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Sociohistorical changes of the Axial Age and the Renaissance, sociological views on modernity and its contemporary challenges, and key features of modernity as identified in the Bahá’í writings as "the universal awakening of historical consciousness."

The Permanence of Change:
Contemporary Sociological and Bahá'í Perspectives

by Hoda Mahmoudi

published in Journal of Bahá'í Studies, 18:1-4, pages 41-76
Ottawa: Association for Bahá'í Studies North America, 2008
About: This paper examines social change and modernity through the two lenses of the Bahá’í Faith and sociology. Premised on the vital role of religion in effecting social change, it progresses in three parts. First, it examines the sociohistorical changes of the Axial Age, and the forces which brought about the Renaissance and Reformation. Second, it reviews some of the sociological views on modernity, tracing its contemporary challenges. Finally, it outlines the key features of modernity as identified in the Bahá’í writings and considers the Bahá’í perspective of modernity as “the universal awakening of historical consciousness,” wherein Divine Civilization is the essential impetus for advancing and transforming material civilization.
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