The sacred writings of the Baháʼí Faith state “Religion is, verily, the chief instrument for the establishment of order in the world, and of tranquility amongst its peoples.” This same quote goes on to say, “The weakening of the pillars of religion hath strengthened the foolish, and emboldened them, and made them more arrogant.”
In some form or fashion, most religions predict a future where, “the earth will be transformed, and the world of humanity arrayed in tranquility and beauty.” The question that most of us are left with is, how do we get from where we are today to where we want to be?
Perhaps, we can look at a recipe to bring us into a future of tranquility and beauty. A central tenet of the Baháʼí Faith is the concept of unity. This is not to be confused with uniformity, but rather a unity of hearts and minds that can move us forward together into a future where humanity has a bright and loving future. “Unity in diversity” meaning reality is one, and that God’s is the only true existence; all other beings are merely reflections of God’s qualities.
One of the main ingredients of this recipe must be religion. Quoting again from the Baháʼí scriptures “…consort with the followers of all religions in a spirit of friendliness and fellowship, to proclaim that which the Speaker on Sinai hath set forth and to observe fairness in all matters.” If religion is to be the “instrument for the establishment of order in the world”, and the “earth will be transformed” this will only come about when the religions can work together, building a common future.
Another ingredient necessary for building the unity of the peoples of the Earth must be the equality of the sexes. “The world of humanity has two wings — one is women and the other men. Not until both wings are equally developed can the bird fly.” Man and woman are equally the recipients of powers and endowments from God, which of course brings us to the fundamental unit of society, the family. If society is an aggregate of families, then family unity is an index of social cohesion; families that are built on the principles of equality and inclusion.
The next ingredient in our recipe for the future must include unity among the races. Since all humans have been created in the image of God, God does not make any distinction between people by race or color. Thus, because all humans have been created equal, they all require equal opportunities and treatment.
All good recipes have an implied list of ingredients that do not go in the batter. A distinctive aspect of the Bahá’í concept of unity is the rejection of partisanship. Partisanship implies unity based on a lesser loyalty, an idea or ideology, a political party, or a national, ethnic, or racial identity, rather than on service to humanity and adherence to divine revelation.
To follow the metaphor, our ingredients need to be mixed and baked in the oven of education. To quote Baháʼu’lláh, “Regard man as a mine rich in gems of inestimable value. Education can, alone, cause it to reveal its treasures, and enable mankind to benefit therefrom.”
The vision of a peaceful and beautiful future cannot be attained only in the East, or the West, rather this must be a global accomplishment. To quote the Universal House of Justice, (the Bahá’í administrative body that is the current head of the Faith), “The reality is that there is only the one human race. We are a single people, inhabiting the planet Earth, one human family bound together in a common destiny, a single entity created from one same substance.”
The future of the human race rests upon our ability to build upon the pillars of unity, Unity among the religions, unity between the genders, unity among the races, and nations. Education and justice must be the mortar that cements this future together.
“The well-being of mankind,” Bahá’u’lláh writes, “its peace and security, are unattainable unless and until its unity is firmly established.
• Adam Bauer is a a member of the Baha’i community. Bauer resides in Juneau. ”Living & Growing” is a weekly column written by different authors and submitted by local clergy and spiritual leaders. It appears every Friday on the Juneau Empire’s Faith page.