Barney Leith Blog #10b: Science, Religion and Human Reality

Barney Leith Blog #10b: Science, Religion and Human Reality

Barney Leith

This is the second of a two part series on human reality.

Neuroscience – the latest fashion

What’s fashionable now? How about neuroscience? Brain-scanning technology is now advanced enough to allow scientists to observe changes in blood flow to different parts of the brain under varying conditions. So it would be rather easy to suppose that we can identify mind and consciousness with brain functioning. However, this can take us from science to “scientism”, as retired physician and clinical neuroscientist Raymond Tallis writes in a recent article in NewStatesman:

“The republic of letters is in thrall to an unprecedented scientism. The word is out that human consciousness – from the most elementary tingle of sensation to the most sophisticated sense of self – is identical with neural activity in the human brain and that this extraordinary metaphysical discovery is underpinned by the latest findings in neuroscience. Given that the brain is an evolved organ, and, as the evolutionary biologist Theodosius Dobzhansky said, nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution, the neural explanation of human consciousness demands a Darwinian interpretation of our behaviour. The differences between human life in the library or the operating theatre and animal life in the jungle or the savannah are more apparent than real: at the most, matters of degree rather than kind.

These beliefs are based on elementary errors. Just because neural activity is a necessary condition of consciousness, it does not follow that it is a sufficient condition of consciousness, still less that it is identical with it. And Darwinising human life confuses the organism Homo sapiens with the human person, biological roots with cultural leaves.” [Emphasis added.]

Reductionism fails

As important as such scientific advances are, this kind of reductionism cannot begin to account for what it means to be human in the kinds of ways that we humans would recognize as being truly ‘us’.

For a start, reductionism fails to engage with the centrality for human beings of meaning.

Meaning and humanity

Abraham Joshua Heschel

Influential Jewish theologian Abraham Joshua Heschel homes in on just how central meaning is to the human condition:

“Human being is never sheer being; it is always involved in meaning. The dimension of meaning is as indigenous to his being human as the dimension of space is to stars and stones.” (Heschel, A. J., Who is Man? Stanford University Press, 1963, p. 51)

Heschel explains that we need to look at the totality of man and that this cannot be accomplished by scientific study only of aspects of human life:

“We are concerned with the totality of man’s existence, not only or primarily with some of its aspects. Vast scientific efforts are devoted to the exploration of various aspects of human life… Yet any specialized study of man treating each function and drive in isolation tends to look upon the totality of the person from the point of view of a particular function or drive. Such procedures have, indeed, resulted in an increasing atomization of our knowledge of man…” (p. 4)

Self-knowledge, says Heschel, is an inseparable part of our being.  We cannot be without that knowledge. Not to know is to know falsely, says Heschel.

“Ignorance about man is not lack of knowledge but false knowledge” (p. 6)

And man’s authentic existence “goes on in an inner space” (p. 7), a dictum that reminds one immediately of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s statement that:

“The reality of man is his thought.” (Paris Talks, p. 17)

None of this is to say that the scientific study of humans and our humanity is unimportant. Far from it, as Heschel points out when he says that there is “no substitute for the work done by the various sciences dealing with man.” (p. 8)

“Yet there is an urgent need for an approach seeking to identify what is unique about the humanity of man, a task beyond the scope of the sciences mentioned above.” (pp. 8–9)

Empirical intemperance

But the risk in the reductive, positivist approach to scientific studies of human functioning is what Heschel refers to as “empirical intemperance, the desire to be exact, to attend to ‘hard’ facts which are subject to measurement.” (p. 9). This, Heschel claims:

“…may defeat its own end. It makes us blind to the fact behind the facts – that what makes a human being human is not just mechanical, biological, and psychological functioning, but the ability to make decisions constantly….

“A human behavior pattern is not a monument to a life that is gone, but a drama full of life. It is a system as well as a groping, a wavering, a striking forth; solidity as well as outburst, deviation, inconsistency; not a final order but a process, conditioned, manipulated, questioned, challenged, and guided by a variety of factors.” (pp. 9–10)

Meaning and the rational soul

'Abdu'l-Baha

The human spirit, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá teaches, “distinguishes man from the animal” (Some Answered Questions, p. 208). It is the “rational soul”, that part of us which, according to Socrates, perceives the world in a spiritual manner and sees the essence of things. Self-knowledge is a precondition for knowing the world in this way. Hence the Socratic injunction to “know thyself”, to know who you truly are.

