Denison Journal of Religion


This article argues that while the Baha'i faith may appear to be very exotic and distinct from traditional American Protestantism, it is actually very representative of the American religious zeitgeist, or "spirit of the times." The founder of Baha'i was Baha'u'llah, but the man who was primarily responsible for bringing the faith to America was the Syrian Kheiralla. He was educated at an American Bible university, and spent much of his life in the United States. Eventually, he self-identified as American. Furthermore, the faith that he brought with him to the United States was not orthodox Bahai'ism. Kheiralla altered many of the Baha'i doctrines to be more comfortable for Americans. Rager argues that Baha'i appears to be very consistent with American religions and ideologies, because it was spread most effectively by an American to other Americans. It became a product of its believers and its context instead of dictating a new context to its believers.