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It all starts so simply. A man appears saying he has a new message from God. He teaches the message openly and without fear. Some people believe and follow him.
This upsets the prevailing social and religious order. Persecutions ensue. The man is exiled, tortured, imprisoned, or killed, and dies with only a relatively few followers. They spread his message and more believe it. Over time, that message becomes a global religion, and a great civilization is established. The messenger is venerated, celebrated, even worshipped.
At this point, his followers cling tenaciously to his words and deny the next messenger from God, who appears with a new message for the age in which they live.
That has been the path of every religion of the past. But today is different. That should not surprise you.
Humanity has finally gained some maturation in its development, and seems ready for a new social order that protects the rights of everyone.
Shoghi Effendi wrote about this stage of humanity’s development in The Promised Day is Come:
The ages of its infancy and childhood are past, never again to return, while the Great Age, the consummation of all ages, which must signalize the coming of age of the entire human race, is yet to come. The convulsions of this transitional and most turbulent period in the annals of humanity are the essential prerequisites, and herald the inevitable approach, of that Age of Ages, “the time of the end,” in which the folly and tumult of strife that has, since the dawn of history, blackened the annals of mankind, will have been finally transmuted into the wisdom and the tranquility of an undisturbed, a universal, and lasting peace, in which the discord and separation of the children of men will have given way to the worldwide reconciliation, and the complete unification of the divers elements that constitute human society. – p. 117.
Baha’is believe the plan of God for today calls for a wider loyalty, one which encompasses all humankind not just classes or groups of followers. That’s because the existing order has been turned upside-down according to Baha’u’llah:
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. – Baha’u’llah, The Most Holy Book, p. 85.
What is this new World Order? It is a system whereby force has been made the servant of justice:
On the societal level, the principle of collective security enunciated by Baha’u’llah and elaborated by Shoghi Effendi does not presuppose the abolition of the use of force, but prescribes “a system in which Force is made the servant of Justice,” and which provides for the existence of an international peacekeeping force that “will safeguard the organic unity of the whole commonwealth.” … Baha’u’llah expresses the hope that “weapons of war throughout the world may be converted into instruments of reconstruction and that strife and conflict may be removed from the midst of men.” – Ibid., The Universal House of Justice, p. 241.
In a future global state, the Baha’i teachings say, the principle of collective security will govern relationships between nations, where borders are honored and aggressive warlike national interests are curtailed.
The Baha’i teachings describe this new World Order envisioned by Baha’u’llah as comprehensive in scope, functioning at the local, regional, national and international levels to regulate the conduct of human affairs. At the international level at some future date, a world parliament will pass laws, and a supreme tribunal will adjudicate international disputes. An executive branch will enforce laws and administer the affairs of the people. Countries will maintain some sovereignty and cede other rights and prerogatives to the world bodies. All such relationships and laws, rules and regulations, are to be grounded in the principle of consultation, of giving one’s opinions while maintaining respect for others.
In none of the religions of the past have clearer and more exact principles and tenets been set out than in the Baha’i writings. Together they comprise hundreds of books and tens of thousands of tablets and letters, all with prescriptions for a holistic remedy to the world’s spiritual and social problems.
This is an entirely new message from God, one designed to compassionately regulate the affairs of humankind and ensure peace. It should surprise no one that an entirely new way of doing things is necessary.
Access to the Baha’i Writings is free and open, and word searches of these texts are available at the Baha’i Reference Library.