And who we truly are must encompass the rational soul, that part of us which, says ‘Abdu’l-Bahá:

“…discovers the realities of things and becomes cognizant of their peculiarities and effects, and of the qualities and properties of beings.” (SAQ, p. 208)

But, says ‘Abdu’l-Bahá:

“The human spirit, unless assisted by the spirit of faith, does not become acquainted with the divine secrets and the heavenly realities. It is like a mirror which, although clear, polished and brilliant, is still in need of light. Until a ray of the sun reflects upon it, it cannot discover the heavenly secrets.” (SAQ, p. 208–9)

The mechanistic philosophy underlying much 19th century and aspects of 20th century science – what One Common Faith (Bahá’í World Centre, 2005) refers to as “the iron dogma of scientific materialism” – has given us access to important knowledge about our parts. But it omits what is most important about our humanity: our conscious self-awareness, our capacity for reflection, our need for meaning, our yearning for transcendence – precisely the areas addressed by religions and spiritual traditions over the millennia.

But, when mechanism slides from being a useful framework for science to being an “iron dogma” about human reality, science and religion part company.

Reality is one

‘Abdu’l-Bahá teaches that reality is one. What we have dichotomized in our Cartesian way as body and mind, matter and spirit, are reflections of a single reality. To understand this one reality in all its diversity – indeed, to understand the reality of our humanity – we need both science and religion.

The elements of my grandson’s learning of language can be studied and accounted for by neuroscientists, psychologists and sociologists. But what counts for him and those around him is that language empowers him to examine the realities of all things, to search for meaning, to connect with the transcendent realm, to become fully human.

……………………..

This is second part of the 10th in a series of blogs on the unity of science and religion and its applications by Barney Leith, a member of the UK Bahá’í community and its National Spiritual Assembly. For more of his blogs, see http://barneyleith.com on Posterous.

Share
www.pdf24.org    Send article as PDF   

18 thoughts on “Barney Leith Blog #10b: Science, Religion and Human Reality

  1. I was fortunate to have my pre-op in a lab with all kinds of instruments. Recent studies of Buddists monks in prayer do show evidence neural activity that seems to be centralized . My neurologist however does not believe that this area in the brain is a God neuroreceiver that could convince state officials that attributes (rather than dogma) do not violate the seperation of church and state and are a normal brain activity that requires training. Unfortunately te Bahai Society for Justice seems not to have a modern web-site.

  2. So your conception of science is no different than that of the Discovery Institute and “science and religion part company”? But “we need both science and religion”? I guess this is consistent if science is repackaged as theology as exemplified by the other authors on this blog, which supports secularists who complain religion and science are incompatible.

    1. I’m not following your intent:

      The Baha’i conception of science and religion is at least fourfold:

      1. Science and Religion as the two most powerful forces in the world that complement each other.

      This has all kinds of implications, some of the most important being that you have to investigate reality for yourself, reject the huge diversity of superstitions, turn to science for enlightenment on multiple, multiple issues, rejection of a clergy, etc.

      It also means that you should not make science into a quasi-religion – i.e., turn interpretations of it into creation myths, etc., (picture Dawkins and Hitchens running and jumping joyously across the savannah as they improve their “evolutionary fitness.”)

      2. Science, which broadly speaking is the systematic use of reason, is the means to understand religion and religious teachings.

      Baha’is, for example, believe in revelation. But each individual’s interpretation will differ according to their inclinations and diverse backgrounds. How do we get to the truth? Well, we put the ideas into practice and see how things turn out, then adjust our thinking, and do it again.

      3. Science changes everything – it is the harbinger of the maturity of humanity. Previously, conflict for resources and brute, raw, power was often, if not usually, what determined the affairs of mankind.

      But now reason – and increasingly compassion and other like virtues – play a dominant role. Not only are the dynamics of civilization changed, but the root cause of much of the warfare and competition for resources is eliminated. We no longer MUST fight with each other to survive. (Of course, we still have this left-over heritage of marauding, but we can eliminate that too.)

      4. And finally, science is the tool that we can use to address previously unsolvable problems – creating world peace, for example.

