The Dynamics of Growth:
Factors which Impact the Growth of the Bahá'í Faith: Application of Analogies and Metaphors

By Jena Khadem-Khodadad

First presented at the Irfan Colloquia Session #93
Louhelen Bahá'í School: Davison, Michigan, USA
October 8–11, 2009
(see list of papers from #93)

    See also Crystallization of the Bahá'i Worldwide Community.

    The Bahá'í Faith, has achieved an impressive worldwide expansion for a religion which had its beginning in mid nineteenth century. Despite this remarkable spread, the Bahá'í Faith remains yet unknown to the vast majority of humankind. Bahá'ís, worldwide, constitute less than one tenth of a percent of the world's population of almost six and a half billion. This number is incommensurate with the magnitude of the mission of the Bahá'í Faith as the unifier of the human race and the begetter of a world civilization. Accelerated large scale expansion and growth are the urgent challenges which this Faith is facing.

    The Bahá'í world community is now mobilized to address these challenges, at the two dimensions of qualitative and quantitative growth. In this paper, several analogies and metaphors, from the natural sciences, will be presented and applied to the question of growth. `Abdu'l-Bahá , often used analogies and metaphors in His talks and writings to convey concepts and elucidate His arguments. Some Answered Questions is replete with such examples. `Abdu'l-Bahá states that "outward forms and symbols must be used to convey intellectual conceptions" (SAQ-p.81). With this intent, several novel metaphors, analogies and examples will be applied to the question of growth, in two fundamental areas: 1- The essential requirements and conditions for vital, viable and sustainable growth in any dynamic system and 2- The factors which can significantly enhance and accelerate the rate of growth of the Bahá'í Faith.

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