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When you search the web for the term “New World Order,” Wikipedia usually shows up first – and right after the term you read “conspiracy theory” in parentheses.
The Wikipedia entry describes that particular meaning and understanding of a new world order as:
The common theme in conspiracy theories about a New World Order is that a secretive power elite with a globalist agenda is conspiring to eventually rule the world through an authoritarian one-world government.
Baha’is often use the term “new world order” as well – but with a completely different meaning, purpose, intention, and understanding than the version of the phrase Wikipedia initially describes. If you look a bit farther, Wikipedia defines that completely different usage this way:
The term “new world order” refers to a new period of history evidencing dramatic change in world political thought and the balance of power in international relations. Despite varied interpretations of this term, it is primarily associated with the ideological notion of world governance only in the sense of new collective efforts to identify, understand, or address global problems that go beyond the capacity of individual nation-states to solve.
For Baha’is, the new world order signifies a positive, democratic, and uniting endeavor, not a means of control or authoritarian power. In fact, the concept of a new world order dates back to Baha’u’llah’s revelation a century and a half ago when he proclaimed:
Soon will the present-day order be rolled up, and a new one spread out in its stead … The day is approaching when We will have rolled up the world and all that is therein and spread out a new order …
The first time I heard the term “new world order” used outside the Baha’i community was by George Bush Sr. in 1991 – and then I heard it on a regular basis from other politicians and economic leaders over the years up until today. Somehow it seems that world leaders are struggling to create a new world order, but some don’t trust their agenda.
On the other hand, the global Baha’i community already follows a well-organized world administrative order, revealed by Baha’u’llah himself and perfected by his son Abdu’l-Baha and finally Shoghi Effendi, the Guardian of the Baha’i Faith. This order serves all of humanity, with the goal of uniting the world in peace. Why do Baha’is expend their efforts this way? Because Baha’u’llah proclaimed: “The well-being of mankind, its peace and security, are unattainable unless and until its unity is firmly established.”
If we look at the developments in the world in the last several decades, globalization has become more and more inevitable. No nation or people is completely independent, and whatever happens in one part of the world affects the rest. Everyone on Earth is globally connected, through international trade and travel, migration, human rights, cultural exchange through the arts, music, film, etc., social media and communication, the advancements in science and technology, and the increasing recognition of the oneness of the world’s environment.
So, if more globalization is inevitable, then humanity will obviously require a new world order to govern ourselves, solve worldwide problems, and find a path to universal peace. With a new world order, we could avoid complete chaos and turmoil due to disputes over borders and frontiers, increasing nationalism, racism, religious extremism, corporate greed, partisan politics, and ongoing warfare.
The Baha’i teachings have always promoted a universal global perspective. Baha’u’llah wrote:
Let your vision be world embracing, rather than confined to your own self.
It is not for him to pride himself who loveth his own country, but rather for him who loveth the whole world. The earth is one country, and mankind its citizens.
Be ye as the fingers of one hand, the members of one body.
In the words of Abdu’l-Baha, the core of the Baha’i version of the new world order is love for all people as one human family:
In every Dispensation, the light of Divine Guidance has been focused upon one central theme … In this wondrous Revelation, this glorious century, the foundation of the Faith of God, and the distinguishing feature of His Law, is the consciousness of the oneness of mankind.
When it comes to the vision of a new world order, it’s helpful to keep in mind that if it leads to unity, peace, justice and global prosperity, guided by spiritual principles of love and fellowship, then we should all strive for it.