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Category: Christianity

To the World’s Religious Leaders

To the World’s Religious Leaders

In 2005 The Universal House of Justice, the elected body charged with the administration of the Baha’i global community,  wrote in the introduction of the book “One Common Faith”: “At Riḍván 2002, we addressed an open letter to the world’s religious leaders. Our action arose out of awareness that the disease of sectarian hatreds, if not decisively checked, threatens harrowing consequences that will leave few areas of the world unaffected. The letter acknowledged with appreciation the achievements of the interfaith…

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Faith and Freedom

Faith and Freedom

Unlike our animal cousins, human beings’ behavior is less affected by instinct than it is by observation, nurture, experience and guided learning. We live in complex relationships that form an even more complex society. Existing in that society requires that we learn the skills necessary to that existence. As children, we require the guidance of parents, teachers and a body of knowledge about ourselves and our world. That guidance must originate somewhere—especially in areas where the effects of blindly following…

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First of All, Do No Harm

First of All, Do No Harm

I frequently find myself involved in discussions about the role of religion and/or revelation in the world. It is assumed, on occasion, that when religious people talk about what their faith means to them or has done for them, they are saying that without religion, they would never have pondered those subjects at all, or would not consider the consequences of their actions. To be honest, every day experience leads me to believe that not many people actually DO consider…

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Part 8 of Religion – The Most Harmful Agency Agency on the Planet?

Part 8 of Religion – The Most Harmful Agency Agency on the Planet?

Outlawing Holy War In this series of articles we’ve cited and studied the groundbreaking recent book When Religion Becomes Evil, by Dr. Charles Kimball, which lists five major causes of problematic religious conflict and violence: absolute truth claims; blind obedience; establishing the ideal time (or triumphalism); and “the end justifies any means”.  In this essay, we’ll consider what Kimball calls the worst religious evil of all – holy war: …more wars have been waged, more people killed, and more evil…

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Part 1 of Poverty and Humanity: Open Your Hands

Part 1 of Poverty and Humanity: Open Your Hands

And you shall not glean your vineyard, nor shall you gather every grape of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the stranger: I am the Lord your God. (Leviticus 19:10) If one of your brethren becomes poor, and falls into poverty among you, then you shall help him, like a stranger or a sojourner, that he may live with you. (Leviticus 25:35) …you shall not harden your heart nor shut your hand from your poor brother, but…

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Investigating Reality (Part 2): Faith and Reason

Investigating Reality (Part 2): Faith and Reason

In the churches I attended as a child, there was a broad belief that the Bible was inerrant and infallible. I have never been able to determine from my repeated readings of the Biblical text, where this idea came from. There is not even one book in the Bible whose authors make a claim of either inerrancy or infallibility. A related idea is that adding to the Bible (i.e. claiming a newer revelation as Muhammad and Bahá’u’lláh have done) was…

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Reason, Religion, and Divine Revelation #6: Reformation, Rejection, Division and Renewal

Reason, Religion, and Divine Revelation #6: Reformation, Rejection, Division and Renewal

Men at all times and under all conditions stand in need of one to exhort them, guide them and to instruct and teach them.   Bahá’u’lláh July 8, 2013. The idea that we have innate religious drives enjoys surprisingly widespread support. It was a staple of enlightenment European thought in the 17th and 18th centuries, embraced by theists, deists, atheists, and enemies of organized religion alike. Currently, it is a staple of modern evolutionary psychology, evolutionary sociology, evolutionary anthropology and…

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Knowledge, Volition and Action: Unraveling Secrets

Knowledge, Volition and Action: Unraveling Secrets

O God, O Thou Who hast cast Thy splendour over the luminous realities of men, shedding upon them the resplendent lights of knowledge and guidance, and hast chosen them out of all created things for this supernal grace, and hast caused them to encompass all things, to understand their inmost essence, and to disclose their mysteries, bringing them forth out of darkness into the visible world! “He verily showeth His special mercy to whomsoever He will.”  O Lord, help Thou…

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Knowledge, Volition and Action: Faith in Education

Knowledge, Volition and Action: Faith in Education

A friend started a thread on Facebook the other day about pubic education. It sparked a—er—lively debate (not to say a gully‑washer of an argument) about the pros and cons of public and private schools and home‑schooling. Inevitably, the subject of private religious schools and religious home‑schooling came up with the expressed sentiment that faith‑based education was, inevitably, sans scientific rigor. I mentioned that Bahá’ís regard the acquisition of knowledge as essential, science as the greatest achievement of the human realm…

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Intelligence Squared 8: Stirring the Particles

Intelligence Squared 8: Stirring the Particles

This is the last installment of my exploration of the Intelligence Squared debate between four stars in the firmament of science and commentary (scientists Ian Hutchinson and Lawrence Krauss and writers Dinesh D’Souza and Michael Shermer). I’d like to close by taking a look at one of the central ideas that was addressed (though unsatisfactorily, in my opinion) during the debate: the nature of God. Shermer: If God is supernatural, that is, outside of the space and time, there’s no…

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