      If the Discovery Institute supports all these things, more power to them. But I tend to think of them as focusing on Intelligent Design and the like – i.e., their main target is secularism.

      No?

      Stephen

    2. @Stein: If by “religion” you mean a set of manmade dogmas that create division and promote prejudice, then no, we don’t need that.

      If by “religion” you mean a set of guidelines for how human beings should behave toward each other that create unity and promote spiritual growth, and an ever-advancing civilization, then I’d say, yes, we do need that.

      The writings of the Baha’i Faith stated that in the 20th century the oneness of humanity would be established. IMO, that happened when the human genome project published its findings about human genetics. Science can tell us that we are one people physically (something that religion has been saying for millennia), but it does not tell us what to do with that information. And that, to me, is where religion (type 2, above) comes in.

      “The utterance of God is a lamp, whose light is these words: Ye are the fruits of one tree, and the leaves of one branch. Deal ye one with another with the utmost love and harmony, with friendliness and fellowship. He Who is the Day Star of Truth beareth Me witness! So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth.”— Baha’u’llah

  3. Leith said modern science is no different than scientific materialism so “science and religion part company” under the section “Meaning and the rational soul.” This is no different than what fundamentalist Christians, such as those at the Discovery Institute, and Muslims preach:
    http://www.islamanswers.net/science/materialism.htm
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discovery_Institute
    1. To defeat scientific materialism and its destructive moral, cultural and political legacies
    2. To replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and human beings are created by God
    3. To reverse the materialistic worldview and replace it with a science connosant with Christian and Theistic convictions

    It is unintelligible to describe science as scientific materialism and then write “we need both science and religion.” Others authors on this blog, including Kluge and yourself, write as if science should include theological purposes or meanings. So the Baha’i idea of “science” seems the same as fundamentalist Christians and Muslims. Science that has to be made over or combined with theology demonstrates religion is not compatible with science, as secularists claim.

    There is nothing unique about the points you list. It seems strange to identify these with Baha’i or any religious perspective when they actually undermine any need for religion. If we investigate reality for ourselves, if “we put ideas into practice and see how things turn out,” if reason and science can bring about world peace, we don’t need religion, as secularists claim.

    1. @Stein: I think you’re misapprehending what Barney is saying. The blog makes it clear that he is, in fact, stating the exact opposite of what you write, above. Baha’is absolutely do not equate science with scientific materialism (or scientism), and in fact Barney draws a distinction between the two in the first paragraph of the blog.

      It is the conflation of science (which is a process and neutral means of knowing the physical world) and scientism (which is a belief system), that Barney’s blog—and many others on this site—cautions against.

      Nor is Stephen saying reason and science can bring about world peace. He’s speaking of science as a neutral tool that can be employed toward creating world peace, but only if we choose to do that with it. It can also be used for the reasoned goal of destroying those who are not “us” or dividing rather than unifying humanity—and if those goals seem beneficial or reasonable to whatever group of humans is wielding the science, then that is what it will be (and indeed has been) used for.

      Science (in the form of the human genome project) told us, for example, that humanity really is one family. It cannot tell us what to do with that knowledge. And, in fact, some people have taken the gleanings from that project to suggest that this or that racial member of the human family is superior or inferior genetically.

      Hence, we need both the neutral tool and the guidance to help us use it wisely. As Einstein put it: “Science without religion is lame; religion without science is blind.”

    2. Hi @Stein:

      Good to hear from you, and thanks for posting your comment. We need more comments like yours!

      Barney Leith wrote:

      But, when mechanism slides from being a useful framework for science to being an “iron dogma” about human reality, science and religion part company.

      I understand him to be saying something that strikes to the heart of the extraordinarily divisive conflict between science and religion.

      I phrase it this way:

      When we take 19th century clockwork mechanism views of reality and use it to claim that that humans are driven by entirely mechanistic drives – sex as in Freud, art as in Nietzsche, militarism as from the Prussian High Command, greed as in “extreme” capitalism, or expansionism as in Napoleonic France – then we are making philosophical claims that are often taken to be those of science (this is what Maya means by “scientism”).

      It is easy to poke fun at it. Consider ourselves and our capability for thought and reason, things which are ordinarily thought to set us apart from our animal brethren. Many claim that, according to evolution, we are animals because of evolutionary mechanisms of growth, so we should ignore these distinctions.

