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The source of the optimism we feel is a vision transcending the cessation of war and the creation of agencies of international co-operation. Permanent peace among nations is an essential stage, but not, Baha’u’llah asserts, the ultimate goal of the social development of humanity. Beyond the initial armistice forced upon the world by the fear of nuclear holocaust, beyond the political peace reluctantly entered into by suspicious rival nations, beyond pragmatic arrangements for security and coexistence, beyond even the many experiments in co-operation which these steps will make possible lies the crowning goal: the unification of all the peoples of the world in one universal family.

Disunity is a danger that the nations and peoples of the earth can no longer endure; the consequences are too terrible to contemplate, too obvious to require any demonstration. “The well-being of mankind,” Baha’u’llah wrote more than a century ago, “its peace and security, are unattainable unless and until its unity is firmly established.” In observing that “mankind is groaning, is dying to be led to unity, and to terminate its age-long martyrdom”, Shoghi Effendi further commented that: “Unification of the whole of mankind is the hall-mark of the stage which human society is now approaching. Unity of family, of tribe, of city-state, and nation have been successively attempted and fully established. World unity is the goal towards which a harassed humanity is striving. Nation-building has come to an end. The anarchy inherent in state sovereignty is moving towards a climax. A world, growing to maturity, must abandon this fetish, recognize the oneness and wholeness of human relationships, and establish once for all the machinery that can best incarnate this fundamental principle of its life.”

All contemporary forces of change validate this view. The proofs can be discerned in the many examples already cited of the favourable signs towards world peace in current international movements and developments. The army of men and women, drawn from virtually every culture, race and nation on earth, who serve the multifarious agencies of the United Nations, represent a planetary “civil service” whose impressive accomplishments are indicative of the degree of co-operation that can be attained even under discouraging conditions. An urge towards unity, like a spiritual springtime, struggles to express itself through countless international congresses that bring together people from a vast array of disciplines. It motivates appeals for international projects involving children and youth. Indeed, it is the real source of the remarkable movement towards ecumenism by which members of historically antagonistic religions and sects seem irresistibly drawn towards one another. Together with the opposing tendency to warfare and self-aggrandizement against which it ceaselessly struggles, the drive towards world unity is one of the dominant, pervasive features of life on the planet during the closing years of the twentieth century.

The experience of the Baha’i community may be seen as an example of this enlarging unity. It is a community of some three to four million people drawn from many nations, cultures, classes and creeds, engaged in a wide range of activities serving the spiritual, social and economic needs of the peoples of many lands. It is a single social organism, representative of the diversity of the human family, conducting its affairs through a system of commonly accepted consultative principles, and cherishing equally all the great outpourings of divine guidance in human history. Its existence is yet another convincing proof of the practicality of its Founder’s vision of a united world, another evidence that humanity can live as one global society, equal to whatever challenges its coming of age may entail. If the Baha’i experience can contribute in whatever measure to reinforcing hope in the unity of the human race, we are happy to offer it as a model for study.

In contemplating the supreme importance of the task now challenging the entire world, we bow our heads in humility before the awesome majesty of the divine Creator, Who out of His infinite love has created all humanity from the same stock; exalted the gem-like reality of man; honoured it with intellect and wisdom, nobility and immortality; and conferred upon man the “unique distinction and capacity to know Him and to love Him”, a capacity that “must needs be regarded as the generating impulse and the primary purpose underlying the whole of creation.”

We hold firmly the conviction that all human beings have been created “to carry forward an ever-advancing civilization”; that “to act like the beasts of the field is unworthy of man”; that the virtues that befit human dignity are trustworthiness, forbearance, mercy, compassion and loving-kindness towards all peoples. We reaffirm the belief that the “potentialities inherent in the station of man, the full measure of his destiny on earth, the innate excellence of his reality, must all be manifested in this promised Day of God.” These are the motivations for our unshakeable faith that unity and peace are the attainable goal towards which humanity is striving.

At this writing, the expectant voices of Baha’is can be heard despite the persecution they still endure in the land in which their Faith was born. By their example of steadfast hope, they bear witness to the belief that the imminent realization of this age-old dream of peace is now, by virtue of the transforming effects of Baha’u’llah’s revelation, invested with the force of divine authority. Thus we convey to you not only a vision in words: we summon the power of deeds of faith and sacrifice; we convey the anxious plea of our co-religionists everywhere for peace and unity. We join with all who are the victims of aggression, all who yearn for an end to conflict and contention, all whose devotion to principles of peace and world order promotes the ennobling purposes for which humanity was called into being by an all-loving Creator.

In the earnestness of our desire to impart to you the fervour of our hope and the depth of our confidence, we cite the emphatic promise of Baha’u’llah: “These fruitless strifes, these ruinous wars shall pass away, and the ‘Most Great Peace’ shall come.”

