OK I know I posted a little tiny less-than-noticeable link to an interview with Rainn Wilson of The Office fame in a previous article, but I figured since the Baha’i World News Service picked up the story, I might feature it a little more prominently. Rainn Wilson, who plays (and blogs as) Dwight Schrute on NBC’s The Office, is a Baha’i and loving it. He’s no stranger to getting press—I first found out about him when bahaiblog.net posted part of an interview with the Seattle Times about his role—but it’s his recent role in The Last Mimzy that’s causing folks to sit up and take notice. Someone at the U.S. Baha’i News Service had the capital idea to sit down for a chat with him as well—and below is an excerpt, as reprinted by the Baha’i World News Service (BWNS). His story is inspiring, not only for those connected with the performing arts, but for anyone who’s ever gone on a spiritual search.
LOS ANGELES, United States, 24 May 2007 (BWNS) — Actor Rainn Wilson is used to talking to the media – he is part of the award-winning cast of the U.S. television series “The Office,” and his recent role in the movie “The Last Mimzy” brought a flurry of new interviews. Time magazine, TV talk-show hosts and others came calling.
A member of the Baha’i Faith, he seems just as comfortable discussing his spiritual beliefs as he does shooting the breeze about Dwight Schrute, the pompous assistant manager he plays on “The Office,” the American version of a popular British TV show of the same name. […]
Q: Rainn, what was it like to grow up in the Baha’i Faith?
A: When you grow up with a spiritual foundation that asks you to be conscious of the fact that all races are created equal, that men and women are equal and that all religions worship the same (God), it helps you see the world as one family and not get lost in the traps of political, social, and economic belief systems that can lead you astray. I always think of myself as a world citizen. It’s a powerful thing.
Q: You stepped away from the Baha’i Faith in your 20s and returned to it 10 years later. What happened in that decade?
A: I was in New York City, going to acting school, and I was going through a rebellious phase. I didn’t want anyone telling me what to do. I was disenchanted with things that were organized. It was a spiritual journey I was on. And this is reflected in and supported by one of the central tenets of the Baha’i Faith, which obliges every spiritual seeker to undertake an individual investigation of truth.
I started at ground zero. I decided I didn’t know if there was even a God. I read religious books of the world. I asked myself, “If there is a God, how do we know what He wants us to do and what He wants for us? Do we read books? Do we buy crystals? Do we follow certain gurus? Do we sit under a tree? Because surely this omniscient creator has some kind of plan in store for mankind.”
Q: And that line of thinking led you back to the Baha’i Faith?
A: Yes, it brought me back to the Baha’i way of viewing things. I came to realize I did believe in God. I couldn’t conceive of a universe without someone overseeing it in a compassionate way. It just made the most sense to me that God gradually is unfolding a plan for humankind. That there is progressive revelation — the Baha’i belief that God sends Messengers for each day and age. I re-read books about the Baha’i Faith. And I came back to believing that Baha’u’llah was the Promised One and Messenger for this day and age. My quest took me from age 21 to 31. I’m 41 now. […]