      Well, let’s not stop there. Clearly, if we continue on the tree of life, we see that animals are really protozoa. It follows clearly and logically – at least by this system of mechanism – that humans are protozoa. Then we can rail angrily at those ignorant folks who claim that humans are animals

      So, we say no to scientism, but yes to science.

  4. I don’t mean anything by “religion” other than a set of beliefs. I accept Maya’s definition as a set of guidelines, but I don’t think it matters. Your own coreligionist creates division and promotes prejudice by identifying apostates:
    http://www.iranian.com/main/blog/nur/haifan-bahais-name-apostates-moojan-momens-2007-article

    What about those identified as “Covenant-breakers”? How is this different from “Suppressive Persons” (Scientology)? Disaffected or rejected believers are shunned by disfellowshipping (Jehovah’s Witnesses) or excommunication (Catholicism and Mormonism).
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shunning

    Advocating for unity and an ever-advancing civilization are fine ideals, but if religious behavior is fairly examined, perhaps religion isn’t the best mechanism to reach those goals. Too much conflict already exists within and between different religions and has for centuries. Differences between religions cannot be reconciled. What rational basis is there for prefering one over another? It seems religions can only hope to exchange converts. How many more centuries are people going to waste, instead of solving problems in the here and now?

    For more than a century most people have recognized humans are one species. I agree science cannot dictate ethics, but there is no reason to think any religion will be a panacea either. Baha’is identify “homosexuality” as an “aberration” that can be cured through therapy, which is no different than most fundamentalist Christians and Muslims.
    http://www.religioustolerance.org/hom_bah.htm

    1. Hi Stein

      These are valid questions, and I hope to answer one of them for now. Regarding Covenant Breaking, yes on the surface it looks to be the same as say some Muslims Shunning Baha’is, specially in Iran. If we delve in it more deeply, one can see that the contrast could not be more.

      First of all, I think everyone agrees that some type of excommunication in religious order is necessary; I have heard arguments that one of the main reasons the Islam hierarchy, at least in Iran has been hijacked by those how are masquerading as religious leaders, is because there was no effective way of excommunicating those whose only motivation is to subvert religion for their own political agenda.

      As far as Covenant Breaking in the Baha’i faith: I have been a Baha’i almost all my life, and one characteristic I have seen and admire is that we are understanding towards those with a different point of view. However there are some non negotiable fundamentals that should not be crossed. We have some who are actively against the world governing body in Haifa at present, or previous heads of faith during its 160+ years of existence. In the Baha’i faith the administrative structure and the line of successors is clearly defined. It is understandable that those who claim to be Baha’is yet are against the administration and want control should be excommunicated. The only institution that can declare someone a covenant breaker is the world governing body of the Baha’is. How can unity be achieved with everyone vying for control. One has to look at how this is done and implemented, and for what purpose the “shunning” is used. I invite you to investigate deeply for yourself.

      Again thanks for good questions you have raised.

    2. Stein, Interesting questions, but your questions are confusing. You bring up two issues, but what are you trying to demonstrate with these two issues?

      I think what you are doing is giving two examples of why you think the Baha’i is just like any other religion? I think that’s it. You begin by defining the word religion, assume that Baha’i is a religion, and therefore the apparent similarities between Baha’i practices and other religions must mean that the problems and issues must also all be the same.

      As I understand, Baha’i does not consider itself as a religion. They proclaim the time for religion has ended because the “promised time” of religions has already arrived and passed. The reason is exactly as you’ve stated, “if religious behavior is fairly examined, perhaps religion isn’t the best mechanism to reach those goals”.

      One of the things Baha’u’llah states is that he’s abolished the concept of believer vs. non-believer, that he’s established one tree for all mankind, the tree of humanity. Not only does this concept alone disqualifies the Baha’i from being a “religion”, but re-channels the negative affects of religious practices of the past and turns them into positives, by retooling what exists as “religious” thinking. Baha’i teachings and laws apply only to Baha’is, and anyone who’s not a Baha’i isn’t bound by them.

      Since “too much conflict already exists within and between different religions and has for centuries”, and since “differences between religions cannot be reconciled”, and since there is no “rational basis is there for prefering one over another”, then Baha’u’llah has appeared to proclaim the end of religions. See the quotes I posted on September 17.

