Religion - God's Remedy for Mankind
In the world around us people are divided by differences of all kinds. One person hates or fears another because his skin is a different color, because he comes from a different country, because he is rich, because he is poor. In some parts of the world, wards are fought in the name of religion. Sometimes it seems that there is no end to disunity. Brother turns against brother. Parents and children cannot talk to one another. Husbands and wives cannot live together.
In the teachings of the Baha’i Faith, we learn to understand what is happening in the world today. The divisions and hatred are the darkness that must come before a new day. Mankind’s sufferings are the birth pains of a new world order. Baha’is can climb to the mountaintop to catch the first rays of the sun. They can ease humanity’s pain by leading the way out of fear and ignorance. Then all will see what a wonderful time they live in- the beginning of a new age of peace and unity for the human race.
Many people, though, have become used to living in the dark. They think that there will always be war, hunger, ignorance, and prejudice in the world. Others know that society is sick. They offer many cures, but because they do not understand mankind’s disease, none of their cures is working. Only God knows what is troubling mankind. The Baha’i writings say:
“The vitality of men’s belief is dying out in every land, nothing short of His wholesome medicine can ever restore it.” - Baha'u'llah
Only a doctor sent by God, a Divine Physician, can cure mankind. Baha’u’llah is that Divine Physician, and He says that God’s remedy is “the union of all its [the world’s] peoples in one universal Cause, one common Faith.”
Baha’u’llah has come to bring a religion that will unite mankind. It may be hard to understand at first how this can happen. Today religion itself seems to be a source of disunity. Members of many religions believe that only their way is right, and only they will be saved. They may even hat people of other faiths. But any religion that causes men to hate goes against the will of God. Baha’i writings state that "religion should be the cause of wars and dispute to vanish from the face of the earth". Abdu’l-Baha says:
“Any religion which is not a cause pf love and unity is no religion.”
The Baha’i Faith shows man a new way to look at religion. Baha’u’llah teaches that there is only one God, one mankind, and one religion. God has never left mankind without guidance. Thus there are many Prophets or Messengers of God. They are known by different names; Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad. They lived in different times and among different peoples, but all were inspired by God. All gave the message of God for Their times. Religious prejudices exist because of man’s lack of understanding. Separations among religions come from the narrow mind of man, not from the will of God.
The Prophets or Messengers are all part of God’s plan for the education of mankind. The Baha’i writings call this plan progressive revelation. Progressive revelation means that God has unfolded divine truth bit by bit and step by step through the whole history of mankind. It means that religion is evolutionary- that is, it develops and progresses over the ages.
Progressive revelation is one of the most important of Baha’u’llah’s teachings. It can be described in a few words, but it is such a deep subject that Baha’u’llah wrote an entire book about it called the Kitáb-i-Íqán, or the Book of Certitude. When Abdu’l-Bahá traveled to Europe and America to spread His Father’s Cause, He gave many talks on progressive revelation. Therefore, Baha’is need to go beyond a simple explanation to explore the meaning of this principle. The Baha’i writings on progressive revelation are like a key that opens many doors. As one studies them, he will understand better the age in which he lives. He will have a clearer view on the he must follow. Even though the present hour may seem very dark, he can be happy and confident about the future because Baha’u’llah shows man how God’s plan is working in the world.