More than anything else, the Baha’i teachings focus on world unity. Baha’u’llah’s vision for the future of humanity centers around the oneness of the planet, the unity of all peoples and nations, and a just and lasting global peace:
So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth. Exert yourselves that ye may attain this transcendent and most sublime station, the station that can ensure the protection and security of all mankind. – Baha’u’llah, Gleanings, p. 288.
Millions of people celebrate and work diligently toward this compelling ideal, but some question the Baha’i goal of world unity as too idealistic or too potentially totalitarian; too optimistic or too radical. Shoghi Effendi, the Guardian of the Baha’i Faith and an Oxford-educated scholar and historian, answered those questions when he outlined the Baha’i vision of the unification of humanity clearly, beautifully and succinctly in March of 1936:
The unity of the human race, as envisaged by Baha’u’llah, implies the establishment of a world commonwealth in which all nations, races, creeds and classes are closely and permanently united, and in which the autonomy of its state members and the personal freedom and initiative of the individuals that compose them are definitely and completely safeguarded.
This commonwealth must, as far as we can visualize it, consist of a world legislature, whose members will, as the trustees of the whole of mankind, ultimately control the entire resources of all the component nations, and will enact such laws as shall be required to regulate the life, satisfy the needs and adjust the relationships of all races and peoples.
A world executive, backed by an international Force, will carry out the decisions arrived at, and apply the laws enacted by, this world legislature, and will safeguard the organic unity of the whole commonwealth.
A world tribunal will adjudicate and deliver its compulsory and final verdict in all and any disputes that may arise between the various elements constituting this universal system.
A mechanism of world inter-communication will be devised, embracing the whole planet, freed from national hindrances and restrictions, and functioning with marvelous swiftness and perfect regularity.
A world metropolis will act as the nerve center of a world civilization, the focus towards which the unifying forces of life will converge and from which its energizing influences will radiate.
A world language will either be invented or chosen from among the existing languages and will be taught in the schools of all the federated nations as an auxiliary to their mother tongue.
A world script, a world literature, a uniform and universal system of currency, of weights and measures, will simplify and facilitate intercourse and understanding among the nations and races of mankind.
In such a world society, science and religion, the two most potent forces in human life, will be reconciled, will cooperate, and will harmoniously develop.
The press will, under such a system, while giving full scope to the expression of the diversified views and convictions of mankind, cease to be mischievously manipulated by vested interests, whether private or public, and will be liberated from the influence of contending governments and peoples.
The economic resources of the world will be organized, its sources of raw materials will be tapped and fully utilized, its markets will be coordinated and developed, and the distribution of its products will be equitably regulated.
National rivalries, hatreds, and intrigues will cease, and racial animosity and prejudice will be replaced by racial amity, understanding and cooperation.
The causes of religious strife will be permanently removed, economic barriers and restrictions will be completely abolished, and the inordinate distinction between classes will be obliterated.
Destitution on the one hand, and gross accumulation of ownership on the other, will disappear.
The enormous energy dissipated and wasted on war, whether economic or political, will be consecrated to such ends as will extend the range of human inventions and technical development, to the increase of the productivity of mankind, to the extermination of disease, to the extension of scientific research, to the raising of the standard of physical health, to the sharpening and refinement of the human brain, to the exploitation of the unused and unsuspected resources of the planet, to the prolongation of human life, and to the furtherance of any other agency that can stimulate the intellectual, the moral, and spiritual life of the entire human race. – World Order of Baha’u’llah, p. 203.
This stirring, powerful vision of a new world order — characterized by justice, peace and unity – inspires Baha’is and their supporters in every country to work toward the day when the unifying forces of life culminate in a world filled with hope, joy and harmony.