• Decrease font size
  • Reset font size to default
  • Increase font size

"Is not the object of every Revelation to effect a transformation in the whole character of mankind, a transformation that shall manifest itself, both outwardly and inwardly, that shall affect both its inner life and external conditions?"

~Bahá'u'lláh

Bahá’í World News Service
The Bahá’í World News Service reports on current Bahá’í activity around the world.

Youth Conferences

Message from The Universal House of Justice, the international governing council of the Baha’i’s,addressed to the 114 Youth Conferences throughout the World, dated 1 July 2013.

Read more...

The Baha'i House of Worship of India

The Baha'i House of Worship in New Delhi, which is considered as India’s symbol of communal harmony by the Government of India, was dedicated to the people of India and all humanity in December 1986.

Read more...

News

Public Lecture by Mr. Erik Solheim on "Faith and Environment" at the Auditorium of the Baha'i House of Worship

On the occasion of the official visit of Mr. Erik Solheim, Executive Director of United Nations Environment Programme to India, the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of India organized a Public Lecture at the auditorium of the Baha’i House of Worship in the evening of 5th October 2016 , where more than hundred people attended.  Members of audience were diplomatic corps, representatives of civil society groups and faith-based organizations, academics, students and journalists. 

 Mr. Erik Solheim  Speaking on the subject “Faith and Environment”, Mr. Solheim began his talk by saying, that the Baha’i House of Worship is one of the most beautiful expressions of the Faith. Appreciating the diversity in India, he said, “India is a miracle, because no country is as diverse as India. It has more religions and languages than any other country and making all different religions come together and respect one another is a miracle”.

Mr. Solheim acknowledged that religion is the source of motivation for many and this motivation should lead to a rise in consciousness about one’s role in environment protection and preserving natural resources. Religious leaders, he said, can play a part here and should talk more about the environment. When we build what is good in religion it can become a positive and deep source of true motivation in people to bring about change. But he also mentioned that when religion is abused it produces fanaticism, division and conflict. He felt that the key to avoid religious conflict was for religious groups to avoid a sense of superiority and self-righteousness. This makes us think that our religion is the best and we know everything, while others are ignorant. This, he says breeds fundamentalism and extremism as we see in world today.

 

He reiterated that religion is absolutely essential and we need more of interfaith dialogues and we will have to work separately in every part of the planet to tap into our potential to protect the environment. He expressed that as the Head of Environment Programme he would like to work with faith-based organizations.

 

He also expressed that we should consider the relationship between science and religion. It is very much essential to start with science to figure out the issue of environment and then use religion for outreach and dialogue to engage with the masses. The United Nations is a science based organization. Through constant dialogue between the United Nations and religious organizations, he said, we have to take the message to the people. Therefore the ultimate aim of the United Nations was to make everyone realize that they owe a responsibility to give to the next generation the environment a little better than what we inherited. He emphasized on how important it is for us to lean to embrace religion and science.

 

 Mr. Solheim gave example that we need to believe in astronomy not astrology, chemistry not alchemy. He also said that religion can give human beings a sense of dignity.  All religions teach that we should protect our resources and environment we live in. Religion does not believe in destruction of nature. Therefore we should live in harmony with nature. 

 

Expressing his concern about the environment in India, Mr. Solheim said that country needs to work rapidly to deal with its waste problem and it needs inspiration at all levels including at the grassroots.  Mentioning about civil society groups, he said, that they have limited outreach whereas the religions are present in all parts of the society and have a wider outreach to the grassroots.  

 

He brilliantly replied to a comment of a gentleman in the audience from a faith based organization, who felt we should talk about spirituality rather than religion, Mr. Solheim said that spirituality is what is common to all religions. Religions teach us moral values but we cannot separate religion from the historical context. He then said,

 

as a Christian he follows the morals in the Bible such as, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”, it is directly connected to the historical figure of Jesus Christ. We cannot just talk about spirituality without taking into account the historical context of the teaching.

 Mr. Solheim concluded by reiterating that all religions have a message of decency and responsibility to convey what we have for the future generations. He also appreciated the efforts of the Baha’i House of Worship to conserve natural resources.

 

His talk was followed by a Multi-Faith prayer service at the prayer hall of the House of Worship.