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- “Security for a Failing
- POINTS TO STRESS AND DEVELOP
- SUGGESTED PROCEDURE
1. To prove that diversity of characteristics in individuals is essential for the unity of mankind; that uniformity is not, and cannot be,
such a requisite.
2. To show how unity in diversity may be brought about.
“Wisdom of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá,” pp. 17,
“Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh,” pp. 187,
215, 218, 260, 286,
“Security for a Failing
World,” by Stan- wood Cobb, pp. 132-140.
“Bahá’u’lláh and the New Era,” by
“The Promulgation of Universal Peace,” Vol. I, pp. 2, 13, 16, 34,
185-186, 202-203, 223-229.
“The Promulgation of Universal Peace,” Vol. II, pp. 291, 315.
“The Modern Social Religion,” Part III, by Horace Holley.
“A World Community,” by
H. Randall (World Unity Library), pp. 70-76.
“Letter to the Central Organization for a Durable Peace,” by ‘Abdu’l Baha, p. 10.
“The Oneness of Mankind,” Compilation.
“Unity through Love”—a talk by Howard MacNutt.
“World Order Magazine,” November,
1936, “Unity of Thought.”
“World Order Magazine,” August, 1937, “Unity,” by Benjamin Schreibman.
“World Order Magazine,” October, 1937, “Citizen of the World.”
Show first that although men differ in characteristics they have one Source, one Goal; viz., one Creator. Show how men’s attributes
are like the facets of jewels, some polished, some not. By allegories such as those used by ‘Abdu’l-Baha (the army, the garden, the
musical chords) strive to point out that diversity of function is necessary and pleasing. Consider a baseball team. Point out as dynamic
proofs the amalgamation in the United States, and in the Bahá’i Cause. Finally, show that universal love, made possible by the
Manifestation, who brings the power of the Holy Spirit, is the only sure means of bringing about unity in diversity.
QUESTIONS To CONSIDER
1. What are the great differences between unity and uniformity?
2. Is unity or uniformity more reason-
BAHA’! YOUTH ACTIVITIES
able to consider as a goal for humanity? Why?
3. What has been the attitude of philosophers towards unity? (Mention plans for unity made by some philosophers.)
4. Can a whole be realized without all its parts? Remembering that a unity is a whole, give some concrete and some abstract proofs for
5. How are opposites complementary?
What is universal love?
1. To show that the disorder of our present-day society can be changed into World Order only by accepting the plan of Bahá’u’lláh,
which is fundamentally a spiritual plan.
2. To characterize this new World Order as
has been described for us by Bahâ’u’lláh, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, and Shoghi Effendi.
3. To point out the important role of Bahá’i Youth in helping to usher in this new World Order.
“Goal of a New World Order,” by Shoghi Effendi, pp. 15-25.
“Unfoldment of World Civilization,” by Shoghi Effendi, pp. 42-46.
“World Order Magazine,” “The World Crisis” (in three parts) by Mountfort Mills
—February, March, and April, 1938.
“Stepping Stones to a New World Order” (in three parts) by Edna Eastman—June, July, August, 1938.
“Signs of the Times,” by Bertha Hyde Kirkpatrick.
“Security for a Failing World,” by Stan- wood Cobb, Chapters 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, and 17.
“Bahã’u’lláh and the New Era,” by
E. Esslemont, Chapters 5, 8, 9, and 10.
“Bahá’i Youth Magazine,” “Pioneering Role of Bahá’i Youth,” by Teresita E. Ryan
“What the Bahá’i Faith Means to the
7. How is universal love to be brought about?
8. How are universal love and justice linked so closely together?
9. Is diversity the cause of warfare, or is misunderstanding?
10. Is not every true religion founded to bring about unity in diversity?
11. Is lack of unity worthy of the station of man?
12. How does prejudice combat unity?
Youth of Today,” by Mae Graves—June, 1937.
“Youth,” by Foad Rushdy—June, 1938.
“World Order—Not Utopia,” by Wilf rid Barton—February, 1938.
New International Encyclopedia.
Last three books for articles on Communism, Fascism, etc.
The modern world is characterized by disorder in the economic, political, social, and religious realms. This state of disorder is
wrecking human lives. Disillusionment, despair, hopelessness, discouragement, disappointment, crime, poverty, sickness, and
unemployment are widespread. Everyone is suffering to a greater or lesser degree.
