Dec 17

Hateful propaganda sparks concern for Baha’is of Rafsanjan

1031_03NEW YORK, 16 December 2014, (BWNS) — Against the backdrop of increasing economic pressures, a recent anti-Baha’i demonstration and a hateful speech delivered by a cleric have raised concerns for the safety of the Baha’is of Rafsanjan, a city in Iran.

Hojatoleslam Abbas Ramezani-Pour, the Friday prayer Imam of Rafsanjan, declared in a speech at the end of November that, according to religious fatwas, Baha’is are “unclean” and that it is “forbidden” to conduct business and trade with them.

“The rightful wishes of the people, which are that they [the Baha’is] should not be in this city, must be realized,” Mr. Ramezani-Pour stated.

“This Imam has, in fact, called for the Baha’is to be expelled from Rafsanjan,” said Ms. Bani Dugal, the principal representative of the Baha’i International Community to the United Nations. “Such negative remarks by a known cleric in the city are extremely worrisome and show a deep level of discrimination.”

“The closure of businesses in that city and the economic harassment of Baha’is are already causing immense hardship for Baha’is there,” said Ms. Dugal

Several days before the speech of Mr. Ramezani-Pour, an anti-Baha’i demonstration was held in front of the governor’s office in Rafsanjan.

Reports from pro-Iranian government media allege that these demonstrations were spontaneous and initiated by the local population. However, photos show instead a clearly planned event, using pre-printed placards obviously prepared in advance. Some placards read “The Baha’is are inherently unclean”, and others “no room for faithless sneaks in Muslim bazaars”.

“Hateful remarks and the dissemination of falsehoods against the Baha’is in Iran are not new”, said Ms. Dugal. “But these incidents are ominous because of past occasions where statements by religious leaders and efforts to incite hatred against a certain group led to serious consequences.”

For example, on 24 August 2013, Mr. Ataollah Rezvani, a well-known Baha’i in the city of Bandar Abbas was shot and killed in his car.  It is of note that a few years before his murder, the Friday prayer Imam had incited the local population against the Baha’is, referring to them as “un-Islamic.”  He further called on the people of the city to “rise up” against the Baha’i community.

Of course, Baha’is are not the only group to be identified from the pulpit.  More recently, the Friday prayer Imam of Isfahan gave a provocative speech in which he stated that warnings were no longer enough in the fight to ensure the proper use of the Hijab – or the head scarf – by all women; force and violence were now necessary.  Shortly after his address, several women had acid thrown at their faces for not wearing what the authorities regard as appropriate attire whilst out in public in the city.

“The statements of clerics in Iran have an influence on the thoughts of those who follow them”, said Ms. Dugal. “Where is the government? Can the complicity of the government be seriously denied?”

In October of this year, 50 Baha’i shops were closed in the city of Kerman, 23 in Rafsanjan and six in Jiroft – all in the same province. In recent months, an increase in the number of closures of Baha’i businesses and shops shows a coordinated plan for inflicting further pressures on the Baha’is of Iran.

● A business closure in July resulted in 20 locals in Ghaemshahr being left jobless.

● In September 2014, a Baha’i in Yazd whose business license had been refused despite her repeated representations to the Public Places Supervision Office (PPSO), was told by a director of the PPSO in Yazd Province that he had received a circular from the higher authorities instructing his office not to issue a business permit to any Baha’i applicant and that this would be undertaken gradually, presumably in an effort to prevent adverse publicity in the international media.  It should further be noted that, at one point in her efforts to retain the business, she was advised by the local trade union to have it registered under the name of a Muslim.  When she did so, the individual concerned was threatened by PPSO officials, who pressured him, albeit unsuccessfully, to sign an undertaking pledging that neither the Baha’i nor any of her Baha’i colleagues would ever show their faces inside the store.

● In August 2014 it was reported that three veterans, who had been prisoners of war and who were receiving the pension to which they were entitled had been summoned to the Veterans’ Affairs Foundation and told that if they did not write their religion as Muslim, their pensions would be stopped.  They refused to recant their faith and are now receiving no pension.

● In October 2014, it was reported that business licenses of four Baha’is in the city of Yazd were not renewed.

● In November 2014, in Isfahan, the residences of a number of Baha’is who were working from home were entered by agents of the Ministry of Intelligence and the work areas ‘sealed’ to indicate no further work could be done.

