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Justice

The Time Has Come When All Mankind Shall Be United

David Langness | Dec 21, 2019

PART 5 IN SERIES Overcoming Attribution Bias

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 | Dec 21, 2019

PART 5 IN SERIES Overcoming Attribution Bias

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

The Baha’i teachings make the remarkable claim that “The time has come when all mankind shall be united.”

That striking declarative sentence, uttered by Abdu’l-Baha in a talk he gave at the Metropolitan Temple in New York City in May of 1912, challenged the church’s congregation—and the whole world:

The time has come when all mankind shall be united, when all races shall be loyal to one fatherland, all religions become one religion, and racial and religious bias pass away. It is a day in which the oneness of humankind shall uplift its standard and international peace, like the true morning, flood the world with its light. – Abdu’l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 153.

Since Abdu’l-Baha advanced this startling concept in the early years of the 20th century, a whole host of objective evidence has certainly pointed us in that direction. 

The world has become a neighborhood; after global wars the community of nations formed and sustained the United Nations; the diverse cultures of the planet have become better and better known to each other; intermarriage across racial, religious and class boundaries has increased exponentially; and the idea of world citizenship has exploded into planetary consciousness. In music, art, literature, drama and every other form of creative human endeavor, human unity has emerged as a universal theme. In both evolutionary and revolutionary ways, the Universal House of Justice later wrote, human unity will inevitably signal humanity’s “long-awaited coming of age:”

The Baha’i Faith regards the current world confusion and calamitous condition in human affairs as a natural phase in an organic process leading ultimately and irresistibly to the unification of the human race in a single social order whose boundaries are those of the planet. The human race, as a distinct, organic unit, has passed through evolutionary stages analogous to the stages of infancy and childhood in the lives of its individual members, and is now in the culminating period of its turbulent adolescence approaching its long-awaited coming of age. – The Promise of World Peace, The Universal House of Justice, p. 1.

What does this organic evolutionary process look like from a long-term historical perspective? Baha’is believe that human history has developed in a series of stages, much as the evolution of a single human being develops—from infancy to childhood to adolescence and finally to adulthood:

Unification of the whole of mankind is the hall-mark of the stage which human society is now approaching. Unity of family, of tribe, of city-state, and nation have been successively attempted and fully established. World unity is the goal towards which a harassed humanity is striving. Nation-building has come to an end. The anarchy inherent in state sovereignty is moving towards a climax. A world, growing to maturity, must abandon this fetish, recognize the oneness and wholeness of human relationships, and establish once for all the machinery that can best incarnate this fundamental principle of its life. – Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Baha’u’llah, p. 202.

Human beings first unified, in the Stone Age, in small family groups. From that stage small tribes eventually developed, and we shifted our loyalties to a tribal affiliation. The adaptation of agriculture brought an end to much of the nomadic hunter-gatherer groups, and led to the consequent development of the city-state, which ultimately evolved into kingdoms and nations.

But those stages of collective human development also brought about systematic patterns of bias and prejudice. Tribal cultures often pitted one tribe against another, based on the idea that our tribe is good, but yours is evil. Raiding, violent conflicts and even long-term patterns of war emerged as a result. Those patterns of bias, prejudice and contention continued in each stage of human organization and governance, eventually pitting entire nations, races and religions against each other:

… the establishment of various nations and the consequent shedding of blood and destruction of the edifice of humanity result from human ignorance and selfish motives.

As to the patriotic prejudice, this is also due to absolute ignorance, for the surface of the earth is one native land. Every one can live in any spot on the terrestrial globe. Therefore all the world is man’s birthplace. These boundaries and outlets have been devised by man. In the creation, such boundaries and outlets were not assigned. Europe is one continent, Asia is one continent, Africa is one continent, Australia is one continent, but some of the souls, from personal motives and selfish interests, have divided each one of these continents and considered a certain part as their own country. God has set up no frontier between France and Germany; they are continuous. Yea, in the first centuries, selfish souls, for the promotion of their own interests, have assigned boundaries and outlets and have, day by day, attached more importance to these, until this led to intense enmity, bloodshed and rapacity in subsequent centuries. In the same way this will continue indefinitely, and if this conception of patriotism remains limited within a certain circle, it will be the primary cause of the world’s destruction. No wise and just person will acknowledge these imaginary distinctions. Every limited area which we call our native country we regard as our motherland, whereas the terrestrial globe is the motherland of all, and not any restricted area. – Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, pp. 299-300.

