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Religion

Can Science and Religion Ever Agree?

Rodney Richards | Aug 14, 2014

PART 5 IN SERIES Global Change for the Next Generation

The views expressed in our content reflect individual perspectives and do not represent the official views of the Baha'i Faith.

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Rodney Richards | Aug 14, 2014

PART 5 IN SERIES Global Change for the Next Generation

The views expressed in our content reflect individual perspectives and do not represent the official views of the Baha'i Faith.

Can science and religion ever agree?

Here’s the better question: when did science and religion not agree?

Religion has stayed its course for 10,000 years that we know of, from the religion of Abraham through all the prophets up to Baha’u’llah in the 19th century. The Baha’i teachings promise many more revelations to come in the glorious future of the human race. At no time did these divine messengers forbid the investigation of reality, and in fact, since the revelation of the Baha’i Faith, the independent investigation of truth has been its number one principle.

But man is imperfect, and so some leaders who want power and control over others have produced blind imitations, which obscure and totally blot out the truth:

Alas! that humanity is completely submerged in imitations and unrealities notwithstanding the truth of divine religion has ever remained the same. Superstitions have obscured the fundamental reality, the world is darkened and the light of religion is not apparent. This darkness is conducive to differences and dissensions; rites and dogmas are many and various; therefore discord has arisen among the religious systems whereas religion is for the unification of mankind. True religion is the source of love and agreement amongst men, the cause of the development of praiseworthy qualities; but the people are holding to the counterfeit and imitation, negligent of the reality which unifies; so they are bereft and deprived of the radiance of religion. They follow superstitions inherited from their fathers and ancestors. To such an extent has this prevailed that they have taken away the heavenly light of divine truth and sit in the darkness of imitations and imaginations. That which was meant to be conducive to life has become the cause of death; that which should have been an evidence of knowledge is now a proof of ignorance; that which was a factor in the sublimity of human nature has proved to be its degradation. – Abdu’l-Baha, Foundations of World Unity, p. 71.

We have one united scientific truth, and the Baha’i teachings say that we also have one unified religious truth.

Both discover the realities, one in humanity’s inner life and the other in the natural world. The Baha’i writings say that true religion unlocks and uncovers “that which is beyond the range of the senses, that realm of phenomena through which the conscious pathway to the Kingdom of God leads . . .”- ibid, p. 49.

The Baha’i writings say that true science “discovers latent realities within the bosom of the earth, uncovers treasures, penetrates secrets and mysteries of the phenomenal world . . .” – ibid, p. 49.

technologyAccording to Forrester Research, over one billion PCs existed worldwide by the end of 2008; two billion will exist by 2015. As Silicon India recently reported, the number of active cell phones will reach 7.3 billion by 2014. That’s the world’s population–right now. We can thank science and logic and human intelligence for perfecting these and a myriad other amazing technologies.

Man did not magically climb out of the primordial mud and immediately create fire, nor computers, nor cellphones. These realities took years to nurture and develop, just as spiritual principles take years to nurture and develop in a human heart. They can be discovered by trial and error, testing hypotheses, or yet again, in an instant of inspiration and change of viewpoint.

True religion and science have never disagreed—instead, they both became the discoverers, unlockers and uncoverers of reality.

Only humans, in our imperfection, have created these disagreements:

Religion is the outer expression of the divine reality. Therefore it must be living, vitalized, moving and progressive. If it be without motion and non-progressive it is without the divine life; it is dead. The divine institutes are continuously active and evolutionary; therefore the revelation of them must be progressive and continuous. All things are subject to re-formation. This is a century of life and renewal. Sciences and arts, industry and invention have been reformed. Law and ethics have been reconstituted, reorganized. The world of thought has been regenerated. Sciences of former ages and philosophies of the past are useless today. Present exigencies demand new methods of solution; world problems are without precedent. Old ideas and modes of thought are fast becoming obsolete. Ancient laws and archaic ethical systems will not meet the requirements of modern conditions, for this is clearly the century of a new life, the century of the revelation of the reality and therefore the greatest of all centuries. Consider how the scientific developments of fifty years have surpassed and eclipsed the knowledge and achievements of all the former ages combined. – ibid, p. 84.

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Comments

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  • Aug 27, 2014
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    If we think about it, how can Truth, reality -- whether spiritual, natural or social -- disagree? Impossible! But ignorance and blind imitation, mistaken beliefs that pilloried Galileo just 300 years ago, one of millions of examples, has stymied our unfettered progress toward love, peace and cooperation between peoples. Certainly in this "Information Age," which is another "Age of Truth," we will, we, will reach the peace millions have and are giving their lives to achieve.
  • Aug 26, 2014
    -
    If we think about it, how can Truth, reality -- whether spiritual, natural or social -- disagree? Impossible! But ignorance and blind imitation, mistaken beliefs that pilloried Galileo just 300 years ago, one of millions of examples, has stymied our unfettered progress toward love, peace and cooperation between peoples. Certainly in this "Information Age," which is another "Age of Truth," we will, we, will reach the peace millions have and are giving their lives to achieve.
  • Aug 15, 2014
    -
    A fantastic article!
    Written in a manner for those who have a difficult
    time comprehending these facts.
    I find it so refreshing to read "Positive" information;
    that which does not threaten the beliefs of others.
    I will NOT hesitate to share this article with my
    friends who are not Baha'i, or declared Baha'i I should
    say. For we are all Baha'i!
    Thank you so very much.
    Kathy Hanneman
  • Aug 15, 2014
    -
    This subject excites me as there are so many possibilities when we unite science and religion! Thank you!
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