Building a world civilisation
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building a World civilisation:. The Vision. Scottish Summer School 2009. Translating Words into Action. All men have been created to carry forward an ever-advancing civilisation. (Gleanings: CIX)

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Building a world civilisation

building a World civilisation:

  • The Vision

Scottish Summer School 2009


Translating words into action

Translating Words into Action

  • All men have been created to carry forward an ever-advancing civilisation.

  • (Gleanings: CIX)

  • It is incumbent upon every man of insight and understanding to translate that which hath been written into reality and action.

  • (Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh: page 166)


Building a global society

Building a Global Society

  • Realization of the uniqueness of what Bahá'u'lláh has brought into being opens the imagination to the contribution that the Cause can make to the unification of humankind and the building of a global society.

  • The immediate responsibility of establishing world government rests on the shoulders of the nation-states.

  • What the Bahá'í community is called on to do, at this stage in humanity's social and political evolution, is to contribute by every means in its power to the creation of conditions that will encourage and facilitate this enormously demanding undertaking.

  • (Century of Light: page 94)


Society building power

Society-Building Power

  • [ The community of the Most Great Name] alone are aware of the silent growth of that orderly world polity whose fabric they themselves are weaving.

  • Conscious of their high calling, confident in the society-building power which their Faith possesses, they press forward, undeterred and undismayed, in their efforts to fashion and perfect the necessary instruments wherein the embryonic World Order of Bahá’u’lláh can mature and develop.

  • It is this building process, slow and unobtrusive, to which the life of the world-wide Bahá’í Community is wholly consecrated, that constitutes the one hope of a stricken society.

  • (Shoghi Effendi: The World Order of Bahá’u’lláh)


A revolutionising principle

A Revolutionising Principle

  • . . . the time has come when each human being on earth must learn to accept responsibility for the welfare of the entire human family.

  • Commitment to this revolutionising principle will increasingly empower individuals and Bahá’í institutions alike in awakening others to . . . the latent spiritual and moral capacities that can change this world into another world.

  • (Universal House of Justice: 24 May 2001 in Turning Point page 164)


Moral conviction

Moral Conviction

  • By the end of the twentieth century ‘principles that had [only recently] been patronised as visionary and hopelessly unrealistic had become central to global discourse.’ They are sadly widely ignored, not because they are not seen as relevant. It is a lack of the ‘moral conviction that can implement them, a power whose only demonstrably reliable source throughout history has been religious faith.’

  • (One Common Faith: page 38)

  • . . . . . for all who respond to Bahá’u’lláh’s revelation, these and similar precepts carry the same compelling authority as do the injunctions of scripture against idolatry, theft and false witness.

  • (One Common Faith: page 40)


Utopianism

Utopianism

  • There are two main charges brought against idealists who work for a better world:

  • Lack of realism: ‘utopia’ literally means ‘nowhere.’

  • Violent self-righteousness stemming from a conviction that they know what’s best for us.


Our defence against those charges

Our Defence against those Charges

  • It is important to emphasise here that, while Bahá’ís yearn to help create a more just society, we also recognise that this is an evolutionary process that will take many generations and requires love and patience as well as the passage of a vast amount of time.

  • We also recognise that we, as imperfect human beings, contain the seeds of the very problems  in society we are hoping to help solve with this empowering vision of humanity's potential and that it would be very easy for us to betray the blueprint of the Divine Architect by, for example, some kind of self-righteous impatience.

  • My hope is that what follows will confirm that view.


Where the evidence points

Where the Evidence Points

  • Controlled experiments from Israel to Indonesia showed political & economic proposals for resolving conflicts to be not only insufficient, but counterproductive.

  • (Susan Neiman: Moral Clarity page 115)


Need for transcendence

Need for Transcendence

  • To be human is to have needs for transcendence over the brute and shiny objects of experience, needs that both religion & morality at their best fulfil.

  • (Susan Neiman: Moral Clarity page 112)


Becoming a useful partner

Becoming a Useful Partner

  • The rest of humanity has every right to expect that a body of people genuinely committed to the vision of unity embodied in the writings of Bahá’u’lláh will be an increasingly vigourous contributor to programmes of social betterment that depend for their success precisely on the force of unity.

  • Responding to the expectation will require the Bahá’í community to grow at an ever-accelerating pace, greatly multiplying the human and material resources invested in its work and diversifying still further the range of talents that equip it to be a useful partner with like-minded organisations.

  • (One Common Faith: page 50)


Parallel efforts

Parallel Efforts

  • If Bahá’ís are to fulfil Bahá’u’lláh’s mandate, however, it is obviously vital that they come to appreciate that the parallel efforts of:

    • promoting the betterment of society and

  • of teaching the Bahá’í Faith are

  • not activities competing for attention.

  • Rather, are they reciprocal features of one coherent global programme.

  • (One Common Faith: pages 51-52)


  • Obstacles

    Obstacles

    • . . . the secularisation of society's upper levels seemed to go hand in hand

    • with a pervasive religious obscurantism among the general population.

