By Douglas R. Groothuis

The Baha’i religion began when a Persian man calling himself Baha’u’lah (Arabic for “the glory of God”) declared in 1863 that he was the latest revelation of God.  Indeed, today several million Baha’is worldwide believe that Baha’u’lah (1817-1892) was the latest in a long line of “manifestations” of God and that he fulfilled prophecies from the world’s religions, including the biblical prophecies concerning the second coming of Christ.

Baha’is assert the unknowability and oneness of God, the unity of all religions, the unity of humanity, and the unity of science and religion.  They believe that Baha’is will eventually lead the world into a state of global harmony.  Baha’is claim that God inspired all major religions and that they develop in a progressive manner.  Baha’u’lah, they say, will not be succeeded by another manifestation until a thousand years after his death.

The Baha’i religion, despite its lofty goals, is incompatible with biblical Christianity and lacks evidence to support its claims.  All religions cannot be from God, since they contradict each other in essential truth claims.  The teachings of Buddha, for example, exclude a personal God.  But Judaism, Christianity, and Islam all believe in a personal deity.  Baha’is attempt to account for these discrepancies in two ways.

First, they claim that religious truth is relative to historical periods.  This argument fails because it makes God unable to reveal even the most basic divine truths consistently.  Moreover, if God is unknowable, as Baha’is claim, then there is no basis for any divine revelation (knowledge), Baha’I or otherwise.

Second, they argue that the original teachings of the world religions (except the Baha’I religion) have been corrupted.  For example, Christianity never taught that Jesus was uniquely divine and that He physically rose from the dead.  These were later distortions.  Baha’is deny these well-attested facts because the facts would place Jesus in a position far beyond what Baha’is allows for a manifestation of God.  But neither history nor logic supports these revisionist claims.

Christians should challenge Baha’is to read the New Testament for themselves and to investigate the many reasons for its reliability.  They should also challenge Baha’is to consider that their doctrine of the progressive unity of all religions has no logical or factual basis and can be held only on the purported authority of Baha’u’lah, who, unlike resurrected Jesus, died and remains dead.