The Bahá'í: The Religious Construction of a Global Identity

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Rutgers University Press, 2000 - Religion - 246 pages
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The Bah ' Faith is one of the fastest growing, but least studied, of the world's religions. Adherents view themselves as united by a universal belief that transcends national boundaries. Michael McMullen examines how the Bah ' develop and maintain this global identity. Taking the Bah ' community in Atlanta, Georgia, as a case in point, his book is the first to comprehensively examine the tenets of this little-understood faith.

McMullen notes that, to the Bah ' , Buddha, Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed are all divinely sent teachers of 'the Truth', whose messages conform to the needs of their individual cultures and historical periods. But religion--which draws from the teaching of Bah 'u'll h, a nineteenth-century Persian--encourages its members to think of themselves as global citizens. It also seeks to establish unity among its members through adherence to a Bah ' worldview.

By examining the Atlanta Bah ' community, McMullen shows how this global identity is interpreted locally. He discusses such topics as: the organizational structure and authority relations in the Bah ' "Administrative Order"; Bah ' evangelicalism; and the social boundaries between Bah ' s and the wider culture.


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The Bahá'ÃÂ: the religious construction of a global identity

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McMullen (sociology, Univ. of Houston) deals frankly with the Bah '! religion as lived in Atlanta, GA. The Bah '! Faith was founded in Iran by Bah 'ull h (1817-92), who taught that one God has ... Read full review


Carriers and Converts
The Bahaf Administrative Order
Authority in the Administrative Order
Personal Devotion and Organizational Participation
Boundaries and Identity
Teaching the Bahaf Faith
Thinking Globally Acting Locally
Atlanta Bahaf Questionnaire
Historical Overview
The Bahai Calendar

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About the author (2000)

Born in England, McMullen won, over stiff competition, a major British government scholarship for his doctoral work on Jonathan Edwards. He did the work at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, and at Yale University. He has pastored in Kirkintilloch, Scotland, and has served as a part-time lecturer at Aberdeen University, Scotland, and as a distance tutor in at St. John's College, and the Open Theological College, both in England. He has authored several books, including Hearts Aflame (Triangle/SPCK), Clouds of Heaven (Triangle/SPCK), The Passionate Preacher (Christian Focus), The Prayers and Meditations of Susanna Wesley (MPH, London), God's Polished Arrow (Christian Focus), The Unpublished Sermons of M'Cheyne (Banner of Truth). He is also Associate Editor (Church History) for Oxford University's New Dictionary of National Biography.

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