Religion & Science
It is one of the basic principles of the Bahá’í Faith that religion and science should work together for the improvement of the world. Bahá’ís believe that truth is relative rather than absolute. If science is discovered truth, then religion is revealed truth, and they are two sides of one coin. Each Founder of religion is the vehicle for bringing to humanity that which is needed to advance society at that particular time. The underlying theme is that “All men have been created to carry forward an ever-advancing civilisation”.
Bahá’ís believe that the universe has always existed in some form, but that it evolves from one state to another. Any reference to “creation” in the Bahá’í Writings does not imply an instant appearance in a static form. The Bahá’í Writings also affirm the existence of creatures on other planets: “Know thou that every fixed star has its own planets, and every planet its own creatures, whose number no man can compute.”
The Bahá’í Writings use the development of the human embryo as proof of the development of man as a species. From a tiny cell, it passes through various stages, in some of which it really does not resemble a human being at all. At one stage the embryo even has a tail. However, at every stage it is destined to reach human form, which fact could be used as a metaphor for the development of the human species being predestined rather than being a historical accident.
As humanity moves into a new era, the advantages bestowed by both religion and science need to be woven together in order for civilisation to progress. There are a number of implications in this principle. Religion should be able to give moral and ethical guidance in areas where scientific advance could lead to new areas of uncertainty. Religion should guide science ethically, and ensure that science is put to good uses rather than bad. At the same time, religion which does not take account of science may degenerate into superstition. Bahá’ís look to the creation, in the near future, of a world peace treaty. The excesses of unbridled military invention will be curbed, and technological advance be encouraged as the servant of world peace.
Science should be able to provide more answers to those global problems which as yet have not been seriously addressed, such as initiating a genuine worldwide administrative communications system, solving world food production and distribution problems, and meaningfully tackling worldwide pollution.