A friend asked, “What are you Baha’is doing to bring about world peace?” Well, that’s a valid question, I thought. 

It’s one thing to talk about world peace, to mention the universal teachings about peace from the Baha’i Faith, to share about the coming of Baha’u’llah. That said, only action can bring about world peace. We all know that actions speak louder than words. 

So I asked my friend to consider the following analogy: you could compare the way we govern our world today to an old, outworn pair of pants. There was a time when the pants were new, fit comfortably, and looked good. But now the seams are coming out, there are many large holes, the color has become faded, there are permanent stains, and they no longer fit. In a word: the pants don’t really fulfill their intended function any longer. Humankind has outgrown that old pair of pants.

People everywhere see that the pants are outworn, and are becoming increasingly disgusted because the pants look so bad. They don’t know how to repair the pants. There are no tailors that can repair them because the pants are beyond repair. But this pair is the only one they have to wear. 

A group of people decide to try to repair the pants. They think blue thread will work best. They try very hard to get the pants back to wearable condition by using blue thread. 

Another group of people decide green thread will work better than blue thread. They too try repairing the pants. 

Ultimately these two groups grow to the point where they oppose each other. One group loudly proclaims: “Blue Thread!” The opposing group shouts: “Green Thread!” They violently clash. People are injured and killed. Some nations think they know the solution for repairing the pants. They loudly proclaim to the world: “It’s our way or no way!” Other nations respond: “You can’t fix the pants. We can!” Those nations ultimately go to war. 

By this time, the blue thread and green thread have become loose and are coming out, leaving even larger holes, making the pants worse than ever. 

Greater numbers of people exclaim: “What are we going to do with this old outworn pair of pants? It’s the only pants we have. Our world leaders can’t repair them. Our religious organizations can’t repair them. Our global economy can’t repair them. This is depressing. Doesn’t anyone have a way to repair our pants?”

One small group on the planet believes they have a solution. The vast majority of people have never heard of this group, called the Baha’is. What do they have to offer the world?

It turns out the Baha’is are sewing a totally new pair of pants based on the divine pattern revealed by Baha’u’llah. This new pair is in its embryonic stage. But even at this early time in its development, the new pants look terrific, and it’s obvious they will fit perfectly. Unlike the old pair, there are no disputes on how to sew this pair of pants. All the necessary instructions have been written very clearly for all to see and follow. 

These new pants are being made in Baha’i communities in over 100,000 localities in almost every nation, island, and territory on the planet. 

In the not-too-distant future, humanity will realize the old pants simply cannot be repaired, no matter how hard people try. When people everywhere, especially world leaders, finally accept the fact that they have no choice but to discard the pants, then and only then will they be ready to try on the new pair presented to them by the Baha’i global community. 

What is this new pair of pants, this new way of governing humanity? Why do they look great and fit perfectly?

They are the local, national, and international Baha’i institutions, divine in origin, unified in spirit, operating smoothly, suited for today’s needs and the needs of the next centuries, based upon justice and love, and whose pattern comes from the central Baha’i principle of the oneness of humanity and the unity of all nations.

We Baha’is are not just talking. We are taking action by building these divine institutions in villages, towns, cities—wherever people live on our planet. 

Furthermore, we are actively trying to transform our own characters to reflect the spiritual teachings revealed by Baha’u’llah. It is this combination of behavior transformation and global institution building that constitutes a new world order unique in human history. Baha’u’llah declared: 

The world’s equilibrium hath been upset through the vibrating influence of this most great, this new World Order. Mankind’s ordered life hath been revolutionized through the agency of this unique, this wondrous System—the like of which mortal eyes have never witnessed. – The World Order of Baha’u’llah, p. 109.

In the October 1985 letter entitled, “The Promise of World Peace” addressed by the Universal House of Justice, the supreme governing body of the Baha’i Faith, “To the Peoples of the World” we find the following statement:

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.

Would you like to try on this new pair of pants? If so, just visit your local Baha’i community to see how they fit.

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.

5 Comments

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  • Keith Taylor
    Sep 14, 2017
    You are on a roll this year with your postings on this site, Marty! I shared this one with a good Bahá’í buddy of mine here in Budapest, and it made him smile. He called it "simple, but profound". Hear! Hear! And, I should add: perfectly chosen quotations.
  • Melanie Black
    Sep 13, 2017
    What a great metaphor. I hope you don't mind if I use it from time to time. Thank you.
  • Bob LeBlanc
    Sep 13, 2017
    I love this 'pant' metaphor! It explains so well what the Baha'is are offering to the world. I use to use the one of the sinking ship and that the Baha'is have a new boat to offer mankind. But this metaphor is better.
    Thanks Marty.
  • Franz Nagl
    Sep 13, 2017
    so I'm looking forward to the fashion show :-)