      “How many more centuries are people going to waste, instead of solving problems in the here and now?” This is what Baha’u’llah said. It is time to put away religion and think with clear heads. The Baha’i institutions were established as the infrastructure and tool to enable this to be executed from within the old religious communities, by the same person (Baha’u’llah) who proclaimed the end of religion.

      1. Is the Baha’i Faith a religion? Yes and no.

        Now that you’re completely confused …

        There are many relationships that grow out of God’s revelation to man. There’s the intimate relationship between lover and Beloved (best epitomized, IMO, in Baha’u’llah’s Seven Valleys), there’s the relationship between the lovers (believers) and there’s the relationship between the body of believers (the community of faith) and God … and the rest of the world and …

        As you can see, it’s complex.

        Religion is a word that means “to bind together”. And that, essentially, is what the revelation is intended to do—bind the hearts of the believers together such that very diverse people — people who might have been enemies — can be members of one family instead.

        So, in that sense, yes—the Baha’i Faith is a religion. It’s a community of Faith bound together by the teachings and principles of God as revealed, most recently) by Baha’u’llah.

        Now, is it a monolithic edifice of ritual and rule in which adherence to dogmatic correctness (whatever the heck that is) trumps the core principles? No.

        As per questions pertaining to Covenant breakers and homosexuals, the overriding, trumps-all “law” of the Faith is … wait for it … Love. Which, as Abdu’l-Baha notes is the “secret of God’s most great dispensation.”

        And you’re right, ajatheist, in that sense, Baha’u’llah did proclaim the end of religion.

        Training wheels must come off. Let’s roll.

    3. There are a lot of different subjects in your comment, Stein, but I’d like to try to add my 2 cents to the process.

      First with regard to homosexuality, the communications about this from the Universal House of Justice and the Guardian of the Faith are clear that we are not to view it as a psychological aberration such as a neuroses that someone can be talked out of.

      The Guardian has referred to its basis in biology. If a gay Baha’i were to seek therapy it would not be to talk him or her out of being gay, but rather to help deal with the myriad consequences of the condition. An individual does not choose to be homosexual any more than I choose to be nearsighted. The choice lies only in what one does in response.

      As an individual, I also have a choice in how to respond to my gay and lesbian brothers and sisters. The response the Baha’i Faith calls for me to make is to love them. Period.

      Let’s not make the mistake of thinking that because a condition might be “abnormal” or “aberrant” (meaning simply that it’s not a normal condition of the majority of human beings) it is therefore evil and anyone who has the condition is evil. Such binary thinking is more truly sinful, in my opinion, than any accidental human condition.

      I think in order to have any kind of rational discussion of any human condition, we have to first pry the words we use out of their prejudicial context. My eyes are abnormal. As a result my eyesight is aberrant. Neither is evil. And when I’m talking about my eyes and not my sexuality these words are perfectly neutral. But we seem to have no neutral words when it comes to homosexuality. It is supposed that one must either view it as completely normal or the worst possible sin.

      Nothing in life is that easy.

      Bottom line: The Faith calls on Baha’is to love everyone regardless of gender, orientation, ethnicity, intelligence, or point of view. And that last one—that’s the hardest of all, isn’t it.

    4. @Stein: I also wanted to respond to your comment about the way Baha’is view “apostates”. The article you cite and your remarks do not concern apostate Baha’is. I know a number of apostate Baha’is who are still friends of the Faith, who still have friends and family members in the Faith and who even go to Baha’i events. Rather, the real issue here is Covenant breaking.

      At the heart of Baha’u’llah’s teachings are his writings on the Covenant. In order to inspire unity, his Faith must remain unified. in religious history, untold bloodshed has resulted from schism as different sectarian groups attempted to make law out of principle. Baha’u’llah, therefore, established his covenant with his eldest son, Abdu’l-Baha, who was to be the only interpreter of his word. Abdu’l-Baha, in turn, established a covenant with his grandson, Shoghi Effendi, making him the Guardian of the Faith and the person responsible for putting into place the institutions conceived by Baha’u’llah. Shoghi Effendi’s main goal was to prepare the Baha’i world for the Universal House of Justice (again, conceived by Baha’u’llah) which was elected in 1963.

