21. There is No Cause for Despair.
Updated: Sep 25
Although most nations in the western world of today claim to be 'at peace', that's not what our media show. Peace doesn't cause whole communities to experience rioting, burning and the killing of innocent people. Make no mistake; we are still at war. It's just that today our wars look different.
Today many fail to recognise the true 'enemy' because this enemy doesn't wear a uniform. And today's 'war' doesn't involve the weapons of artillery (not so far, anyway).
This army consists mostly of individuals and loose unstructured groups. Its face is not that of a military unit but the faces of our white countrymen, and the arms they bear are the unseen arms of hatred in their hearts.
This war of race hatred is hidden away in individual hearts, and so the scale of its existence can easily go unnoticed. These people don't look different - unless you count skin colour.
For these haters, the uniform of the enemy is being black, whilst the mere coincidence of carrying a gene mutation - that of being white - is their uniform of pride.
But not all blacks. Not all whites. The biggest war of my time was mostly white people against their white cousins. So its not about colour for none can see the colour of a man's heart.
Despite the darkness of the present time, Baha'is are galvanised by these words;
Do not despair! Work steadily. Sincerity and love will conquer hate. How many seemingly impossible events are coming to pass in these days! Set your faces steadily towards the Light of the World. Show love to all; “Love is the breath of the Holy Spirit in the heart of Man.” Take courage! God never forsakes His children who strive and work and pray! Let your hearts be filled with the strenuous desire that tranquillity and harmony may encircle all this warring world. So will success crown your efforts, and with the universal brotherhood will come the Kingdom of God in peace and goodwill.
-- Abdul-Baha, Paris Talks
We have seen with our own eyes how many seemingly impossible events are coming to pass in these days. Our earliest forebears - yours, mine, and all those generations who, over time, have shared this beautiful planet - have been collective participants in an amazing series of events.
Humanity has been travelling from the earliest days of family life to the level of tribal solidarity, to city-state and now to a present stage of independent sovereign nations. Our next goal is that of World Unity.
Now we must recognise that, irrespectful of what great or small deeds our ancestors may have accomplished, what wealth or title was theirs, what large or small pieces of the planet they may have held any ownership over, now genetic science has established that we are one race, one family, one species, and this earth is our sole, our mutual home.
With this new awareness of oneness, the human race stands on the threshold of its maturity. Our collective task is to confront the destabilizing forces that now threaten this world and prevent attainment of the next phase of our development.
Although the dream of world unity is possible it cannot be achieved without full and unreserved acceptance of the cardinal principle of the oneness of humankind which is described by the Guardian as “the pivot round which all the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh revolve”.
The reality that humanity is one people must be the starting point for a new order; all relations among nations need to be re-envisaged in this light.
The Universal House of Justice challenges us that;
"Such a radical re-conception of our origins requires a huge shift in understanding. Presently, the will to achieve this transformation is still wanting. Sooner or later, it will require an historic feat of statesmanship from the leaders of the world.
The progressive recognition of our diversity, and the turbulence created as a result, has all humanity - both nations and individuals - gripped in a crisis of identity, as various peoples and groups struggle to define themselves, their place in the world, and how they should act.
Without a vision of shared identity and common purpose, they fall into competing ideologies and power struggles. Recognition of our diversity has produced countless permutations of “us” and “them”, defining group identities ever more narrowly and in contrast to one another.
This has resulted in a splintering into divergent interest groups, weakening the very cohesion of society itself. Beliefs about the primacy of any particular group obscure the reality that all humanity is on a common journey, in which we are mutual companions.
Our earlier perceptions of human identity differ radically from what is emerging with this new perspective of our human oneness. The value inherent in our diversity actually endows us with new richness and the promise of exciting potential and possibilities.
Unity, in its Bahá’í expression, embraces the essential concept of diversity, whilst clearly distinguishing it from uniformity.
It is through love for all people, and by subordinating our lesser loyalties to the best interests of all humankind, that the unity of the world can be realized and our infinite expressions of human diversity may find their highest fulfilment.
It calls for unity and a selfless love for humankind. This is the task of religion.
At this momentous time in our history, religious leaders have the opportunity to recognise the great possibilities before them to cultivate fellowship and concord. Or they can incite violence by using their influence to stoke the fires of fanaticism and prejudice.
Writing of religion, Bahá’u’lláh’s words are emphatic: “… make it not”, He warns, “the cause of dissension and strife.” Peace, for “all who dwell on earth”, is one of “the principles and ordinances of God
We are regularly confronted by the suffering endured by so many because of disunity. We cannot shut ourselves off from the increasing turmoil of the society that surrounds us, yet must be on guard, too, from becoming enmeshed in its conflicts or falling into its adversarial methods. No matter how bleak conditions may appear at any given time, no matter how dismal the immediate prospects for bringing about unity, there is no cause for despair. The distressing state of the world only spurs us to redouble a commitment to constructive action."
“These are not days of prosperity and triumph” cautions Bahá’u’lláh. “The whole of mankind is in the grip of manifold ills. Strive, therefore, to save its life through the wholesome medicine which the almighty hand of the unerring Physician hath prepared.” ---The Universal House of Justice 18 January 2019 To the Bahá’ís of the World