Bahá’í invite others to celebration
By Deborah Sogge-Kermani for the local Bahá’í community
Dear Friends! We stand at the edge of a precipice. In our community and in localities around the world, vulnerable children and disheartened youth are falling over the cliff. Driven by hopelessness and misery, abandonment and abuse, they descend into drug addiction and violence, exploitation, imprisonment and early death. My own brother was one of these casualties, as were many of my patients over my decades-long career as a family doctor.
We have so lost our way as a civilization that we are moving rapidly toward climate catastrophe. Even though the science is overwhelming and the changes already obvious, our top leaders still quibble, prevaricate and are unable to take the united action that is required to prevent global disaster.
Our health as a society has been undermined by the degradation of our food, rampant poisonous pollution and ever-mounting stress. A growing majority of us now spend our lives teetering on the edge of the precipice, suffering from chronic pain, potent addictions, mental illness and a multiplying list of complex diseases for which the conventional medical system has no cure. The heart of medicine, that compassionate, healing connection between doctor and patient, has been broken by the intrusive demands of technology and the systemic focus on money. Our life expectancy in this country, which had steadily climbed since the beginning of the twentieth century, is now declining.
How have we come to this mortally dangerous place, and where can we go from here? In the last couple of centuries, our civilization has been transformed by the rapid growth of science and material advancements. The concept of the human as a body, and the body as a machine, which began with the industrial revolution, created a medicine and science which are uninformed by any spiritual or moral principles. Meanwhile, we have continued to build economic and political systems that serve a few and exploit the rest, despite our efforts otherwise.
We have become a materialistic, irreligious and misguided culture, and we are falling. How can we step away from this precipice over which the people and birds and fish and plants and animals and insects and microbes of our shared home on this one precious planet are tumbling to their death and extinction? What power could possibly unite our divided peoples and contending countries and show us how to create a world that will work for everyone, without any exception?
Many, in fact the majority of the human race, would agree that only a divine educator, such as Jesus or Buddha, has the transcendent power and exalted wisdom we need, even though as time passes, aging and sectarian religions often become sources of conflict, even war. There is hope, however. Each of the world’s previous revealed religions and many Indigenous spiritual traditions have spoken of a critical time in the future when great darkness and suffering will enshroud the entire earth. They all repeat the promise, that, at this hour of need, a new teacher will appear who will guide humanity to a whole new level of complete unity, social justice and lasting world peace.
Countless people, including the members of large sects of these religions, believe that now is that remarkable time. Certainly the world situation feels very bleak and the problems seem intractable.
Consider, in this darksome hour, could the dawn of divine wisdom and power already have begun? Why wouldn’t our all-loving creator be so merciful? Perhaps, you have noticed the change already quietly expanding amongst us, like a tiny seed silently putting down roots and then pushing up, small, but green and vital, patiently and gently growing through the dark litter and chaos of the old season.
The Bahá’í world community, the youngest, most diverse and yet, the most united, of any religious community on the planet is a powerful example. This month well over five-million people of every racial, cultural, national and religious background will gather in profound unity to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Birth of the Báb, the Prophet-Herald of the Bahá’í Faith. Their unity transcends all barriers, and their spiritual commitment propels them into action. They are addressing the chronic problems of their communities guided by divine teachings revealed expressly for this time of danger and opportunity. They are creating just and life-affirming communities through spiritually-centered programs that champion the equality of men and women, promote and provide universal, wholistic education, protect and respect the environment and support sustainable economic development guided by universal principles. All like-minded people, of every race, religion and culture are welcome to collaborate in this global process of spiritual, social and material transformation, and there are millions who do.
You are warmly invited to attend our local celebration on Monday, Oct. 28, at 6 p.m. at the North Crow Clubhouse, just south of Pablo. Please see the calendar item in this paper or call 406-883-1330 for more information.