The Universal House of Justice

 

4 Comments

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  • pats martin
    Apr 04, 2013
    The promise of world peace, part 4.
    Considering that the majority of victims of oppression, aggression and persecution are women and children, i,m sad to read in the above report
    ?...the divine creator is male, and all the representatives of the human race i.e..."gem like reality of man"....."conferred upon man"...."station of man"...."the measure of his destiny onearth"...etc
    Is it obvious that all these lovely words of peace and unity across all nations negate and make invisible women and children when they are not mentioned. All i read is the value, and importance of men, ...of THEIR destiny on earth. This philosophy reinforces to men their belief in their elevated pposition and power and importance over women and children.
    Wording is everything. You can't write about world peace by addressing your words to less than half of the population, you are simply reinforcing what so many men and cultures of the wo3ld believe...that women, and children, have no status and value. That even your supreme being ignores them in his words.
    There is such arrogance in the writings of religion that all the gods of those religions are male. Guess who wrote them?
    Any supreme being is surely neither male or female, but the unity of both, and thats not likely to be accepted by a male dominated and controlled world, power has to belong to both genders before it can melt away and become peaceful unity.
    Read more...
    • Marty Flick
      Feb 12, 2014
      Interestingly, there are no 'godesses'; in the Baha'i Faith, although there are several female 'heroines'. I've watched the struggle of some linguists to come up with a 'pronoun' that would fit both the male +/or the female - something like shim. Hear that chuckle in the background? Ask any friend you have, "what's a shim"? Those in 'the trades' will tell you, it's a 'spacer', thin>thick, so as to hold two other pieces [walls or metal disks ... that kind of thing]. I do like, though, that as Baha'is, we refer to each other, both in the singular and plural ...as 'friend' or 'friends'. Somehow, this'll all 'shake out' - but it's gonna take time. Until then, Friends, keep your thinking caps on ...
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    • Shahram Moosavi
      Jun 01, 2013
      Pat,
      The Promise of World Peace is a single document which for the convenience have been divided into four sections here so the reader does not get weary in reading a long piece of writing. Therefore I refer you to the same document as a whole, in which women, and children HAVE in fact been mentioned in strong terms. Here are the references: pages 6-9 gr9, pages 1-3 gr5, pages 6-9 gr10, pages 10-13 gr15, pages 13-15 gr3. So We do not even need to go to the writing that Mr. Cyrus G is speaking of, as the document ...of the Promise of World Peace by the Universal House of Justice is fully sufficient in itself to see that women and children have in fact been included in full force. But if one insists of checking other sacred writings of the Baha'i Faith, it has hundreds of authoritative documents that we could easily refer to and examine the amazing role of women and children and observe the full extent of the participation of them in this Faith. So we need to read all of these documents very carefully and do not treat them like newspapers or regular books we read everyday.
      Moreover, I do agree with Cyrus G, in that the use of the word man or men is "more a limitation of English as our language doesn't support referring to a being or a person without using gender (him and her)." When the word "mankind" has been used, it is very obvious that it is not referring to man as a gender but it is referring to all of humanity. Also if we study the nature of God in the Baha'i writing, it is so clearly explained that God is neither a man or a woman. It has no gender. So It is through the full context of what the Baha'i Faith teaches that our final conclusion must rest on. If every time we wanted to refer to mankind in its broken up gender-reference, we would have to use "men, women, and children" every single time and it would get monotonous real quick---although periodically it is referred to as such, and sometimes as "humankind".
      "Like previous Messengers of God, Bahá'u'lláh used the masculine pronoun when referring to the Creator. To have done anything else would have violated all conventions of Arabic -- the principal language in which Bahá'u'lláh wrote.
      Bahá'u'lláh stated explicitly, however, that God is beyond any comparison to human form or gender. Accordingly, the issue of whether to refer to God as "He," "She," or "It" does not arise in Bahá'í discussions."
      http://info.bahai.org/article-1-4-2-1.html
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    • Cyrus G
      Apr 06, 2013
      Pats, I agree with you that a supreme being is not a male or female. That said, I don’t think the message above is intending to impose a gender on God or the human race at large. This is more a limitation of English as our language doesn’t support referring to a being or person without using gender (him and her). So I wouldn’t equate “man” to male. It is more likely that “man” is mankind or humans at large.
      I think this is supported by the Baha’i writings which stress importance of women:
      “And among the teachings of Bahá’u'lláh ...is the equality of women and men. The world of humanity has two wings — one is women and the other men. Not until both wings are equally developed can the bird fly. Should one wing remain weak, flight is impossible. Not until the world of women becomes equal to the world of men in the acquisition of virtues and perfections, can success and prosperity be attained as they ought to be.”
      Check out this article that elaborates more: http://bahaiteachings.org/full-equality-between-men-and-women
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