The Promulgation of Universal Peace
14 July 1912
Talk at All Souls Unitarian Church
Fourth Avenue and Twentieth Street, New York
Notes by John G. Grundy and Howard MacNutt
Today I wish to speak to you upon the subject of the oneness of
humanity, for in this great century the most important accomplishment
is the unity of mankind. Although in former centuries and
times this subject received some measure of mention and consideration,
it has now become the paramount issue and question in
the religious and political conditions of the world. History shows
that throughout the past there has been continual warfare and strife
among the various nations, peoples and sects; but now--praise be
to God!--in this century of illumination, hearts are inclined
toward agreement and fellowship, and minds are thoughtful upon
the question of the unification of mankind. There is an emanation
of the universal consciousness today which clearly indicates the
dawn of a great unity.
In the investigation of a subject the right method of approach is
to carefully examine its premises. Therefore, we must go back to
the foundation upon which human solidarity rests--namely, that
all are the progeny of Adam, the creatures and servants of one God;
that God is the Protector and Provider; that all are submerged in the
sea of divine mercy and grace and God is loving toward all.
Humanity shares in common the intellectual and spiritual faculties
of a created endowment. All are equally subject to the various
exigencies of human life and are similarly occupied in acquiring
the means of earthly subsistence. From the viewpoint of creation
human beings stand upon the same footing in every respect, subject
to the same requirements and seeking the enjoyment and
comfort of earthly conditions. Therefore, the things humanity
shares in common are numerous and manifest. This equal participation
in the physical, intellectual and spiritual problems of human
existence is a valid basis for the unification of mankind.
Consider how discord and dissension have prevailed in this
great human family for thousands of years. Its members have ever
been engaged in war and bloodshed. Up to the present time in history
the world of humanity has neither attained nor enjoyed any
measure of peace, owing to incessant conditions of hostility and
strife. History is a continuous and consecutive record of warfare
brought about by religious, sectarian, racial, patriotic and political
causes. The world of humanity has found no rest. Mankind has always
been in conflict, engaged in destroying the foundations, pillaging
the properties and possessing the lands and territory of each
other, especially in the earlier periods of savagery and barbarism
where whole races and peoples were carried away captive by their
conquerors. Who shall measure or estimate the tremendous destruction
of human life resulting from this hostility and strife?
What human powers and forces have been employed in the prosecution
of war and applied to inhuman purposes of battle and bloodshed?
In this most radiant century it has become necessary to divert
these energies and utilize them in other directions, to seek the new
path of fellowship and unity, to unlearn the science of war and devote
supreme human forces to the blessed arts of peace. After long
trial and experience we are convinced of the harmful and satanic
outcomes of dissension; now we must seek after means by which
the benefits of agreement and concord may be enjoyed. When such
means are found, we must give them a trial.
Consider the harmful effect of discord and dissension in a family;
then reflect upon the favors and blessings which descend upon
that family when unity exists among its various members. What
incalculable benefits and blessings would descend upon the great
human family if unity and brotherhood were established! In this
century when the beneficent results of unity and the ill effects of
discord are so clearly apparent, the means for the attainment and
accomplishment of human fellowship have appeared in the world.
Bahá'u'lláh has proclaimed and provided the way by which hostility
and dissension may be removed from the human world. He has
left no ground or possibility for strife and disagreement.
First, He has proclaimed the oneness of mankind and specialized
religious teachings for existing human conditions. The first
form of dissension arises from religious differences. Bahá'u'lláh
has given full teachings to the world which are conducive to fellowship
and unity in religion. Throughout past centuries each system
of religious belief has boasted of its own superiority and excellence,
abasing and scorning the validity of all others. Each has
proclaimed its own belief as the light and all others as darkness.
Religionists have considered the world of humanity as two trees:
one divine and merciful, the other satanic; they themselves the
branches, leaves and fruit of the divine tree and all others who differ
from them in belief the product of the tree which is satanic.
Therefore, sedition and warfare, bloodshed and strife have been
continuous among them. The greatest cause of human alienation
has been religion because each party has considered the belief of
the other as anathema and deprived of the mercy of God.
The teachings specialized in Bahá'u'lláh are addressed to humanity.
He says, "Ye are all the leaves of one tree." He does not
say, "Ye are the leaves of two trees: one divine, the other satanic."
He has declared that each individual member of the human
family is a leaf or branch upon the Adamic tree; that all are sheltered
beneath the protecting mercy and providence of God; that all
are the children of God, fruit upon the one tree of His love. God
is equally compassionate and kind to all the leaves, branches and
fruit of this tree. Therefore, there is no satanic tree whatever--
Satan being a product of human minds and of instinctive human
tendencies toward error. God alone is Creator, and all are creatures
of His might. Therefore, we must love mankind as His creatures,
realizing that all are growing upon the tree of His mercy, servants
of His omnipotent will and manifestations of His good pleasure.
