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Killing one another, even a brother, has been the human race’s modus operandi since the story of mankind’s genesis. Whether justified by just wars or civil unrest, unjustified by unjustified wars or civil unrest, or totally unjustified under any condition or ideology by terrorism, the Baha’i teachings say we can find ways to stop the killing if we focus on our unity:
However great the conqueror, however many countries he may reduce to slavery, he is unable to retain any part of these devastated lands but one tiny portion—his tomb! If more land is required for the improvement of the condition of the people, for the spread of civilization (for the substitution of just laws for brutal customs)—surely it would be possible to acquire peaceably the necessary extension of territory.
But war is made for the satisfaction of men’s ambition; for the sake of worldly gain to the few, terrible misery is brought to numberless homes, breaking the hearts of hundreds of men and women! How many widows mourn their husbands, how many stories of savage cruelty do we hear! How many little orphaned children are crying for their dead fathers, how many women are weeping for their slain sons! There is nothing so heart-breaking and terrible as an outburst of human savagery!
I charge you all that each one of you concentrate all the thoughts of your heart on love and unity. When a thought of war comes, oppose it by a stronger thought of peace. A thought of hatred must be destroyed by a more powerful thought of love. Thoughts of war bring destruction to all harmony, well-being, restfulness and content. Thoughts of love are constructive of brotherhood, peace, friendship, and happiness. – Abdu’l-Baha, Paris Talks, p. 30.
In this age of transition toward a new global standard of universal peace, terrorists who murder innocents only produce senseless deaths. Some verbal terrorists also extort concessions when they demand, like children who throw a screaming tantrum, no negotiation; no consensus; no attempts at reaching compromise.
Yet these ruinous wars will pass away, Baha’u’llah promises us:
That all nations should become one in faith and all men as brothers; that the bonds of affection and unity between the sons of men should be strengthened; that diversity of religion should cease, and differences of race be annulled—what harm is there in this? …Yet so it shall be; these fruitless strifes, these ruinous wars shall pass away, and the ‘Most Great Peace’ shall come. – The Proclamation of Baha’u’llah, p. viii.
Every age has its exigencies and requirements, all leading to the ultimate progress of the human race. But we shouldn’t be surprised, since every day of our lives in whatever age we live presents opportunities and challenges to either add to humanity’s woes, do nothing, or to correct society’s ills by our own actions. Our own personal struggles to survive and thrive are caught up in the circumstances surrounding us and those we love.
The Baha’i writings clearly describe this “titanic spiritual struggle” we find ourselves a part of: humanity as a race is growing into full maturity, and these stages of worldwide disruption, from autocratic rule to civil unrest to democracy, from war and terrorism to stable governments and peoples, are inevitable and to be expected.
This titanic struggle for the hearts of all people will be won if we each do our part. Baha’u’llah’s new Faith asks us to live peaceful, humble lives dedicated to the welfare and well-being of the entire world:
Be united in counsel, be one in thought. Let each morn be better than its eve and each morrow richer than its yesterday. Men’s merit lieth in service and virtue and not in the pageantry of wealth and riches. Take heed that your words be purged from idle fancies and worldly desires and your deeds be cleansed from craftiness and suspicion. Dissipate not the wealth of your precious lives in the pursuit of evil and corrupt affection, nor let your endeavors be spent in promoting your personal interest. Be generous in your days of plenty, and be patient in the hour of loss. Adversity is followed by success and rejoicings follow woe. Guard against idleness and sloth, and cling unto that which profiteth mankind, whether young or old, whether high or low. – Tablets of Baha’u’llah, p. 138.
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