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Science

Why Science is Reality

Rodney Richards | Oct 18, 2014

PART 6 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 | Oct 18, 2014

PART 6 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.

Religious institutions have often reviled and denied scientific facts, and even severely punished those who discovered them.

Galileo

Galileo Galilei

In the famous case of Galileo in 1633, the Holy Office of the Catholic Pope put him on trial for his scientific theory that the Earth revolved around the Sun. The trial verdict found Galileo “vehemently suspect of heresy”, and the Church forced him to publicly recant his theory. Famously, he said about the Earth immediately after his trial, “And yet it moves.” For his crime of discovery, Galileo spent nine years, the rest of his life, under house arrest.

Science discovers reality, as does religion, in its own way. Now, in the 21st century, scientific views have undergone a 180-degree revolution. Today scientific theories have become so numerous and so ubiquitous that we tend to regard them as fact instead of hoax until proven otherwise. And religious truth has become secular in many instances in order to adapt.

Another example, my beloved three cups of coffee per day, according to Leslie Stahl’s reporting last month on 60 Minutes, could prolong my life into the 90’s and beyond. At one time the prevalent science recommended against drinking coffee, yet now, research has shown that coffee gives us more than just a morning jolt; that steaming cup of java also provides the number one source of antioxidants in the U.S. diet, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania.

Every created thing, including us, reflects the reality of the moment we live in. Some scientific truths and religious dogmas have been proven wrong or right, years after technologists or scientists or sociologists first report their findings. The single truth underlying all science, and indeed, all of life itself, is that discovering reality never ends. The Baha’i principle of the agreement of science and religion says that truth, whether spiritual or scientific, has one source and one reality:

It is evident then that each elemental atom of the universe is possessed of a capacity to express all the virtues of the universe. This is a subtle and abstract realization. Meditate upon it, for within it lies the true explanation of pantheism. From this point of view and perception, pantheism is a truth, for every atom in the universe possesses or reflects all the virtues of life, the manifestation of which is effected through change and transformation. Therefore the origin and outcome of phenomena is verily the omnipresent God for the reality of all phenomenal existence is through Him. There is neither reality nor the manifestation of reality without the instrumentality of God. Existence is realized and possible through the bounty of God, just as the ray or flame emanating from this lamp is realized through the bounty of the lamp from which it originates. Even so all phenomena are realized through the divine bounty, and the explanation of true pantheistic statement and principle is that the phenomena of the universe find realization through the one power animating and dominating all things; and all things are but manifestations of its energy and bounty. The virtue of being and existence is through no other agency. Therefore in the words of Baha’u’llah the first teaching is the oneness of the world of humanity….” – Foundations of World Unity, p.59

As rational human beings, we realize through the truth of religion that God gives us the faculty of reason to discover both material and spiritual and reality:

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…. But the religion which does not walk hand in hand with science is itself in the darkness of superstition and ignorance.

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.

Consider what it is that singles man out from among created beings, and makes of him a creature apart. Is it not his reasoning power, his intelligence? Shall he not make use of these in his study of religion? I say unto you: weigh carefully in the balance of reason and science everything that is presented to you as religion. If it passes this test, then accept it, for it is truth! If, however, it does not so conform, then reject it, for it is ignorance! – Abdu’l-Baha, Paris Talks, pp. 143-144.

Reality, like fantasy and imagination, goes on forever. With its billions of galaxies, so does the universe. That unimaginable vastness means we have an enormous amount left to discover, if we can unite the spiritual and the scientific in the pursuit of truth.

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Comments

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  • Jan 24, 2015
    -
    Dear All,
    Science is for engaging the mind and the body & explain everything. Spirituality is for soulfully enjoying the moment & explore everything. Science is to know how the universe works and Spirituality is to wonder why the universe exists, Scientific Phenomenon & Spiritual Noumenon. Both serve a purpose in fulfilling human curiosity, quest for knowledge and sense of belonging in this vast universe. Both are continuously evolving and accommodating the growth of human consciousness in the duality that we dwell in. These paths to truth will eventually merge in singularity where there will be no ...difference between the knower and knowledge, enjoyment and the moment and it will become the realm of absolute scientific spirituality.
    Please enjoy Any Body Can Derive Everything From Geometry @ http://www.abcdefg.co/everything.html
    Love,
    Sridattadev.
    Read more...
  • Oct 23, 2014
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    Hi:
    I don't expect you have all/any answers to my question, but maybe you can point me in a credible direction. "How do we, human beings in this solar system, fit into the scheme of things in the Cosmos as a whole? We are one small solar system in one small galaxy, the Milky Way; there are millions of other galaxies. Where do we fit in the fabric of the universes?"
    -j-
    • Nov 5, 2014
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      Bahá'u'lláh says that the human capacity to know and love God is the "generating impulse and primary purpose underlying the whole of creation". That's a pretty big deal, considering the size of the Cosmos. Bahá'ís believe that, as Shoghi Effendi wrote, we are entering "the last and highest stage in the stupendous evolution of man’s collective life on this planet."
      So, what comes next?
      I'm a science fiction writer by trade and a Bahá'í in faith. So, I've thought long and hard and written thousands of words about this theme (most of which were published in Analog magazine ...and are now contained in a collection entitled SHAMAN.) It's led me to ask a very big question: what does it mean to be human?
      Here's what I believe: Bahá'u'lláh says that "every fixed star hath its planets and every planet hath its creatures". What this says to me is that human life is not limited to the surface of this planet. I think "humanity" encompasses a far wider unity than most of us contemplate.
      What makes us human, according to the Bahá'í writings, is not birth on this world, or our particular physical shape, but our intellect—which Bahá'u'lláh identifies with the rational soul, and which is a reflection of that Supreme Intellect in Whose image every world scripture tells we were created.
      A friend of mine—a journalist an long-time Bahá'í—told a story of being on Pilgrimage during the lifetime of Shoghi Effendi. At dinner one evening the subject of life on other worlds came up and Shoghi Effendi confirmed the idea that we would one day meet people from other worlds. Someone at table said, "When we meet them, maybe we'll teach them the Faith." The Guardian replied, "Maybe they will teach US the Faith."
      I think that when we have achieved the "highest stage of our evolution on this planet," we will reach out to other worlds where, when the time is right, we will find other races of human beings. They may not look like us, but they will BE us.
      Read more...
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