Is Civilization Dying, Or Being Born?

Is Civilization Dying, Or Being Born? January 13, 2017


What is our current state of affairs, on the collective, global level? What is really going on all around us in the world today? Can we even say it is one thing and not the other? Maybe it is both at the same time.

The story unfolding all around us now seems to be telling us the old world is dying. Are we in the midst of a slow and painful death? Could this be the “muddle” phase of our sacred story?

If it is, that means a new world is waiting to be born, while the old world takes its time to pass away. With the story pattern metaphor, it’s always a “resolution” that follows the purposeful “muddle.” How much longer this process will take to complete itself, to bring the new world into being, may be impossible to say. We have so many pieces of the muddle yet to be resolved.

          The Parliament of the World’s Religions Sees a Crisis


Even the Parliament of the World’s Religions, in their 1993 declaration, didn’t spare their own institutions. “Our world is experiencing a fundamental crisis: a crisis in global economy, global ecology, and global politics… Time and again we see leaders and members of religions incite aggression, fanaticism, hate, and xenophobia – even inspire and legitimate violent and bloody conflicts. Religion is often misused for purely power-political goals, including war.”

These seem to be signs of a dying civilization. But they could also be signs of a coming rebirth. The reality may be that there is no separation between these two phases of our sacred story. They can both be happening simultaneously. Indeed, we are in the midst of a process in which each phase is intricately linked to each other phase.

The Parliament’s perspective did not end with the apparent death pangs we are now witnessing. They affirmed that a “global ethic” already exists in a common set of core values found within the world’s religions, that humanity is interdependent, and that “humankind [is] our family.” They also committed themselves to “a culture of non-violence, respect, justice, and peace,” inviting “all people, whether religious or not, to do the same.”

          A Vision for Humanity


This vision of the oneness of humanity is a goal built upon a “socially beneficial, peace-fostering, and nature-friendly” global ethic that is found not only already within the world’s religions, they say, but is also at the heart of the process of spiritual transformation all of humanity is going through now. Our renewal, our rebirth, and our transformation of consciousness, is well under way, and with a vision of the oneness of humanity in our sights, it becomes a matter of both the death process and the rebirth process happening in concert with each other.

The breakdown of the old along with the building up of the new is actually a central spiritual principle in the Baha’i Faith. That we are experiencing a breakdown in the political, economic, and moral realms of society is part of the disintegration process, which, by natural design or law, is followed by reconstruction.

The Baha’i writings say, “The world’s equilibrium hath been upset… the signs of impending convulsions and chaos can now be discerned… Soon will the present day Order be rolled up, and a new one spread out in its stead… The whole earth is now in a state of pregnancy… Unification of the whole of mankind is the hall-mark of the stage which human society is now approaching… World unity is the goal towards which a harassed humanity is striving.”



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