A solution is needed. Somehow we must find a way out. The success of methods being tried at present is negligible.
Bahã’is turn to Bahá’u’lláh, who has brought us a spiritual solution for the world’s problems. The BahI’is believe no other solution
will work. The laws of love, of kindness, of forgiveness, of devotion to God and His Prophets, and of the oneness of mankind must
again be lived, and woven into the warp and woof of our social, economic, and political patterns. Thus the new World Order will have
a spiritual basis. Only on this foundation can a new World Order be built.
Some characteristics of the World Order
(Bryn Mawr, Pa.)
THE BAHA’T WORLD
of which Bahã’u’llah is the motivating force:
a) Economic justice
b) Universal education
c) World peace
d) A world state
e) An international tribunal
f) Universal language
g) Religious unity
Today we see a tendency in the direction of all these steps. Bahá’u’llah’s plan is beginning already to take effect in the
world. It is not an imaginary, unattainable Utopia.
Bahá’i youth today have a tremendous challenge, for ours is the task of helping to usher in this new World Order of
Bahá’u’llah. We must show courage, faith, zeal, sacrifice, and reverance to accomplish our goal.
POINTS To STRESS AND DEVELOP
1. Show how and why methods being tried at present have failed to solve the world’s problems.
2. Stress the need for the spiritualization of human relationships. Man needs to find again spiritual values in living.
Bahá’u’llah is the door to this new way of life, which will lead to new social relationships characterized by
cooperation, confidence, goodwill, kindness, sympathy, understanding, generosity, and graciousness.
3. Paint a vivid picture of the new World Order of Bahá’u’llah. Show how it will bring a better and richer life to all
4. Stress that this is not an imaginary Utopia. We see many signs about us today of the future order.
“WHAT HATH GOD WROUGHT”
To show the tremendous influence toward unifying nations this latest Manifestation of God has had upon the world in the past, and
will have to an even greater degree in the future.
“The Bahá’i Proofs,” by Mirzá AbulFazl, pp. 35-113.
“Bahá’u’llah and the New Era,” by
E. ESslemont, pp. 1-85—Chapters I, II, III, IV.
“The Wisdom of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá,” pp. 30- 34 “The Universal Love.”
“World Order Magazine,” January, 1938, pp. 381-385.
“World Order Magazine,” March, 1938, pp. 461-464.
Show the relation of the title to the subject matter by explaining that in 1844, the year of the Báb’s declaration and ‘Abdu’lBahá’s
birth, the first message ever sent by telegraph was the words “What hath God wrought?” and at that time there was an
answer to the question forming Slowly in the far East. There was being brought to mankind a renewal of the Divine Teachings. For
while we in the West were marveling at the huge strides civilization was making in a material way, much greater advancement in the
way of spiritual rebirth was being felt in the Orient. Review the history of the Movement, touching with especial emphasis on the
conditions of the people and the country before the influence of the Báb and Bahã’u’lláh was felt and the profound, almost
instantaneous effect Their influence had upon individuals, and Their relationship to all mankind. This might be the keynote of the talk:
This latest Manifestation of God is creating in the hearts of men a universal love for humanity.
POINTS TO STRESS AND DEVELOP
1. The beauty of the Bahá’i conception of universal love as exemplified by the three Central Figures of the Cause.
2. The actual practicabihty of this love even in our materialistic Western world.
3. The basis of love is found in understanding.
BAHA’I YOUTH ACTIVITIES
To show how the Bahá’i Teachings unify all religions by recognizing existing diversities as man-made differences of form and
procedure, and discarding dogma for reality.
“Goal of the New World Order,” by Shoghi Effendi, p. 19. “Seven Lights of Unity,” p. 22, “The Principle of Oneness.”
“Bahá’u’llah and the New Era,” by
E. Esslemont, Chapter VIII.
“Prayers and Meditations by Bahá’u’lláh,” pp. 315,
“Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá,” pp.
“Gleanings from the Writings of Bahã’u’llah,” pp.
5 3-56, 59.
1. To point out the decline of religions, resulting in moral and social decay.
2. To show what the Bahá’I Faith has to
“Readers Digest,” July, 1938, pp. 1-3,
“Readers Digest,” February, 1938, p. 73.
“Readers Digest,” May, 1938, pp. 120- 121, 126-128.
