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Our Planet, Crying Out for Unity

Rodney Richards | Dec 24, 2018

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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Rodney Richards | Dec 24, 2018

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

Baha’u’llah, in one of his lyrical writings known as The Fire Tablet, described the conditions in the world this way:

Indeed the hearts of the sincere are consumed in the fire of separation …
Those who are near unto Thee have been abandoned in the darkness of desolation …
The bodies of Thy chosen ones lie quivering on distant sands …
Longing hands are uplifted to the heaven of Thy grace and generosity …
The infidels have arisen in tyranny on every hand …
The barking of dogs is loud on every side …
Coldness hath gripped all mankind …
Calamity hath reached its height …
Darkness hath enveloped most of the peoples … – Baha’u’llah, Baha’i Prayers, pp. 213-214.

Reading them one feels lost and alone, dejected and even hopeless. Yet after each of these dire descriptions Baha’u’llah asked God for intercession, begging surcease from these troubles. Later in the same tablet, the voice of the Creator answers, ending in a promise of hope and success—if only humanity will do its part:

When the swords flash, go forward! When the shafts fly, press onward! O Thou Sacrifice of the worlds.

Dost Thou wail, or shall I wail? Rather shall I weep at the fewness of Thy champions, O Thou Who hast caused the wailing of the worlds.

Verily, I have heard Thy call, O All-Glorious Beloved; and now is the face of Baha flaming with the heat of tribulation and with the fire of Thy shining word, and He hath risen up in faithfulness at the place of sacrifice, looking toward Thy pleasure, O Ordainer of the worlds. – Ibid., pp. 218-219.

When it comes to saving this planet from the fires of permanent disruption and environmental catastrophe, just like saving our own soul from being self-absorbed and ignorant, we must turn to God for answers. That, Baha’u’llah seems to say, is the part we can play to turn things around.

Knowing what God wants of us is not always straightforward. We try different religions like we try different suits of clothes on, or choose no religion because none seems to live up to its promised ideals. But the Baha’i Faith claims to be different—and is. The Baha’i writings proclaim the word of God for this day and age, containing personal and collective plans to save ourselves—and humanity as a whole—from our worst inclinations. Abdu’l-Baha said:

Therefore, this civilization and material progress should be combined with the Most Great Guidance so that this nether world may become the scene of the appearance of the bestowals of the Kingdom, and physical achievements may be conjoined with the effulgences of the Merciful. This in order that the beauty and perfection of the world of man may be unveiled and be manifested before all in the utmost grace and splendor. Thus everlasting glory and happiness shall be revealed. – Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 285.

lagoon-iceland-bahaiteachingsThis age, unlike any gone past, requires a worldwide movement to rescue mother Earth. Transportation, commerce, science, communications and technology have turned the world into one global environment, and the practices of the past cannot sustain us in the future. For example, despite scrubbers where installed, coal-fired power plants are still the dirtiest source of energy, and almost 2 million megawatts of coal-energy is produced primarily in the U.S. Europe, India, China and Russia. Carbon emissions from industries and over one billion in-use vehicles in the world contribute to poor air quality and climate change. Fluorocarbons and other contaminants contribute to the thinning of the ozone layer. These and other factors cause temperature increases with catastrophic effects. Oceans and streams are inundated with floating trash and warmer waters kill fish and destroy habitats. The list goes on.

The teachings of Baha’u’llah dictate that we each must be wise in our stewardship of resources on an individual and collective level. They expound a world view which acknowledges that the “earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens.” Baha’u’llah called on each one of us to promote “the best interests of the peoples and kindreds of the earth.” Abdul-Baha drew attention to the increasing interdependence of the world and the fact that “self- sufficiency” is no longer possible. He promised that the trend towards a united world would increase, and will manifest itself in the form of “unity of thought in world undertakings” and in other important realms of existence.

One critical area for unified action involves preserving the resources of the planet. Unity of thought in world undertakings show that nations can lead the way with policies that will preserve the integrity of Earth’s fragile biostructure and biodiversity.

If you are not doing so already, encourage your national, and yes, local and regional leaders, to accept that we as a race must do something now to prevent future disruptions in the Earth’s biosphere. There is no Planet B. Only well-thought out policies will lead to changes in individual and collective efforts to save our planet from calamity. Those policies must be grounded in a spiritual philosophy, one that unites rather than divides, just as Baha’u’llah’s own stated objective does:

My object is none other than the betterment of the world and the tranquility of its peoples. The well-being of mankind, its peace and security, are unattainable unless and until its unity is firmly established. This unity can never be achieved so long as the counsels which the Pen of the Most High hath revealed are suffered to pass unheeded. – Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 286.

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