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Dec 14

Books on Science and Religion #27: Rabbi Jonathan Sacks on Science and Religion

Stephen Friberg

To believe in God means to see that the facts of the world are not the end of the matter. To believe in God means to see that life has a meaning.

Ludwig Wittgenstein

Dec 14, 2014

I’ve just read Rabbi Jonathan Sacks’ 2012 book on science and religion called The Great Partnership: Science, Religion, and the Search for Meaning. I strongly recommend it. It resonates very strongly with what I have learned about the relationship between science and religion, says things eloquently that many have of us been struggling to voice for years, and brings to bear a powerful, fascinating, and enlightening rabbinical perspective that draws on a three thousand year tradition that precedes and underlies Christianity, Islam, and the Baha’i Faith.

Sir-jonathan-sacksDr. Sacks, the leading Rabbi in the United Kingdom until his retirement in 2013, is a philosopher by training. He did his studies at Cambridge and at Oxford where his PhD was under the moral philosopher – and atheist – Bernard Williams. Also, he is the author of some 22 books, recipient of many awards for those books, and was knighted by the British government. A gifted story teller, he brings an easy erudition to his topics and is a sought-after public speaker. He brings the Hebrew Bible alive – somehow capturing a feeling that the last 3,000 years was just yesterday.

The Great Partnership, in some ways, is a direct engagement with New Atheism and its attacks on religion. Here is an example of how he answers those attacks:

If the new atheists are right, you would have to be sad, mad or bad to believe in God and practise a religious faith. We know that is not so … To believe in God, faith and the importance of religious practice does not involve an abdication of the intellect, a silencing of critical faculties, or believing in six impossible things before breakfast. It does not involve reading Genesis literally. It does not involve rejecting the findings of science.

Debates about science and religion, he notes, have always been with us, but the current debates have

… been waged with more than usual anger and vituperation, and the terms of the conflict have changed. In the past the danger – and it was a real danger – was a godless society. That led to four terrifying experiments in history, the French Revolution, Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union and Communist China.

The-Great_PartnershipToday the danger is of a radical religiosity combined with an apocalyptic political agenda, able through terror and asymmetric warfare to destabilise whole nations and regions …

The result is dangerous assault on religion when believers and non-believers should be united:

This is one fight believers and non-believers should be fighting together. Instead the new atheism has launched an unusually aggressive assault on religion, which is not good for religion, for science, for intellectual integrity or for the future of the West.

Schooled in the atheism of old, he challenges the methods and prescriptions of the new:

Atheism deserves better than the new atheists, whose methodology consists in criticising religion without understanding it, quoting texts without contexts, taking exceptions as the rule, confusing folk belief with reflective theology, abusing, mocking, ridiculing, caricaturing and demonising religious faith and holding it responsible for the great crimes against humanity.

Religion has done harm; I acknowledge that candidly … But the cure of bad religion is good religion, not no religion, just as the cure of bad science is good science, not the abandonment of science.

But the book is much more than a response to New athiesm. It is a tour-de-force overview of the relationship between science and religion in light of the entire tradition of western reason and Abrahamic monotheism. I excerpt below.

Meaning

Consider two creation stories, one drawing on science, the other on religion.

meaning

The scientific creation story tells us that the universe was created 13.7 billion years, that our planet formed 4.5 billion years ago, that life appeared not long after, that it grew in complexity through evolutionary processes, and that it brought homo sapiens into being. The religion creation story tells us that God created the universe because of His love for us so that we could know Him and love him. He sent guidance to women and men everywhere through his Prophets and through those who were wise, teaching humanity so that it would mature, and allowing even mistakes and great evils so that we could learn and advance towards the kingdom of God.

Consider them each, Sacks instructs us:

Two rival views, each coherent and consistent, each simplified to be sure, but marking out the great choice, the two framing visions of the human situation. One asserts that life is meaningless. The other claims that life is meaningful. The facts are the same on both scenarios. So is the science that explains the facts. But the world is experienced differently by those who tell the first narrative and those who tell the second.

One of the stories looks for meaning, Sacks tells us, “and that is no small thing, for we are meaning-seeking animals.” And while seeking for meaning includes embracing science, it goes further:

Science is the search for explanation. Religion is the search for meaning. Meaning is not accidental to the human condition because we are the meaning-seeking animal.