“Security for a Failing World,” by Stan- wood Cobb, Chapters VI, XV.
“The Unfoldment of World Civilization,” by Shoghi Effendi, pp. 10, 20-3 0.
“The Goal of a New World Order,” by Shoghi Effendi, pp. 10-12.
“Bahá’i Youth Magazine”—”Nobility,” by Kenneth Christian—July, 1936.
“World Order Magazine”—”Modern Tendencies in World Relgions,” by Nevin C. Harner—March, 1937.
“World Order Magazine”—”The World
Illustrate the physical unity of the modern world through science, and Stress the need for spiritual understanding and oneness, that
mankind may become thoroughly integrated. Point out the necessity for a spiritual approach to the problem of human relations and
how the Bahâ’i Faith solves this problem.
POINTS To STRESS AND DEVELOP
1. The necessity for one religion.
2. The common principles of the great religions of the world.
3. The oneness of God, and the consequent oneness of His Manifestations.
Crisis,” by Mountford Mills
“World Order Magazine”—”Assurance,” by Dorothy Baker, December, 1936.
“Foundations of World Unity,” by ‘Abdu’l-Bahi, pp. 28-33.
“Bahá’u’lláh and the New Era,” Chapter IX, by
iniquity and waywardness.
Solution: In the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh is found that certainty of a future and regeneration of a social order, which alone can come
from the power of the Word of God.
POINTS TO STRESS AND DEVELOP
Give concrete examples of
the breaking down of religious institutions.
Give examples of a decadent society.
3. Using the Bahá’i principles as examples, explain why the Bahá’i has a breadth of vision surpassing all limited horizons.
4. Reveal the privileges of a true Bahá’i.
ONE COMMON FAITH
(Binghamton, N. Y.)
“Hidden Words of Bahá’u’lláh,” p. 20, No. 68.
THE BAHA’i WORLD
A NEW CIVILIZATION AT WORK
Meheran K. Jamshedi of Karachi, India, sends us the following article which is reprinted from the Karachi Daily
Gazette of June 25, 1938
Sadhu T. L. Vaswani gave an eloquent lecture on Wednesday evening in the Bahá’i Hall on The Bahd’I Faith and the
Modern World. His presence as well as his speech created an atmosphere vibrant with love, understanding, sympathy
and illumination. Mr. Hatim A. Alavi, Mayor of Karachi, occupied the chair. Bahá’i prayers in the Iranian language
were chanted before and after the talk. The hall was filled, and every one listened to the address with rapt attention.
“Why do I feel drawn to the Bahá’i Faith?” asked Sadhu Vaswani. “As a student of modern thought and modern life, I
am drawn to this world-wide movement. There are five features of the Bahá’i Faith, the Bahi’i Teachings, which have
great fascination for me. I shall very briefly refer to these five and so indicate the relation of the Bahá’i Faith to the
“The Bahá’i Faith believes, as I believe, that the problem of the modern world is essentially a spiritual problem; purely
political solutions are inadequate, inadequate, too, is the economic solution of the problem.
“The second feature of the Bahá’i Faith which fascinates me is the ‘Brotherhood of Religions.’ The true Bahá’i
believes that religions are not rivals. The world has suf fere
much for there has been wrangling in the name of religion.
“The harmony of Science and Religion! Here you have the third fascinating feature of the Bahá’i Faith. We live in a scientific age—an
age which is developing more and more its reflective consciousness. And in this age when the power of thinking is growing, it will not
do to offer to the world creeds and traditions which will not stand the test of reason. The modern world refuses to accept them.
“The fourth feature of the Bahá’i Faith is: a NEW CIvsLTzATsoN, a BROTHERLY CIVILSZATION. That is what the whole world
is crying for. The one piteous, urgent need today is a new brotherly civilization. The world is in ferment. There are processes of break-
up in Asia and in the West, and the longing is growing for a new brotherly civilization.
“Emancipation and education of women is the fifth fascinating feature of the Bahã”s Faith. I recall the words of the great German
poet, Goethe: ‘The woman-soul will lead us upward, on!’ Man has had this chance and man has bungled. Man has blundered. And
look! Civilization lies broken and bleeding. Let women have a chance to remould civilization for woman has intuition, devotion,
sacrifice, woman has the spirit of love.”
