Saturday, February 19, 2011
Hello and Happy Saturday Everyone!
I'd like to thank Michael Webb for his interview last week-I definitely enjoyed reading his answers so if you haven't had the chance to check it out, please do!
This week we have a new participant, so please welcome Diana.
Diana is a practicing Bahai and I know you will enjoy her answers as well!
Here Is Diana's Introduction:
My name is Diana and I was born in Romania as a Christian Orthodox. I moved to Cyprus to work as a computer engineer. In Cyprus I met many different cultures and loved the experience all the way. It is so nice to see that no matter the small differences in our lives, all people of all religions have basically same needs and same wishes. Here I met my Iranian husband who first introduced me to the Bahai religion. Now we are both Bahais and waiting for our first baby due in April. I love different cultures and discovering beauty in all parts of the world and all people of the world, and I write about this on my blog: http://eshgheman.livejournal.com
1) What religion do you practice?
2) Did you convert or were you born into this religion? If you converted, what did you need to do to convert? And what did you practice prior to converting?
I was born and baptized as a Christian Orthodox. I embraced Bahai religion later on in my life. Bahai religion does not deny the truth of other religions, so I did not "convert" as such, I just added on the wonderful teachings of the Bahai religion to my "old" religion. Since the Bahai religion does not believe in rituals there was no ritual as such at "conversion". I just talked to my Bahai friends and confessed I want to be one of them.
3) Would you consider yourself a moderate, conservative or other.
I believe I am trying my best to contribute to the unity of the world and advancement of society, which are some of the purposes of the Bahai religion. I don't think these terms (moderate, conservative) apply to the Bahai religion which always encourages independent investigation of life and disagrees with mindless acceptance of practices.
4) In your opinion, what makes you moderate/conservative/other?
As I said above I don't think moderate or conservative are terms that can describe my spiritual life. Usually I try to see all situations from everyone's point of view and be understanding to the needs of others.
5) In your opinion, what makes someone conservative? What makes someone moderate?
All people evolve and are influenced by many factors. I would say first the family is very important in shaping the life of people then friends and the culture they live in. I do believe the culture has a great influence on people, maybe more than the family and friends. Media as well is extremely powerful to make people think one way or another.
6) What's your heaven/paradise like?
Bahais believe the soul is eternal and is bound to evolve. During this earthly life our duty is to develop all the virtues of the soul to the maximum. After death the soul will need these virtues as the baby after birth needs organs that are developed inside the womb of the mother (even though inside of the womb it does not need the eyes eg). Bahais heaven is not a physical place which can be described, it is a more spiritual closeness to God and further development of divine virtues.
7) In your opinion, does everyone make it into heaven/paradise? If they do not, why?
All souls are traveling the same path but in a different way. The souls that have not developed the virtues and they are not spiritually developed will not be able to grasp the future reality of the "next" world and will be "handicapped".
8) What makes your religion a good fit for you?
I love Bahai religion because it promotes peace, world unity, kindness. Because it has no priests or religious authorities. Because everyone is encouraged to contribute to the betterment of the world and the community he/she is a part of.
9) What are your holy days and what do you do to celebrate them?
Bahá'í New Year - The Spring Equinox.
In addition, the Baha'i community gathers regularly for prayer, consultation on community affairs and socializing every nineteen days.
10) Do you consider people of other faiths to be your friends?
Of course! I make no difference between people of any religion, I try to look at their personality not ethnicity, race, religion or these kind of differences.
11) Would you ever join people of another faith to celebrate one of their holy days? Please explain why?
Of course, even before I became a Bahai and even now I enjoy being in the company of people from different backgrounds and religions and seeing them at the height of happiness on their holy days is a pleasure and privilege. I love diversity.
12) What are your thoughts on the burka, and Shariah Law?
I believe people should be free to wear what they please, but they have to be sensitive as well to the culture of the country where they live. The choice of clothing should be a free choice based on situation, climate and culture. Laws in general should come from the state and frequently improved to fit the current times that we are living. Common sense should be applied to all legislation.
13) What are your thoughts on women not being allowed to become priests?
As a Bahai, I believe all should educate themselves in religion and priests should not exist. As humanity now we are educated enough to understand scriptures and apply them as fitting to our daily lives.
14) Does your place of worship segregate? If yes, how does this make you feel?
No. When I meet my fellow Bahai friends, I feel in the middle of family and there is no segregation in family I believe.
15) How much does your religion affect your daily life and how much thought do you give it when making a decision? Does it affect in any way your decision on abortion, gay marriage, etc?
One of the important principles of Bahai religion that has shocked me when I first heard of it, NEVER do backbitting. This is a very difficult to follow principle yet so useful. I do have to admit, I always ponder on this in my daily life when confruted with "friendly chats".
16) How would you react/feel if your child wished to marry outside your religion?
The Bahai religion encourages individuals to independent investigation of the truth. So children are not born into the religion, they are free to choose their own beliefs and partners. I would not object to anything that benefits my child's happiness.
17) In your opinion, if someone is not of your faith, will they go to hell?
Not at all.
18) Who do you think is not a practicing ----- in your religion and why? ie who in the public domain claims to speak for your religion? Do you agree with them or not?
I believe the Bahais are very transparent people and united in intentions.
19) Have you ever been the target of a hate crime? Please explain.
No. Most people who know about Bahai religion, really appreciate the Bahai people, no matter what is their own religion.
20) Do you ever feel like your religion devalues you?
No, not at all.
21) Does your religion give you peace of mind?
Yes of course.
22) Do you believe in reincarnation? Why or why not?
No, I believe the soul evolves gathering knowledge and experience....