Why isn’t the Baha’i community just a charitable organization?

Baha’is are told to serve mankind and improve the world. The Baha’i Writings state, “You have in your hearts the love of humanity, and as far as you are able, you exert yourselves in the cause of charitable work and in the bringing about of unity; this is especially what Baha’u’llah desired.” (Abdu’l-Baha, PT, p. 134). But often new Baha’is wonder why the Baha’i community spends so much time building Baha’i buildings, temples, and institutions around the globe. Some wonder why the Baha’i community does not do more to solve the immediate social ills of the world, such as feeding the hungry or healing the sick.

What we learn over time is that Baha’is are working to create a world very different from the one that surrounds us, a world where the spiritual nature of humankind is appreciated and honored, where the education of children is the central theme of our communities, where there is no war, famine, or plague. Baha’is work for a world that offers security, justice, and peace to every soul on the planet. This is what they are building in their Baha’i communities. This is the legacy they want to leave for their children. Therefore, as Baha’is, their first responsibility is to build up the Baha’i community, to educate and strengthen their children, and to offer true spiritual healing and enlightenment to all who want it.

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