May 30th 2016
One of the most strikingly remarkable things about Israel is that there are so many different cultures, religions, and peoples living together. The Christians are free to practice their faith, and the Jews don’t have to fear persecution for theirs. People of every walk of life come to Israel and instantly feel accepted because that is the overall attitude that permeates the air; tolerance, acceptance, and respect. That’s probably why the Bahai chose this tiny dot of a country to house their most important shrines and convention centers. Let’s take a quick peek at this peaceful religion that is quietly living peacefully amongst a cornucopia of faiths in the Middle East.
The Bahai Faith
Bahai people are monotheistic and believe that all of mankind is connected as one large unit. In fact, unity is the underlying theme of the entire religion. They believe all gods are in essence one god, all humans are one person, and all religions share the same source. The goal of humanity, according to the Bahai, is to learn to know and love god through reflection, prayers, and good deeds towards one’s fellow man.
Now we can begin to understand why the Bahai faith feels so comfortable in Israel, and why their main centers and religious shrines are located here. Take a look at a few of the more central stops for an authentic Bahai tour.
The Bahai World Centre
The Bahai World Centre is the name given to the faith’s hub. It is spread between Haifa’s Mount Carmel and Acre, and it is comprised of two impressive shrines (Baha’u’llah and Bab) and an assortment of other structures dedicated to the Bahai faith such as the Universal House of Justice and the Arc Building. The center is not just a tourist attraction, but in fact, much of the Bahai religious conferences and governances are arranged in this area.
The Bahai Gardens
The Bahai Gardens are located in Haifa, and they are some of the most impressive plant life you will see anywhere in the world. The garden is made up of terraces built on ascending levels, 19 in total, and spans a one kilometer ascent. The entire expanse is an impressive display of geometric shapes and unbelievable detailing that went into creating an atmosphere that preserves the beauty of the nature of the area while displaying the historical importance as well.
The Shrine of Bab
In addition to the natural beauty of the floral arrangements, rows of plant life, and impressive topiaries, the gardens surround the Shrine of Bab, one of the most prominent figures in the Bahai faith as well as the founder of Babism.
The Shrine of Baha’u’llah
Lastly, the Shrine of Baha’u’llah is a must see for anyone who is interested in a cultural experience, whether or not you are a part of the Bahai faith. Baha’u’llah was the founder of the Bahai faith, and his remains are buried in Acre, not far from the place where he met his death.
Judaism teaches religious tolerance; Christians love the land; and Bahai devotees pray comfortably within this country’s borders. We may be small, but Israel is fiercely powerful in ways that no other country can compare. Come experience what can only happen in Israel.