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In his major address in Paris, which outlined some of the main differences between the teachings of the Baha’i Faith and those of past religions, Abdu’l-Baha ended his list of those differences with the two vitally important Baha’i principles, which urge the global adoption of a universal auxiliary language and the establishment of a worldwide parliament:
In order to facilitate complete understanding between all people, a universal auxiliary language will be adopted and in the schools of the future two languages will be taught — the mother tongue and this international auxiliary tongue which will be either one of the existing languages or a new language made up of words from all the languages — the matter is to be determined by a confederation met for the purpose which shall represent all tribes and nations. This international tongue will be used in the work of the parliament of man — a supreme tribunal of the world which will be permanently established in order to arbitrate international questions. The members of this arbitral court of justice will be representatives of all the countries. It is incumbent upon the nations to obey the commands of this tribunal, for such a tribunal will be under the power of God and for the protection of all men. In all the sacred books where do you find such a statement? – Abdu’l-Baha, Divine Philosophy, p. 84.
The Baha’i teachings ask the leaders of the world to ignore their manmade borders, to transcend their narrow national loyalties and to bring about an end to war. These fundamental Baha’i principles arise out of that guidance to humanity.
An international auxiliary language, beyond allowing every person on the planet to communicate with one another, would instantly become the language of diplomacy, promoting peace and understanding around the world. It would generate a spirit of solidarity and cement the concept of a world citizen. It would bring about the fall of the Biblical tower of Babel, that mythic structure which has separated and kept humanity apart for thousands of years.
(Do you know the story? Genesis describes a time when everyone spoke the same language, and God, concerned that one people with one language had too much freedom to do anything they wanted, confounded their speech and scattered them across the face of the earth. Interestingly, the word Babel means “the gate of God” in Akkadian, the ancient language of the Torah (the Old Testament). The title “the Bab,” given to Baha’u’llah’s precursor and herald, also means the Gate—and the Baha’i teachings say that this new gate, to a unified humanity, will come through the unification of language and governance.)
This unique Baha’i principle ties in directly with the concept of universal compulsory education:
The basis of knowledge and the excellencies of endeavor in this world are to teach and to be taught. To acquire sciences, and to teach them in turn, depends upon language, and when the international auxiliary tongue becomes universal it is easily conceivable that the acquirement of knowledge and instruction will likewise become universal. – Abdu’l-Baha, Divine Philosophy, pp. 142-143.
Of course, it also ties in directly with the concept of universal peace through global governance, that central, pivotal Baha’i goal:
Similarly, religious fanaticism, racial fanaticism, national fanaticism, political fanaticism — all such prejudices destroy the foundation of humanity and all these lead to bloodshed and the destruction of mankind. Consequently, as long as those prejudices persist, hideous warfare will continue.
The remedy of this disease is Universal Peace, and such peace must be organized on behalf of all the powers and nations in a Supreme Tribunal and all national and political questions be referred to it for solution. Whatever that Supreme Tribunal rules, the same shall be carried out, and if any state or nation fails to execute it, the whole world shall arise against it. – Abdu’l-Baha, Letter to Martha Root.
We have entered a new age of human progress and development, the Baha’i teachings announce. The old rules, customs and solutions will no longer suffice. We need new solutions for the complex global problems humanity now faces—and the Baha’i teachings, unique in the entire history of religious revelation, give us those solutions.