Religion and Public Discourse in an Age of Transition
Reflections on Bahá’í Practice and Thought
Technology, tourism, politics, and law have connected human beings around the world more closely than ever before, but this closeness has, paradoxically, given rise to fear, distrust, and misunderstanding between nation-states and religions. In light of the tensions and conflicts that arise from these complex relationships, many search for ways to find peace and understanding through a “global public sphere.”
Contributors to this volume address various aspects of this challenge within the context of Bahá’í thought and practice, whose goal is to lay the foundations for a new world civilization that harmonizes the spiritual and material aspects of human existence. Bahá’í teachings view religion as a source of enduring insight that can enable humanity to repair and transcend patterns of disunity, to foster justice within the structures of society, and to advance the cause of peace. Accordingly, religion can and ought to play a role in the broader project of creating a pattern of public discourse capable of supporting humanity’s transition to the next stage in its collective development.
Chapter 1 – Religion in an Age of Transition - Benjamin Schewel
Chapter 2 – Religion, Spiritual Principles, and Civil Society - David A. Palmer
Chapter 3 – Media and Public Discourse: Normative Foundations - Michael Karlberg
Chapter 4 – Education and Moral Empowerment: Raising Capacity for Participation in Public Discourse - Sona Farid-Arbab
Chapter 5 – An Inquiry into the Harmony of Science and Religion - Farzam Arbab
Chapter 6 – Bahá’í Participation in Public Discourse: Considerations Related to History, Concepts, and Approach - Shahriar Razavi
Chapter 7 – Contributions to International Development Discourse: Exploring the Roles of Science and Religion - Matthew Weinberg
Chapter 8 – A New Politics of Engagement: The Bahá’í International Community, the United Nations, and Gender Equality - Julia Berger
Chapter 9 – The Bahá’í Community and Public Policy: The Bahá’í Refugee Resettlement Program (1981–89) - Geoffrey Cameron
“This book is an honest and sophisticated grappling with complex issues from a well-defined faith perspective. Scholars of religion, politics, and society will find that these chapters illustrate the ways Bahá’ís operate within a shared religious story to describe, imagine, interpret, and perhaps even improve powerful global forces creating the world we all share.”
— Paul Bramadat, Professor and Director of the Centre for Studies in Religion and Society, University of Victoria
“Finally, a collection on religion in the public sphere for the realities of our times. Carefully deliberated and highly coherent, this volume sets this topic on a new course. Its accessible and thought-provoking challenges make it of interest not only to scholars and students, but also to policy-makers, educators, and activists who are grappling with questions about the role of religion in society.”
— Nazila Ghanea, Associate Professor of International Human Rights Law, University of Oxford
About the Editors
Geoffrey Cameron is a PhD candidate and Trudeau Scholar at the University of Toronto. He has degrees from Trent and Oxford Universities, where he was a Commonwealth Scholar. He is the co-author of Exceptional People: How Migration Changed the World and Will Define Our Future (2012).
Benjamin Schewel is a Fellow in the Centre for Religion, Conflict and the Public Domain at the University of Groningen, The Netherlands, and an Affiliate Scholar at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture at the University of Virginia. He is the author of Seven Ways of Looking at Religion (2017).
Editors: Benjamin Schewel and Geoffrey Cameron.
Format: softcover book; 304 pages; 15 x 23 cm.
Publisher: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2018.