To believe on the basis of science that the universe has no meaning is to confuse two disciplines of thought: explanation and interpreta­tion. The search for meaning, though it begins with science, must go beyond it. Science does not yield meanings, nor does it prove the absence of meanings.

athensAlthough it’s not important in the overall context, I don’t fully agree with his definition of science. I think that it is more than a search for facts and explanations. Rather it is the systematic use of reason for whatever one chooses (consider, for example, the culture of learning and the ongoing cycle of reflection and action in Baha’i communities around the world – that is the application of the scientific method in community growth and development).

Athens and Jerusalem

Athens vs. Jerusalem. Left-brain vs. Right-brain. Reason vs. intuition. Individualism vs. group-orientation.

We invoke these dichotomies to talk about very real differences between people, groups of people, cultures, nations and civilizations. Sacks talks about the origins of modern western civilization as the marriage of Greek rationalism and Jewish monotheism:

JerusalemGreece and Israel in antiquity offer us the sharpest possible contrast between a strongly left-brain and a strongly right-brain culture. They were both widely literate societies, with a high regard for study and discipleship. They both valued the academy and the sage. 

But their cognitive styles were different … They valued different things. The Greeks worshipped human reason, the Jews, divine revelation. The Greeks gave the West its philosophy and science. The Jews, obliquely, gave it its prophets and religious faith.

These two great cultures – both having escaped from the spell of myth – united in Christianity:

The unique synthesis of Athens and Jerusalem that became Christianity led to the discipline of theology and thus to the intel­lectual edifice of Western civilisation between the fourth and seventeenth centuries. It was a wondrous achievement, a cathe­dral of the mind. It brought together the Judaic love of God and the Hellenistic love of nature and human reason.

It was … a wondrous creation – but it was as much Greek as Judaic. … It combined left-brain rationality with right-brain spirituality in a single, glorious, overarching structure. We may never see its like again.

The scientific age emerged from this great synthesis. But it has lost its way. It has lost the love of God, its pursuit of meaning,  and its religion. To be morally literate in this modern age, you have to understand the consequences:

Knowing what happened in Russia under Stalin, in China under Mao and in Germany under Hitler is essential to moral literacy in the twenty-first century. These were programmes carried out under the influence of ideas produced by Western intellectuals in the nineteenth century to fill the vacuum left by a widespread loss of faith in God and religion.

Holocaust-JewsThe Holocaust

There is no better illustration of the situation we find ourselves than the Holocaust.

The Holocaust did not take place long ago and far away. It happened in the heart of rationalist, post-Enlightenment, liberal Europe: the Europe of Kant and Hegel, Goethe and Schiller, Beethoven and Brahms.

The problem is not only the insidious anti-semitism of the great continental philos­ophers:

Voltaire called the Jews ‘an ignorant and barbarous people, who have long united the most sordid avarice with the most detestable superstition’. Fichte wrote that the only way of making Jews civi­lised was to amputate their Jewish heads. Immanuel Kant spoke privately of Jews as ‘the vampires of society’ and argued for the ‘euthanasia’ of Judaism. Hegel took Judaism as his model of a ‘slave morality’. Nietzsche accused Jews of giving the world an ethic of kind­ness and compassion which he saw as the ‘falsification’ of natural morality, namely the will to power. Schopenhauer … spoke of Jews as ‘no better than cattle’ and ‘scum of the Earth’.

It is inherent in the intrinsic lopsidedness of science:

First, there is something intrinsically dehumanising in the left-brain mentality. The scientific mind lives in detachment, analysis, the breaking down of wholes to their component parts. The focus is not on the particular – this man, that woman, this child – but on the universal. Science per se has no space for empathy or fellow feeling.

None of this is to say that scientists are not compassion­ate and loving human beings: surely they are. But when science is worshipped and religion dethroned, then a certain decision has been made to set aside human feelings for the sake of something higher, nobler, larger. From there it is a short distance to hell.

image_of_godClearly. science by itself is inadequate:

For the sake of human dignity, science must be accompanied by another voice. Not in opposition to science, but as the humanising voice of what once we called the soul. There is no greater defence of human dignity than the phrase from the first chapter of the Bible that dared to call the human being ‘the image of God’.

Summary

It is hard to do justice to the fullness and completeness of this book. I’ve only the space to reference a few of Rabbi Sacks’ topics. I can only hope that I’ve shared enough to make you want to go to a library and borrow a copy – or better yet, buy it for your own library. It is that good.

