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Create a spiritual community of inclusiveness, unity

Ray Hassen is a member of the Baha'i community of Leander and retired school teacher.

To any outside observer, mankind appears to be aimlessly adrift at sea — without map, rudder or compass. We seem to be suffering repeated crises of spiritual identity and moral confusion.

No matter what injustices we see, no matter what oppressions we witness, meditation on such matters brings us to the realization that unity is necessary if we wish to obtain a meaningful and lasting remedy.  

“The well-being of mankind, its peace and security, are unattainable unless and until its unity is firmly established."  — Baha’u’llah 

Our problems are not technological, scientific or economic. We have everything we need to solve all our problems. What we lack is vision and the collective will to act. 

The problems we face are spiritual at heart, not material. Mankind’s collective vision must embrace the recognition and practice of the oneness of mankind. Anything less will fail to meet the essential requirements of the age in which we live.

Baha’is believe that the purpose of religion is to create unity, to connect hearts, and to promote the spiritual and material advancement of humanity. Humanity longs for justice, for love that is demonstrated through deeds, for words are the property of all alike. 

The Baha’i faith seeks to build healthy communities based on love, inclusiveness and justice. Currently, our efforts are focused at the grassroots level by starting with the neighborhoods where we live and work.  

We seek inclusiveness, unity and connectedness. We focus on spiritual empowerment and the development of both knowledge and skills that expand our capacity to build and maintain healthy neighborhoods wherever we live. 

Baha’is believe that “doing” and prayer cannot be separated. This means developing and promoting a devotional character in your neighborhood must be accompanied by service to others. For if our life is not changed by prayer, if prayer does not lead us to greater heights of service to others, then to what avail or purpose is the prayer.  

“One righteous act is endowed with a potency that can so elevate the dust as to cause it to pass beyond the heaven of heavens. It can tear every bond asunder, and hath the power to restore the force that hath spent itself and vanished…”  — Baha’u’llah 

These unity building activities draw on one of the deepest aspirations of humanity, namely, to make a difference. God has placed these powers within us.  Each one of us the ability to reflect His attributes. 

Service to others allows us to develop these attributes while also making a difference. Instead of seeing a world filled with chaos, Baha’is see a humanity in a process of transition, of passing through a state of late adolescence, with all the confusion and irrational behavior it entails, as it progresses toward maturity. 

Instead of being filled with fear and anxiety, we instead see hope, for we know that mankind is simply coming to terms with its emerging adulthood.   

Ray Hassen is a member of the Baha'i community of Leander and retired school teacher. Doing Good Together is compiled by Interfaith Action of Central Texas,