BAHA’I YOUTH ACTIVITIES 591
(Written by Robert Koehi of Kenosha, Wisconsin for the anniversary of the martyrdom of the Báb)
O thou Morning Star:
What flaming beauty Thine,
Intoxicating men like wine,
To draw them from afar!
O Messenger of God:
How great the need for Thee,
And yet, Thy worth, how few could see
To walk where Thou has trod!
O Forerunner of the Kingdom:
What Spirit hath Thine eyes shown forth,
That twenty thousands saw its worth,
And followed Thee in martyrdom!
O Prophet of the Lord:
Who for Thy Cause Thyself preserved,
But finishing, men’s laws observed,
And died for their accord!
O twofold Prince and Guide:
Who mirrored forth Thy Lord,
And gazed straight heavenward,
And saw Bahá’u’lláh, ere Thou hadst died.
O Reformer of this Day:
What fiery accents used!
What mighty laws infused
In men who sleeping lay!
O Primal Point:
Thy mightiest Name adored—
In which all Names are stored,
Who did men’s souls anoint;
We ask to learn of Thee
From out God’s mighty Pen
And makes them truly free.
REFERENCES TO THE BAHA’I FAITH
REFERENCES TO THE
Alphabetical List of Authors
Archduchess Anton of Austria Charles Baudouin
President Eduard Benel
Prof. Norman Bentwich,
Hebrew University, Jerusalem
Princess Marie Antoinette de Brogue Aussenac
Prof. E. G. Browne, M.A., M.B.,
Dr. J. Estlin Carpenter, D.Litt.,
General Renato Piola Caselli
Rev. T. K. Cheyne, D.Litt., D.D.,
Sir Valentine Chirol
Rev. K. T. Chung
Right. Hon. The Earl Curzon of Kedleston
Prof. James Darmesteter,
Rev. J. Tyssul Davis, B.A.
Dr. Auguste Forel,
Dr. Herbert Adams Gibbons
Rt. Hon. M. R. Jayakas, Privy Councillor, London
Dr. Henry H. Jessup, D.D.
President David Starr Jordan
Prof. Jowett, Oxford
Prof. Dimitry Kazarov,
University of Sofia
Miss Helen Keller
Prof. Dr. V. Lesny
Harry Charles Lukach
Dowager Queen Marie of Rumania
Alfred V. Martin,
Society for Ethical Culture, New York.
President Masaryk of Czechoslovakia Dr. Rokuichiro Masujima, Do yen of Jurisprudence of Japan
Mr. Renwick J. G. Millar
Prof. Herbert A. Miller, Bryn Mawr College The Hon. Lilian Helen Montagu, J.P.,
A. L. M. Nicolas
Prof. Yone Noguchi
Rev. Frederick W. Oakes
H.R.H. Princess Olga of Jugoslavia
Sir Flinders Petrie, Archeologist
Prof. Raymond Frank Piper
Prof. Bogdan Popovitch
Charles H. Prisk
Dr. Edmund Privat, University of Geneva
Herbert Putnam, Congressional Library, Washington, D. C.
Prof. Dr. Jan Rypka
Viscount Herbert Samuel, G.C.B., M.P.
Emile Schreiber, Publicist
Prof. Han Prasad Shastri, D.Litt.
Col. Raja Jai Prithvi Bahadur Singh, Raja of Bajang (Nepal)
Rev. Griffith J. Sparham
Sir Ronald Storrs, N.V.C., M.G., C.B.E.
Ex-Governor William Sulzer
Shri Purohit Swami
Prof. Arminius Vambéry, Hungarian Academy of Pesth
Sir Francis Younghusband, K.C.S.I., K.C.I.E.
B-sr DOWAGER QUEEN MARIE OF RUMANIA Indeed a great light came to me with the message of Bahk’u’llkh and ‘Abdu’l-
1. It came as all great messages come at an
I was deeply moved on reception of your hour of dire grief and inner conflict and dis letter tress, so the seed sank deeply.
THE BAHA’I WORLD
My youngest daughter finds also great strength and comfort in the teachings of the beloved masters.
We pass on the message from month to month and all those we give it to see a light suddenly lighting before them and much that was
obscure and perplexing becomes simple, luminous and full of hope as never before.
That my open letter was balm to those suffering for the cause, is indeed a great happiness to me, and I take it as a sign that God
accepted my humble tribute.
