Have you ever wondered why do the world’s most widespread religions last so long? Taught by one messenger, they prevail and endure for thousands of years.

We know that kingdoms and countries come and go; complete historical periods pass by; entire civilizations grow, flourish and then decay, totter and collapse—but the religions of Krishna, Buddha, Moses, Christ, Muhammad and several other divine messengers persevere. For centuries and even millennia, billions upon billions of people try to live by the teachings of the prophets who founded those great Faiths. Why?

The Baha’i teachings say that the longevity and deeply effective nature of these belief systems comes primarily from the eternal moral truths they teach:

As religion inculcates morality, it is therefore the truest philosophy, and on it is built the only lasting civilization. – Abdu’l-Baha, Paris Talks, p. 32.

Doesn’t it make sense, then, that the world needs a new set of spiritual and moral teachings to move from perpetual war toward lasting peace?

From a Baha’i perspective, this kind of radical change requires a revelatory and revolutionary new spiritual consciousness:

A permanent peace in the world of existence can be established only through the power of the spirit. – Abdu’l-Baha, Divine Philosophy, p. 175.

Certainly our long, multi-millennial history of violent warfare and conflict proves that any change in national alliances, or any re-alignment of ideology, or any alteration in geo-political affiliations cannot by themselves secure a long-term global peace. All of those things have occurred, some of them many times over, and war still plagues us. It seems that no mere set of treaties, no shift in allegiances, and even no existing multinational organization can bring about the permanent peace we all want and need.

According to the Baha’i teachings, it will take a deep and profound change in the human spirit to accomplish such a major revolution:

Today the human world is in need of a great power by which these glorious principles and purposes may be executed. The cause of peace is a very great cause; it is the cause of God, and all the forces of the world are opposed to it. Governments for instance, consider militarism as the step to human progress, that division among men and nations is the cause of patriotism and honor, that if one nation attack and conquer another, gaining wealth, territory and glory thereby, this warfare and conquest, this bloodshed and cruelty are the cause of that victorious nation’s advancement and prosperity. This is an utter mistake. Compare the nations of the world to the members of a family. A family is a nation in miniature. Simply enlarge the circle of the household and you have the nation. Enlarge the circle of nations and you have all humanity. The conditions surrounding the family surround the nation. The happenings in the family are the happenings in the life of the nation. Would it add to the progress and advancement of a family if dissensions should arise among its members, fighting, pillaging each other, jealous and revengeful of injury, seeking selfish advantage? Nay, this would be the cause of the effacement of progress and advancement. So it is in the great family of nations, for nations are but an aggregate of families. Therefore as strife and dissension destroy a family and prevent its progress, so nations are destroyed and advancement hindered.

All the heavenly books, divine prophets, sages and philosophers agree that warfare is destructive to human development, and peace constructive. They agree that war and strife strike at the foundations of humanity. Therefore a power is needed to prevent war and to proclaim and establish the oneness of humanity …

A skilled physician is needed to remedy existing human conditions. As a physician is required to have complete knowledge of pathology, diagnosis, therapeutics and treatment, so this world physician must be wise, skillful and capable before health will result. His mere knowledge is not health; it must be applied and the remedy carried out.

The attainment of any object is conditioned upon knowledge, volition and action. Unless these three conditions are forthcoming there is no execution or accomplishment. In the erection of a house it is first necessary to know the ground and design the house suitable for it; second, to obtain the means or funds necessary for the construction; third, to actually build it. Therefore a power is needed to carry out and execute what is known and admitted to be the remedy for human conditions; namely, the unification of mankind. Furthermore, it is evident that this cannot be realized through material process and means. The accomplishment of this unification cannot be through racial power, for races are different and diverse in tendencies. It cannot be through patriotic power, for nationalities are unlike. Nor can it be effected through political power since the policies of governments and nations are various. That is to say, any effort toward unification through these material means would benefit one and injure another because of unequal and individual interests. Some may believe this great remedy can be found in dogmatic insistence upon imitations and interpretations. This would likewise be without foundation and result. Therefore it is evident that no means but an ideal means, a spiritual power, divine bestowals and the breaths of the Holy Spirit will heal this world sickness of war, dissension and discord. Nothing else is possible; nothing can be conceived of. But through spiritual means and the divine power it is possible and practicable. – Abdu’l-Baha, Foundations of World Unity, pp. 100-101.

Baha’is believe that the dawn of a lasting world peace has begun to brighten the horizon of the world—and that such a new spiritual sunrise, illuminating us all with the promise of a new era in human existence, has come about because of the advent of Baha’u’llah and his principles of peace.

The opinions and views expressed in this article are those of the author only and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of BahaiTeachings.org or any institution of the Baha’i Faith.

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