Posted by anon on July 01, 2101 at 12:39:38:
In Reply to: Request For Aswer anon (# 3) posted by Munir A.Qureshi on July 01, 2101 at 03:15:32:
Hello Munir! I wanted to first comment that often I have trouble with taking what points you are really interested in in your messages. And with so many other subjects involved, I often will talk about something else related that I have some personal interest in or have some limited knowledge in. So I hope you understand that I am not actively trying to avoid the questions you are asking. It is just that we are now talking about so many deep and involved topics!!
I do agree with you about the independent investigation of the truth. It is the same case with most religions and their predecessors. I honestly believe that Muslims have a better understanding of Christianity than most people who profess to be Christians. The various manmade doctrines of Christianity created over time are not part of the Muslim belief in Christianity because Muslims refer to the Holy Bible and to many clarifications and statements made in the Qur'an. So I think you or others would not be so open to hearing what a Catholic has to say about the trinity or about the resurection because you believe (as do I) that you have a better understanding of these things because, as I said, you refer directly to the Holy Bible and Qur'an.
Since religion is progressive, the more recent religion understands the importance of the previous religions, and understands it in context of their religion. For example, when people change religions, it is not that often that people go "back" in religious history. As I am now seeing this in my life too, you do not see many people convert from Islam to Chirstianity... it is normally the other way around.
Anyway, you must understand that I am trying to understand previous religions and more specifically their Holy Books... for as we have seen in the past, the followers are not often the true exemplers of their religion, but their Holy Book is. So I have done casual readings of the Bible and the Qur'an every now and then. There are often references to verses in both books made in Baha'i literature that I decide to look up and read in the context of the original book, and then I am very interested and read more and more.
But also their is the Baha'i literature I study, so as you mentioned, my knowledge stems mostly from their and my time is occupied mostly by Baha'i studies. So exactly as you mentioned, it is harder for me to be well versed in the Qur'an and the Bible.
So I'd like to move on to the topic about Science and Religion.
I am not sure in what branch of Islam you are a member, but I am wondering if you know the doctrine subject of "badá" or "alteration of God's will". This is accepted in Shi'i Islam. The most obvious example is the sacrifice of Abraham's son. Abraham was devoted and prepared to do this, but the command was taken back and the sacrifice was not necessary. Is this not in the power of God? For if God was not able to change his own decree than he would not be All-Powerful.
But I don't think that this is what is important right now. We are still dealing with the topic of science and religion and the complete understanding of a Revelation in the context and time when it was Revealed. I want to get a firm grasp of what you believe... is this what you believe - that the Qur'an could have been understood in the time of Muhammad by all the standards of knowledge and science that was commonplace?
If this is what you believe, then you have proved that the Revelation of Muhammad was not final. For the context of society has changed, knowledge and science of manking is different than from 1300 years ago.
But the knowledge of man and the sciences of man are not important to the understanding of religion and not important to Faith (I have dicussed this before). For it was not the most learned and schooled men who have accepted the Prophets and Messengers of the past.
And I am not saying that there is anything in any of the Divine Writing that contradict scientific fact.
The principle we are talking about should be refered to the "Harmony of Science and Religion." Here is a quote from `Abdu'l-Baha:
How can a man believe to be a fact that which science has proved to be impossible? If he believes in spite of his reason, it is rather ignorant superstition than faith. The true principles of all religions are in conformity with the teachings of science.
Abdu'l-Bahá, Paris Talks, pg 141
We are not to understand the science and religion are the same (just as we had the discussion about the difference between unity and sameness). I think I have approached this topic the wrong way before and I am now starting to understand it more. Here is an extract from the Universal House of Justice of a letter written about the Virgin birth of Jesus:
"...God Who is the Author of the universe, can, in His Wisdom and Omnipotence, bring any change, no matter how temporary, in the operation of the laws which He Himself has created." (27 February 1938)
To any of your friends who are confused on this issue, you can explain that the principle of harmony between religion and science, while it enables us, with the help of reason, to see through the falsity of superstitions, does not imply that truth is limited to what can be explained by current scientific concepts. Not only do all religions have their miracles and mysteries, but religion itself, and certain fundamental religious concepts, such as the nature of the Manifestations of God, are far from being explicable by present-day scientific theories.
There are countless examples in religious history - miracles - that are beyond scientific understanding. Things such as the Virgin birth of Jesus, and even the process of Divine Revelation, the nature of the soul, etc. It is not our duty necessarily to explain these in the light of science, for they are concepts outside of science. The Baha'is for example do not believe that the sould consists of any physical material - but we can think about that with some scientific constraits. For example, if we assume the soul exists, and that after death, it dwells in God's Spiritual World (Heaven), then how could it be physical? If physical attributes made it what it was, then it would be a completely different entity in Heaven and the soul would have to have its own "soul". This is just in light of what many people believe that the soul physically dwells in the body.
The belief is that science and religion go hand in hand, but they are not one thing. I hope this can be viewed in light of the other "Unities" of the Baha'i Faith:
The Unity of Women and Men: This does not mean sameness - this is quite obvious because women have always and will always have the bounty of bearing children and being the first educators of that child.
The Unity of Humankind: This is not a vision for the creation of one super culture with all the same characteristics etc. Each different culture and race has different physical characteristics, and other talents and functions. These must be preserved... but also there must be the function of harmony with other peoples (for example throug the adoption of a Universal Auxiliary language).
I hope you can see my explanation a little clearer... each time I am asked to respond I must do some research, so I come across different things each time. Please let me know what you think.
Thank you for being open-minded and speaking the truth!
(And I wanted to know a little about yourself as well - I am very interested to know who I am having such a wonderful discussion with!)
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