Tag Archives Science

My Thoughts on How Architecture Evokes the Mystical

Photo courtesy of the Baha'i International Community.

I love architecture with a passion because you can create spaces for people to use and be a part of; it’s more than just designing walls and ceilings, it’s molding shapes and lines to be used, occupied, interplayed, and reinterpreted by people. For instance, you can transform a simple utilitarian ascending tool such as a staircase into a social space used in a multitude of ways by incorporating large landings, green pockets, elongated risers, and so on. In this article, I’d like to offer some examples of the power of architecture, share some words of Abdu’l-Baha, and ponder how architecture can evoke the mystical. Continue reading

Convergence: Cities, Spirituality and the Future of Civilization – A New Book by M. L. Perry

Mark Perry has authored a new book published by George Ronald titled Convergence: Cities, Spirituality and the Future of Civilization. The book asks the question: What makes a great place to live?

In this book, Mark draws on the experience, knowledge, information, wisdom and vision of people of diverse fields working with and concerned about human habitats. Using as guiding principles some writings of Baha’u’llah, Mark looks at how spirituality and the developing science of sustainability might converge to produce communities that are moderate, local but interconnected globally, technologically and spiritually-based, progressive and sustainable, and great places to live.

Mark graciously agreed to tell us more about his book and how it came together:

Baha’i Blog: Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I grew up in Swarthmore, a suburb of Philadelphia. My first career goal was to be a musician and I majored in music in college. But racism was constantly on my mind, and I couldn’t focus on music while dealing with persistent questions of inequality and segregation buzzing around like mosquitos and hornets. I was fascinated by my first sociology course, which provided a way to discuss social problems and their solutions. I pursued graduate studies in sociology, cultural anthropology and history, and have been teaching in those fields since 1987. From 2014 I have been teaching at BNU-HKBU United International College in Zhuhai, China.

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New Medical Study on the Baha’i Fast

The team at Baha’i Blog was excited to learn of a new medical study that was conducted specifically on the Baha’i Fast. This mixed methods research project involved specific lab tests and measurements, as well as interviews and questionnaires and it was initiated by Dr. Daniela Koppold and her team in Berlin, Germany. It’s the first time we’ve heard of such a scientific initiative and we were thrilled to find out more!

The Baha’i Writings describe the spiritual benefits of fasting in various passages, but what are the material effects of abstaining from food and drink, from sunrise until sunset, for 19 consecutive days? Dr. Daniela Koppold and her colleagues set out to explore that very question. Here’s what she shared about how they went about their research and what they discovered: Continue reading

Some Personal Thoughts on Mr. Lample’s “In Pursuit of Harmony between Science and Religion”

As the editor of the Journal of Baha’i Studies, I have the pleasure of reading hundreds of wonderful articles and papers submitted on a variety of subjects relating to the Baha’i Faith.

In the most recent issue of the Journal of Baha’i Studies (volume 26 number 4), an article by current member of the Universal House of Justice, Mr. Paul Lample, really grabbed my attention, as it is, in my opinion, a milestone treatment of the often discussed topic, and attempts to clarify what is intended in the Baha’i texts by harmony (or unity) of science and religion. Titled In Pursuit of Harmony between Science and Religion, this discussion is a highly organized and insightful rendering of a talk given by Mr. Lample on 20 May, 2016 at the Baha’i House of Worship in Wilmette, Illinois, but it is much more than a mere transcript, and I wanted to share some of my personal thoughts on the article, which you can read in full hereContinue reading

Science and Religion: Best Friends Forever

Image Credit: ESO/L. Calçada/Nick Risinger (skysurvey.org)

Last year, when NASA’s robotic rover, Curiosity, successfully made its way to our planetary neighbor, everyone celebrated. Unsurprisingly, on the Internet, some people tweaked: “Dear Religion, While you were debating what chicken sandwiches were okay to eat, I just landed on Mars. Sincerely, Your Pal Science.”

To be fair, Science and Religion have been taking jabs at each other for some centuries now. Continue reading

Common Questions: What Proof Is There That God Exists?

Image be floridapfe (Flickr)

Ever so often, we’ll be putting up posts for our ‘Common Questions Series’. As the name suggests, these are questions about the Faith that we often get. You know those ones – where you kinda, sorta, maybe know the answer but aren’t sure if you know enough to give the asker a full response? Yeah, those ones. Baha’i Blog has decided to make a collection of those questions, which will hopefully be as helpful to you, our readers, as it is to us!

The question of God’s existence is fundamental to a number of life’s bigger questions. Where do we come from? What is the purpose of life? What happens when we die? Belief in some sort of spiritual realm has been present in human societies from about 130,000 years ago and has persisted through the ages in all human cultures.

Different religious teachings have presented us with different understandings of God. In Christianity, God is understood as the ‘Heavenly Father’. In Judaism, God’s attributes as a life-giver, authority figure and protector are emphasised. In Zoroastrianism, God is understood as the omniscient creator of truth and guardian of justice. In some understandings of Hinduism, there are many different personal gods, all representing a different attribute of one supreme, universal Spirit.

In modern times, however, growing scientific knowledge about our universe and its origins, along with the clash of religious beliefs and growing religious fanaticism, have seen a renewed questioning of the existence of God. Traditional religious explanations of the origin of our life and the purpose of our existence no longer satisfy people as these ideas are increasingly scrutinised in the context of our modern societies. Where we formerly lacked scientific knowledge and used God to “fill the gaps”, science is now beginning to replace religion as a source of answers. Many people are now turning wholly to science, and not religion, to understand the nature of our reality.
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