Baha'u'llah taught that humanity -- after a long and turbulent adolescence -- is now reaching a stage of maturity where unity can finally be established in a global and just society. His writings abound with eternal spiritual teachings and new social, administrative laws and principles that are essential for the establishment of unity and peace on earth.
The Baha'i faith brings social principles appropriate to the needs of a global society. Many of these principles, while considered radical in the time of Baha'u'llah, are now increasingly accepted by many people.
Baha’i principles include: gender equity, elimination of prejudice, adoption of an equal standard of human rights for all people, universal education for all, establishment of a world commonwealth of nations, harmony of science and religion as two complementary systems of knowledge and practice that must work together to advance humanity, spiritual solutions to economic problems and the removal of economic barriers and restrictions, abolition of extremes of poverty and wealth, adoption of a world auxiliary language, a world script, and a universal system of currency, weights and measures.
Freedom to believe or disbelieve is a fundamental Bahá'í principle, and the Bahá'í community has distinguished itself by the respect it has shown for the convictions of those who are not Bahá'ís. The innate and fundamental aspiration to investigate reality is the right and obligation of every human being. It is for this reason that the Baha'i teachings affirm that the "conscience of man is sacred and to be respected." Diversity of expression and creative give and take are essential aspects of Bahá'í community development. Without diversity, unity is impossible, only uniformity would result.
Baha'i teachings include laws for spiritual and moral life of the individual and for governance and development of society. Rather than seeing these laws as restrictive, the Bahá'ís view them as liberating. We believe they improve our lives and free us from many of the debilitating afflictions of our times. The laws for our personal lives include daily prayer, observance of an annual period of fasting, obedience to the law of the land and abstention from partisan politics. Other moral and ethical principles include prohibitions against backbiting, extramarital sex, gambling, and the non-medical use of alcohol and drugs.
Bahá'ís take their civic responsibilities seriously and uphold the authority of the government through loyalty and obedience to the laws of the land. Bahá'ís abstain from partisanship. They do not join political parties or factions, nor run for elected political office or accept political appointments. This is due to the cardinal belief in the vital need for unity in society. They believe that their best contribution to society can be made by working with others to help build a world that is just, peaceful and united.
The Bahá'í community does not seek to impose its values on others, nor does it pass judgment on others on the basis of its own moral standards. It does not see itself as one among competing social groups and organizations, each vying to establish its particular social agenda. In working for social justice in a non-adversarial manner, Bahá'ís endeavour to reconcile various viewpoints, raise questions that stimulate new avenues of inquiry, and offer ways of creatively reframing issues through the perspective of spiritual principles.