August 2007

Message # 1

Thanks for contacting me on these matters. The Baha’i Faith has played an important role in my life, not because I am a member (as I decided not to join), but because I have learned so much compassion and understanding from the teachings of Baha’ullah and Abdul’baha. One thing that’s great about studying different religions is that you don’t have to become a member to learn something from them.

I also had trouble accepting the rules and laws of the Baha’i Faith. And there’s nothing wrong with that at all. Religions are like lesson books in school, they are continuesly changing and being updated (or atleast they should be). We learn from them what we can now and in the future we learn from them again something new. Keeping this in my mind we don’t have to allow ourselves to be bound to rules and laws that in time may become no longer valid.

I applaud you on your journey in faith. It can take real strength to seek and find the wholeness that spirituality can offer. The best advice that I can give you is to not allow yourself to be weighted down by laws or rules that may or may not be valid. Rather learn what you can, take from each faith the best that it offers and come to your own conclusions. I once abandoned Christianity because of what I saw in that religion, but now I have come to look upon it in a new light. And while what I see is no longer the same faith I once knew, I am no longer the same person I once knew.

The journey of faith can be one of the most life altering experiences a human can have. Never let society’s opinions or obsessions hold you back from experiencing that journey. You don’t need all the laws and rules of organized religions, because as a seeker of truth you already know the moral codes of life.

I wish you the best of luck in your search for faith. If it is God that you are in search of then I offer you these words: Be brave in your quest for truth, be steadfast in your search for God and remember that He is everywhere, including in you. Find encouragment in others who seek enlightenment, find peace among the humbled and find beauty in the diversity. Come to know the truth of life and God’s purpose for you, come to know the brotherhood of humanity and thus you shall come to know God.

-Kephen Merancis

Message # 2

Almost all religions offer that sense of belonging to a community, they are a great way to meet new people. If you have studied up on the Baha’i Faith, talked to people who are already Baha’i then I suggest that you give it a try. I’m not sure if there is a House of Worship where you are in England, or if you have visited one in the past, but maybe you should visit one before you finalize your decision. Just to get a taste of the physical culture of the Baha’i Faith.

If you can accept the teachings of Baha’ullah and believe in the central ideas of Baha’i then there is no reason why you cannot become a member. Rules and laws are made by men, but when we become entranced by them we lose a part of the free will God has granted us. Those guidelines are set in place for people who have trouble understanding and living by the human moral codes and need extra help living their life in a positive and productive way.

The reason I have not become a Baha’i is because I feel as though choosing one faith over the others limits my ability to learn and understand other methods and systems of spiritual teaching. Accepting that all faiths can be worth studying and exploring allows me to remain open-minded. I believe in God and I believe that there are some very wise and intelligent human beings out there, but I cannot allow myself to believe that any human can be divine. We all are children of God and we can learn to love and respect eachother without being born of virgins or being Manifestations of God.

One thing that I have learned in exploring religions is that in every one of them there are people who fracture from the original teachings because they believe that those teachings were incorrectly interpreted. The thing about spirituality is that no one human can be correct and all others wrong. That’s why you find so many religions with central figures who are supposed to represent the core understandings and teachings of that Faith. Without a “Godhead” the peoples of those faiths would all disagree with eachother and there would be no organized religion.

In my mind that is why figures such as Baha’ullah, Christ, Buddha exist; to keep the majority of followers centered on the prominent teachings. But like I said in my earlier message, so often the things that were taught ages ago, become outdated and simply cannot be transcended into today’s world, though some can. When people realize this they break from the original teachings and interpret them on their own. Some call this heresy, I call it wisdom. The Baha’i Faith itself encourages its members to question its teachings so that you can expand your understanding of it. When questioning something we come to know it better, when challenging it we eventually come to respect it.

I hope that I have been of some help to you. I never want to tell someone what to do in life because we must make that decision on our own, even if it is the wrong one. If you do examine my website you will learn of my past and how I have become who I am today. There are certain things that happen in all our lives that can alter who we are forever. Some people overlook these things or they avoid confrontation with them in fear of consequences. But what they don’t understand is that when we endure these things and accept them as facts of life we can learn from them and build ourselves into much better human beings.

That is all that I have done. Books, masters and history are great teachers, but the greatest teacher of all is life itself. Through these trials and fortunes we come to know who we are as human beings, but only if we allow ourselves to become an active part of humankind.

One key, of the many, that allows us to better understand life is to view every human on this planet as a member of your family. The Baha’i Faith teaches that lesson as a core principle of their faith. That’s one of the things that initially drew me into it. When we can accept all of humankind as our brothers and sisters we open not only our minds to greater possibilities, but also our hearts to a greater range of compassion. Not many humans attain that great key of humanity, but men such as Christ, Baha’ullah, Buddha had achieved it. To them I look for guidance, for to achieve their status as human beings is what we all should work towards, no matter your religion.

When we look at ourselves as individuals, when we live for the ego and not the heart, we only see ourselves as small dots on this planet. But when we achieve a higher state of mind, one that encompasses the world as our country and its people our family, we back up and realize that we are a part of the human race. We realize that our purpose here is not trivial, rather we are a part of the ever-unfolding lotus. Forever linked to eachother in ways that only God can fathom, for God is the stem of all life.

-Kephen Merancis

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