The occasion given me to be able to express myself publicly, was also His Work— for indeed it was a chain of circumstances of
which each link led me unwittingly one step further, till suddenly all was clear before my eyes and I understood why it had been.
Thus does He lead us finally to our ultimate destiny.
Some of those of my caste wonder at and disapprove my courage to step forward pronouncing words not habitual for Crowned Heads
to pronounce, but I advance by an inner urge I cannot resist. With bowed head I recognize that I too am but an instrument in greater
Hands and rejoice in the knowledge.
Little by little the veil is lifting, grief tore it in two. And grief was also a step leading me ever nearer truth, therefore do I not cry out
May you and those beneath your guidance be blessed and upheld by the sacred strength of those gone before you.
A woman1 brought me the other day a Book. I spell it with a capital letter because it is a glorious Book of love and goodness, strength
She gave it to me because she had learned I was in grief and sadness and wanted to help..
She put it into my hands saying:
“You seem to live up to His teachings.” And when I opened the Book I saw it was the word of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, prophet of love and
kindness, and of his father the great teacher of international good-will and understanding—of a religion which links all creeds.
Their writings are a great cry toward peace, reaching beyond all limits of frontiers,
above all dissension about rites and dogmas. It is a religion based upon the inner spirit of God, upon the great, not-to-be-overcome
verity that God is love, meaning just that. It teaches that all hatreds, intrigues, suspicions, evil words, all aggressive patriotism even,
are outside the one essential law of God, and that special beliefs are but surface things whereas the heart that beats with divine love
knows no tribe nor race.
It is a wondrous Message that Bahá’u’lláh and his son ‘Abdu’l-Bahá have given us. They have not set it up aggressively, knowing that
the germ of eternal truth which lies at its core cannot but take root and spread.
There is only one great verity in it: Love, the mainspring of every energy, tolerance toward each other, desire of understanding each
other, knowing each other, helping each other, forgiving each other.
It is Christ’s Message taken up anew, in the same words almost, but adapted to the thousand years and more difference that lies
between the year one and today. No man could fail to be better because of this Book.
I commend it to you all. If ever the name of Bahá’u’lláh or ‘Abdu’l-Bahá comes to your attention, do not put their writings from you.
Search out their Books, and let their glorious, peace-bringing, love-creating words and lessons sink into your hearts as they have into
One’s busy day may seem too full for religion. Or one may have a religion that satisfies. But the teachings of these gentle, wise and
kindly men are compatible with all religion, and with no religion.
Seek them, and be the happier.
Toronto Daily Star,
May 4, 1926.)
Of course, if you take the stand that creation has no aim, it is easy to dismiss life and death with a shrug and a “that ends it all; nothing
But how difficult it is so to dismiss the universe, our world, the animal and vegetable world, and man. How clearly one sees
‘Mi,s Martha L. Root .—Editor.
REFERENCES TO THE BAHA’I FAITH
a plan in everything. How unthinkable it is that the miraculous development that has brought man’s body, brain and spirit to what it is,
should cease. Why should it cease? Why is it not logical that it goes on? Not the body, which is only an instrument, but the invisible
spark or lire within the body which makes man one with the wider plan of creation.
My words are lame, and why should I grope for meanings when I can quote from one who has said it so much more plainly, ‘Abdu’l-
Bah&, whom I know would sanction the use of his words:
“The whole physical creation is perishable. Material bodies are composed of atoms. When these atoms begin to separate,
decomposition sets in. Then comes what we call death.
“This composition of atoms which constitutes the body or mortal element of any created being, is temporary. When the power of
attraction which holds these atoms together is withdrawn, the body as such ceases to exist.
“With the soul it is different. The soul is not a combination of elements, is not composed of many atoms, is of one indivisible
substance and therefore eternal.
“It is entirely out of the order of physical creation; it is immortal! The soul, being an invisible, indivisible substance, can suffer neither
disintegration nor destruction. Therefore there is no reason for its coming to an end.
“Consider the aim of creation: Is it possible that all is created to evolve and develop through countless ages with merely this small
goal in view—a few years of man’s life on earth? Is it not unthinkable that this should be the final aim of existence? Does a man cease
to exist when he leaves his body? If his life comes to an end, then all previous evolution is useless. All has been for nothing. All those
eons of evolution for nothing! Can we imagine that creation had no greater aim than this?
