Community Development Through Academic Service Learning
Foundations of a Human Development Approach
to Social and Economic Development

Using Science, History, Philosophy, the Arts, and  Bahá’í-Inspired Materials

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These materials are designed to provide an introductory overview for undergraduate- or graduate-level university students with a focus on a human development approach to community development through the use of academic service learning.  The materials are selected from secular/scientific writings and Baha'i Scripture for each of the courses and topics with a course.

Two fundamental teachings of Bahá’u’lláh, Prophet Founder of the Bahá’í Faith, are that 1) individuals are personally responsible for investigating truth, and 2) science and religion are to be used as the standards for making judgments.

The first principle of Baha'u'llah is independent investigation of truth, that is, all the nations of the world have to investigate after truth independently and turn their eyes from the moribund blind imitations of the past ages entirely. Truth is one when it is independently investigated, it does not accept division. Therefore the independent investigation of truth will lead to the oneness of the world of humanity.
                    ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Japan Will Turn Ablaze, p. 35

There is no contradiction between true religion and science. When a religion is opposed to science it becomes mere superstition: that which is contrary to knowledge is ignorance.
       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.
       The Unity of God is logical, and this idea is not antagonistic to the conclusions arrived at by scientific study.

Paris Talks, p. 141

It is hoped that all the Bahá’í students led to investigate and analyse the principles of the Faith and to correlate them with the modern aspects of philosophy and science.  Every intelligent and thoughtful young Bahá’í should always approach the Cause in this way, for therein lies the very essence of the principle of independent investigation of truth.
                      (Letter on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, 6 August 1933.)

With regard to the harmony of science and religion, the Writings of the Central Figures and the commentaries of the Guardian make abun­dantly clear that the task of humanity, including the Baha’i community that serves as the "leaven" within it, is to create a global civilization which embodies both the spiritual and material dimen­sions of existence. The nature and scope of such a civilisation are still beyond anything the present generation can conceive. The prosecution of this vast enterprise will depend on a progressive inter­action between the truths and principles of religion and the discoveries and insights of scientific inquiry. This entails living with ambiguities as a natural and inescapable feature of the process of exploring reality. It also requires us not to limit science to any particular school of thought or methodological approach postulated in the course of its development. The challenge facing Baha’i thinkers is to provide responsible leadership in this endeavour, since it is they who have both the priceless insights of the Revelation and the advan­tages conferred by scientific investigation.
                     (Issues Related to the Study of the Baha’i Faith: Extracts from Letters written on behalf of the Universal House of  Justice, May 1998.)

Content related to other world religions

Buddhism Christianity Hinduism Islam Judaism Taoism & Confucianism

Connect to related sites: | Cosmic Citizenship | Local-Global Citizenship | Educational Psychology Interactive |

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Last Revised: August 2014