How many bahá'ís are in the World?

All research or scholarship questions

How many bahá'ís are in the World?

Poll ended at Sun Jan 02, 2005 2:06 am

More than 5 millions
3
43%
Around 4 millions
3
43%
Around 3 millions
0
No votes
Less than 3 millions
1
14%
Don't know
0
No votes
 
Total votes: 7

Hasan
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How many bahá'ís are in the World?

Postby Hasan » Mon Oct 04, 2004 2:06 am

Do you think like me or not? My really option is around 4 millions. Let us know!

Guest

Postby Guest » Mon Oct 04, 2004 3:00 am

Not able to vote, but I think substantially less than three. (Based on comparisons of "official" versus apparent actual numbers in various places.)

Amalcas
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Postby Amalcas » Mon Oct 04, 2004 12:04 pm

Officially, over five million. Guest, I wouldn't use apparent numbers. Population percentage varies incredibly depending on where you are. There would be about 1 in 1,250 in an "average" population, however some are much greater or much less. I trust official numbers, as it is well documented.

Guest

Postby Guest » Mon Oct 04, 2004 8:30 pm

I don't know, I've heard figures as high as 8 million, though I don't think they're reliable. According to the Times World Almanac, there's about 6.5 million Baha'is worldwide. There's 2 million Baha'is in India alone, 1 million in the rest of Asia, 1 million in Africa, 2 million in the Western Hemisphere, and about 500,00 in Europe and the Pacific Islands combined.

Guest01

Postby Guest01 » Sat Dec 11, 2004 10:47 pm

I wonder, do you vote on the basis of your personal "thinking"? Isn't it strange?

Dawud
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Postby Dawud » Mon Dec 13, 2004 1:09 am

Well, how would you suggest we answer a question like this? Since it's not possible to conduct a worldwide poll, I suggest the most realistic numbers would come from checking the Baha'is own figures, and finding out to what extent these are reliable.

You can do this on your own. Anytime you go traveling, and meet Baha'is, ask different people how many there REALLY are. Or look at your own community's official statistics.

Note that different people can have different criteria for "membership." To some, personal identification (the answer to "what's your religion?") is most important. To others, it is whether you attend services. I believe that Baha'is count anybody who enrolls and doesn't un-enroll, but there might be a supplementary count alongside this. (This is how the Catholic Church handles this question.)

jasper

Postby jasper » Mon Dec 13, 2004 11:01 am

Actually what is the point? Does it matter how many Bahai's in the world?

It is more interesting the spread rather then the amount. From what I understand the official numbers are kept for those who are enrolled and those who are "active"

But I am uncertain why it matters, the official postion is not optimistic or exaggerated.

If it were you would see inflated numbers of grandiose scale. More important statistics exist from my point of view.

Mat

Dawud
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Postby Dawud » Mon Dec 13, 2004 12:45 pm

Well, one reason is simple curiosity. Don't YOU want to know how many of you there are?

Another reason is that the more of you there are, the more important your religion is. That's not the ONLY thing that might make your religion important (age is another good one, nifty philosophy could be another), but it's up there.

Collect enough signatures, and you could go from being a bunch of kooks to a major world religion!

MWaldie
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Joined: Sat Oct 30, 2004 11:18 am

Postby MWaldie » Mon Dec 13, 2004 9:37 pm

What I meant by the post was the fact that the Bahai faith has said how many there are, its everyone who wants to refute the amount that is making a big deal about it.

Makes no difference to refute the released data. The official stance is the same taken in regards to Catholics or any other religous population figures.

Does anyone refute that it is the 2nd most wide spread religion right behind Christianity?

Well that makes a difference to, but only if you take the word of the source.

I have no reason to refute those claims since they are not out-landish. Nor do I need to refute claims of 10 million from Mormons. Or 11 million from Jehovah Witness's. Or the fastest growing religion on the planet which is still Islam.

If more Bahai's makes it more powerful a case of its divine origin then we must take our world view more seriously then pure numbers, with the message that we may not be the largest or fastest growing. But are the 2nd most wide spread. That is far more inline with the Bahai faith then large population of Bahai's when you think about it.

Conversions is not our game. its being of service to God and all of humanity. Seems appropriate we would want to reach more people even if we risk not having concentrated populations that teaching in one place would produce.


Mat

Dawud
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Postby Dawud » Tue Dec 14, 2004 3:32 am

Does anyone refute that it is the 2nd most wide spread religion right behind Christianity?


Me! Me!

Well technically, this would depend on the meaning of (a) widespread, and (b) religion. I fear that Baha'is have artificially manipulated these in their favor.

What does "widespread" mean? Baha'is think it means "significant presence in x number of countries or territories." "Significant presence" seems to mean "at least one LSA", while "country or territory" means "any region with an NSA".

The thing Baha'is are afraid of admitting into their statistics, is that there are other (probably better) ways of determining "widespread." For instance, shouldn't we give more credit for a religion which dominates a given country, over one which has ten believers in it? When I hear "significant presence" I think 10 %, maybe 30 % of the population would cut it. Baha'is have nothing like that anywhere (or am I missing some Pacific island?).

If we are really counting "marginal presence"--like, the existence of a worship center--then the Muslims would have you beat, easily. Every capitol city in the world has a mosque with a fair number of Muslims, and probably a synagogue too. Baha'is mostly meet in each other's living rooms.

Or we could be looking at the extent to which a religion has avoided confining the bulk of its population to one region of the world. In that case Christianity and Islam are equally worthy, with Buddhism somewhat further behind.

