate followers to make peace a reality in our world.
A Midwinter Cluster of Interfaith Events
Baha’is aren’t alone their hope of unity through diversity: Baha’i World Religion Day ushers in a mid-winter season of special observances around the world that celebrate religious diversity! Coming later this month is the World Sabbath of Religious Reconciliation and a new United Nations Interfaith Harmony Week in the first week of February. If you’re in search of a prayer to start out this trio of interfaith observances, check out the Baha’i prayer often said on World Religion Day, at Baha’i.US.
Update from Egypt on hope amid violence
Egypt hasn’t always been a peaceful place of religious unity, but this year, citizens are taking extra steps to create the atmosphere that World Religion Day envisions. While the Coptic Orthodox Christian Church of Egypt has long suffered discrimination and even violent attacks, some men and women within the Muslim community of Egypt responded to the mounting violence by holding candlelight vigils around Coptic churches during their recent Christmas Eve services. (Fox News has a full article.) The Baha’i faith in Egypt has suffered from discrimination, as well, particularly in cases of Egyptian officials refusing to issue government documents to Baha’is because they refuse to recognize the Baha’i faith as a valid world religion.