Is Mankind Redeemable ?
Bahá'u'lláh, Prophet/Founder of the Bahá'í Faith, says yes. In fact, working to perfect character is the purpose of this life.
"Arise, O people, and, by the power of God's might, resolve to gain the victory over your own selves, that haply the whole earth may be freed and sanctified from its servitude to the gods of its idle fancies--gods that have inflicted such loss upon, and are responsible for the misery of, their wretched worshipers. These idols form the obstacle that impedeth man in his efforts to advance in the path of perfection. We cherish the hope that the Hand of Divine power may lend its assistance to mankind, and deliver it from its state of grievous abasement." - Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 93Such an instruction is not news to mankind; it is reiterated in every religious teaching. The core of the Bahá'í Faith is that all knowledge comes from the same source--one Creator Who has provided continuous and periodical guidance to the human race. That Word is renewed regularly, as mankind has developed, and each time via a perfect man who spoke with the voice of God for that Day.
And this is Their job description, according to 'Abdu'l-Bahá: "The prophets are sent to educate this innate quality in humanity. They are like gardeners who sow the grain which afterward springs up in a thousand forms of advancement. The prophets are therefore the first educators of the world, the head masters of the world....The prophets are sent to refresh the dead body of the world, to render the dumb, eloquent, to give peace to the troubled, to make illumined the indifferent and to set free from the material world all beings who are its captives. Leave a child to himself and he becomes ill-mannered and thoughtless. He must be shown the path, so that he may become acquainted with the world of the soul--the world of divine gifts." - Divine Philosophy, p. 109
I am a follower of this chapter in God's religious guidebook because it reassures me that things can be made better, that souls are perfectible over time. It is motivation to survive the frustrating aspects of living with other humans!
To further emphasize the point about continued development: "Now let us consider the soul. We have seen that movement is essential to existence; nothing that has life is without motion. All creation, whether of the mineral, vegetable or animal kingdom, is compelled to obey the law of motion; it must either ascend or descend. But with the human soul, there is no decline. Its only movement is towards perfection; growth and progress alone constitute the motion of the soul.
"Divine perfection is infinite, therefore the progress of the soul is also infinite. From the very birth of a human being the soul progresses, the intellect grows and knowledge increases. When the body dies the soul lives on. All the differing degrees of created physical beings are limited, but the soul is limitless!
"In all religions the belief exists that the soul survives the death of the body. Intercessions are sent up for the beloved dead, prayers are said for their progress and for the forgiveness of their sins. If the soul perished with the body all this would have no meaning. Further, if it were not possible for the soul to advance towards perfection after it had been released from the body, of what avail are all these loving prayers, of devotion?" - 'Abdu'l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 89
The effort to build character is therefore worth it. Developing virtues makes attitudes and behaviors change, thus improving lives and resulting in a better world. It has happened before, and will happen again. That's an age-old Promise.
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