The activity most intimately linked to the consciousness that distinguishes human nature is the individual’s exploration of reality for himself or herself. The freedom to investigate the purpose of existence and to develop the endowments of human nature that make it achievable requires protection. Human beings must be free to know. That such freedom is often abused and such abuse grossly encouraged by features of contemporary society does not detract in any degree from the validity of the impulse itself.
It is this distinguishing impulse of human consciousness that provides the moral imperative for the enunciation of many of the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration and the related Covenants. Universal education, freedom of movement, access to information, and the opportunity to participate in political life are all aspects of its operation that require explicit guarantee by the international community. The same is true of freedom of thought and belief, including religious liberty, along with the right to hold opinions and express these opinions appropriately.
“The Prosperity Of Humankind”
A Statement Prepared by the Bah??’? International Community’s Office of Public Information
The light of men is Justice. Quench it not with the contrary winds of oppression and tyranny. The purpose of justice is the appearance of unity among men. The ocean of divine wisdom surgeth within this exalted word, while the books of the world cannot contain its inner significance.
His Holiness, Baha’u’llah
Sixth Leaf from Kalimat-i-Ferdowsiyyih (Words of Paradise)
Today we have closed our eyes to every righteous act and have sacrificed the abiding happiness of society to our own transitory profit. We regard fanaticism and zealotry as redounding to our credit and honor, and not content with this, we denounce one another and plot each otherâ€™s ruin, and whenever we wish to put on a show of wisdom and learning, of virtue and godliness, we set about mocking and reviling this one and that. â€?The ideas of such a one,â€? we say, â€?are wide of the mark, and so-and-soâ€™s behavior leaves much to be desired. The religious observances of Zayd are few and far between, and â€?Amr is not firm in his faith. So-and-soâ€™s opinions smack of Europe. Fundamentally, Blank thinks of nothing but his own name and fame…
With words such as these they assault the minds of the helpless masses and disturb the hearts of the already bewildered poor, who know nothing of the true state of affairs and the real basis for all such talk, and remain completely unaware of the fact that a thousand selfish purposes are concealed behind the supposedly religious eloquence of certain individuals. They imagine that speakers of this type are motivated by virtuous zeal, when the truth is that such individuals keep up a great hue and cry because they see their own personal ruin in the welfare of the masses, and believe that if the peopleâ€™s eyes are opened, their own light will go out. Only the keenest insight will detect the fact that if the hearts of these individuals were really impelled by righteousness and the fear of God, the fragrance of it would, like musk, be spreading everywhere.
The Secret of Divine Civilization
To all Local Spiritual Assemblies
Dear Bah??’? Friends,
Enclosed for your information is a copy of our letter of todayâ€™s date addressed to Kalim??t Press. We ask you to comply with the decision we have made that all national and local Bah??’? agencies cease to distribute books and other items marketed by this publisher.