      All throughout the history of the Faith individuals have arisen who have tried, through coercion and violence to break with that Covenant and create schism in the Faith. These are not merely apostates. They are people who desire a form of personal power and leadership the institutions of the Faith do not allow for or support, and they covertly and openly try to draw Baha’is into their activities.

      Baha’u’llah’s own half-brother, for example, someone he cared for and protected for years, tried to coerce some of Baha’u’llah’s closest companions to kill him. He poisoned Baha’u’llah, in fact. Baha’u’llah did not retaliate, but he did eventually call for the believers to separate themselves from individuals who broke the Covenant and tried to assume personal power.

      Covenant breaking is not simple disagreement, or a breaking of Baha’i Law or even leaving the Faith in a fit of rage. It’s not merely slandering the Faith, although that is certainly something Covenant breaking may result in (during Abdu’l-Baha’s lifetime the Covenant breakers in Haifa threw refuse at him when he passed by). Covenant breaking is an attempt to subvert the unity of the Faith and it always centers around an individual seeking personal authority, whereas the institutions conceived by Baha’u’llah allow only for collectively held authority.

      Covenant breaking, by its very nature, runs counter to the clear teachings of Baha’u’llah and, as Bahram has indicated, any institution that embodies a set of principles—be it religious or secular, a community of faith or a nation—must have some means of protecting the integrity of those principles, else they become meaningless, as history has shown.

      Indeed, most countries have laws regarding the behavior of their citizens.

      No, we are not to engage in dialogues with Covenant breakers unless we have been duly deputized by the institutions of the Faith to do so—and some Baha’is have been so deputized. If a Covenant breaker sincerely wishes to return to the Faith, he or she can do so. Individual Baha’is should welcome this person back with open arms. There is to be no shaming or animosity.

      We have, as an example, of this behavior Abdu’l-Baha, who wrote: “Should any come to blows with you, seek to be friends with him; should any stab you to the heart, be ye a healing salve unto his sores; should any taunt and mock at you, meet him with love. Should any heap his blame upon you, praise ye him; should he offer you a deadly poison, give him the choicest honey in exchange; and should he threaten your life, grant him a remedy that will heal him evermore. Should he be pain itself, be ye his medicine; should he be thorns, be ye his roses and sweet herbs. Perchance such ways and words from you will make this darksome world turn bright at last; will make this dusty earth turn heavenly, this devilish prison place become a royal palace of the Lord—so that war and strife will pass and be no more, and love and trust will pitch their tents on the summits of the world. Such is the essence of God’s admonitions; such in sum are the teachings for the Dispensation of Bahá.”

  5. Dear Stein,

    My position is that the baha’i writings are opposite the views of fundamentalist Christianity and Islam, but many Baha’i authors for some reason I have yet to figure out take the side of fundamentialist Islam and Christianity against science.

    From my research it is never science that tell people no to believe whatever they want to believe, it is always religion that pokes its nose into science and tries to impose its unscientific ideas into science.

    The harmony of science and religion is the problem of religion, not the problem of science.

  6. ****
    “These beliefs are based on elementary errors. Just because neural activity is a necessary condition of consciousness, it does not follow that it is a sufficient condition of consciousness, still less that it is identical with it. And Darwinising human life confuses the organism Homo sapiens with the human person, biological roots with cultural leaves.” [Emphasis added.]
    ****

    They are not beliefs, rather they are statements of fact.

    Unlike other religions, Baha’is should not be afraid of admitting this. A cursory review of the life of the Bab or Baha’u’llah, two recent figures who claimed to have received “revelations” identical if not greater than that which was received by Muhammad or Jesus or Moses or Krishna, should quickly disclose that these revelations took place within their own minds. Think about the implications of this and science is free takes on all new frontiers! There was nothing on the exterior that descended as “revelations” from an external source onto the persons of Bab or Baha’u’llah.

    Why can we not say that mind and consciousness are generated by brain functioning or even identical to human brain function? I may be missing something, perhaps? Maybe someone can clarify.

    For example:

    A rock never lays an egg. A rock never speaks. A chicken never lays an egg that hatches into a rabbit. A woman never gives birth to an elephant. Now why can’t it also be said that the human mind only comes into reality through a specific configuration of matter in the form of the human brain?

