The views expressed in our content reflect individual perspectives and do not represent the official views of the Baha'i Faith.
Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something. - Plato
The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place. - George Bernard Shaw
Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass. - Anton Chekhov
Each of us has our own language, vocabulary, creeds and backgrounds, with varying educational levels and experiences—but we all use the same basic words to express ourselves.
I admit, it’s tough not just writing a poem or such and leaving it to readers to interpret those words any way they wish. But the base principle behind all words, spoken or written, is communication.
And boy are words tricky! Talking about a grill-fired backyard barbecue is one thing, but shouting “Fire!” in a crowded movie theater when there is none has legal ramifications for the shouter. The polar opposites “I love you!” and “I hate you!” cause untold joy or pain.
Words have histories, context and hidden meanings. They can put you in a state of joy or a state of utter depression. There is no end to understanding the meanings of words; how they are spoken and used, how they can be dissected when written, how they can affect our behavior, our perceptions, even our entire lives.
The holy words of the prophets have affected billions of lives.
We recognize that holy words have special powers and meanings other than just concrete forms, because they are directed at our own soul, not just our physical needs, head or heart.
The words of the prophets are meant for every human being. No words have as much impact. Holy books like the Bible have been translated into 531 languages, and 2,883 languages have at least some portion of the Bible.
The positive, uplifting, and yes, challenging or condemning words of the prophets, all of them, are indeed world-encompassing in their import, which is why there are over six billion adherents in Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Chinese folk religions, and Buddhism alone. The vast majority of the world’s people see the words of their prophet as holy, sacred and filled with deep meaning.
Just about everyone has heard and seen the words of God in some form, whether orally or reading them with their own eyes. Just about everyone endeavors to understand them. When you make the effort to understand the words of God, you begin to grasp the nature and extent of religion’s power in mankind’s affairs, and the myriad interpretations and thousands of sects that have evolved.
But which words will unify us?
Are we doomed to squabble and fight to the death over the meaning of a few words, holy or not? Do we fight over those words because some leaders have given them special meaning they feel everyone should obey?
If we go directly to the words of the founders of the world’s great Faith, we can find a never-failing remedy for the ills we suffer. That is not a generalization. If we believe in some form or name of a Supreme Being, even if He be called “Nameless,” we have the holy texts to lead us aright – right now:
Consider the flowers of a garden: though differing in kind, colour, form and shape, yet, inasmuch as they are refreshed by the waters of one spring, revived by the breath of one wind, invigorated by the rays of one sun, this diversity increaseth their charm, and addeth unto their beauty. Thus when that unifying force, the penetrating influence of the Word of God, taketh effect, the difference of customs, manners, habits, ideas, opinions and dispositions embellisheth the world of humanity. - Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, p. 291.
I invite you to peruse the writings of the Baha’i Faith, and savor the penetrating influence of the Word of God.