Baha'i scholars explore links between science and religion

The relationship between science and religion is gathering increasing attention around the world, from research about the power of prayer to heal to the impact of new technologies on traditional societies.

Bahá'í scholars on two continents recently gathered to explore the connection between science and religion, among others issues, at regional conferences of the Association for Bahá'í Studies.

In mid-August, the Association of Bahá'í Studies – North America met in Cambridge , Massachusetts , USA , on the theme of “Science, Religion, and Social Transformation.”

Attended by some 1,300 people, the 11-14 August 2005 event explored everything from the role of inspiration in scientific discovery to the value of prayer in healing. Presentations ranged from neuroscience and quantum mechanics to philosophy and psychology.

In early July, the Association of Bahá'í Studies – English-Speaking Europe met in Dublin to hear a wide range of papers addressing issues such as “Religious Belief and Reproductive Technologies” and “Reflections on Unity in Diversity.”

The 2-3 July event also featured a talk by Dr. Sheikh Shaheed Satardien, a Muslim cleric from the Dublin Inter-Faith Roundtable, who addressed the topic of religious conflict.

At the North American conference, more than 100 speakers presented during the four-day event. Participants came mainly from the United States and Canada but also traveled from Australia , Austria , Chile , China , France , Gabon , Germany , Haiti , Israel , Italy , Japan , New Zealand , Puerto Rico , Sudan , and the United Kingdom .

Most presentations focused on the main conference theme. The Bahá'í sacred writings explicitly uphold the underlying harmony of science and religion, and many scholars sought to show how these two systems are increasingly seen as complementary aspects of the same reality.