68. All Creation is Designed around Gradualism
Updated: Apr 16
Self denial is tough. Whether we're talking about finishing off that half-eaten chocolate bar, playing just one more round of golf or demolishing all the leftovers of last night's dinner, that 'Queen' song sums it up;
"We want it all, and we want it now."
Generally speaking, we want things now rather than later. There is psychological discomfort associated with self-denial. From an evolutionary perspective, our instinct is to seize the reward at hand, and resisting this instinct is hard. 'Psychology Today' comments on our desire to avoid delayed gratification.
"The whole design of creation revolves around gradualism. Let us begin at the beginning: the fetus goes through a rather long period of preparation before entering the next realm of existence, only to be faced with still more stringent demands on its way to maturity. Not only the babe, but society as well, must go through such phases or stages. It took thousands of years for humanity to reach its present phase of maturity".---https://www.wmicentral.com/.../article_697009c1-f130-5e77-b83d-484270e3a35d.html
This same principle of gradualism applies to religion. Just as no birth takes place without a lengthy period of pregnancy to culminate in painful labour, in similar manner all religions developed progressively, facing ignorance, then resistance, then adversity before the time of triumph.
St. John comments; "A woman in labor is in pain because her time has come; but when the child is born she forgets the anguish in her joy that a man has been born into the world."---John 16:21 NEB
The Bahai Faith began in a time of great crisis 2 centuries ago when more than 20,000 followers of the Báb - prophet/herald of Baha'u'llah - lost their lives in horrific circumstances.
Today, in several countries such as Iran and Yemen, it continues to face strong resistance, but broadly speaking the Faith is now emerging from a state of obscurity to one of growing recognition.
In 'The World Order of Bahá’u’lláh,' Shoghi Effendi explains the present situation, saying;
"Are not these intermittent crises that convulse present-day society due primarily to the lamentable inability of the world’s recognized leaders to read aright the signs of the times, to rid themselves once for all of their preconceived ideas and fettering creeds, and to reshape the machinery of their respective governments according to those standards that are implicit in Bahá’u’lláh’s supreme declaration of the Oneness of Mankind—the chief and distinguishing feature of the Faith He proclaimed? For the principle of the Oneness of Mankind, the cornerstone of Bahá’u’lláh’s world-embracing dominion, implies nothing more nor less than the enforcement of His scheme for the unification of the world—the scheme to which we have already referred."
“In every Dispensation,” writes ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, “the light of Divine Guidance has been focussed upon one central theme.… In this wondrous Revelation, this glorious century, the foundation of the Faith of God and the distinguishing feature of His Law is the consciousness of the Oneness of Mankind.” This principle of the Oneness of Mankind—the pivot round which all the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh revolve— "…implies an organic change in the structure of present-day society, a change such as the world has not yet experienced.”
Like the development of the child, this world-wide Faith develops progressively. At first it faced a state of ignorance, then resistance.
Today we anticipate further adversity, but ultimately we joyfully anticipate the time of triumph, when mankind will finally recognise the imperative need for our oneness.
What ever the current stage of our development, we are assured that the Faith will continue to progress until mankind recognises that a vast and unique process has been at work, a process that will inevitably be followed by ultimate victory.