Campus group asks the big questions

By By Clara Freedman

By Clara Freedman

The Baha’i Campus Association is bringing a relatively new religion from Iran to the U campus.

Originating in the mid-nineteenth century, the faith is observed by six to seven million members worldwide. It emphasizes an independent investigation of truth and the essential unity of humankind under one God, said Naysahn Saeed, chairperson of the Baha’i Campus Association and a senior in electrical engineering.

The Baha’i Campus Association holds monthly discussion meetings to “help people create more unity, provide a place just to openly talk about religion and make available an accessible contact for people who want to learn the laws and teachings of the Baha’is,” Saeed said.

The club comprises students and faculty at the U of many different ages, races and backgrounds, with the majority being of the Baha’i faith.

This diversity comes naturally “when the unity of all humanity as a family is the fundamental premise of this religion,” Saeed said.

Members of the faith say they feel comfortable traveling and studying abroad because they know the religion is so widespread, Saeed said.

Shahab Saeed, an adjunct business professor at Westminster College, led the club’s first discussion of the semester on the topic of the unity of science and religion in the Union on Jan. 23.

Science and religion must agree and be in harmony with each other, Shahab Saeed said.

“If religion is taken alone in disagreement with science, it can become superstitious,” Shahab Saeed explained. “Science without religion leads to materialism.”

The Baha’is believe in the prophet Bah’u’llh as a messenger from God. Born in Iran in the early nineteenth century and later exiled for his beliefs, Bah’u’llh wrote more than 100 religious texts that now form the basis for the Baha’i religion.

Naysahn Saeed said that Baha’is believe in the teachings and writings of all the prophets before Bah’u’llh.

“These are all valid spiritual teachings with essentially the same messages, following the ‘Golden Rule’ but just coming at different times,” he said. They are communicated in different ways depending on the social context and what is relatable and understandable by the masses, he said.

“Humanity has evolved but the central messages are the same,” Naysahn Saeed said.

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