Even though we find a defective branch or leaf upon this tree of
humanity or an imperfect blossom, it, nevertheless, belongs to this
tree and not to another. Therefore, it is our duty to protect and cultivate
this tree until it reaches perfection. If we examine its fruit
and find it imperfect, we must strive to make it perfect. There are
souls in the human world who are ignorant; we must make them
knowing. Some growing upon the tree are weak and ailing; we
must assist them toward health and recovery. If they are as infants
in development, we must minister to them until they attain maturity.
We should never detest and shun them as objectionable and
unworthy. We must treat them with honor, respect and kindness;
for God has created them and not Satan. They are not manifestations
of the wrath of God but evidences of His divine favor. God,
the Creator, has endowed them with physical, mental and spiritual
qualities that they may seek to know and do His will; therefore,
they are not objects of His wrath and condemnation. In brief, all
humanity must be looked upon with love, kindness and respect; for
what we behold in them are none other than the signs and traces of
God Himself. All are evidences of God; therefore, how shall we be
justified in debasing and belittling them, uttering anathema and
preventing them from drawing near unto His mercy? This is ignorance
and injustice, displeasing to God; for in His sight all are His
Another cause of dissension and disagreement is the fact that
religion has been pronounced at variance with science. Between
scientists and the followers of religion there has always been controversy
and strife for the reason that the latter have proclaimed
religion superior in authority to science and considered scientific
announcement opposed to the teachings of religion. Bahá'u'lláh
declared that religion is in complete harmony with science and reason.
If religious belief and doctrine is at variance with reason, it
proceeds from the limited mind of man and not from God; therefore,
it is unworthy of belief and not deserving of attention; the
heart finds no rest in it, and real faith is impossible. How can man
believe that which he knows to be opposed to reason? Is this possible?
Can the heart accept that which reason denies? Reason is the
first faculty of man, and the religion of God is in harmony with it.
Bahá'u'lláh has removed this form of dissension and discord from
among mankind and reconciled science with religion by revealing
the pure teachings of the divine reality. This accomplishment is
specialized to Him in this Day.
Still another cause of disagreement and dissension has been the
formation of religious sects and denominations. Bahá'u'lláh said
that God has sent religion for the purpose of establishing fellowship
among humankind and not to create strife and discord, for all
religion is founded upon the love of humanity. Abraham promulgated
this principle, Moses summoned all to its recognition, Christ
established it, and Muhammad directed mankind to its standard.
This is the reality of religion. If we abandon hearsay and investigate
the reality and inner significance of the heavenly teachings,
we will find the same divine foundation of love for humanity. The
purport is that religion is intended to be the cause of unity, love and
fellowship and not discord, enmity and estrangement. Man has
forsaken the foundation of divine religion and adhered to blind imitations.
Each nation has clung to its own imitations, and because
these are at variance, warfare, bloodshed and destruction of the
foundation of humanity have resulted. True religion is based upon
love and agreement. Bahá'u'lláh has said, "If religion and faith
are the causes of enmity and sedition, it is far better to be nonreligious,
and the absence of religion would be preferable; for we desire
religion to be the cause of amity and fellowship. If enmity and
hatred exist, irreligion is preferable." Therefore, the removal of
this dissension has been specialized in Bahá'u'lláh, for religion is
the divine remedy for human antagonism and discord. But when
we make the remedy the cause of the disease, it would be better to
do without the remedy.
Other sources of human dissension are political, racial and patriotic
prejudices. These have been removed by Bahá'u'lláh. He
has said, and has guarded His statement by rational proofs from the
Holy Books, that the world of humanity is one race, the surface of
the earth one place of residence and that these imaginary racial
barriers and political boundaries are without right or foundation.
Man is degraded in becoming the captive of his own illusions and
suppositions. The earth is one earth, and the same atmosphere
surrounds it. No difference or preference has been made by God
for its human inhabitants; but man has laid the foundation of prejudice,
hatred and discord with his fellowman by considering nationalities
separate in importance and races different in rights and privileges.
Diversity of languages has been a fruitful cause of discord. The
function of language is to convey the thought and purpose of one to
another. Therefore, it matters not what language man speaks or
employs. Sixty years ago Bahá'u'lláh advocated one language as
the greatest means of unity and the basis of international conference.
He wrote to the kings and rulers of the various nations, recommending
that one language should be sanctioned and adopted
by all governments. According to this each nation should acquire
the universal language in addition to its native tongue. The world
would then be in close communication, consultation would become
general, and dissensions due to diversity of speech would be
Another teaching of Bahá'u'lláh is in relation to universal
peace: that all mankind must be awakened to and become conscious
of the harm of war, that they should be brought to realize the
benefits of peace and know that peace is from God while warfare is
satanic. Man must emulate the merciful God and turn away from
satanic promptings in order that universal inclination shall be
toward peace, love and unity and the discord of war vanish.
Lack of equality between man and woman is, likewise, a cause
of human dissension. Bahá'u'lláh has named this as an important
factor of discord and separation, for so long as humankind remains
unequally divided in right and importance between male and
female, no unity can be established. In a perfect human body it is
not possible for one organ to be complete and another defective. In
the great body of human society it is impossible to establish unity
and coordination if one part is considered perfect and the other imperfect.
