“The third principle of his highness Bahā’u’llāh is that religion must be the source of fellowship. It must cause links among humanity. It must be a blessing of the Lord and if religion is a cause of enmity and a cause of war, its absence is better, and a lack of religion is better than religion. Rather, it must be the opposite. Religion must be a cause of fellowship and a cause of relations between the masses of humanity.”
Reference: `Abdu’l-Bahā, Khaṭābāt (Tehran), vol. 2, p. 146.
The meaning of “Religion Must Be the Source of Unity and Fellowship” is that religion must be the cause of kindness between people and if, as a result of religion, a group comes in conflict with another and enmity arises, that religion has no value.
`Abdu’l-Bahā reiterates many times that if religion causes divisions instead of unity, its non-existence is better than its existence:
“Religion must be the cause of unity and fellowship. If religion causes enmity it will have no result and having no religion is better. For it becomes the cause of enmity and hatred between humanity and whatever causes enmity is hated by God and whatever causes unity and fellowship is accepted and praised. If religion causes killing and savagery it is not religion and having no religion is better than that. For religion is meant to be a cure. If a cure causes sickness then of course, no cure is better than it. Thus, if religion causes war and slaughter, then of course, it is better to have no religion.”
Reference: `Abd al-Ḥamīd Ishrāq Khāwarī, Payām-i malakūt, pp. 44–45.
“Religion should create unity and create links between the hearts. Jesus and the other divine prophets came to create unity and fellowship. If religion causes divisions, its non-existence is preferred.”
Reference: `Abd al-Ḥamīd Ishrāq Khāwarī, Payām-i malakūt, p. 59.
Baha’is claim that Bahā’u’llāh has brought a new religion whose main purpose is to bring about world peace and unity to the world of humanity; this peace and unity must occur under the shadow of kindness and fellowship. If a religion does not bring about kindness, peace, and unity, then it is not a religion.
Is the Principle “Religion Must be the Source of Unity and Fellowship in the World” New?
Did the previous Divine Prophets causes enmity and disunity? Did they urge people to be evil, oppress, use foul language, and to start wars? Is this principle as `Abdu’l-Bahā claims new:
“He sets forth a new principle for this day in the announcement that religion must be the cause of unity, harmony and agreement among mankind. If it is the cause of discord and hostility, if it leads to separation and creates conflict, the absence of religion would be preferable in the world.”
Reference: Abdu’l-Bahā, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, pp. 454–455.
All divine prophets had appeared to overcome the divisions among humanity and to bring about fellowship among the people. `Abdu’l-Bahā confesses to this reality and says:
“All the Prophets came to nurture the people so that the immature individuals could reach maturity and to bring about kindness and love among the people, not hatred and enmity.”
Reference: `Abd al-Ḥamīd Ishrāq Khāwarī, Payām-i malakūt, p. 65.
“If you had known what these words mean, “I desire mercy, not sacrifice,” you would not have condemned the innocent.”
Reference: Book of Matthew, 12:7 (New International Version).
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”
Reference: Book of Matthew, 18:21–22 (New International Version).
“I pledge myself to the Mazdayasnian religion, which causes the attack to be put off and weapons put down.”
Reference: Avesta, Yasna 12, section 9, translated by L. H. Mills, Sacred Books of the East (American Edition, 1898).
It is obvious that in contrast to what Baha’is claim this principle is in no way novel and even amongst atheists and those that do not believe in any religion, there are countless individuals that have made kindness and servitude to others the goal of their lives. So, what is the innovation of Bahā’u’llāh and his religion?
Courtesy: Twelve Principles – A Comprehensive Investigation on the Bahai Teachings