By Dee Dombach, Special to The Sentinel, January 29, 2009
President Barack Obama’s inaugural address reminded us we are a nation of many tongues, faiths and cultures, and that is our strength. We as citizens of this country must become unified to solve our many problems.
But in this day, although we love our country, we must also begin to identify ourselves as citizens of the world.
“The earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens,” said Bahaullah, prophet-founder of the Bahai faith 140 years ago. In truth, mankind has been evolving toward greater unity throughout history. In earliest times, people identified with family groups. Families grew through generations and became clans; clans became tribes. Tribes joined to become nations.
Warfare, bloodshed and misery have resulted from the belief of a group, no matter how large or small, in their superiority over others. Tribal warfare still causes genocide and starvation, and unchecked nationalism of powerful counties has unleashed unspeakable misery on millions.
In ages past, families, clans, tribes and nations have been separated by mountains and oceans, language, race, culture and customs. But the last 160 years has brought advancement unparalleled in all human history. We can travel around the globe in a day and connect to the Internet with our cell phone. Financial markets are intertwined with the rest of the world. Scientific, technological and medical discoveries have the ability to improve the quality of life for all people.
Humanity is poised to reach maturity — but our challenges are great, and it is easy to lose hope in humanity’s future. Prejudice, dwindling resources, climate change, terrorism, tyranny and poverty must be met with spiritual insight, intellect, creativity and cooperation on a global scale.
Every major religion promises a coming day of peace on earth — swords beaten into plowshares, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
What is God’s will? Jesus also prayed, “may they be brought to complete unity.” Bahaullah wrote, “That which the Lord hath ordained as the sovereign remedy and mightiest instrument for the healing of all the world is the union of all its peoples in one universal Cause, one common Faith.” Bahais believe the Most Great Peace will come, as Bahaullah declared, “the progress and development of the world and the peace and tranquility of its people are among the principles and ordinances of God.”
As we grow in our knowledge and love of God and look beyond all artificial boundaries of race, religion and nationality, we bring the day of unity and peace closer. We do dare to hope and believe that peace will come, as Bahaullah said, “The tabernacle of unity hath been raised; regard ye not one another as strangers. Ye are the fruits of one tree, and the leaves of one branch.”
Dee Dombach and her husband, Scott, are members of the Carlisle Bahai Community. They welcome comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.