Baha'i Library Online

COLLECTIONTranscripts of videos and audio
TITLEThe Harmony of Science and Religion: A Baha'i Perspective
AUTHOR 1Cameron Sabet
ABSTRACTTED talk by a Maryland high school student on the Baha'i concept of unity, knowledge, cultural historical perspectives, modern secular society, and the education of children.
NOTES Transcript prepared by Doug Couper from video online at
TAGSAlan Coupe; Science; TED Talk

1. Transcript (see video below)

The Harmony of Science and Religion: A Baha’i Perspective
Cameron Sabet, Uploaded by TEDxYouth@FHS
2018 May 21
7:44 minutes
Video description: Cameron is currently a sophomore, and a member of the Metropolitan Washington Baha'i Choir, the Science Olympiad Team, and First Violin in the DC Youth Philharmonic. He loves losing himself in the harmony of music and likens it to the melodies of scientific discovery and religious passion.

Cameron says the two governing bodies of his actions lie in his ceaseless need to satisfy his spiritual and intellectual curiosity, which inspired Cameron’s talk. He feels that these pursuits unconditionally complement each other as he continues to grow in his intellectual and spiritual capacities.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at
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Imagine a world without the contributions of science or the inspiration of religion. They are truly the two pillars of human civilization. However, many people believe we need to take sides on the debate between science and religion. If both were penned by the same author, why shouldn't they coexist. As Galileo, one of the most controversial figures of this topic, has noted "I do not feel obligated to believe that the same God who has endowed us with senses, reason and intellect has intended to forgo their use and design". Stein has noted science without religion is lame (and) religion without science is blind and I, among every one of the other millions of Baha'is around the world, believe this is one of the questions humanity has needlessly tackled with for too many years. In other words, the answer has been hiding within us for too many years. The core of the Baha'i faith lies in believing in three fundamental principles: the oneness of God, the oneness of humankind and the oneness of religion, and our modern delusions keep us from the path of God and from a posture of learning.

This Baha'i concept of unity extends towards the harmony of science and religion and I hope to bring this spiritual principle to our discussion today. It all starts in this quote from Baha'u'llah (that) "knowledge is as wings to a man's life and a ladder for his ascent". This Baha'i quote (asserts) the belief and hope in our ever-advancing civilization, and we can see throughout history how human creativity and innovation and science have inspired, influenced and enhanced our relationships and our sense of spirituality.

In fact, many cultures have finely woven science and religion in a way that they complement each other beautifully, so this unifying experience of spirituality led my parents to take me on to many holy places around the world, so we may experience different cultures and gain inspiration from spirituality - so I got to place my wish in the Western Wall; I got to admire the profound simplicity of the Shinto temples in Japan; was able to admire the majestic Baha'i continental temples like the one in Chicago; the Santiago Metropolitan Church in Chile; the mystery and positioning of the enormous rocks of Stonehenge in Great Britain; the Ryozen Kannon temple; the Church of (the) Nativity; the beautifully ornate mosques that feature captivating geometric designs; and the architectural and the cutting-edge architectural styles like the Baha'i continental temple in Chile.

However, modern secular society rarely recognizes religion's positive impacts, as the feeling can be best seen at an individual level. In other words, signs should be seen as a vector to reflect God's virtues and promote unity among his peoples. For example, when I recently turned 15 (the [Baha'i] coming-of-age for boys), I visited the Baha'i holy sites in Haifa, Israel. Walking through the gardens I felt a spiritual renewal - a warm reassuring feeling that just can't be replaced by any prescription or tonic. I felt meaning in the fragrant tips of the roses and could (not) imagine myself in a world without this ethereal beauty, so I mean the mere existence of moments like these helps me more fully realize the grandeur of God, and something no scientific explanation can substitute (for or) refute, but can only support. Science is data - harsh, analytical and critical - but religion helps us find meaning and value in the world and point the powerful tool of science towards unity and trustworthiness.

In this manner unity is our only hope when there is, for example, a unity and religion interfaith groups come together and give (out) fresh produce to low-income families and communities. When there's a unity in science we're able to pull our specialties together to ... further advance society and alleviate its ills. However, when both are unified together we are able to combine both the expertise of science and the morality of religion to invest in the elimination of war, famine and disease. In this way, many of the solutions to the world's problems lie in the harmony of science (and religion). Even from (a perspective) of education you know learning morality as well as technical expertise to channel the learned virtues through, is to truly live and find value in life. For example I would love to pursue the field of medicine in the future and I'm personally attracted by the generosity and altruism of our organizations like Doctors Without Borders because they help to fully embody the virtues commonly prescribed in sacred writings from religions all over.

When I was volunteering at the Baha'i House of Worship in Chicago this past spring break, I had an opportunity to hear a visiting professor from Fermilab, Dr. Manu Prakash who has developed an instrument that can just (utilize) a piece of paper with a few lenses that can magnify over 400 times and it's - it cost less than a dollar, and this kind of mix between science and the morality of religion ... can really do great things ... Science and morality has led him to distribute this instrument that cost less than a dollar to people (like) Syrian refugees, to people 12 hours away from the nearest road in Africa, and it's a very high form of microscopy.

So to educate children even in the most desolate of conditions (is) to lift up (all) the people. As God sees all of us as his children, he wouldn't deny any of us, so why would we deny each other. If he loves all of us, why would we not love each other? After all, isn't the meaning of life to contribute to this ever-advancing civilization and acquire virtues? Again I ask you, does it have to be this way? The answer has been hiding within us for centuries. We're the generation of hopefuls who finally have the potential to realize this most harmonious vision. Thank you. [Applause]

2. Video

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