“The well being of mankind, its peace and security, are unattainable unless and until its unity is firmly established.” ~Bahá‘u’lláh
The concept of world peace is surely not new to you. The idea that it just might come about — now that is a revolutionary concept.
Every day we hear more depressing news: from natural disasters to terrorism to another child kidnapping. When it comes to religion, many folks simply walk away, blaming religions for these problems, or refusing to believe in a “god” who could allow these things to occur. But the world’s secular institutions don’t seem to be doing much better. Some say the U.S. holds too much power&hellip others that it doesn’t exercise enough. The United Nations, while successful in some things, has been largely powerless in places like Rwanda, Bosnia, and the Middle East. The World Bank and International Monetary Fund collectively, depending on whom you ask, are either the greatest salvation for the developing world or the biggest enemy of democracy and sustainability. Sting spoke for much of the Western world when he sang “People say I’ve lost my faith in the politicians.”
And amidst all of this turmoil, a small religion out of nineteenth century Iran is slowly gaining strength. You see, this religion — the Bahá‘í Faith — believes that these troubles are, in the words of Shoghi Effendi, “the rumblings of that catastrophic upheaval, which is to proclaim, at one and the same time, the death-pangs of the old order and the birth-pangs of the new…” The Iraq question*, war in Chechnya, famine in Malawi, poverty in the Rio Grande colonias — these are all the death pangs of a collapsing world order.
And what shall bring our redemption? According to the Universal House of Justice, “world peace, a hallmark of the emerging global civilization, will be realized as a tangible expression of the principle of the oneness of humankind.”
Thus it is that Bahá‘ís believe that the establishment of the principle of the oneness of humankind (unity) in the minds, hearts, and actions of men and women the world over, is necessary for us to finally reach the hallowed promise of world peace.
A few questions to ponder:
- What does the “oneness of humankind” mean?
- Tangibly, what does it mean to promote this principle?
- What are the causes of failure amongst the world’s secular institutions?
- What is one thing you could do this very week to promote world peace?
* This piece was originally written in September of 2002, half a year before the invasion of Iraq.