World Religion Day
January 15th is World Religion Day. It began in 1950 and was initiated by Baha’is. It is now celebrated on the third Sunday of January each year. The origins of this day lie in the Baha’i principle of oneness of religion and of progressive revolution. The purpose of this day is to highlight the ideas that the spiritual principles underlying world’s religions are harmonious and each religion plays a significant role in unifying humanity. ‘See the truth in all religions, for truth is in all and truth is one’ - Baha'i Holy Writings.
World Religion Day
The purpose of World Religion Day is to highlight the ideas that the spiritual principles underlying the world's religions are harmonious, and that religions play a significant role in unifying humanity.
The first such day was observed in 1950. It was started by followers of the Bahá'í faith, which says that all religions have common features, and that they should be respected equally. They believe there is one God who is known by different names in all religions.
World Religion Day aims to promote the unity of religious peoples so that we can overcome historical differences. For centuries, different religions and faiths have fought each other, and ignored their common values. The purpose of World Religion Day is to work towards a peaceful understanding between faiths.
World Religion Day is celebrated in lots of ways. However, most people attend special services, which focus on respecting other religions, and reflecting on their universal message. That is, we should all treat each other with respect and understanding, so that we can create a better world for everyone.
Each religion plays a significant role in unifying humanity. The Baha’i urge:
‘See the truth in all religions, for truth is in all and truth is one ‘
Look for the commonalities in all world religions. Each religion has a ‘Golden Rule’ which is almost identical to that in every other world religion.
THE GOLDEN RULE
“Do naught to others which would cause pain if done to you.” (Hinduism)
“What is hateful to you do not do unto your neighbour.” (Judaism)
“Do unto others all that which is well for oneself.” (Zoroastrianism)
“Treat not others in ways that they would find hurtful.” (Buddhism)
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” (Christianity)
“None of you is a believer until he loves for his brother that which he loves for himself.” (Islam)
“Treat others as you would be treated yourself.” (Sikhism)
“Lay not on any soul a load which ye would not wish to be laid upon you, and desire not for anyone the things ye would not desire for yourselves.” (Bahá’í)
A further reason for a World Religion Day is another Baha’i fundamental principle - the elimination of prejudices:
‘Prejudice of all kinds ,whether religious, racial, patriotic or political, is destructive of the divine foundations in mankind. All warfare and bloodshed in human history have been the outcome of prejudice’.
Finally, perhaps that which was in the mind of the Baha’i who suggested this World Religion Day, is the profound promise that Universal Peace will be upheld by a World Federation of Nations, decided by the nations themselves and that this will be necessary for our peaceful future and was promised in all the religions of the world. This federal structure is a fundamental idea in the Baha’i faith.
At the core of the proposed Baha’i federal structure lies the institution of a world parliament, its members elected by all the peoples of the planet. This global democracy will truly represent them, and earn their trust. A world parliament will, moreover, have the authority to enact global legislation in areas of human activity that affect the collective interests of all nations. Other decisions that concern individual nations will continue to be decided at the national level.
Some form of a world super-state must needs be evolved, in whose favor all the nations of the world will have willingly ceded every claim to make war, certain rights to impose taxation and all rights to maintain armaments, except for purposes of maintaining internal order within their respective dominions. Such a state will have to include within its orbit an international executive adequate to enforce supreme and unchallengeable authority on every recalcitrant member of the commonwealth; a world parliament whose members shall be elected by the people in their respective countries and whose election shall be confirmed by their respective governments; and a supreme tribunal whose judgment will have a binding effect even in such cases where the parties concerned did not voluntarily agree to submit their case to its consideration. – Shoghi Effendi, World Order of Baha’u’llah, pp. 40-41.