The views expressed in our content reflect individual perspectives and do not represent the official views of the Baha'i Faith.
If I hit my wife, does she have the right to leave me or kick me out? If I steal corporate or government secrets and get caught, should I spend months or years in jail and ruin my career and my family’s unity? If I lie to my boss about being sick, and she finds out, will she lose trust in me? We can’t foresee the future, but in these scenarios society increasingly says that individuals should suffer the consequences of their unjust actions.
Our societies have archetypes of acceptability, and it behooves us, if we wish to benefit from society’s bounties, to follow society’s mores. But those mores differ by group, and are not yet universal. Today extreme groups like ISIS and Al-Qaeda frighten rational people, with deviate views of the truth and violent, fanatical behavior. Yet tyrants who run despotic nations—the world’s Hitlers and Pol Pots of the past in new clothing—do much more damage. So how do we ameliorate these vile, vociferous killings and maimings of humanity by leaders who have such warped views of “Truth?”
In truth, our own vain imaginings cause humanity’s ills. The transgressors—tyrants, political leaders, generals and despots—are liars of the worst kind. They lie to us, and to themselves. They have lost the struggle for righteousness and justice within their own minds and hearts. They have decreed, like Napoleons of the past, “Verily I am God. Obey me.” Yet they are nothing more than the foam on the ocean wave, to one day be interred in their own abominable graves covered by the very dirt they coveted. The Baha’i teachings say that their futile plans can only have one ultimate result:
The highest of created beings fighting to obtain the lowest form of matter, earth! Land belongs not to one people, but to all people. This earth is not man’s home, but his tomb. It is for their tombs these men are fighting. There is nothing so horrible in this world as the tomb, the abode of the decaying bodies of men.
However great the conqueror, however many countries he may reduce to slavery, he is unable to retain any part of these devastated lands but one tiny portion — his tomb! – Abdu’l-Baha, Paris Talks, p. 29.
Baha’is believe that only the Sun of Truth, the Prophet of God, can dispel these dark obscuring clouds of delusion. God is merciful. Like the foam on the wave, these dictators and totalitarians and Caesars will pass, and they will inevitably suffer the consequences of their actions, in this world or the next. It’s our job not to vote nor encourage new demigods to replace them. Whether dictator, candidate or elected, let’s rely on God, and our own purposeful counteractions to evil. We can use our words and deeds, minds and skills, to expose society’s falsehoods by spreading the truth and healing mankind. Let’s build up a new society where specious ideas and empty promises find no foothold in the hearts of humanity. Our task is to:
Rely upon God, thy God and the Lord of thy fathers. For the people are wandering in the paths of delusion, bereft of discernment to see God with their own eyes, or hear His Melody with their own ears. Thus have We found them, as thou also dost witness. – Baha’u’llah, Baha’i Prayers, p. 212.
The Baha’i teachings say that the tyrants’ self-important reign will come to an end:
…rely not on thy glory and thy power. Thou art even as the last trace of sunlight upon the mountaintop. Soon will it fade away, as decreed by God, the All-Possessing, the Most High. Thy glory, and the glory of such as are like thee, have been taken away… – Baha’u’llah, quoted by Shoghi Effendi in The Promised Day Is Come, p. 88.