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Bahá’u’lláh and the New Era

  • Author:
  • J. E. Esslemont

  • Source:
  • US Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1980 edition
  • Pages:
  • 286
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Pages 156-157

Chapter 10: The Way to Peace

Today, this Servant has assuredly come to vivify the world and to bring into unity all who are on the face of the earth. That which God willeth shall come to pass and thou shalt see the earth even as the Abhá (Most Glorious) Paradise.—BAHÁ’U’LLÁH, Tablet to the Ra’ís.

Conflict versus Concord

During the past century scientists have devoted and immense amount of study to the struggle for existence in the plant and animal world, and, amid the perplexities of social life, many have turned for guidance to the principles which have been found to hold good in the lower world of nature. In this way they have come to regard rivalry and conflict as necessities of life, and the ruthless killing out of the weaker members of society as a legitimate or even necessary means of improving the race. Bahá’u’lláh tells us, on the other hand, that, if we wish to ascend the scale of progress, instead of looking backward to the animal world, we must direct our gaze forward and upward, and must take not the beasts, but the Prophets as our guides. The principles of unity, concord and compassion taught by the Prophets are the very antithesis of those dominating the animal struggle for self-preservation, and we must choose between them, for they cannot be reconciled. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá says:—
In the world of nature the dominant note is the struggle for existence—the result of which is the survival of the fittest. The law of the survival of the fittest is the origin of all difficulties. It is the cause of war and strife, hatred and animosity, between human beings. In the world of nature there is tyranny, egoism, aggression, overbearance, usurpation of the rights of others and other blameworthy 157 attributes which are defects of the animal world. Therefore, so long as the requirements of the natural world play paramount part among the children of men, success and prosperity are impossible. Nature is warlike, nature is bloodthirsty, nature is tyrannical, for nature is unaware of God the Almighty. That is why these cruel qualities are natural to the animal world.
Therefore the Lord of mankind, having great love and mercy, has caused the appearance of the prophets and the revelation of the Holy Books, so that through divine education humanity may be released from the corruption of nature and the darkness of ignorance, be confirmed with ideal virtues and spiritual attributes, and become the dawning-place of merciful emotions. …
A hundred thousand times, alas! that ignorant prejudice, unnatural differences and antagonistic principles are yet displayed by the nations of the world toward one another, thus causing the retardation of general progress. This retrogression comes from the fact that the principles of divine civilization are completely abandoned, and the teachings of the prophets are forgotten.