Abdu'i-Baha on Darwinism
century and early 20 th century, social Darwinism portrayed itself as a “science”, and thus promoted racism and colonialism as the requirements of science. According to this view, various groups and countries belong to different levels of biological evolution, and therefore some are completely human whereas others are closer to animals than humans. In this way, the inequality of rights was easily justified. Contrary to this materialistic worldview of social Darwinism, ‘Abdu’l -Baha emphasized a spiritual and mystical approach to reality and opposed social Darwinism. According to ‘Abdu’l -Baha, all beings are manifestations and reflections of divine names and attributes, and therefore all beings are sacred, beautiful, and endowed with rights. In this approach, the equal rights of all human beings and respect for nature and preservation of the environment are the logical requirements of the spiritual truth of all reality. Furthermore, such a philosophy indicates that religious fanatics and traditionalists who, instead of promoting love, peace, and fellowship in the world, are reducing God and religion to an instrument for the justification of hatred, discrimination, and intolerance, are in fact atheists and materialists. That is the reason why ‘Abdu’l -Baha frequently emphasizes the idea that religion must be a cause of unity and love, and therefore, if religion becomes a cause of enmity and hatred it is better not to have religion. ‘Abdu’l - Baha’s emphasis on t he necessity of religion and a spiritual approach is both a critique of religious prejudice and traditionalism, as well as a critique of the beastly culture of aggressive materialist modernity. The pivot of the worldview of Baha’u’llah and ‘Abdu’ l-Baha is the affirmation of the idea that the world of humanity has now arrived at a qualitatively new stage in its historical evolution. It argues that humanity must now be liberated from the bondage of the natural principle of the struggle for existence and must be born as human beings, and thus feel, think, and live in accordance with a culture of peace, solidarity, and unity. In fact, in ‘Abdu’l - Baha’s worldview, human history has so far been, primarily, a history of self-alienation among human beings. The idea of self-estrangement has been frequently discussed in the writings of Hegel and Marx. Although Hegel was, to some extent, influenced by a spiritual orientation, his own philosophy was frequently degraded to a form of self-alienation. He saw war as a moral activity, perceived the Prussian state as the realization of true freedom, and presented his own philosophy as the end of the progress of the Spirit in human history. Marx, who denied the existence of God and the human spirit and reduced human beings to merely economic entities, defined human self-alienation as solely a product of class inequality and therefore, defended communism as the only solution for the self- estrangement of humanity. Although his criticism of the extremes of inequality in a pure capitalist system is accurate, not only is his own materialistic theory the essence of self-alienation, his definition of an ideal and free society is a society in which all individuals are equal in terms of income and wealth. He thought that in such a communist society there would be no state, and all would be free to do whatever they wish. 22 However, the falsity of such ideas has been demonstrated by our experience in recent decades. Unlike Marxian assumptions, it is only under one condition that preventing the emergence of any kind of economic inequality in society is possible, and that is when all forms of
22 Marx, Karl and Engels, Friedrich, Communist Manifesto . Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1967.
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