A Bahá’í …must therefore develop the ability to learn everything from those around him… but always relating what he hears to the Bahá’í teaching …
(Universal House of Justice, Wellspring of Guidance, p. 95–96)
An educational approach directed towards personal growth and societal transformation, and based on the belief that human beings are essentially spiritual, however, must go well beyond a mere statement of purpose. When words and actions are not directed by a moral force, scientific knowledge and technological know-how conduce as readily to misery as they do to prosperity and happiness. But moral values are not mere constructs of social processes. Rather, they are expressions of the inner forces that operate in the spiritual reality of every human being, and education must concern itself with these forces if it is to tap the roots of motivation and produce meaningful and lasting change.
(International Teaching Centre, 1989 Jan 01,Task Force on Education)
Concerning your appeal for a solution to the problem, we are instructed to say that the approach is twofold. It involves a process of educating the friends, deepening their understanding of the Teachings and their trust in the power of the Cause, and gradually weaning them away from those illusions and practices which are potentially destructive of their spiritual and material well-being. You are encouraged to ponder the advice contained in the following statement written on behalf of the beloved Guardian to an individual believer who was troubled about matters that are similar, although not identical, to those which concern the friends in Trinidad and Tobago: We must use the Writings of the Prophets as our measurement. If Bahá’u’lláh had attached the slightest importance to occult experiences, to the seeing of auras, to the hearing of mystic voices; if He had believed that reincarnation was a fact, He, Himself, would have mentioned all of these things in His Teachings. The fact that He passed over them in silence shows that to Him, they had either no importance or no reality, and were consequently not worthy to take up His time as the Divine Educator of the human race. “We must turn our faces away from these things, and toward the actual practice of His Teachings in our every-day life through our Bahá’í administration, and in our contact with other people and the examples we give.
(Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 521)
Experience shows that ignorance breeds superstition and perpetuates religious prejudice and animosity.
(Bahá’í International Community, 1992 Feb 10, Creating a Climate of Religious Tolerance)
From one perspective an educational process with three distinct stages appears in sharp relief: the first for the youngest members of the community, the second for those in the challenging transitional years, and the third for youth and adults.
(Universal House of Justice, 12 December 2011, Message to all National Spiritual Assemblies)
He promulgated the adoption of the same course of education for man and woman. Daughters and sons must follow the same curriculum of study, thereby promoting unity of the sexes. When all mankind shall receive the same opportunity of education and the equality of men and women be realized, the foundations of war will be utterly destroyed. Without equality this will be impossible because all differences and distinction are conducive to discord and strife.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 175)
It is evident that although education improves the morals of mankind, confers the advantages of civilization and elevates man from lowest degrees to the station of sublimity, there is, nevertheless, a difference in the intrinsic or natal capacity of individuals. Ten children of the same age, with equal station of birth, taught in the same school, partaking of the same food, in all respects subject to the same environment, their interests equal and in common, will evidence separate and distinct degrees of capability and advancement; some will be exceedingly intelligent and progressive, some of mediocre ability, others limited and incapable. One may become a learned professor, while another under the same course of education proves dull and stupid. From all standpoints the opportunities have been equal, but the results and outcomes vary from the highest to lowest degree of advancement. It is evident, therefore, that mankind differs in natal capacity and intrinsic intellectual endowment. Nevertheless, although capacities are not the same, every member of the human race is capable of education.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 85)
It is hoped that all the Bahá’í students will …be led to investigate and analyse the principles of the Faith and to correlate them with the modern aspects of philosophy and science.
(Shoghi Effendi, )
Jesus Christ was an Educator of humanity. His teachings were altruistic; His bestowal, universal. He taught mankind by the power of the Holy Spirit and not through human agency, for the human power is limited, whereas the divine power is illimitable and infinite. The influence and accomplishment of Christ will attest this.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 85)
The Prophets of God are the first Educators. They bestow universal education upon man and cause him to rise from the lowest levels of savagery to the highest pinnacles of spiritual development.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 84-85)
The difference between spiritual philosophers and others is shown by their lives. The spiritual teacher shows his belief in his own teaching by himself being what he recommends to others..the life and morals of a spiritual man are, in themselves, an education to those who know him.
(Compilations, Quickeners of Mankind, p. 120)
The pathway of life is the road which leads to divine knowledge and attainment. Without training and guidance the soul could never progress beyond the conditions of its lower nature which is ignorant and defective.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Foundations of World Unity, p. 77)
The source of all learning is the knowledge of God, exalted be His Glory, and this cannot be attained save through the knowledge of His Divine Manifestation.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 156)
This reorientation of social life was not to be entirely new; it was to be modelled after the pattern of life in heaven, as a sculptor might mould a piece of clay to the shape of a given figure. The ways of heaven are the original; the ways of earth are to be brought into correspondence, and mortals are to study and adopt the ideals of heaven in order to reproduce them in this lower world.
(George Townshend, The Heart of the Gospel, p. 102)