June 18, 2023 will mark 40 years since 10 Baha’i women were hanged in Shiraz. Their only ‘crime’ was their refusal to renounce their beliefs in a faith that promotes the principles of gender equality, unity, justice, and truthfulness. This collection highlights Baha’i Blog content relating to the ongoing persecution of Baha’is in Iran.
Over the December holidays, when so many religious holidays and cultural celebrations were observed, and leading up to World Religion Day (which is held annually on the third Sunday of January and celebrated in communities all over the world), the Baha’i Blog team consulted about the subject of peace. Here are some of the written resources we’ve come across in our travels online.
My favourite piece related to world peace is one about Abdu’l-Baha’s conversation with an arms dealer named Hudson Maxim. The story has been retold on 239days.com, a website chronicling Abdu’l-Baha’s travels, but it was originally published in Star of the West (Vol. III July 13, 1912 No. 7). In this story, Abdu’l-Baha is reported to have said:
“Why not try peace for awhile? [sic] If we find war is better, it will not be difficult to fight again; but if we find that peace is the glorification of humanity, the impulse of true civilization, the stimulus to inventive genius and the means of attainment to the good-pleasure of God, we must agree to adhere to it and establish it permanently.”
The Baha’i Reference Library is a go-to for authoritative Baha’i texts in English. It includes a collection of compilations on specific subjects that often contains quotations not found translated elsewhere. For example, you’ll find a compilation dedicated entirely to the subject of peace. Here is one of my treasured quotations from its pages:
By what process, continued the questioner, will this peace on earth be established? Will it come at once after a universal declaration of the Truth?
No, it will come about gradually, said Abdu’l-Baha. A plant that grows too quickly lasts but a short time. You are my family, and he looked about with a smile, my new children! if a family lives in unison, great results are obtained. Widen the circle; when a city lives in intimate accord greater results will follow, and a continent that is fully united will likewise unite all other continents. Then will be the time of the greatest results, for all the inhabitants of the earth belong to one native land.
I am still mulling over this article by Paul Lample called “Reflections on the Challenge of our Age”. I will continue to digest its contents and I struggled to decide with paragraph to share with you but I loved his wording of our two-fold moral purpose:
The twofold purpose of the Manifestation of God to transform the inner and outer life of humanity finds its complement in the twofold moral purpose of every individual soul to transform the self and to contribute to transforming society. In the first, a person gives expression to the inherent powers of the soul in an act of moral artistry that weaves the rich tapestry of a righteous, good, worthy, and meaningful life. In the second, a person acts as a citizen of the world, making choices in association with others that contribute, as many drops join to make a mighty river, to the formation of united, just, prosperous, and peaceful social spaces, leading ultimately to the attainment of the common good and an ever-advancing civilization.
Bahaiteachings.org is similar to Baha’i Blog in that it is also an individual initiative that shares the personal thoughts and opinions of its authors. I particularly enjoyed this article called “What I Do, as a Baha’i, To Make World Peace Possible”. I love its powerful conclusion, its poetic call to action:
No one wants to feel hopeless and helpless. The only solution is that we all take the responsibility to use each of our unique skills and talents to create peace in our spheres of influence.
Did you know there’s a Baha’i Chair for World Peace? Before things get confusing: it’s not a physical chair, it’s a department at the University of Maryland (USA). It is an endowed academic program that advances interdisciplinary examination and discourse on global peace. While drawing certain initial insights from religion, the program aims to develop a sound scientific basis for knowledge and strategies that lead to the creation of a better world. It has a blog so you can follow along as it contributes to social discourse on the subject and as it continues to learn and progress.
If you know of other online written resources related to peace, please comment below!
In her innermost heart, Sonjel is a stay-at-home parent and a bookworm with a maxed out library card but professionally she is a museologist with a background in English Literature. She currently lives on Prince Edward Island, an isle in the shape of a smile on the eastern Canadian coast. Sonjel is a writer who loves to listen to jazz when she's driving at night.
I wonder if a mistake is made above by calling Paul Lample a “former” member of the Universal House of Justice. I believe he is still a member.
Cindy (January 1, 2023 at 8:05 AM)
Thank you SO much for noticing that, Cindy! I’ll amend the article immediately. I really appreciate you letting us know.
Sonjel Vreeland (January 1, 2023 at 2:39 AM)