The Sunday Mail
A Bahá’í Perspective
There is a common view and practice that we can unite only if we are of the same nationality, race, religion, ethnic, social and economic backgrounds.It is the Bahá’í view that, differences in the human family make the world a more beautiful place to live in and unless unity is attained — a unity that embraces and honours the full diversity of humankind — true peace and security will remain out of reach.
“The diversity in the human family should be the cause of love and harmony, as it is in music where many different notes blend together in the making of a perfect chord,” states the Bahá’í Writings.
“If you meet those of different race and colour from yourself, do not mistrust them and withdraw yourself into your shell of conventionality, but rather be glad and show them kindness. Think of them as different coloured roses growing in the beautiful garden of humanity, and rejoice to be among them”.
The coming together of the people of the world in a harmonious relationship is the most crucial need of today. Advances in human knowledge have brought about a greater interdependence between the nations. The central task now is to lay the foundations of a global society that can reflect the oneness of humanity.
Belief and recognition of the fundamental oneness of the human race is the key to overcoming the prejudices which divide us and is a prerequisite for lasting unity.
According to a statement of the Bahá’í International Community, “Only through the dawning consciousness that they constitute a single people will the inhabitants of the planet be enabled to turn away from the patterns of conflict that have dominated social organisation in the past and begin to learn the ways of collaboration and conciliation”.
“The well-being of mankind”, Bahá’u’lláh writes, “its peace and security, are unattainable unless and until its unity is firmly established”.
Unity in diversity
Currently, a major cause of discrimination and intolerance in many parts of the world, is the erroneous idea that we are somehow composed of separate and distinct races and groups, that we have different intellectual, moral, and physical capacities, which justify different forms of treatment.
In reality, however, there is only the one human race and we are all created out of the same substance by the one Creator. Reality of human oneness is fully endorsed by science. Anthropology, physiology, psychology, sociology and genetics all confirm that there is only one human species, although infinitely varied in the secondary aspects of life. The principle of human oneness is not just another vague hope or slogan. It reflects rather an eternal spiritual, moral and physical reality.
To accept the oneness of humanity is to embrace the variations that characterise human society, and to desire for every individual the opportunity to develop and express his or her unique capacities and inherent talents.
The oneness of mankind does not imply uniformity. It is because of our diversity that we have a beautiful and colourful human family. The Bahá’í Writings state: “Consider the flowers of a garden: though differing in kind, colour, form and shape, yet, inasmuch as they are refreshed by the waters of one spring, revived by the breath of one wind, invigorated by the rays of one sun, this diversity increaseth their charm, and addeth unto their beauty.
“Thus when that unifying force, the penetrating influence of the Word of God, taketh effect, the difference of customs, manners, habits, ideas, opinions and dispositions embellisheth the world of humanity”.