The world’s current social and political environment, still conflict-ridden and dis-unified, can lead people to think that unity is just a mirage, an idealistic goal we will never reach. The biases and prejudices we still witness on a daily basis can further deepen this sense of pessimism about the future. But the Baha’i teachings ask us to step back, look at the bigger picture, and recognize the inevitable and ultimately irresistible macrocosmic movement of our species toward unification:

Who can doubt that such a consummation—the coming of age of the human race—must signalize, in its turn, the inauguration of a world civilization such as no mortal eye hath ever beheld or human mind conceived? Who is it that can imagine the lofty standard which such a civilization, as it unfolds itself, is destined to attain? Who can measure the heights to which human intelligence, liberated from its shackles, will soar? Who can visualize the realms which the human spirit, vitalized by the outpouring light of Baha’u’llah, shining in the plenitude of its glory, will discover? – Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Baha’u’llah, p. 206.

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Comments

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  • Don Boykin
    Dec 23, 2019
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    "The time has come when all mankind will be united" is a fundamental truism. There was a time when I was 10 years old and at that age I didn't know up from down with respect to race relationships. As I spiraled through high school, I gradually learned about differences certain people had for other people who did not eat, dress, think and live like them; attending junior college that reality was pressed in my mind and attending university it became clear as a billowing grey cloud. One day in California I visited a home where a discussion was held ...about the Baha'i Faith. I listened, never said a word nor asked a question. After it was over I knew I had found the Dawn of a new Day, so If you are holding on to something it is holding you back.
    Read more...
  • jack Price
    Dec 21, 2019
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    The Baha, I can believe what they choose to believe.... Let's look at history. Sounds of people have Khalid from Iran because they will be killed if they believe in the Baha'i religion. I've been around this world three different times every culture every place I've ever been it's getting worse and worse there's more hatred there's more than murder there's more discussed with one another and when Israel became a nation there is so much hatred in the middle East it's ridiculous they kill each other just to kill each other look any place you want in the world ...it is not getting better it is getting worse.... Believe what you want but if you are totally honest with yourself you'll know that what Bab..... and the Baha, I faith is wrong
    Read more...
    • jack Price
      Feb 7, 2020
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      Eugene Graham..I am not looking backwards...?turn on your news tonight look at world news any day you choose and you will definitely see mankind is not being united they kill each other just to kill each other...... I think what you're stating is what you hope it will be but the bottom line is I'm a realist take a good look around you
    • Eugene Graham
      Dec 23, 2019
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      Yes Jack you can believe what you want to believe ...............but there is good and bad every where but to me I see you just looking backward and not looking forward .......you only see what you want to see . anyways I wish you all the best in your search for enlightenment ....................God willing micky
    • Mark David Vinzens
      Dec 21, 2019
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      It may get worse before it gets better, but it will get better. Remember the words of Jesus. „In the world you will have tribulation. But take courage; I have overcome the world“ - everyone’s a believer when things are going fine. The real faith is when one becomes patient with tribulations.
  • Samandar Samari
    Dec 21, 2019
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    Encouraging, as it is what I face on a weekly basis... so much supporting material from the Bahai sources and well explained by the Mr. Langness commentary.
    • Mark David Vinzens
      Dec 21, 2019
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      Yes, David has been writing great articles continuously for years. He is a one-man army :-) maybe we should all speak a prayer for him and his family. Giving and Receiving is The Great Circle of Life. I remember that his wife had health problems. Let us pray for their wellbeing.
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