The Sunday Mail
Flora Teckie A Bahá’í Perspective
We all would like to live in a better world. According to the Bahá’í Writings, the “betterment of the world can be accomplished through pure and goodly deeds, through commendable and seemly conduct”. The emphasis is placed on purity of intention and sincerity, when one performs good deeds. That is when greatest results are achieved.
“One can hardly imagine what a great influence genuine love, truthfulness and purity of motives exert on the souls of men. But these traits cannot be acquired by any believer unless he makes a daily effort to gain them …”
Moral maturity comes from spiritual awareness and the moral code that has the transformative power for action originates from the guidance given to us by our Creator.
All human behaviour is an expression of our capacity to choose and make decisions. It is through the moral exercise of the free will that the individual advances spiritually. We have the choice between justice and injustice and the power to do good and evil.
As Bahá’í Writings state: “We must strive unceasingly and without rest to accomplish the development of the spiritual nature in man, and endeavour with tireless energy to advance humanity toward the nobility of its true and intended station.”
There are many factors that contribute to our spiritual development, such as prayer, reflection, willingness to learn and constant daily effort — particularly in service to humanity.
A moral person would consciously and actively be engaged in performing actions that promote not only individual, but also social transformation.
Currently, there is inconsistency in our norms and practices when it comes to application of justice or generally our moral values towards people of other backgrounds.
For example, “If a man kills another, no matter what the cause may be, he is pronounced a murderer, imprisoned or executed; but the brutal oppressor who has slain one hundred thousand (in a war) is idolised as a hero, conqueror or military genius.”
Recognition of the fundamental oneness of the human race is the key to overcoming prejudices and restrictive moral values.
As the Bahá’í Writings state: “Let your vision be world-embracing, rather than confined to your own self” and “That one indeed is a man who, today, dedicateth himself to the service of the entire human race . . . Blessed and happy is he that ariseth to promote the best interests of the peoples and kindreds of the earth.”
Our efforts to conform to the laws and teachings of God should be a necessary consequence of our belief in Him and it is natural that our belief in God would be translated into constructive deeds. Otherwise, one would question what it means to have faith if it is not consciously manifested in one’s actions and in one’s relationships with others?
Our moral and spiritual advancement is crucial to our well-being in both this life and the next. According to the Bahá’í Writings, “ . . . the foundation of success and salvation is the knowledge of God, and that the results of the knowledge of God are the good actions which are the fruits of faith.”