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Spiritual Values and Scientific Methods

Posted by Matt 
The challenges of social development and integration are immensely complex. In particular, the role of values and the question of identity, especially spiritual identity, have been too often neglected by development practitioners and donors. The critical process of building human capacity, whether at the individual or community level, must be holistic--technical, economic, cultural, social, moral and spiritual. In the modest social and economic projects around the globe undertaken by the Baha'i community, the dimension of spiritual identity is directly incorporated into project planning and implementation. These projects focus on how values and methods together can lead to knowledge generation and thus real social transformation.

A distinguishing characteristic of many Baha'i social initiatives is a focus on participatory learning and decision-making involving all members of a community--women, men and children. Promoting collective learning and organizational capacity-building ensures the sustainability of projects. Only if individuals and communities become agents of their own well-being, real participants in shaping their social reality, will genuine transformation ensue. If, in fact, a group or community is generating and applying knowledge—knowledge that draws on both rational inquiry and spiritual insights—it will be able to progressively develop the technical, moral and social capacities that serve its needs.

Baha'i projects are not used as an inducement to conversion. Development initiatives are pursued by Baha'i communities as a response to their own needs and desire to better their material and spiritual well-being, as well as their aspirations to be of service to the broader community in which they live.

For more information on these efforts to integrate religious values and social development see:

[info.bahai.org]
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