History of the World, Part 4
Humanity’s social life is evolving towards fruition of a world civilization. This process is propelled by two complementary systems of knowledge and practice – religion and science. Both of these systems advance human insights into the same reality. Both use similar faculties of the mind and soul, such as reason, imagination, attraction to beauty, and commitment to truth. Both have underlying assumptions, a language, methods, and both progress over time. Science without religion becomes blind materialism, and religion without science becomes superstition. Together, they advance civilization. What are some examples of past societies where the two were in harmony?
The source of true religion is, has been, and will continue to be the Manifestation of God. Thus, the ultimate cause of the advancement of civilization is the education given to humanity by the Manifestations throughout time. They bring teachings according to the requirements of the age, and their teachings unfold progressively over time. There is but one religion, as there is but one humanity.
We know that humanity’s evolutionary process is cyclical in nature, like seasons of a year. These Manifestations bring periods of spiritual vigor, akin to a springtime. We are currently living in such a transition time of regeneration, where there is an interplay of two sets of forces. The first is the disintegrative force – bringing turmoil, suffering, destruction, and at the same time, collapsing the obstacles and breaking down hindrances on the path towards world unity. It is haphazard and chaotic in its application, and mysterious in nature. The other is the integrative force – systematic, steady, calm, persistent, as it gives rise to new systems founded on oneness and justice. It is manifest through cooperation, reciprocity, and mutual aid, and through the spirit of world solidarity we increasingly see.
This cyclic, organic, evolutionary process of the advancement of civilization – propelled by knowledge, vitalized by the Manifestation, shaped by integrative and disintegrative forces – is nonetheless largely determined by human agency. It is on the will of our three protagonists – individuals, communities, and institutions – that depends the outcome of our unfolding drama.