“The very existence of man’s intelligence proves his immortality. His intelligence is the intermediary between his body and his spirit.
When man allows his spirit, through his soul, to enlighten his understanding, then does he contain all creation; because man be-
ing the culmination of all that went before, and thus superior to all previous evolutions, contains all the lower already-evolved world
within himself. Illumined by the spirit through the instrumentality of the soul, man’s radiant intelligence makes him the crowning-
point of creation!”
Thus does ‘Abdu’l-Bahá explain to us the soul
the most convincing elucidation I know.
Toronto Daily Star,
September 28, 1926.)
At first we all conceive of God as something or somebody apart from ourselves. We think He is something or somebody definite,
outside of us, whose quality, meaning and so-to-say “personality” we can grasp with our human, finite minds, and express in mere
This is not so. We cannot, with our earthly faculties entirely grasp His meaning
—no more than we can really understand the meaning of Eternity.
God is certainly not the old Fatherly gentleman with the long beard that in our childhood we saw pictured sitting amongst clouds on
the throne of judgment, holding the lightning of vengeance in His hand.
God is something simpler, happier, and yet infinitely more tremendous. God is All, Everything. He is the power behind all beginnings.
He is the inexhaustible source of supply, of love, of good, of progress, of achievement. God is therefore Happiness.
His is the voice within us that shows us good and evil.
But mostly we ignore or misunderstand this voice. Therefore did He choose his Elect to come down amongst us upon earth to make
clear His word, His real meaning. Therefore the Prophets; therefore Christ, Muhammad, Bahá’u’lláh, for man needs from time to time
a voice upon earth to bring God to him, to sharpen the realization of the existence of the true God. Those voices sent to us had to
become flesh, so that with our earthly ears we should be able to hear and understand.
Those who read their Bible with “peeled eyes” will find in almost every line some revelation. But it takes long life, suffering
THE BAHA’I WORLD
or some sudden event to tear all at once the veil from our eyes, so that we can truly see.
Sorrow and suffering are the surest and also the most common instructors, the straightest channel to God—that is to
say, to that inner something within each of us which is God.
Happiness beyond all understanding comes with this revelation that God is within us, if we will but listen to His voice.
We need not seek Him in the clouds. He is the All- Father whence we came and to whom we shall return when, having
done with this earthly body, we pass onward.
If I have repeated myself, forgive me. There are so many ways of saying things, but what is important is the truth which
lies in all the many ways of expressing it. (From the
Monday, September 27, 1926.)
“Lately a great hope has come to me from one, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. I have found in His and His Father, Bahã’u’llah’s
Message of Faith all my yearning for real religion satisfied. If you ever hear of Bahá’is or of the Bahá’i Movement
which is known in America, you will know what that is. What I mean: these Books have strengthened me beyond belief
and I am now ready to die any day full of hope. But I pray God not to take me away yet for I still have a lot of work to
“The Bahá’i teaching brings peace and understanding.
“It is like a wide embrace gathering together all those who have long searched for words of hope.
“It accepts all great prophets gone before, it destroys no other creeds and leaves all doors open.
“Saddened by the continual strife amongst believers of many confessions and wearied by their intolerance towards each
other, I discovered in the Bahá’i teaching the real spirit of Christ so often denied and misunderstood:
“Unity instead of strife, hope instead of condemnation, love instead of hate, and a great reassurance for all men.”
“The Bahá’i teaching brings peace to the soul and hope to the heart.
“To those in search of assurance the words of the Father are as a fountain in the desert after long wandering.” 1934.
“More than ever today when the world is facing such a crisis of bewilderment and unrest, must we stand firm in Faith
seeking that which binds together instead of tearing asunder.”
“To those searching for light, the Bahá’i Teachings offer a star which will lead them to deeper understanding, to
assurance, peace and good will with all men.” 1936.
