The new president of the US, Joe Biden, talked so much about unity in his inaugural speech delivered on January 20, 2021, ‘Without unity, there is no peace, only bitterness and fury,’ he said. ‘No progress, only exhausting outrage. No nation, only a state of chaos.… This is our historic moment of crisis and challenge… and unity is the path forward.’ What does unity mean? It means exactly the opposite of being divided; it means to be whole, united, promoting togetherness and harmony.
In spiritual and religious terms, what comes to mind first is the philosophy of the Baha’i faith that says there is a fundamental unity in many of the world’s religions. The teachings of all major religions share the same fundamental universal principles that are intended to unite humankind to promote peace, harmony and prosperity.
Unity is not to be confused or conflated with homogeneity. When we say ‘unity in diversity’, it means respect individual faiths and cultures, for diversity provides perspective and makes life interesting. Unity signals conserving diversity without undermining it and without allowing it to become fractured and fragmented. Such deep and wide understanding between diverse belief systems, cultures and races can only enrich and improve the quality of our interaction with each other. Biden recollected what St Augustine said, that the multitude of people is defined by the common objects of their love. Biden continued, ‘Those objects, I’d like think, are opportunity, security, liberty, dignity, respect, honour, and yes, the truth.’