Ambassador of Peace
Impressions on ‘Abdu’l-Baha
Ambassador of Peace
Source: What Is Bahaism | North American Review, Vol. 195, 1912, p. 834
One of the recent noteworthy events in the religious and philanthropic world has been the arrival in this country of the head of the Oriental religion which originated in Persia in the middle of the last century. Abbas Effendi or Abdu’l-Baha, as he prefers to be called… has come from His home in Akka in Syria to make an address upon International Peace at the Mohonk Conference and to dedicate in Chicago a temple to serve as a spiritual home and agency in that city for the disciples resident there.
This mission is very significant religiously. It is a public display of the addition to the list of missionary religions of a new and enterprising faith not restricted to any one nationality, but seeking proselytes [new believer] from all existing races, countries, and religions. Its aspirations are world -wide and it sets forth remarkable claims to be better adapted to become a universal religion and to be a higher and fuller revelation of spiritual truth than any of its historic predecessors, such as Judaism, Muhammadanism , or Christianity.
As an international ambassador of peace, the first one of the acknowledged primates [the chief bishops] of a considerable Church to exhibit public and conspicuous activity in opposing war, the presence of this head of the Baha’i faith to co- operate in the establishment of “ the Most Great Peace, ” and the bringing together of all the nations in harmony, under treaty agreements, to submit their differences to the judicial decision of Arbitration Boards is both a notable and a helpful event. Although in China over two thousand years ago the founder of Taoism advocated non-resistance and the abolition of armies, yet in the centuries since then Asiatic hands have ever been quick to draw the sword and Asiatic voices, especially in the Muhammadan world , have been vigorous in vindicating the resort to military force. Such allies in the Peace Movement as the Baha’i community supplies are therefore very valuable.
Although originating less than a century ago, the Baha’is are believed to number some two million followers in Asia and several thousand adherents in the United States, chiefly residents of New York, Washington, and Chicago.
In the brief personal acquaintance with the head of the new faith , with which I have been honored, Abbas has impressed me as a man of great mental ability, tact, and persuasive power; friendly in disposition , affable in his manners, and amiable and progressive in his spirit. He is wisely putting the emphasis in the Baha’i community more and more on those great principles of international fellowship and friendly relations between diverse faiths and races that best realize the essence of the Christian spirit. Moreover, he has practically exemplified these principles in his own pacific conduct and charitable activities. The descriptions that visitors to Akka have given of his daily personal benefactions is , indeed, beautiful and impressive.
The warm welcome and cordial greetings which he has received here have been most creditable to the breadth and kindliness of American Christianity.