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Barriers to Peace

One gift of the space age is the ability to see the whole world as a single unit
floating in space. A recent article stated that every astronaut, from whatever
nation, has returned to earth with a different understanding of the world. To
them, seeing the earth as one, unified whole is not a dream but a reality.
This is a new vision for mankind and opens a window to the fact that world peace
is not only possible, it is inevitable. It is the next stage in the evolution of
this planet. It is a fact that we, the people of the earth, are just beginning to
catch up with.
The destructive power that the nations of the world have accumulated is such that
the whole earth could be destroyed several times over. This means that the
alternative to world peace is total annihilation. Before the United States of
America came into being there was a meeting of representatives of the separate
states. Benjamin Franklin summed up the situation for the American colonies then
in a way that applies to the world today when he said, “We must all hang together
or else we will hang separately.”
But, there are problems and tonight I want to talk about three things. These are
matters pointed out by the Universal House of Justice of the Baha’i Faith in its
1985 statement entitled “The Promise of World Peace.” The first is some important
points to remember. The second has to do with the major issues that are facing the
world that need solving. The third has to do with the barriers that keep us from
working on these problems. And, there are specific things that you and I, as
individuals on the space ship earth, can do about to change these barriers into
bridges.
Two Points to Remember
1. Ending war is more than signing treaties. I takes a new level of commitment.
(The boy and the old man; San Francisco pollution.)
2. The issue of peace must move beyond disagreements to the level of principle.
(Spiritual and moral attitudes rather than pragmatism or self-serving action.)
Seven Major Issues:
1. Racism,
2. Inordinate disparity between rich and poor,
3. Unbridled nationalism,
4. Religious strife,
5. Emancipation of women,
6. Universal Education, and
7. Communications.
Five Barriers and their Opposite
1 Doubt Hope
2 Misconceptions Enlightenment
3 Prejudice Understanding
4 Suspicion Trust
5 Narrow Self-Interests Common Concerns

Hearing today’s news and reading the newspaper headlines can cause one to doubt
that peace can ever come. That is because they report what is wrong. A plane crash
makes the headline, but when have you ever seen that 50,000 airplanes landed
safely today and 8 million passengers reached their destination unharmed.
Looking beyond the headlines, there is great hope. There has been enormous
progress in overcoming the barriers to peace and in recognizing the problems that
must be solved. We are truly approaching the day prophesied by Baha’u’llah, the
Prophet-Founder of the Baha’i Faith when He said, “These fruitless strifes, these
ruinous wars, shall pass away, and the ‘Most Great Peace’ shall come.”

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