By PROFESSOR E. G. BROWNE
Introduction to Myron H. Phelps’
pages xi-xx; 1903 rev. 1912— I have often heard wonder expressed
Christian ministers at the extraordinary success of Bábi missionaries, as contrasted with the almost complete failure of
their own. “How is it,” they say, “that the Christian doctrine, the highest and the noblest which the world has ever
known, though supported by all the resources of Western civilization, can only count its converts in Mubammadan
lands by twos and threes, while
Bábiism can reckon them by thousands?” The answer, to my mind, is plain as the sun at midday. Western Christianity,
save in the rarest cases, is more Western than Christian, more racial than religious; and by dallying with doctrines
plainly incompatible with the obvious meaning of its Founder’s words, such as the theories of “racial supremacy,”
“imperial destiny,” “survival of the fittest,” and the like, grows steadily more rather than less material. Did Christ
belong to a “dominant race,” or even to a European or “white race”?
I am not arguing that the Christian religion is true, but merely that it is in manifest conflict with several other theories
of life which practically regulate the conduct of all States and most individuals in the Western world, a world which, on
the whole, judges all things, including religions, mainly by material, or to use the more popular term,
REFERENCES TO THE BAHA’I FAITH
. . .
There is, of course, another factor in the success of the Bábi propagandist, as compared with the Christian
missionary, in the conversion of Muhammadans to his faith: namely, that the former admits, while the latter rejects, the Divine
inspiration of the Qur’án and the prophetic function of Muhammad. The Christian missionary must begin by attacking, explicitly or by
implication, both these beliefs; too often forgetting that if (as happens but rarely) he succeeds in destroying them, he destroys with
them that recognition of former prophetic dispensations (including the Jewish and the Christian) which Muhammad and the Qur’án
proclaim, and converts his Muslim antagonist not to Christianity, but to Skepticism or Atheism What, indeed, could be more illogical
on the part of Christian missionaries to Muhammadan lands than to devote much time and labor to the composition of controversial
works which endeavor to prove, in one and the same breath, first, that the Qur’án is a lying imposture, and, secondly, that it hears
witness to the truth of Christ’s mission, as though any value attached to the testimony of one proved a liar! The Bábi (or Bahá’i)
propagandist, on the other hand, admits that Muhammad was the prophet of God and that the Qur’án is the Word of God, denies
nothing but their finality, and does not discredit his own witness when he draws from that source arguments to prove his faith. To the
Western observer, however, it is the complete sincerity of the Bábis, their fearless disregard of death and torture undergone for the
sake of their religion, their certain conviction as to the truth of their faith, their generally admirable conduct towards mankind and
especially towards their fellow believers, which constitutes their strongest claim on his attention.
Introduction to Myron H. Phelps’
pages xii-xiv— It was under the influence of this enthusiasm that I penned the
introduction to my translation of the
This enthusiasm condoned, if not shared, by many kindly critics and reviewers, exposed me to a somewhat savage attack
in the Oxford Magazine, an attack concluding with the assertion that my Introduction displayed “a personal attitude
almost inconceivable in a rational European, and a style unpardonable in a university teacher.” (The review in question
appeared in the Oxford Magazine of May 25, 1892, page 394, “the prominence given to the Báb in this
book is an absurd violation of historical perspective; and the translations of the Traveller’s Narrative a waste of the
powers and opportunities of a Persian Scholar.”) Increasing age and experience (more’s the pity!) are apt enough, even
without the assistance of the Oxford Magazine, to modify our enthusiasm; but in this case, at least, time has so far
vindicated my judgment against that of my Oxford reviewer that he could scarcely now maintain, as he formerly
asserted, that the Bábi religion “had affected the least important part of the Muslim World and that not deeply.” Every
one who is in the slightest degree conversant with the actual state of things (September 27, 1903), in Persia now
recognizes that the number and influence of the Bãbis in that country is immensely greater than it was fifteen years ago.
A Traveller’s Narrative, page 309—
The appearance of such a woman as Qurratu’l-’Ayn is in any country and any age a rare phenomenon, but in such a
country as Persia it is a prodigy—nay, almost a miracle. Alike in virtue of her marvelous beauty, her rare intellectual
gifts, her fervid eloquence, her fearless devotion and her glorious martyrdom, she stands forth incomparable and
immortal amidst her countrywomen. Had the Bãbi religion no other claim to greatness, this were sufficient—that it
produced a heroine like Qurratu’l-’Ayn.
Introduction to A Traveller’s Narrative, pages ix, x—
Though I dimly suspected whither I was
going and whom I was to behold (for no distinct intimation had been given to me), a second or two elapsed ere, with a
throb of wonder and awe, I became definitely conscious that the room was not untenanted.
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