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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 119-121

First Steps Toward Unity

As a means of promoting religious unity Bahá’u’lláh advocates the utmost charity and tolerance, and calls on His followers to “consort with the people of all religions with joy and gladness.” In His last Will and Testament He says:—120
Contention and conflict hath He strictly forbidding in His book (Kitáb-i-Aqdas); such is the command of the Lord in this all-highest Revelation—a command which He hath exempted from all annulment and arrayed with the adorning of His confirmation.

O ye people of the world! The Religion of God is for the sake of love and union; make it not the cause of enmity and conflict. … The hope is cherished, that the people of Bahá shall ever turn unto the Hallowed Word: “Lo! All things are of God.”—the All-Glorious Word that, like unto water, quencheth the fire of hate and rancor which doth smoulder in hearts and breasts. By this one Word shall the diverse sects of the world attain unto the light of real union; verily the Truth He speaketh, and to the Path He leadeth, and He is the Mighty, the Gracious, the Beauteous.
‘Abdu’l-Bahá says:—
All must abandon prejudices and must even go to each other’s churches and mosques, for, in all of these worshipping places, the Name of God is mentioned. Since all gather to worship God, what difference is there? None of them worship Satan. The Muḥammadans must go to the churches of the Christians and the Synagogues of the Jews, and vice versa, the others must go to the Muḥammadan Mosques. They hold aloof from one another merely because of unfounded prejudices and dogmas. In America I went to the Jewish Synagogues, which are similar to the Christian Churches, and I saw them worshipping God everywhere.

In many of these places I spoke about the original foundations of the divine religions, and I explained to them the proofs of the validity of the divine prophets and of the Holy Manifestations. I encouraged them to do away with blind imitations. All of the leaders must, likewise, go to each other’s Churches and speak of the foundation and of the fundamental principles of the divine religions. In the utmost unity and harmony they must 121 worship God, in the worshipping places of one another, and must abandon fanaticism.
Were even these first steps accomplished and a state of friendly mutual tolerance established between the various religious sects, what a wonderful change would be brought about in the world! In order that real unity may be achieved, however, something more than this is required. For the disease of sectarianism, tolerance is a valuable palliative, but it is not a radical cure. It does not remove the cause of the trouble.