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The Bahá'í Faith

“So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth.” - Bahá'u'lláh



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_The Vision of Race Unity I_

_A STATEMENT BY THE NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLY OF THE BAHÁ'ÍS OF THE UNITED STATES_

The oneness of humanity is the pivot round which revolve all the teachings of the Bahá'í Faith. It is at once a statement of principle and an assertion of the ultimate goal of human experience on the planet. More than a century ago, Bahá'u'lláh, the Prophet-Founder of the Bahá'í Faith, wrote: "The well-being of mankind, its peace and security, are unattainable unless and until its unity is firmly established." It is a principle that issues naturally from the genesis and purpose of human existence. The Word of God as presented in the Bahá'í writings offers compelling insights as in the following examples:


Veiled in My immemorial being and in the ancient eternity of My essence, I knew My love for thee; therefore I created thee, have engraved on thee Mine image and revealed to thee My beauty.


Know ye not why We created you all from the same dust? That no one should exalt himself over the other. Ponder at all times in your hearts how ye were created. Since We have created you all from one same substance it is incumbent on you to be even as one soul, to walk with the same feet, eat with the same mouth and dwell in the same land, that from your inmost being, by your deeds and actions, the signs of oneness and the essence of detachment may be made manifest. Such is My counsel to you, O concourse of light! Heed ye this counsel that ye may obtain the fruit of holiness from the tree of wondrous glory.


All men have been created to carry forward an ever-advancing civilization. The Almighty beareth Me witness: To act like the beasts of the field is unworthy of man. Those virtues that befit his dignity are forbearance, mercy, compassion and loving-kindness towards all the peoples and kindreds of the earth.


Having gone through the stages of infancy and turbulent adolescence, humanity is now approaching maturity, a stage that will witness "the reconstruction and demilitarization of the whole civilized world -- a world organically unified in all the essential aspects of its life...." In no other country is the promise of organic unity more immediately demonstrable than in the United States because this country is a microcosm of the diverse populations of the earth. Yet this promise remains largely unrealized even here because of the endemic racism that, like a cancer, is corroding the vitals of the nation.


For too much of its history and in so many places the human race has squandered its energy and resources in futile efforts to prove the unprovable: that one portion of itself, because of separation by geography, a difference in skin color, or the diversity of cultural expression, is intrinsically distinct from another portion. The ignorance and prejudice on which such efforts are founded have led to endless conflicts in the name of the sanctity of tribe, race, class, nation, and religion. Paradoxical as it may seem, in the consistency of these negative efforts across the spectrum of the race, humanity has proved the exact opposite: it has affirmed its oneness. The proof is in the fact that, given the same circumstances, all people, regardless of ethnic or cultural variety, behave essentially the same way. In the futility of its efforts to classify and separate its diverse elements, humanity has become disoriented and confused. Unaided by the divine influence of religion, people are incapable of achieving a proper orientation to their innermost reality and purpose and are thus unable to achieve a coherent vision of their destiny. It is in this respect that the Bahá'ís find relevancy, direction, and fulfillment in the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh, the Founder of their Faith.


The oneness of humanity is a spiritual truth abundantly confirmed by science. Recognition of this truth compels the abandonment of all prejudices of race, color, creed, nation, and class -- of "everything which enables people to consider themselves superior to others." The principle of the oneness of humankind "is no mere outburst of ignorant emotionalism or an expression of vague and pious hope.... It does not constitute merely the enunciation of an ideal.... It implies an organic change in the structure of present-day society, a change such as the world has not yet experienced."