A Line under the Past

And why the Baha’i Faith is the most important movement on the planet.

I recently came across an idea expoused by Landmark Education, of completing issues from the past that one tends to be projecting into the future, to allow space for possibility. The idea resonates strongly with the impression I got nearly 30 years ago, when I first began studying the teachings of Baha’u’llah, the founder of the Baha’i Faith.

More accurately, the Baha’i Faith has two founders, Siyyid Ali Muhammed known as the Bab, and Mirza Husayn Ali known as Baha’u’llah. In 1844, in Shiraz, Persia, the Bab claimed to be the ‘Promised One’ of Islamic scriptures. His mission, he proclaimed was to prepare the people for the imminent advent of “He Whom God will make Manifest”. Baha’u’llah, ostensibly one of the foremost supporters of the Bab, declared that station for himself in Baghdad, Ottoman Empire, in 1863. Baha’u’llah’s teachings include proofs of the prophecies of the Bible, Gospel and Quran, explanations of the allegories found in religious teachings of the past, an explanation for the reconciliation of all religious truth, and an extraordinary and marvellous vision of the future of humanity.

It occurred to me, all those years ago, that the teachings of the Bab and Baha’u’llah had three distinct features: a ratification of the nature of all religions of humanity across the planet to that point in time; a declaration of completion of the purpose of all those religions in their own presence; and a vision and declaration of a vastly transformed and elevated spiritual, social and governance process across global human society. To wit: the Bab and Baha’u’llah, on behalf of humanity have drawn a line under the past, completed all issues of that past, and, in declaring a united global society, opened human society to an extraordinary wealth of opportunity.

It is true that many people around the world are intent on denying the presence of the opportunity of the united global society. Preferring to hold on to the past, many people are satisfied to deny the love that lies at the heart of the truth of their religion, fighting others for their patch. These many people cannot see that their patch no longer exists and, following activity reminiscent of Jesus’ own exhortation to ‘let the dead bury the dead’, persist only in dredging up issues that are of no interest at all for the greater population of the world who have their eye fixed on a fabulous future in a global society. It might be said that these ‘dead’ issues not only pertain to the expectations of the old religions, but also the limited views derived from old philosophers, even the designers of ‘modern’ democracies. Nonetheless, with each passing decade, more and more ordinary people, and more and more of the intellectual class, are moving, either knowingly or by their own insights, toward the vision established by Baha’u’llah. Simultaneously, the Baha’is are translating what they understand of Baha’u’llah’s vision into new action, new ways of being a human community. So it shall be, until the vision of Baha’u’llah provides no further opportunity for the advancement of civilisation. Baha’u’llah declared this will not be less than a thousand years, while the influence of the unifying nature of His teachings will underpin human society for 500,000 years. I do not know of another movement that has such extensive vision in action. This is why the Baha’i Faith is the most important movement on the planet.


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