The Baha’i teachings focus on unity, firmly believing that we are reaching a stage of growth and maturity where humanity is coming of age. Baha’is embrace three core beliefs about unity: the oneness of God, the oneness of religion, and the oneness of humanity.
Is the complete unification of the entire human family simply a dream that the poets and seers have long sung about? Or is it our true destiny, the promise spoken by the prophets, and referenced in Isaiah, where: “the wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together...”?
The prophet-founder of the Baha’i Faith, Baha’u’llah, proclaimed that the consciousness of the oneness of mankind is “the foundation of the Faith of God.” This central teaching is rooted in the belief that humanity is moving out of its turbulent stage of adolescence and into a stage of maturity.
Is it no wonder we see signs of upheaval and chaos in the world? How often do we hear people remark, “We’re living in extraordinary times”?
Baha’is believe we’re living in an age of transition—humanity’s coming of age. This transition is, of course, accompanied with the intense turmoil we associate with adolescence. Baha’is have an understanding that the same kinds of changes we associate with the stage of maturity in the life of the individual naturally have their counterpart in the collective life of human society, and we envision a future with great potential for peace and security among all peoples.
‘Abdu’l-Baha, the son of the Prophet-Founder elaborated on this fundamental verity, saying:
“All created things have their degree or stage of maturity. The period of maturity in the life of a tree is the time of its fruit-bearing…The animal attains a stage of full growth and completeness, and in the human kingdom man reaches his maturity when the light of his intelligence attains its greatest power and development ... Similarly there are periods and stages in the collective life of humanity. At one time it was passing through its stage of childhood, at another its period of youth, but now it has entered its long-predicted phase of maturity, the evidences of which are everywhere apparent ... That which was applicable to human needs during its early history can neither meet nor satisfy the demands of this day, this period of newness and consummation. Humanity has emerged from its former state of limitation and preliminary training. Humanity must now become imbued with new virtues and powers, new moral standards, and new capacities. New bounties, perfect bestowals, are awaiting and already descending. The gifts and blessings of the period of youth, although timely and sufficient during the adolescence of mankind, are now incapable of meeting the requirements of its maturity.”
Sometimes it is helpful to reflect on the long sweep of history to stay confident and hopeful. “The winds of despair,” wrote Baha’u’llah, “are, alas, blowing from every direction, and the strife that divides and afflicts the human race is daily increasing.”
Yet He also promises: “These fruitless strifes, these ruinous wars shall pass away, and the ‘Most Great Peace’ shall come.”
When we raise our children, we trust they will grow and progress from adolescence into maturity, and in the bleakness of winter, we know that spring will unfold in all its beauty. The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s quote on justice reminds us to take the long view as well: “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”
Can we trust in the unfolding divine cycles and commit ourselves to work toward establishing the foundation for a peaceful and just society—one that reflects our spiritual maturity and reflects the consciousness of the oneness of mankind?