What makes Baha’is think world peace is even possible?
You're sitting on your couch, flipping through TV channels, and you can't help but notice all the messed up things happening around the world. It's no wonder that sometimes people start wondering, "What if those dangerous weapons of mass destruction end up in the wrong hands? What if someone actually uses them?" Experts are saying that this could set off a chain reaction of revenge, leading to a worst-case scenario where humanity gets wiped out and our lovely planet becomes totally unlivable.
Bahá'ís have this unwavering belief that the human race won't wipe itself out. And you know what? It's because we're convinced that there's a Creator out there who truly loves us. It's like having a caring parent watching over us, making sure we don't go off the rails and ruin everything. This Creator won't let humanity destroy itself or let His grand plan for us to live as a big, happy family on Earth go unfulfilled. And get this – throughout history, this Creator has sent these super wise Divine Educators to different parts of the world. They've taught us so much about our spiritual selves, the meaning of life, and the importance of coming together as one big, united society. Now, in our current era, the Creator has revealed specific divine principles through Bahá'u'lláh, the latest of these divine messengers. It's all about making sure people everywhere truly live out the truth
The earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens
With the world needing peace more than ever, the Bahá'í Teachings emphasize the importance of reevaluating our common assumptions about the historical conflicts that have shaped society. Many people have come to accept the idea that humans are inherently selfish and aggressive, making it impossible to create a progressive, peaceful, and harmonious global society. However, the Bahá'í Teachings challenge this notion and stress the need for a fresh perspective.
We've all heard it before, a parent at their wit's end telling their mischievous child, "I wish you would just grow up!" Thankfully, most children outgrow their naughty or anti-social behavior as they mature and learn from life. When we see a young adult who used to be a troublemaker now becoming responsible, it's evident that their earlier problems were just a result of childhood immaturity rather than any inherent badness.
When people take a step back and look at history with a clear mind, they'll notice that all the foolish conflicts humans have engaged in so far share a common immaturity. Indeed, in the words of the international governing Council of the Bahá’í Faith,
“the evidence reveals that such conduct, far from expressing man’s true self, represents a distortion of the human spirit.” – Universal House of Justice
Knowing this fact is important, because Bahá’ís are convinced that
“Satisfaction on this point will enable all people to set in motion constructive social forces which, because they are consistent with human nature, will encourage harmony and co-operation instead of war and conflict.” – Universal House of Justice
“To choose such a course is not to deny humanity’s past but to understand it.” – Universal House of Justice
This is because the Bahá’í 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.” – Universal House of Justice
“A candid acknowledgement that prejudice, war and exploitation have been the expression of immature stages in a vast historical process and that the human race is today experiencing the unavoidable tumult which marks its collective coming of age is not a reason for despair but a prerequisite to undertaking the stupendous enterprise of building a peaceful world. That such an enterprise is possible, that the necessary constructive forces do exist, that unifying social structures can be erected, is the theme” – Universal House of Justice
When we take a closer look at history, we can see a different story unfolding. It's not just about wars and conflicts. Instead, it's a tale of humanity gradually coming together and creating a larger sense of unity. This process started with families, then expanded to tribes, city-states, and nations. And now, we're witnessing this circle of unity growing even wider with regional entities like the European Union, where former enemies realize the benefits of working together based on their common interests.
Now only one great last step remains:
“the unification of the whole world, the final object and the crowning glory of human evolution on this planet. It is this stage which humanity, willingly or unwillingly, is resistlessly approaching.” – Shoghi Effendi
We've already made significant progress towards achieving global unity. Countries rely on each other more than ever for trade, and communication links us all together. Organizations like the United Nations are working to enhance international cooperation in various areas like public health, the environment, women and children's rights, and agriculture. As humanity continues to mature, Bahá'ís have faith that people worldwide will wholeheartedly embrace unity, forming a circle that encompasses the entire planet. Through the unifying teachings of Bahá'u'lláh, we believe that mankind will transform the world and bring forth the realization of an ancient hope expressed in a prayer by Jesus: for God's Kingdom to manifest on Earth, just as it is in heaven.
Two years before His passing in 1892, Bahá’u’lláh told a Western visitor:
“We desire but the good of the world and the happiness of the nations… That all nations should become one in faith and all men as brothers; that the bonds of affection and unity between the sons of men should be strengthened; that diversity of religion should cease, and differences of race be annulled—what harm is there in this?… Yet so it shall be; these fruitless strifes, these ruinous wars shall pass away, and the ‘Most Great Peace’ shall come.… These strifes and this bloodshed and discord must cease, and all men be as one kindred and one family.… Let not a man glory in this, that he loves his country; let him rather glory in this, that he loves his kind.” - Bahá’u’lláh, as reported by E. G. Browne in his introduction to A Traveller’s Narrative
These words from Bahá'u'lláh capture the amazing principles that give Bahá'ís hope for humanity's bright future on Earth.