teachings on individual morality start with the notion that there is only one God.
Although religious teachings in relation to society at large must change to fit the needs
of the times, there are certain fundamental moral and ethical teachings that are common to
all faiths. Bahá'ís understand that these teachings are fundamental to the happiness and
well-being of the human species and they do not change.
The moral code of the Ten Commandments, with its condemnation
of murder, adultery, theft, lies, covetousness and disrespect for parents, can be found in
all religions. Likewise, those commandments that define the individual's relationship with
God have steadily emerged in the succession of Divine revelations. Bahá'u'lláh
reaffirmed these laws and elaborated them. He not only condemned murder and lying but
particularly censured backbiting. Gambling, assault, and trespassing are interdicted. So
are alcoholic drinks and narcotic drugs--unless prescribed by a physician.
Honesty and trustworthiness are
extolled in Bahá'u'lláh's writings. "Trustworthiness
is the greatest portal leading unto the tranquillity and security of the people,"
Bahá'u'lláh wrote. "In truth the stability of every affair hath
depended and doth depend on it."
Although the world's ever-shifting moral
climate has led some modernists to reject or modify elements of God's historic moral code,
Bahá'ís believe that an unbiased survey of contemporary conditions leads inescapably to
the conclusion that society will only suffer if human morality is not revitalized.
Worldwide corruption in business and government, the epidemic of sexually transmitted
diseases, and the dissolution of family life provide concrete examples of the need to
return to a high standard of individual conduct.