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The International Day of Peace: Will War Ever End?

David Langness | Sep 21, 2019

The views expressed in our content reflect individual perspectives and do not represent the official views of the Baha'i Faith.

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David Langness | Sep 21, 2019

The views expressed in our content reflect individual perspectives and do not represent the official views of the Baha'i Faith.

World peace, Baha’is believe, is not a naïve dream, not some vague, pious hope, not even an option—world peace is inevitable:

The Great Peace towards which people of good will throughout the centuries have inclined their hearts, of which seers and poets for countless generations have expressed their vision, and for which from age to age the sacred scriptures of mankind have constantly held the promise, is now at long last within the reach of the nations. For the first time in history it is possible for everyone to view the entire planet, with all its myriad diversified peoples, in one perspective. World peace is not only possible but inevitable. It is the next stage in the evolution of this planet – in the words of one great thinker, “the planetization of mankind”. – The Universal House of Justice, The Promise of World Peace, p. 1.

Can you imagine a loftier, more noble goal? 

Try to conceive of a peaceful world, a planet with no more war. Picture it in your mind. The vast military apparatus of every nation’s massive armies and navies and air forces no longer necessary. Disputes between countries settled in a global parliament, rather than through belligerence, armed conflict and the use of force. The inordinate expense of bombs, missiles and weapons systems saved, instead used for education, health care, science and technology, the raising of the standard of living of all people, the elimination of hunger, homelessness and state-sponsored hostility. Prosperity, safety, and security for everyone. An end to death and destruction inflicted by one set of human beings against others – no more bereft, grieving families, no more gigantic cemeteries, no more decimation of entire regions and countries.

The world recognizes that promise of a planetary peace on September 21st  every year, when we observe the United Nations International Day of Peace.

“Blessed are the peacemakers,” Christ said, “for they shall be called the children of God.” – Mathew 5:9.

Today, on the International Day of Peace, we all celebrate those who work for an end to war. Across every village and hamlet, in every town and city, in every region and country people motivated by the ideal of peace work toward its eventual establishment in the world. We all owe those builders of peace a debt of gratitude.

Ever since its beginnings in 1863, the Baha’i Faith has stood firmly for the establishment of a unified global federation of nations to bring about a permanent end to war, hostility and violence:

Of the principles enshrined in [Baha’u’llah’s] Tablets the most vital of them all is the principle of the oneness and wholeness of the human race, which may well be regarded as the hall-mark of Baha’u’llah’s Revelation and the pivot of His teachings. Of such cardinal importance is this principle of unity that it is expressly referred to in the Book of His Covenant, and He unreservedly proclaims it as the central purpose of His Faith. “We, verily,” He declares, “have come to unite and weld together all that dwell on earth.” “So potent is the light of unity,” He further states, “that it can illuminate the whole earth.” …

“The world,” He proclaims, “is but one country, and mankind its citizens.” He further affirms that the unification of mankind, the last stage in the evolution of humanity towards maturity is inevitable, that “soon will the present day order be rolled up, and a new one spread out in its stead,” that “the whole earth is now in a state of pregnancy,” that “the day is approaching when it will have yielded its noblest fruits, when from it will have sprung forth the loftiest trees, the most enchanting blossoms, the most heavenly blessings.” He deplores the defectiveness of the prevailing order, exposes the inadequacy of patriotism as a directing and controlling force in human society, and regards the “love of mankind” and service to its interests as the worthiest and most laudable objects of human endeavor. …

The principle of collective security He unreservedly urges; recommends the reduction in national armaments; and proclaims as necessary and inevitable the convening of a world gathering at which the kings and rulers of the world will deliberate for the establishment of peace among the nations. – Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, pp. 216-218.

The Baha’i teachings abhor violence and war, and say that human beings all have the right and the responsibility to demand that their governments cease waging war on each other and come together to outlaw it:

The time must come when the imperative necessity for the holding of a vast, an all-embracing assemblage of men will be universally realized. The rulers and kings of the earth must needs attend it, and, participating in its deliberations, must consider such ways and means as will lay the foundations of the world’s Great Peace amongst men. Such a peace demandeth that the Great Powers should resolve, for the sake of the tranquillity of the peoples of the earth, to be fully reconciled among themselves. Should any king take up arms against another, all should unitedly arise and prevent him. If this be done, the nations of the world will no longer require any armaments, except for the purpose of preserving the security of their realms and of maintaining internal order within their territories. This will ensure the peace and composure of every people, government and nation. – Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 248.

In light of this early and consistent anti-war emphasis in the Baha’i teachings, the international Baha’i community supported the establishment of the League of Nations in the 1920’s and the United Nations in the 1940’s. This 1947 statement to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, made shortly after the U.N.’s inception in 1945, outlined the Baha’i vision of a united, supra-national global government that could rid the world of war: 

World order has become legally possible, socially imperative, and divinely ordained. The principle of federation has already united previously independent communities diverse in race, language, religion and size of population. The nations can find just expression for their legitimate rights and needs through proportionate representation in a supranational body. Until world citizenship is guaranteed as a social status, the human rights and privileges developed in the past are undermined by the disruption of modern society. …

The order herein affirmed implies the establishment of a world commonwealth uniting all nations, races, creeds and classes and safeguarding the autonomy of its state members and the personal freedom and initiative of the individuals that compose them. The commonwealth would consist of a world legislature functioning as trustees of the whole of mankind and enacting the laws required to regulate the life, satisfy the needs and adjust the relationships of all races and peoples. Its world executive, backed by an international Force, would carry out the laws and decisions decreed by the world legislature, and safeguard the organic unity of the whole commonwealth. Its world tribunal would adjudicate and render final and compulsory verdict in any and all disputes arising between the various elements constituting the universal system. – A Baha’i Declaration of Human Obligations and Rights, Presented to the first session of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, 1 February 1947.

Baha’is believe that a unified world commonwealth will ultimately end war. On the International Day of Peace and beyond, please join us in working toward that glorious goal.

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