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December 25, 2011

Question: How can we foster peace on Earth?

Peace on earth, the great millennial ideal of people of good-will, is far from being an unattainable dream. Despite the severe crises of civilization currently facing humanity, Bahá’ís believe that world peace is not only possible, but will be, in fact, the final end of the inevitable historical process of humanity’s collective destiny. While the challenges are surely daunting, they are not insurmountable. The outcome will witness the fulfillment of the ancient prophetic promises of world peace to be established in this new era of global civilization.

    The UN Office of the Bahá’í International Community wrote in an August 31, 2001 statement to a World Conference Against Racism that “The contemporary realization of humanity’s collective oneness comes after a historic process in which individuals were fused into ever greater units. Moving from clans, to tribes, to city-states, to nations, the next inevitable step for humanity is nothing less than the creation of a global civilization….As stated by Bahá’u’lláh more than 100 years ago, ‘The earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens.’”

    In a thought-provoking approach to the question of world peace, the Bahá’í teachings hold that world peace is an inevitable outcome of world unity, not the reverse. Bahá’u’lláh (Glory of God), the Prophet-Founder of the Faith (1817-1892), declared: “The well-being of mankind, its peace and security, are unattainable unless and until its unity is firmly established. This unity can never be achieved so long as the counsels which the Pen of the Most High hath revealed are suffered to pass unheeded” (Gleanings, p. 286).

    Fostering world peace involves more than the simple peace of mind that is attained through prayer and meditation and adjusting our psycho-spiritual attitudes to nullify internal conflicts. It must involve the relationships that bind together federated nation-states living in one world. A multitude of factors are brought to bear, a few of which follow: recognizing the oneness and wholeness of the human race; accepting the common spiritual foundation of the world’s religions; eliminating the unconscionable extremes of wealth and poverty; establishing social justice; abolishing all forms of prejudice and discrimination; the extension of universal education to women and children; equality of rights for women and minorities.
-  Jack McLean

Printed in the The Ottawa Citizen December 25, 2011
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