I give the last word to Sacks:

Religion and science, the heritages respectively of Jerusalem and Athens, products of the twin hemispheres of the human brain, must now join together to protect the world that has been entrusted to our safekeeping, honouring our covenant with nature and nature’s God – the God who is the music beneath the noise; the Being at the heart of being, whose still small voice we can still hear if we learn to create a silence in the soul; the God who, whether or not we have faith in him, never loses faith in us.

Next Blog

In the next blog, we talk about Atheism for Dummies.

…………………………

This is the 25th in a series of blogs on the modern science and religion literature. The author, Stephen Friberg, is a Bahá’í living in Mountain View, California. A research physicist by training, he wrote Religion and Evolution Reconciled: ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Comments on Evolution with Courosh Mehanian. He worked in Japan for 10 years before joining the semiconductor industry in Silicon Valley.

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Dec 12

My Friend Mycroft, Part Two: Science as Savior

Mycroft_Holmes

Mycroft Holmes

Echoing anti-theist spokesman Sam Harris, my forum friend Mycroft remarked that: “… a whole branch of science is devoted to the biological and societal reasons for human conditions, the balance of selfishness and altruism, greed and reciprocal behavior, dogma and tolerance, etc.”

This is so. There is, indeed, a branch of science dedicated to finding a biological explanation for everything we are and do. Sam Harris has a PhD in this discipline. But the observation begs the question: In what way should the existence of that discipline impact my understanding that we humans exist in part in a spiritual reality or invalidate my individual attempts to understand my self and my interrelations with other human beings?

In other words, should I discount the idea that I can affect my personal reality and/or the world around me because there’s a branch of science that’s studying the issue?

In response to my assertion that science is steered by human perceptions of right and wrong, and therefore is tethered inseparably to our spiritual values, Mycroft said,”You refer to the essentially political problem of how potentially beneficent science is being applied, or rather not applied. …Well, as far as I can see from the outside, it looks like atheists are born liberals,… In Germany, where I was born, they have obligatory health insurance for everybody, since 1871/1889. That was when they still had a Kaiser, 120+ years ago… As I said—it’s more of a political problem.”

The German response to the need for healthcare may have been political, but it is a response to a spiritual and moral issue of whether the individual has some responsibilities toward the collective and vice versa. In the larger sense, the beneficent application of science (and resources) is an issue related to how we think and behave as individuals, and therefore what moral and spiritual values inform our society. Even what seems a purely political problem (such as the gridlock spawned by the USA’s broken party systems) is a symptom of a deeper issue. Read the rest of this entry »

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Dec 05

My Friend Mycroft, Part One: Spiritual Exploration

Mycroft_Holmes

Mycroft Holmes

Once upon a time, I had a forum friend who called himself Mycroft (a reference to Sherlock’s allegedly smarter older brother). He was an atheist (still is as far as I know) and we spent pleasurable hours discussing belief, certitude, faith, reason and other subjects of interest to both of us.

Well, at least I found the discourse pleasurable. I’m pretty sure Mycroft found it frustrating at times because I refused to “color inside the lines” of religion that he was accustomed to.

One day Mycroft asked me: “So, is there a specific religious way of exploring reality?”

What a fascinating question. Given the context in which it was set, Mycroft was asking how exploration and faith integrated or coexisted. Obviously, the definition of faith (or anything else) depends on what dictionary you use. The Oxford defines faith thusly:

1 complete trust or confidence in someone or something. 2 strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof. 

• a system of religious belief 

  • a strongly held belief or theory 

The operative meaning of “apprehension” is to understand or grasp. There is nothing in the Oxford definition that restricts the faithful to believing something for which there is no proof, nor is the mechanism for “spiritual apprehension” defined.

I would say there are as many different ways of spiritual exploration as there are scientific ones. I’m not even sure I could state positively that scientific methods relied less on intuition than spiritual ones do. Science, after all, is the realm in which people like Einstein have “aha!” or “Eureka!” moments that catalyze their exploration of a particular aspect of reality. I think the difference between scientific and spiritual exploration lies, in part, in what sort of evidence the explorer accepts as valid.

