006. Fixing A Broken Family
Updated: Oct 22
What a contentious subject my previous article on the place of Abraham as Father of Nations proved to be! When it was first posted (this is a reprint) my site received just the first of many hacks.
Back then, I had stubbornly rejected the concerns of my family and friends that I was lowering my new blog, like fresh bait, into the shark tank that is the world wide web. Within weeks, my early 'missionary fervour' began to be tested. During the year to follow, I began to receive the first of many obscene posts, on themes like sex, violence to women and worse; for your delicate sensitivities I won't go into detail. And so far my site has been shut down twice (on non-sex-related reasons).
But as a result I became grateful.
All these reactions proved to me that my words were having an effect; the ideas were making people think and care. And over time, they might even enlarge people's understanding.
I became more sure of the need to send these ideas out into the ether, to hopefully bear seeds that time would germinate, and gradually develop within their reader's minds. Other readers, hopefully on the furtherest side of the world from me, found the same ideas deeply threatening.
But why are some in our global family so aggravated by the idea that we are one human family with mutual forbears?
Current race riots in America show that ignorance of our one common ancestry is alive and well...
When a white police officer knelt upon the neck of George Floyd in Minneapolis last week, little was he aware that the man whose life lay at his feet was his own DNA family; his 'cousin'. The peaceful united world so many of us had dreamed of was about to face another great test.
Yet it wasn't so long ago that the western world of the 60's and 70's was dancing and trancing to the Summer of Love, to those 'peace, love and mung beans' days when we put flowers in our hair and painted words like Peace on the smiling faces of little children. There was strange-smelling smoke in the air, and uplifting folk songs that called us to 'give peace a chance'.
What happened to the inspiring influence of Bob Geldof, singer-songwriter and political activist, and young black Michael Jackson's 'Man In The Mirror', challenging each of us to demonstrate personal accountability?
It was all supposed to be so simple, about peace, love, and harmony, but then it seemed that the script gradually changed.
Instead of Nirvana, what followed the Summer Of Love was the Vietnam War and Helter Skelter, a cult of Charles Manson responsible for committing a series of gruesome murders, followed by the 1993 siege and consequent burning of 76 members of the Branch Davidian family at their Waco compound, all accompanied by an escalation of other social disorders which proved that love needed to be much more than the 'feel-good' consequences of chemically induced highs.
Into the social and moral vacuum that followed the rejection of organised religion with its accompanying cynicism, I first heard the words of the Baha'i Faith, a new faith once again calling us to love, but this time with clear guidance on how that could be achieved.
It was not just a feel-good love. This was a love that called for deeds, not words, for the practical application of true unity and equality of opportunity, for all religions, for women and men, blacks and whites, for equal access to education and economic advantage.
I realised that what was necessary was a vastly different concept of what constitutes a family; not a Charles Manson family, not a Branch Davidian family but one that saw itself as a part of a greater whole...
Compare the nations of the world to the members of a family. A family is a nation in miniature. Simply enlarge the circle of the household, and you have the nation. Enlarge the circle of nations, and you have all humanity. The conditions surrounding the family surrounds the nation. The happenings in the family are the happenings in the life of the nation. Would it add to the progress and advancement of a family if dissensions should arise among its members, all fighting, pillaging each other, jealous and revengeful of injury, seeking selfish advantage? Nay, this would be the cause of the effacement of progress and advancement. So it is in the great family of nations, for nations are but an aggregate of families. Therefore, as strife and dissension destroy a family and prevent its progress, sonations are destroyed and advancement hindered.
-‘Abdu’l-Bahá / 58. Theosophical Lodge
So now we are faced with a personal and collective challenge. Rather than sitting back idly and letting our brave new world be overrun by haters, our present day requires women and men of all faiths to join countless others in the global family to Wage Peace.
Our collective battle against the deadly corona virus is proving the power of our unity to overcome.
"The well-being of mankind, its peace and security are unattainable unless and until its unity is firmly established."