What does "religion" mean? Baha'is don't want to count anything other than about five or six of the major religions, plus themselves. Mormons don't count (even though they're roughly the same order of magnitude) because they're not a religion, they're a denomination. Theosophy and its offshoots don't fit neatly into any other religion, but are probably too small (though we never hear exactly how large you have to be in order to be important).

And if conversions aren't your thing, then why the emphasis on "teaching" and "entry by troops"? Why do those glossy magazines stress steadily-rising membership numbers? Do you mean to tell me that within the Baha'i community, there isn't any push to bring in new recruits?

Gguest

Postby Gguest » Tue Dec 14, 2004 11:21 am

And if conversions aren't your thing, then why the emphasis on "teaching" and "entry by troops"? Why do those glossy magazines stress steadily-rising membership numbers? Do you mean to tell me that within the Baha'i community, there isn't any push to bring in new recruits?[/quote]

:) Hi Dawud, you have interesting things to say.

I am a Baha'i. I don't know about the other 5+ million Baha'i, but I was not converted from another religion nor born into this one. I think there are many people in the world today who have not yet truly claimed a religious identity - at least I see it all around me in my part of the world.

That said, you might need to make a distinction in your quote above between "conversions" and "recruits." Once that distinction has been made, it might shed light to the idea behind teaching rather than aiming to convert or recruit people.

I have found that very, very few people have even heard of the Baha'i Faith. I love to talk about and introduce the Baha'i Faith to people. If they have questions I try to answer them, direct them to web sites or toward other materials / people that can be of assistance. This is introducing the faith / teaching the faith and allowing them to choose their religious identity for themselves.

God Bless You. & Have a nice day!

janine

widespread religion

Postby janine » Tue Dec 14, 2004 1:59 pm

widespread to me means how many NSAs are there in the world, because that means that enough lsas are in that country to be able to form an NSA.

seeing the spread of the Bahai faith 160 years only after its conception, makes me indeed say that the Bahai faith is a widespread religion, with headquarters in many countries.

What you say about Islam, Buddhism etc. is not fair in this content, since they have been around for much much longer than the Bahai faith.

The hope of Baha'u'llah was that people would actively implement His teachings in their lives, especially the teachings about unity and how to bring about world peace. Getting mere recruits won't change the world.... so I do not think that Bahais are interested in getting recruits. Some Bahais may look at sheer numbers. Most Bahais I know look for quality.

yes we are encouraged to share the Bahai teachings with other people, in the hope that these other people will recognise Baha'u'llahs truths, and their hearts will be touched and they will help to bring about a change in the world. What is wrong with that? But we are warned time and again by Baha'u'llah Himself that it will all come to naught if we ourselves are not willing to change, transform, implement the teachings in our lives.
This is not a faith to look good in, to do the outward thing and let your heart out of it. Sooner or later you will be spewed out then. This faith asks for transformation of yourself. And that is indeed necessary, otherwise the world will go on as it does go on and humanity will eventually destroy itself.

So we share, but we do not push. We share because we think that the teachings of Baha'u'llah contain that which humanity needs to progress smoothly, without too much problems. If Baha'u'llah had not started sharing His teachings I would never have heard of them. How does change come about in the world? Because people start talking about their insights!
I do not see what is your objection to that.

wishing you well,

janine

Dawud
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Postby Dawud » Tue Dec 14, 2004 7:40 pm

janine says:

What you say about Islam, Buddhism etc. is not fair in this content, since they have been around for much much longer than the Bahai faith.


Since Baha'is don't accept the existence of any other independent religions which are roughly the same age as they are (ignoring the Babis for a minute, who would probably be viewed as covenant-breakers if they still exist), I focused on the big boys. Yes, being older is one of the things that makes a religion more important, though not the only thing by any means. (Just like size.)

The Baha'i presence is still very impressive. It's just not unique. Many other small-ish religions and denominations have a similar history. A lot of the Baha'i presentation is really aimed at showing how you have a nice balance between all these things, I think.

I don't blame Baha'is for wanting to spread the word (I like Mormons, too), it's just that I like to make fun of you for not realizing that this is really proselytism. A lot of it comes down to the choice of words, but if we parse it, we could ask whether insiders think there is a push to bring in more people, and whether outsiders think this push is in bad taste. You're right, most people have never heard of you (unlike the Mormons) so potentially there could be a fair number of new converts out there.

hihellowhatsup
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Postby hihellowhatsup » Tue Dec 14, 2004 10:36 pm

I don't blame Baha'is for wanting to spread the word (I like Mormons, too), it's just that I like to make fun of you for not realizing that this is really proselytism.


Well, you can't really judge our Faith by the fact that we preach it. Every religion in the world, and lack thereofs, preach their philosophy in one way or another, so that really isn't a fair judgement.

Also, our form of preaching is very different from that of other religions. Most of the time it is introduced through personal relationships with others, such as through a co-worker, family member or coleague. You're not going to see us chanting at airports, or at your doorstep, or anything like that.

Dawud
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Postby Dawud » Wed Dec 15, 2004 1:44 am

Yes, that's very true. I just read somebody's memoir about life in Kiribati, who said that he had heard that Baha'is aren't supposed to proselytize, and said it must be true because after knowing some for two years, he still had no idea what they believed!

But I have heard that you do agonize about growth numbers among yourselves. If it ever turns out that you're getting smaller, some of you would consider that a real challenge to the idea that you're supposed to just keep growing and growing basically forever.


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