A Reasoned Faith: Science and Religion in a Baha’i Perspective

The idea that science and religion are in harmony is one of the many deeply insightful, prescriptive, and anticipatory teachings of the Baha’i Faith. It addresses a conflict of the modern age, namely that scientific explanations of reality necessarily supplant religious explanations, the latter based upon perceived uninformed and antiquated notions. But despite its appeal, the idea presents challenges to demonstrate. How do we find a way to develop meaningful conversations which can engage both people of faith and people of science, without suffering the problem of cognitive dissonance? One way is through examination of scientific ideas and then juxtaposing them with Baha’i ways of observing the phenomenon of religion. In this brief presentation and discussion, we will establish the basis for discourse with some attention to Baha’i texts. We will examine scientific ideas regarding reasoning and rationale thought, and how one arrives at an understanding of reality based upon application of the scientific method. We will examine a scientific theory as an example of one such application. We will explore common ground between science and religion in the process of falsifiability, of tests of predictions, and of establishing cause-and-effect relationships. Lastly, time permitting, we will examine a specific area of conflict between religion and science, forming a dilemma, and how it can be resolved using guidance from Baha’i teachings.