After opining that faith through reason is not really faith at all, since faith must necessarily be blind to reason, Mycroft said: “So, if a believer concedes that he can’t hold some part of the belief system for true, he’s not a believer…”

How so, I asked. Why wouldn’t the response be (as in a scientific process) “I don’t know exactly how that works. Let’s keep exploring.”  I can accept as fact that God created the universe(s) (which Bahá’u’lláh describes metaphorically as “He said BE, and it was,”) yet say, I don’t know exactly what mechanisms went into that happening. That’s the province of science which is, according to the scriptures of my Faith, a tool for discovery that is as much a product of God’s operation as spirituality.

“Scientific knowledge is the highest attainment upon the human plane, for science is the discoverer of realities. It is of two kinds: material and spiritual. Material science is the investigation of natural phenomena; divine science is the discovery and realization of spiritual verities. The world of humanity must acquire both. A bird has two wings; it cannot fly with one. Material and spiritual science are the two wings of human uplift and attainment. Both are necessary…” — Abdu’l-Bahá, Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 138 (23 May 1912, Cambridge, MA) 

And again:

“The virtues of humanity are many but science is the most noble of them all. The distinction which man enjoys above and beyond the station of the animal is due to this paramount virtue. It is a bestowal of God; it is not material, it is divine. Science is an effulgence of the Sun of Reality, the power of investigating and discovering the verities of the universe, the means by which man finds a pathway to God”.—Abdu’l-Bahá, Foundations of World Unity, p. 112

Higgs, Baby!Yes, Abdu’l-Bahá actually said that—science is divine. Frankly, the dichotomy between science and religion and their respective processes of exploration seems artificial to me for I can also say, “I believe that love really can destroy hatred,” admit to not understanding the mechanism by which that occurs and resolve to explore it. That is not, perhaps, the province of science, but it’s still a worthy study. 

Looking at it another way, one can do rigorous, rational exploration of spiritual human reality or one can indulge in superstitious dogma. Likewise, one can do rigorous, rationally sound exploration of physical human reality or one can indulge in pseudo-scientific “beliefs”.

Next time: My friend Mycroft on Science as savior

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Dec 03

Thoughts of War and Peace—an Anniversary Observed

Bahram Nadimi

Tides of change are sweeping the earth, and we all feel helpless to withstand its powerful force. Every day there is fresh and depressing news of terrorism, famine, war, deep economic disorders and the like. Shoghi Effendi, the head of the Baha’i faith from 1921-1957 has stated:

 “A tempest, unprecedented in its violence, unpredictable in its course, catastrophic in its immediate effects, unimaginably glorious in its ultimate consequences, is at present sweeping the face of the earth. Its driving power is remorselessly gaining in range and momentum. … Humanity, gripped in the clutches of its devastating power, is smitten by the evidences of its resistless fury. It can neither perceive its origin, nor probe its significance, nor discern its outcome. Bewildered, agonized and helpless, it watches this great and mighty wind of God invading the remotest and fairest regions of the earth…[1]”

The question is: how can we mitigate the negative and channel the positive effects of these powerful forces of change?  Where do we start?  How can we overcome the paralysis of will that is preventing people and leaders of good will to come together for the sake of unity, to solve the pressing issues of the day?

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Nov 30

Books on Science and Religion #26: Philip Clayton on Religion and Science

Stephen Friberg

Nature in its essence is the embodiment of My Name, the Maker, the Creator. Nature is God’s Will and is its expression in and through the contingent world.

Bahá’u’lláh

Nov 30, 2014

This week’s blog is about an excellent textbook on science and religion entitled Religion and Science: The Basics. It is good enough that I’m willing to call it a must-have.

Clayton Book Science and ReligionThe author is Philip Clayton (also see here and here), a professor of theology at the Claremont School of Theology in Southern California with some 21 books to his credit. Clayton is the editor of the 2008 Oxford Handbook of Religion and Science, at 970 pages the widest-ranging and most complete recent book on science and religion. This 2011 book is an excellent summing up.

Interestingly, the book’s cover blurb starts by echoing Shoghi Effendi’s 1938 statement that science and religion are “the two most potent forces in human life”:

Religion and science are arguably the two most powerful social forces in the world today. But where religion and science were once held to be compatible, most people now perceive them to be in conflict. This unique book provides the best available introduction to the burning debates in this controversial field. … Clayton presents the arguments from both sides, asking readers to decide for themselves where they stand.