When the perfect functions of both parts are in operation,
harmony will prevail. God has created man and woman equal as to
faculties. He has made no distinction between them. Woman has
not reached the level of man in human accomplishment because of
the lack of opportunity and education. If educational opportunities
were made equal and similar, the two parts, man and woman,
would equalize in attainment. God has intended no difference between
them that should be productive of discord. He has endowed
all with human faculties, and all are manifestations of His mercy.
If we say man and woman differ in creational endowment, it is
contrary to divine justice and intention. Both are human. If God
has created one perfect and the other defective, He is unjust. But
God is just; all are perfect in His intention and creative endowment.
To assume imperfection in the creature is to presuppose imperfection
in the almighty Creator. The soul that excels in attainment
of His attributes and graces is most acceptable before God.
We are considering the divine plan for the reconciliation of the
religious systems of the world. Bahá'u'lláh has said that if one intelligent
member be selected from each of the varying religious
systems, and these representatives come together seeking to investigate
the reality of religion, they would establish an interreligious
body before which all disputes and differences of belief
could be presented for consideration and settlement. Such questions
could then be weighed and viewed from the standpoint of
reality and all imitations be discarded. By this method and procedure
all sects, denominations and systems would become one.
Do not question the practicability of this, and be not astonished.
It has been accomplished and effected in Persia. In that country the
various religionists have conjoined in investigating reality and
have united in complete fellowship and love. No traces of discord
or differences remain among them; now affection and unity are
manifest instead. They live together in harmony and accord like a
single family. Antagonism and strife have passed away; love and
agreement have taken the place of hatred and animosity. Furthermore,
those souls who have followed Bahá'u'lláh and attained this
condition of fellowship and affiliation are Muslims, Jews, Christians,
Zoroastrians, Buddhists, Nestorians, Sunnites, Shiites and
others. No discord exists among them. This is a proof of the
possibility of unification among the religionists of the world
through practical means. Imitations and prejudices which have
held men apart have been discarded, and the reality of religion
envelops them in a perfect unity. When reality envelops the soul of
man, love is possible. The divine purpose in religion is pure love
and agreement. The Prophets of God manifested complete love for
all. Each One announced the glad tidings of His successor, and
each subsequent One confirmed the teachings and prophecies of
the Prophet Who preceded Him. There was no disagreement or
variance in the reality of Their teaching and mission. Discord has
arisen among Their followers, who have lost sight of reality and
hold fast to imitations. If imitations be done away with and the
radiant shining reality dawn in the souls of men, love and unity
must prevail. In this way humanity will be rescued from the strife
and wars which have prevailed for thousands of years; dissensions
will pass away and the illumination of unity dawn. Consider how
all the Prophets of God were persecuted and what hardships They
experienced. Jesus Christ endured affliction and accepted martyrdom
upon the cross in order to summon mankind to unity and love.
What sacrifice could be greater? He brought the religion of love
and fellowship into the world. Shall we make use of it to create discord,
violence and hatred among mankind?
Moses was persecuted and driven out into the desert, Abraham
was banished, Muhammad took refuge in caves, the Báb was killed
and Bahá'u'lláh was exiled and imprisoned forty years. Yet all
of Them desired fellowship and love among men. They endured
hardships, suffered persecution and death for our sakes that we
might be taught to love one another and be united and affiliated instead
of discordant and at variance. Enough of these long centuries
which have brought such vicissitudes and hardships into the world
through strife and hatred. Now in this radiant century let us try to
do the will of God that we may be rescued from these things of
darkness and come forth into the boundless illumination of heaven,
shunning division and welcoming the divine oneness of humanity.
Perchance, God willing, this terrestrial world may become as a
celestial mirror upon which we may behold the imprint of the
traces of Divinity, and the fundamental qualities of a new creation
may be reflected from the reality of love shining in human hearts.
From the light and semblance of God in us may it be, indeed, proved
and witnessed that God has created man after His own image and
O my God! O my God! Verily, I invoke Thee and supplicate
before Thy threshold, asking Thee that all Thy mercies may descend
upon these souls. Specialize them for Thy favor and Thy
O Lord! Unite and bind together the hearts, join in accord all the
souls, and exhilarate the spirits through the signs of Thy sanctity
and oneness. O Lord! Make these faces radiant through the light of
Thy oneness. Strengthen the loins of Thy servants in the service of
O Lord, Thou possessor of infinite mercy! O Lord of forgiveness
and pardon! Forgive our sins, pardon our shortcomings, and
cause us to turn to the kingdom of Thy clemency, invoking the
kingdom of might and power, humble at Thy shrine and submissive
before the glory of Thine evidences.
O Lord God! Make us as waves of the sea, as flowers of the garden,
united, agreed through the bounties of Thy love. O Lord! Dilate
the breasts through the signs of Thy oneness, and make all
mankind as stars shining from the same height of glory, as perfect
fruits growing upon Thy tree of life.
Verily, Thou art the Almighty, the Self-Subsistent, the Giver,
the Forgiving, the Pardoner, the Omniscient, the One Creator.