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A recent article in the respected peer-reviewed journal Frontiers of Conservation Science warned us that only unity will assure the survival of humanity.
The article substantially said:
The ecological perils facing the planet have added stresses to human health, wealth, and well-being [which] will perversely diminish our political capacity to mitigate the erosion of the ecosystem services on which society depends. Without [us all] fully appreciating the enormity of the solutions required, society will fail to achieve even modest sustainability goals.
The article reaches a sobering conclusion: we will fail to achieve even modest sustainability until we act as one. The world’s ecosystem – not just the fallout from climate change – but the entire web of life itself will fail. Only if humanity rises to the occasion in unity we will survive. It is as though humanity is being dragged, kicking, and screaming, into establishing global cohesion and unity, by the sheer force of the potential for disaster on an unprecedented scale.
How to Create Unity
Fear, however, rarely creates real unity. Trying to motivate people through dire warnings, or scenarios of future disaster, or by force, always produces resistance. Newton’s third law, “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction,” has ramifications far beyond physics.
Instead, the world needs the kind of motivation which awakens in us our altruistic instincts and creates true unity from diversity. To accomplish this the force must be spiritual in nature.
Religion has always been the source of spiritual force, but today several factors prevent religion from being the spiritual source of unity:
- Religion has already either tried to create unity and failed, or failed to try.
- Religions have lost their power to unite because their divinely-revealed teachings, over time, have been undermined by misinterpretations and misapplications.
- Religions have multiplied into thousands of sects and denominations, each asserting their interpretations and practices are correct, and even contending with one another.
- Religion envisions a peaceful, unified future world, but provides little practical guidance about how to accomplish that goal.
Think of the various Faith traditions as a lamp, each one covered with the obscuring dust of misinterpretation. While each lamp is different, they all shine with the same light. While the institutions and temporal teachings of each Faith may differ, as well, the eternal verities found in all the divine religions are the same.
The good news: already, the spiritual forces exist which are creating the unity the world needs. A fresh revelation from God has revitalized those eternal verities by founding a new religion protected from misinterpretations. This new religion is the Baha’i Faith, and its prophet is Baha’u’llah.
Investigating the Baha’i Revelation
After investigating the teachings of Baha’u’llah, people all around the world have found a religion which addresses present conditions, has never succumbed to misinterpretation or sectarian divisions, and has as its central purpose the transformation and unity of the world of humanity. In his writings, Baha’u’llah likened this profound spiritual mission to the work of a physician:
The All-Knowing Physician hath His finger on the pulse of mankind. He perceiveth the disease, and prescribeth, in His unerring wisdom, the remedy. Every age hath its own problem, and every soul its particular aspiration. The remedy the world needeth in its present-day afflictions can never be the same as that which a subsequent age may require. Be anxiously concerned with the needs of the age ye live in and center your deliberations on its exigencies and requirements.
Whatever your greatest concern, out of the vast array of ailments affecting the world today, you will find its solution in the teachings of Baha’u’llah. The all-encompassing scope of the Baha’i teachings insures all the communities of the world, whether religious, political or ethical, ancient or modern, will find in the remedies of Baha’u’llah the expressions of their highest wishes and the solutions to their most perplexing problems.
Baha’u’llah revealed his new Faith in the middle of the 19th century. Today, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica, the Baha’i Faith is the second-most geographically widespread religion on the planet. The speed by which Baha’u’llah’s teachings have spread is due to their universal appeal. This speed was prophesied in the Gospel of Matthew, “For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.”
Avoiding the Pitfalls of the Past
How does the Baha’i Faith avoid the pitfalls of the past and insure against misinterpretation? There are many layers of protection.
First, the writings of Baha’u’llah are authentic, either written in his own hand or dictated and signed by him. Baha’is have the original writings, so there is no dispute as to what he said.
Second, the distinction between allegorical verses, which are susceptible to interpretation, and those verses whose meanings are evident, and not subject to interpretation, are made clear by Baha’u’llah.
Fourth, while individuals are encouraged to study the Baha’i teachings and arrive at personal interpretations, it is clear their views are their own.
Fifth, the Baha’i Faith has no clergy – no positions of authority exist to even tempt anyone to interpret.
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These multiple protections Baha’u’llah created in the structure of the Baha’i Faith have allowed it to maintain its unity from the passing of its founder to the present day. Since it has been able to establish a lasting unity internally, it bodes well for the success of its mission to establish unity in the world.
The influence of the spiritual forces unleashed by the teachings of Baha’u’llah may be likened to the effect of yeast in the making of bread – it only takes a little to affect the whole loaf. Baha’u’llah wrote:
A new life is, in this age, stirring within all the peoples of the earth; and yet none hath discovered its cause or perceived its motive. 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.