    • (Century of Light: Sec I, page 6)


    Any questions

    Any questions?


    Our ultimate sphere of work

    Our Ultimate Sphere of Work

    • Our century, with all its upheavals and its grandiloquent claims to create a new order, has no comparable example of

      • the systematic application of the powers of a single Mind

      • to the building of a distinctive and successful community

      • that saw its ultimate sphere of work as the globe itself.

    • (Century of Light: page 10)


    A nucleus and pattern

    A Nucleus and Pattern

    • . . . . [Assemblies] were integral parts of an Administrative Order that will, in time,

      • assert its claim and demonstrate its capacity to be regarded

        • not only as the nucleus but

        • the very pattern of the New World Order destined to embrace in the fullness of time the whole of mankind.

    • (Century of Light: Page 55 quoting the Guardian)


    Building a global society1

    Building a Global Society

    • Realization of the uniqueness of what Bahá'u'lláh has brought into being opens the imagination to the contribution that the Cause can make to the unification of humankind and the building of a global society.

    • The immediate responsibility of establishing world government rests on the shoulders of the nation-states.

    • What the Bahá'í community is called on to do, at this stage in humanity's social and political evolution, is to contribute by every means in its power to the creation of conditions that will encourage and facilitate this enormously demanding undertaking.

    • (Century of Light: page 94)


    Exercising a wider influence

    Exercising a Wider Influence

    • The fact that the Bahá'í message was now penetrating the lives not merely of small groups of individuals but of whole communities also had the effect of reviving a vital feature of an earlier stage in the advancement of the Cause.

    • For the first time in decades, the Faith found itself once more in a situation where teaching and consolidation were inseparably bound up with social and economic development.

    • (Century of Light: Page 103)


    A passivity learned through generations

    A Passivity Learned through Generations

    • One of the great strengths of the masses of humankind from among whom the newly enrolled believers came lies in an openness of heart that has the potentiality to generate lasting social transformation.

    • The greatest handicap of these same populations has so far been a passivity learned through generations of exposure to outside influences which, no matter how great their material advantages, have pursued agendas that were often related only tangentially - if at all - to the realities of the needs and daily lives of indigenous peoples.

    • (Century of Light: pages 108-109)


    A programme of education

    A Programme of Education

    • . . . in the 1970s in Colombia, . . . a systematic and sustained programme of education in the Writings was devised and soon adopted in neighbouring countries.

    • Influenced by the Colombian community's parallel efforts in the field of social and economic development, the breakthrough was all the more impressive in the fact that it was achieved against a background of violence and lawlessness that was deranging the life of the surrounding society.

    • (Century of Light: page 109)


    A new kind of discourse

    A New Kind of Discourse

    • Beyond expansion, consolidation and social action we were seeing the emergence of a new kind of discourse:

    • The prosecution of the Divine Plan entails no less than the involvement of the entire body of humankind in the work of its own spiritual, social and intellectual development

    • (Century of Light: page 110)


    Humanity s coming of age

    Humanity’s Coming of Age

    • The process of transformation the Cause has set in motion advances by inducing a fundamental change of consciousness, and

    • the challenge it poses to everyone who would serve it is to free oneself from attachment to inherited assumptions and preferences that are irreconcilable with the Will of God for humanity's coming of age

    • (Century of Light: page 136)


    The spiritual empowerment of humanity

    The Spiritual Empowerment of Humanity

    • . . . . With the successful establishment in 1963 of the Universal House of Justice, the Bahá'ís of the world set out on the first stage of a mission of long duration:

      • the spiritual empowerment of the whole body of humankind as the protagonists of their own advancement.

    • (Century of Light: pages 139-140)


    The consumerist mentality

    The Consumerist Mentality

    • . . . . the target audience for the megachurches consists of baby boomers who left the church in adolescence, who don’t feel comfortable with overt displays of religiosity, who dread turning into their parents, and who apply the same consumerist mentality to spiritual life as they do to every other aspect of experience.

    • (God Is Back by Micklethwait and Wooldridge, page 190)


    The first global democratic election

    The First Global Democratic Election

    • The process leading to the election of the Universal House of Justice - made possible by the successful completion of the three initial stages of the Master's Divine Plan under the leadership of Shoghi Effendi - very likely constituted history's first global democratic election.

    • Each of the successive elections since then has been carried out by an ever broader and more diverse body of the community's chosen delegates, a development that has now reached the point that it incontestably represents the will of a cross-section of the entire human race.

    • There is nothing in existence - nothing indeed envisioned by any group of people - that in any way resembles this achievement.

    • (Century of Light: page 92)


    The election of a divine institution

    The Election of a Divine Institution


    Guiding a community

    Guiding a Community

    • [The House of Justice] guides a community engaged in a dialogical process of learning to translate the teachings into action over time to create a new social order manifested in the lives of individual believers, the creation of a distinctive Bahá’í community, and the advancement of civilisation.

    • (Paul Lample: Revelation & Social Reality page 57)


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