M E M O R A N D U M
To: The Universal House of Justice
From: Research Department
Quotations on Science and Religion
The Research Department has considered the request for references to
science and religion which was contained in the electronic mail message of
25 June 1997 from Mr. ... to the Universal House of Justice. Mr. ...
explains that a number of members of the Association for Bahá'í Studies
who have access to email have "decided to try to study the Bahá'í
quotations on science and the relation of science and religion". He,
therefore, enquires about the availability of a compilation on the subject
and seeks information concerning other Bahá'ís who might be studying this
same topic. We provide the following response.
The Research Department regrets that no comprehensive compilation on
science and religion is currently available at the Bahá'í World Centre.
There are, however, many references to this subject scattered throughout
the published literature of the Faith, which are easily accessed through
such programmes as Refer and Immerse. To assist Mr. ... and his group in
their study we attach the following items:
1. A compilation entitled, "Selected Extracts on Science and Technology",
prepared in response to an earlier request. This compilation, drawn
from somewhat less accessible sources, contains extracts from the
letters of Shoghi Effendi and the Universal House of Justice
concerning such subjects as the Bahá'í perspective on science, its
place in the curriculum, and its relationship to the Faith and to
the processes of decline and growth at work in the world.
We call attention to the final extract in the compilation, which
we cite below. This passage might well help to provide an overall
sense of direction to the discussions of the group:
With regard to the harmony of science and religion, the
Writings of the Central Figures and the commentaries of the
Guardian make abundantly clear that the task of humanity,
including the Bahá'í community that serves as the "leaven"
within it, is to create a global civilization which embodies both
the spiritual and material dimensions of existence. The nature
and scope of such a civilization are still beyond anything the
present generation can conceive. The prosecution of this vast
enterprise will depend on a progressive interaction between
the truths and principles of religion and the discoveries and
insights of scientific inquiry. This entails living with
ambiguities as a natural and inescapable feature of the process
of exploring reality. It also requires us not to limit science
to any particular school of thought or methodological approach
postulated in the course of its development. The challenge
Quotations on Science and Religion
13 August 1997 Page 2
facing Bahá'í thinkers is to provide responsible leadership in
this endeavour, since it is they who have both the priceless
insights of the Revelation and the advantages conferred by
(19 May 1995, written on behalf of the Universal House of
Justice to an individual believer)
2. "Science and Religion", a short (and partial) list of references to
books and articles by Bahá'ís on this subject.
In addition, Mr. ... may wish to refer to the compilation prepared by
the Research Department on "Scholarship" (Mona Vale: Bahá'í Publications
Australia, 1995). This collection of texts contains many useful references
to science, the scientific method, and the role of scientists.
With regard to the names of Bahá'ís who are engaged in studying the Bahá'í
teachings on science and religion, it is suggested that Mr. ... contact the
Office of Research at the National Bahá'í Centre in the United States. It is
our understanding that this Office is in the process of collecting information
about the research interests of Bahá'í scholars.
Science and Religion 13 August
1997 Page 1
Short list of references to science and religion
Association Europeenne Francophone pour les Etudes Bahá'íes:
Conference Annuelle (1st: 1984: Montreux, Switzerland). "Science et
Religion / Recueil des Conferences", premiere rencontre des 17 et 18
novembre 1984 a Montreux (Suisse). -- Bienne, Switzerland:
Association Europeenne Francophone pour les Etudes Bahá'íes, 1984.
European Conference on Science and Religion (2nd: 1988: Enschede,
Netherlands). "Science and Religion: One World - Changing Perspectives
on Reality", paper presented at the Second European Conference on Science
and Religion, March 10-13, 1988. Edited by Jan Fennema and Paul Iain. --
Dordrecht; Boston; London: Kluwer Academic Press, c1990.
Hatcher, William S. "The Unity of Religion and Science", "World Order"
(Wilmette, Ill.), vol. 9, no. 3 (Spring 1975).
Hatcher, William S. "The Science of Religion", 2nd ed. (Thornhill,
Ontario: Canadian Association for Studies on the Bahá'í Faith, 1980).
Hatcher, William S. "Logic and Logos: Essays on Science, Religion and
Philosophy" (Oxford: George Ronald, 1990).
Khursheed, Anjam. "Science and Religion: Towards the Restoration of an
Ancient Harmony" (London: Oneworld Publications, 1987).
Loehle, Craig. "On the Shoulders of Giants" (Oxford: George Ronald,