Philip ClaytonClayton – who describes himself as a panentheist – is an interesting thinker. On one hand, he embraces modern panentheism and holds to modern process theological views that see the world as “located within the divine being rather than as separate from it”. Here is how he puts it:

For panentheists, the world is in God, but God’s also more than the world. Fundamental differences in the natures of the two remain: God is necessary, the world contingent; God Is eternal, the world limited in duration; God is infinite, the world finite; God is by nature morally perfect, the world — well, that one is obvious. Read the rest of this entry »

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Nov 23

Books on Science and Religion #25: William Hatcher on Science and Religion

Stephen Friberg

Nature in its essence is the embodiment of My Name, the Maker, the Creator. Nature is God’s Will and is its expression in and through the contingent world.

Bahá’u’lláh

Nov 23, 2014

Logic and Logos: Essays on Science, Religion and Philosophy – the book I comment on below – is quite different than the books we’ve looked at previously in this series.

William_HatcherFor one thing, its author – the mathematician William S. Hatcher – was one of era’s pioneering explorers of the relationship between science and religion. Of the scientifically informed thinkers in the latter half of the 20th century who rejected the widespread 19th century perspective that science was the replacement for religion, only the physicist Ian Barbour seems to have preceded him. Hatcher’s first publication on the topic –  “Science and Religion” in World Order in 1969 – only slightly lagged Barbour’s ground-breaking Issues in Science and Religion published in 1966. (An edited version of Hatcher’s Science and Religion is the first essay in The Science of Religion, Baha’i Studies, 1980).

The book is also different in that it explores the Baha’i perspective on science and religion – one elaborated in the writings and talks of `Abdu’l-Baha 100 years ago and first enunciated by Baha’u’llah, the prophet-founder of the Baha’i Faith. It provides an organized, eminently readable and comprehensive overview of a powerful Baha’i principle. Read the rest of this entry »

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Nov 17

Books on Science and Religion #24: Edward O. Wilson and the Meaning of Human ExistenceModern Scientism

Stephen Friberg

Nature in its essence is the embodiment of My Name, the Maker, the Creator. Nature is God’s Will and is its expression in and through the contingent world.

Bahá’u’lláh

Nov 18, 2014

In our last group of blogs, we looked at 19th century scientism, 19th scientific materialism, and 19th century Lamarckian and Darwinian social philosophies – what are now called social Darwinisms.

Very few of these scientisms, materialisms, and social Darwinisms were based on verified scientific principles  – rather they were usually extrapolations from unproven scientific or quasi-scientific hypotheses. Some of the greatest horrors of the 19th and 20th century were the consequences of these unscientific extrapolations as scientism, materialism, and social Darwinism fed into global colonialism, militarism, fascism, communism, nationalism, and the undermining of religion.

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Nov 10

Books on Science and Religion #23: Conclusion to Our Review of Science and Scientism

Stephen Friberg

Nature in its essence is the embodiment of My Name, the Maker, the Creator. Nature is God’s Will and is its expression in and through the contingent world.

Bahá’u’lláh

Nov 11, 2014

Here we finish our discussion of Richard Olson’s Science and Scientism in Nineteenth-Century Europe with a summary – and a look forward. Olson’s summary of his book is very simple:

We have seen that throughout the early years of the nineteenth century every major tradition of natural science—and there were major differences in approach across both subject matters and national boundaries—spawned efforts to extend scientific ideas, methods, practices, and attitudes to matters of human social and political concern. That is, they spawned scientisms.

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Nov 02

Books on Science and Religion #22: Eugenics

Stephen Friberg

Nature in its essence is the embodiment of My Name, the Maker, the Creator. Nature is God’s Will and is its expression in and through the contingent world.

Bahá’u’lláh

Nov 2, 2014

Two key Baha’i teachings about science and religion are that (1) both science and religion are necessary for an advancing civilization, and that (2) science without religion – and religion without science – are dangerous:

Religion and science are the two wings upon which man’s intelligence can soar into the heights, with which the human soul can progress. It is not possible to fly with one wing alone!

Should a man try to fly with the wing of religion alone he would quickly fall into the quagmire of superstition, whilst on the other hand, with the wing of science alone he would also make no progress, but fall into the despairing slough of materialism … 

Much of the discord and disunion of the world is created by these man-made oppositions and contradictions. If religion were in harmony with science and they walked together, much of the hatred and bitterness now bringing misery to the human race would be at an end. (`Abdu’l-Baha, Paris Talks, p. 143-145)

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