A Culture of Learning

Authored by: Michael Karlberg , Todd Smith

The World of the Bahá'í Faith

Print publication date:  December  2021
Online publication date:  December  2021

Print ISBN: 9781138367722
eBook ISBN: 9780429027772
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter examines the systematic culture of learning being developed by the worldwide Bahá’í community. This culture of learning is not simply concerned with the acquisition of existing knowledge. It is also concerned with the generation of new knowledge for the benefit of humanity. In this regard, the Bahá’í community seeks to be ‘scientific in its method’. To explore what this means, we begin by examining the Bahá’í conception of science and religion as complementary systems of knowledge and practice. We draw on insights from the history, philosophy, and sociology of science to sketch what it means to adopt a learning mode that is scientific in its method. We examine, in turn, the origins of the Bahá’í community’s culture of learning, key elements of the evolving conceptual framework that guides this learning, the institutional arrangements that support it, and the efforts Bahá’ís are making to foster universal participation—which extends beyond the boundaries of the Bahá’í community itself to include ever-increasing numbers of like-minded collaborators from all walks of life. We conclude with a brief discussion of how the Bahá’í community understands and actualizes the relationship between knowledge and power, and the role of criticism in this context.

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