The Environment

Bahá’u’lláh regarded kindness to animals as a pre-requisite to anyone sincerely setting out on a search for truth, and said that we should “show forth the utmost consideration to every living creature”. His son, `Abdu’l-Bahá, stated that “our natural food is that which grows out of the ground”. Bahá’u’lláh regarded the natural environment as the Will of God, and proclaimed its inviolability. “Nature in its essence is the embodiment of My Name, the Maker, the Creator … Nature is God’s Will and is its expression in and through the contingent world.” `Abdu’l-Bahá said, “Man is organic with the world. His inner life moulds the environment and is itself also deeply affected by it.” Bahá’u’lláh wrote, “If carried to excess, civilisation will prove as prolific a source of evil as it had been of goodness when kept within the restraints of moderation.”

Many of Bahá’u’lláh’s ordinances reflect the ideal of a more equitable distribution of wealth. In the Bahá’í Writings it states that, “Moderation should be established by means of laws and regulations that would limit personal wealth and provide everyone with access to the means for living a dignified life.” The specific measures suggested are often characterised as “the elimination of the extremes of poverty and wealth”. Increasingly, the Bahá’ís are devoting their time and effort to social and economic development. Bahá’ís are encouraged not just to involve themselves in direct action, but also to involve themselves in the social discourses taking place in the world at present.

From a Bahá’í viewpoint, the effort put into the betterment of social and material conditions is essential in improving the opportunities for people to grow up with spiritual values. No contradiction is therefore seen between the two. In essence, the material universe parallels the spiritual universe, and so the two are interdependent. Religious and social progress must go hand in hand.

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