Bahá’u’lláh’s teachings revolve around the goal of a world civilisation. Bahá’u’lláh said that heads of state or their representatives should attend a universal peace conference, with the goal of creating a world peace treaty. This would then lay down the basis for a form of world (federal) government, assisted by a world tribunal for the solution of disputes. Bahá’u’lláh also advocated the creation of a world currency, which would allow a world free trade area, a world police force and the selection of a language to be used in international communication.
Also mentioned by Bahá’u’lláh are a bill of human rights, laws to limit excessive personal wealth, and a system to eliminate poverty. Various specific ordinances, such as profit sharing and the laws for intestacy can be seen to work towards a more equitable distribution of wealth. Further, Bahá’u’lláh exalts justice to the station of the guiding principle in governance.
In addition to constant promotion of the above ideas, and the dedication to the ideals of one human family and the essential oneness of religions, Bahá’ís are able, as their numbers increase, to involve themselves in social and economic development to a greater degree. When the need exists, Bahá’í Assemblies will set up primary schools, secondary schools, rural colleges, radio stations and agricultural development colleges, as well as programmes for the development of children and of young people. The development of the status of women is also frequently addressed. Although believing that environmental issues can ultimately only be effectively addressed by global institutions, the Bahá’í “Junior Youth” groups in particular frequently undertake small-scale local environmental projects.
From a Bahá’í perspective, there is no real division between spiritual goals and material development, because the creation of a better human world will allow a more effective nurturing of the spirit. This is clearly seen by the encouragement given to individual Bahá’ís to join like-minded organisations, and by the high respect in which the Bahá’í community is held in the United Nations Organisation.
Although religion has many basic personal aspects, at this stage in human history the global dimension is of paramount interest. Previous Manifestations of God (e.g. Moses, Jesus, Muhammad (pbuh)) built up wider and wider loyalties, but this is arguably the first age in which a truly global civilisation is possible. Faced with a world in which so many competing divisions – political, religious, racial, class, tribal, etc., obscure the way forward, Bahá’u’lláh set out a world system which he offered to humanity as the solution to its problems.
He proposed that a world peace conference should take place, to lead to arms limitation, and specified the elimination of disease as one of the areas to which the money saved should be redirected. Bahá’u’lláh stated that humanity was created to carry forward an ever-advancing civilisation, and overcoming disease should be seen as part of this process. Specific actions, such as smoking tobacco or the use of habit-forming drugs, can severely impair the health of both the individual and the community. The Bahá’í emphasis on moderation should also be seen as relevant to growing trends such as obesity. The Bahá’í Writings say that “in a large measure, happiness keeps our health while depression of spirit begets disease”, and also that only when we live in the spirit are we truly happy. A spiritual life, therefore, based on moderation and avoiding habit-forming substances should improve health substantially. It is also predicted that “the food of the future will be fruits and grains”.