God’s guidance to humanity
Bahá’u’lláh teaches that all the world’s major faiths come from the same Divine Source. This does not mean they are all exactly the same. Rather, God has sent a series of Divine Educators, Whose purpose is to guide humankind. The faiths established by these Educators represent successive stages in the spiritual evolution of human society.
These Divine Educators have included Abraham, Krishna, Zoroaster, Moses, Buddha, Jesus, and Muhammad. Bahá’u’lláh, the most recent of these Educators, explained that the religions of the world are expressions of a single unfolding Divine purpose, which He called “the changeless Faith of God, eternal in the past, eternal in the future.” When harmonised with science, religion is a system of knowledge that moves civilisation forward, helping communities to come together and work towards a common vision and purpose.
“There is no contradiction between true religion and science. When a religion is opposed to science it becomes mere superstition: that which is contrary to knowledge is ignorance.” ‘Abdu’l-Bahá
Teachings for a peaceful society
When we look around us, we see a world filled with conflict, injustice and inequality. Society’s attempts at fixing these problems have fallen short because without a unified vision, we are only able to treat the symptoms, not the cause.
Bahá’u’lláh compared the world of humanity to the human body. Within this body, millions of cells, each with a different function, plays a part in maintaining a healthy system. Just as a healthy human body would never pit one part of itself against another, different parts of humanity cannot be in conflict with each other and expect to advance and prosper.
Humanity now has within its grasp the tools and knowledge to achieve unity. As a global society we must come together and, like the cells of a healthy body, contribute to the material, social and spiritual well-being of every member of the human family.
We can treat the root cause of the world’s problems by faithfully applying fundamental principles like the equality of women and men, the harmony of religion and science, the centrality of justice to all human endeavours, and universal education. The same principles can be applied at the level of our local communities by each of us developing the attitudes, beliefs and skills for fostering unity.
Religion and science are the two wings upon which man’s intelligence can soar into the heights, with which the human soul can progress. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá
The spiritual growth of individuals
Each individual is a member of the human family and can make a positive contribution to the life of society. In order to help build a just and prosperous world, personal spiritual development is essential.
Bahá’u’lláh teaches that all human beings are fundamentally spiritual beings and each person is in charge of his or her own spiritual growth. Religion enables individuals to discover and develop the gem-like qualities that they have within them.
Bahá’u’lláh says: “My first counsel is this: Possess a pure, kindly and radiant heart, that thine may be a sovereignty ancient, imperishable and everlasting.”
We can foster our spiritual growth through daily prayer and meditation, study of scriptures, fasting and service to humanity. By nurturing and developing our spiritual qualities, we become better able to recognise the pressing needs of humanity and work toward creating a just and peaceful society.