Above all else, Baha’is work to establish the unity of humanity.
The fundamental purpose animating the Faith of God and His Religion is to safeguard the interests and promote the unity of the human race, and to foster the spirit of love and fellowship amongst men. – Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 215.
Even as a prisoner of the Ottoman Empire, Baha’u’llah sent letters and tablets to the rulers and kings of the world during the second half of the 19th Century, admonishing them to cease their practices of warfare, slavery, excessive taxation for weaponry and oppression. He delivered a new, divine edict of international unity and peace to the world’s ruling elite, telling them that they must lay down their armaments, resolve their differences and establish accord among the nations:
We have enjoined upon all mankind to establish the Most Great Peace—the surest of all means for the protection of humanity. The sovereigns of the world should, with one accord, hold fast thereunto, for this is the supreme instrument that can ensure the security and welfare of all peoples and nations. – Baha’u’llah, Tablets of Baha’u’llah, p. 126.
Despite Baha’u’llah’s call, those rulers persisted in their disunity and hostility. Then, in quick succession after Baha’u’llah’s passing, as the Baha’i writings foretold, the world soon devolved into its two most devastating and ruinous wars. The only way out of these murderous global bloodbaths, Abdu’l-Baha said, is unity:
During the last six thousand years nations have hated one another, it is now time to stop. War must cease. Let us be united and love one another and await the result. We know the effects of war are bad. So let us try, as an experiment, peace, and if the results of peace are bad, then we can choose if it would be better to go back to the old state of war! Let us in any case make the experiment. If we see that unity brings Light we shall continue it. For six thousand years we have been walking on the left-hand path; let us walk on the right-hand path now. We have passed many centuries in darkness, let us advance towards the light. – Abdu’l-Baha in London, pp. 61-62.
“So let us try,” Abdu’l-Baha said, “as an experiment, peace.” To get to that state of unity and the complete cessation of war, the Baha’i Faith has a very definite and detailed plan for peace. Baha’is all over the world advocate for and work toward the vision that guides that peace plan. The Guardian of the Baha’i Faith, Shoghi Effendi, described beautifully what Baha’is hope and trust the Baha’i Peace Plan will develop into, and what the United Nations and its successors will eventually become:
Some form of a world super-state must needs be evolved, in whose favor all the nations of the world will have willingly ceded every claim to make war, certain rights to impose taxation and all rights to maintain armaments, except for purposes of maintaining internal order within their respective dominions. Such a state will have to include within its orbit an international executive adequate to enforce supreme and unchallengeable authority on every recalcitrant member of the commonwealth; a world parliament whose members shall be elected by the people in their respective countries and whose election shall be confirmed by their respective governments; and a supreme tribunal whose judgment will have a binding effect even in such cases where the parties concerned did not voluntarily agree to submit their case to its consideration. A world community in which all economic barriers will have been permanently demolished and the interdependence of Capital and Labor definitely recognized; in which the clamor of religious fanaticism and strife will have been forever stilled; in which the flame of racial animosity will have been finally extinguished; in which a single code of international law — the product of the considered judgment of the world’s federated representatives — shall have as its sanction the instant and coercive intervention of the combined forces of the federated units; and finally a world community in which the fury of a capricious and militant nationalism will have been transmuted into an abiding consciousness of world citizenship — such indeed, appears, in its broadest outline, the Order anticipated by Baha’u’llah, an Order that shall come to be regarded as the fairest fruit of a slowly maturing age. – Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Baha’u’llah, pp. 40-41.
Baha’is believe that world peace is inevitable. We can either unite voluntarily and establish peaceable relations between all peoples and nations; or we can wage enormously destructive and devastating wars, and by doing so be led, exhausted, depleted and defeated, toward a forced and enforced unification out of absolute necessity.
Unity and peace will come to humanity, Baha’u’llah wrote, when humanity finally decides we have had enough war:
These fruitless strifes, these ruinous wars shall pass away, and the ‘Most Great Peace’ shall come. Yet do we see your kings and rulers lavishing their treasures more freely on means for the destruction of the human race than on that which would conduce to the happiness of mankind. … These strifes and this bloodshed and discord must cease, and all men be as one kindred and one family. … Let not a man glory in this, that he loves his country; let him rather glory in this, that he loves his kind. …” – quoted in Baha’u’llah and the New Era, p. 39.
Have we had enough war? Is it time to try, as an experiment, peace? If you answer yes to both of those questions, join the Baha’is in working for world peace.