Many historians, futurists, philosophers and leaders of thought agree: the world is moving toward a new structure of order and governance. What will it look like?
Baha’is have a unique perspective on this question, believing that the true reality of an emerging new world order comes from the revelation of Baha’u’llah. Baha’u’llah’s own words proclaimed:
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. – Baha’u’llah, The Most Holy Book, p. 85.
The Baha’i concept of that new world order has two main goals: The spiritual transformation of the human race and the renewal of culture and civilization.
The spiritual transformation goal describes a divinely-ordained process that marks “the healing of the nations” and “the spiritualization of the masses” and stands identified with the “coming of age of the entire human race” and the long-awaited establishment of the kingdom of God on Earth.
The second goal—the renewal of human culture and civilization—describes the consummation of our historical development, which will result in profound changes in the social and political life of the world. The renewal of culture and civilization, Baha’is believe, must inevitably reach a fitting climax by the adoption of a universal framework for world unity and peace, and the establishment of a global system of governance based on principles of ethics, justice, and democratic representation of all peoples and nations of the world.
But while the Baha’i Faith claims to be the inaugurator of an emerging global consciousness and a new state of human society, Baha’is abstain from political means to achieve those goals. Baha’is don’t participate in partisan politics, nor do they make any attempt to gain political power. Instead, they are encouraged to advance the renewal of culture and civilization through education, moral action, service to humanity and a culture of peace, love and justice.
A clearer understanding of the Baha’i concept of this new world order will emerge by viewing the concept from a few different perspectives:
A Prophetic Perspective
For Baha’is, the new world order represents the prophetic fulfillment of the Promised Day of God foretold in all religious traditions of the East and the West. Baha’u’llah wrote:
The time foreordained unto the peoples and kindreds of the earth is now come: The promises of God, as recorded in the Holy Scriptures have all been fulfilled. – Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, pp. 12-13.
Baha’is view the new world order as a spiritual process which has been divinely ordained, emphatically emphasized in the teachings of the major religions of the world, prophesized by the prophets and visionaries of the past, progressively manifested by the spiritual forces of the messengers of God, and which has now finally reached its culminating stage in the revelation of Baha’u’llah.
A Spiritual Process
The Baha’i teachings emphasize that unless and until humankind has been spiritually transformed, no attempt to install new economic and political systems can bring about lasting peace and order. Lives must be changed, lifestyles must be altered, moral principles must be renewed, values must be clarified, and a new pattern of behavior must guide and organize the individual and collective behavior of humanity.
Convergence of History and Revelation
The Baha’i concept of a new world order represents the convergence of God’s vision and the dynamic evolution of the world towards completion. They assert that throughout the history the intensification of human solidarity and complexification of social organizations are impelled by the unifying spiritual forces released by the progressive appearances of the prophets of God. The new world order, within the Baha’i context, describes a single spiritual-social unit where the progressive revelation of God and the path of human evolution coalesce and converge.
This paradigm appears to be similar to the one that Teilhard de Chardin identified as “the Omega Point;” a point where the convergence of the material and the spiritual, history and future, and the many and the one will take place.
The New World Order: A Rational, Hopeful, and Universal Perspective
Baha’is believe that the development of the new world order is divinely inspired, but its actualization takes place in the context of human experience through the agency of individual cognition and volition.
The conceptual foundation of the New World Order is based on two sources of knowledge: science and religion.
Despite the present global condition, Baha’is do not believe in the death agony or “end” of the world. The end of the world simply means the end of a culture or civilization, which will serve to usher in the birth of a new culture. Based on the dialectic of fragmentation and integration, the dying process of the old culture will end, and a new, integrated, and universal culture will flourish.
This is how the Baha’is view the emergence of the new world order. They believe a new world order is not wishful thinking, nor something to be feared, but rather the inevitable outcome of a historical reality, a fulfillment of social evolution and human destiny. It manifests the collective evolution of human consciousness, political thoughts, and social institutions, and exemplifies the outward expression of spiritual energy and the blueprint for a global civilization latent within diverse nations and religions of the world.