- Bahá'í Faith and the unity of humanity
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The Bahá'í Faith and the unity of humanity is one of the central teachings of the Bahá'í Faith. The Bahá'í teachings state that since all humans have been created in the image of God, God does not make any distinction between people regardless of race or colour. Thus, because all humans have been created equal, they all require equal opportunities and treatment. Thus the Bahá'í view promotes the unity of humanity, and that people's vision should be world-embracing and that people should love the whole world rather than just their nation. The teaching, however, does not equal unity with uniformity, but instead the Bahá'í writings advocate for the principle of unity in diversity where the variety in the human race is valued.
The Bahá'í teaching of the unity of humanity (also known as the oneness of humanity) stems from the teaching that all humans have been created equal in the image of God, and that God does not make any distinction between people. The teaching emphasizes the unity of humanity transcending all divisions of race, nation, gender, caste, and social class, while celebrating its diversity. The Bahá'í writings states that since the human race is one unified organic unit, all people have the same basic capacities, and that the physical differences, such as skin colour, are superficial and do not make one ethnic group superior to another.
In the Bahá'í view, humanity has always constituted one group, but that ignorance, prejudice and power-seeking have prevented the recognition of the oneness of humanity. The historical differences that have existed between different ethnic groups is attributable to differences in education and cultural opportunities over a long-term, as well as to racial prejudice and oppression.
Unity in diversity
In the Bahá'í view, unity does not equal uniformity, but instead the Bahá'í writings advocate for the principle of unity in diversity where the variety in the human race is valued. `Abdu'l-Bahá, the son of the founder of the religion, compared the human race to a flower garden where the garden was made more beautiful by its diversities of colour and form.The world of humanity is like unto a rose garden and the various races, tongues and people are like unto contrasting flowers. The diversity of colors in a rose-garden adds to the charm and beauty of the scene as variety enhances unity.
The Bahá'í writings note that unity will not be arrived at through the suppression of difference, but instead when each respects the intrinsic value of other individuals and cultures. In this view, it is not the diversity that causes conflict, but rather people's intolerance and prejudice towards diversity.
Elimination of prejudice
One of the main principles of the Bahá'í Faith that comes about from the unity of humanity is the elimination of all forms of prejudice, and it entails non-discrimination against individuals on such things like race, religion, gender or class. `Abdu'l-Bahá states that while the challenge is large, social prejudices including religious, political, and patriotic lead to war, and thus the elimination of prejudice was essential for human well-being. In that regard, the Bahá'í teachings state that the elimination of all forms of prejudice is a fundamental requirement to achieve world unity and peace.
An essential mission in Bahá'u'lláh's, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith, teachings was to bring about a consciousness in the people's of the world regarding the oneness of humankind. However, Bahá'u'lláh stated that along with the increase in individual and collective consciousness of the oneness of humanity, new social structures are also needed for the oneness of humanity to be achieved. He wrote: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 but one country, and makind its citizens.
The Bahá'í teachings thus state that it is not sufficient that humanity acknowledge its oneness and still live in a disunited world that is contains prejudice, and conflict. In Bahá'í belief, humanity has gone through a process of progressive revelation through various different messengers of God, including Buddha, Moses, Jesus, Muhammad and others, where humanity has grown collectively. In this belief, society has been steadily organizing itself with higher levels of unity through the various messengers of God; going from the unity of the family, the tribe, the city-state and the nation. The Bahá'í writings state that the next stage of the collective growth is that of world unity and the organization of society as a planetary civilization. Shoghi Effendi, the Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith wrote:The principle of the Oneness of Mankind — the pivot round which all the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh revolve — is no mere outburst of ignorant emotionalism or an expression of vague and pious hope. Its appeal is not to be merely identified with a reawakening of the spirit of brotherhood and good-will among men, nor does it aim solely at the fostering of harmonious cooperation among individual peoples and nations. Its implications are deeper, its claims greater than any which the Prophets of old were allowed to advance. Its message is applicable not only to the individual, but concerns itself primarily with the nature of those essential relationships that must bind all the states and nations as members of one human family. ... It implies an organic change in the structure of present-day society, a change such as the world has not yet experienced. ... It calls for no less than the reconstruction and the demilitarization of the whole civilized world ...
Thus in the Bahá'í view, unity must be expressed by building a universal and unified social system that is based on spiritual principles. In this view, the fundamental purpose of society is spiritual and is to create a society that is favourable to the healthy development of all its peoples.
- Bahá'í Faith and the unity of religion
- Bahá'í Faith and the unity of God
- ^ a b Stockman 2000, p. 7
- ^ a b c Smith 2008, p. 138
- ^ a b c Smith 2008, p. 139
- ^ a b c Hatcher & Martin 1998, p. 75
- ^ a b c d e Hatcher & Martin 1998, p. 76
- ^ `Abdu'l-Bahá 1918, p. 183
- ^ a b c Hatcher & Martin 1998, p. 78
- ^ Chryssides 1999, p. 250
- ^ Smith 2000, pp. 275–276
- ^ McMullen 2003, p. 17
- ^ Bahá'u'lláh 1976, pp. 249–250
- ^ a b Hatcher & Martin 1998, p. 77
- ^ Effendi 1938, pp. 42–43
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