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  • Patricia Wilcox

030. THE UNITY OF SCIENCE AND RELIGION

Updated: Nov 8

(Abdu'l-Baha, Baha'i World Faith - Abdu'l-Baha Section, p. 247).

Did you know that everything - including the planet and ourselves - is made from stardust, just as described in the song by Joni Mitchell which described our purpose as getting "...ourselves back to the garden". Meaning the Garden of Eden, mentioned in the Holy Books of several religions, including the Bible and the Koran. All physical existence is made of the same basic elements, whether that is in stars, everything in a grocery store, or yourself. The creation of Life itself is, and always will, remain a great mystery. The more we know about it, the more we find that remains to be known. However, when we look at the evidence provided by DNA, we can recognise that we are all - every plant and animal and person - evolved from L.U.C.A., the Last Universal Common Ancestor, a single celled organism that existed 4 billion years ago.

Every human outside of Africa contains DNA from DNA 'Adam' and Mitochondrial 'Eve', and L.U.C.A. So it is no mere romantic pipe dream to say 'We are One People' with one origin.

And we have always had a deep appreciation of spirituality. The oldest building discovered on earth, Gobekli Tepe, is a temple, built 10,000 years ago, in the Neolithic age. National Geographic described it as 'Civilization begins with Religion'.


This is revolutionary to the previous theory, that religion developed AFTER civilization, back when hunter gatherers had settled in cities and social tensions developed. Now we live in a time when materialism dominates, seeming to validate the fundamentalist theories that have enabled Dawkins et al to portray religion as backward, irrational and dangerous. But that is ignoring some clear realities.

These recent philosophies exist in denial of the enduring legacy of the illumined Al Gibra, Muslim originator of alchemy, Al Chemy and Al Khorisme (originator of the algorithm). Even The Big Bang Theory itself was, like so many advances in science, developed by a theist, Georges Lemaître, a Catholic Priest and Professor of Physics. Pascal, Newton, Maxwell, are all examples of the dominance of believers in historic scientific development.
It was Baha'u'llah, Founder of the Baha'i Faith, who first taught the Principle of the Harmony of Science and Religion. Both, He stated, should be studied in the light of reason and evidence.
It has become customary in the West to think of science and religion as occupying two distinct—and even opposed—areas of human thought and activity. This dichotomy can be characterized in the pairs of antitheses: faith and reason; value and fact. It is a dichotomy which is foreign to Bahá’í thought and should, we feel, be regarded with suspicion by Bahá’í scholars in every field. The principle of the harmony of science and religion means not only that religious teachings should be studied with the light of reason and evidence as well as of faith and inspiration, but also that everything in this creation, all aspects of human life and knowledge, should be studied in the light of revelation as well as in that of purely rational investigation. In other words, a Bahá’í scholar, when studying a subject, should not lock out of his mind any aspect of truth that is known to him. --- Research department of the Universal House of Justice, 3 January 1979, To the Participants in the Bahá’í Studies Seminar held in Cambridge