    Also, doesn’t Abdu’l-Baha state that the difference between man and animal is only a matter of degree, that the difference between the revelation of Jesus and the Bab is only a matter of degree?

  7. This is very interesting, for the Suriy-i-Haykal:

    O Temple of Divine Revelation! Sound the trumpet in My Name! O Temple of Divine mysteries! Raise the clarion call of Thy Lord, the Unconditioned, the Unconstrained! O Maid of Heaven! Step forth from the chambers of paradise and announce unto the people of the world: By the righteousness of God! He Who is the Best-Beloved of the worlds—He Who hath ever been the Desire of every perceiving heart, the Object of the adoration of all that are in heaven and on earth, and the Cynosure of the former and the latter generations—is now come!

    1. ““But for Him no Divine Messenger would have been invested with the robe of prophethood, nor would any of the sacred scriptures have been revealed. To this bear witness all created things.”

      “Had Muhammad, the Apostle of God, attained this Day,” Baha’u’llah writes in a Tablet revealed on the eve of His banishment to the penal colony of Akka, “He would have exclaimed: ‘I have truly recognized Thee, O Thou the Desire of the Divine Messengers!’ Had Abraham attained it, He too, falling prostrate upon the ground, and in the utmost lowliness before the Lord thy God, would have cried: ‘Mine heart is filled with peace, O Thou Lord of all that is in heaven and on earth! I testify that Thou hast unveiled before mine eyes all the glory of Thy power and the full majesty of Thy law!’… Had Moses Himself attained it, He, likewise, would have raised His voice saying: ‘All praise be to Thee for having lifted upon me the light of Thy countenance and enrolled me among them that have been privileged to behold Thy face!’”

      ****quote Stein**
      “It is unintelligible to describe science as scientific materialism and then write “we need both science and religion.” Others authors on this blog, including Kluge and yourself, write as if science should include theological purposes or meanings. So the Baha’i idea of “science” seems the same as fundamentalist Christians and Muslims. Science that has to be made over or combined with theology demonstrates religion is not compatible with science, as secularists claim.”
      ****end quote Stein**

      ****I agree, this is unintelligible to me as well.

      ****quote Stein**
      “There is nothing unique about the points you list. It seems strange to identify these with Baha’i or any religious perspective when they actually undermine any need for religion. If we investigate reality for ourselves, if “we put ideas into practice and see how things turn out,” if reason and science can bring about world peace, we don’t need religion, as secularists claim.”
      ****end quote Stein**

      ****we don’t need religion.

      “Every single letter proceeding from Our mouth is endowed with such regenerative power as to enable it to bring into existence a new creation — a creation the magnitude of which is inscrutable to all save God. He verily hath knowledge of all things.”

      “Within the treasury of Our Wisdom there lieth unrevealed a knowledge, one word of which, if we chose to divulge it to mankind, would cause every human being to recognize the Manifestation of God and to acknowledge His omniscience, would enable every one to discover the secrets of ALL THE SCIENCES, and to attain so high a station as to find himself wholly independent of all past and future learning. Other knowledges We do as well possess, not a single letter of which We can disclose, nor do We find humanity able to hear even the barest reference to their meaning. Thus have We informed you of the knowledge of God, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise. Were We to find worthy vessels, We would deposit within them the treasures of hidden meanings and impart unto them a knowledge, one letter of which would encompass all created things. ”

      “O Inmost Heart of this Temple! We have made thee the dawning-place of Our knowledge and the dayspring of Our wisdom unto all who are in heaven and on earth. From thee have We caused ALL SCIENCES to appear, and unto thee shall We cause them to return. And from thee shall We bring them forth a second time. Such, indeed, is Our promise, and potent are We to effect Our purpose. Erelong shall We bring into being through thee exponents of NEW AND WONDROUS SCIENCES, of potent and effective crafts, and shall make manifest through them that which the heart of none of Our servants hath yet conceived. Thus do We bestow upon whom We will whatsoever We desire, and thus do We withdraw from whom We will what We had once bestowed. Even so do We ordain whatsoever We please through Our behest. ”

      “Should any one arise for the triumph of our Cause, him will God render victorious though tens of thousands of enemies be leagued against him. And if his love for Me wax stronger, God will establish his ascendancy over all the powers of earth and heaven.”

Comments are closed.

Comments are closed.