Unity and Progressive Revelation:
Comparing Bahá'í Principles with the Basic Concepts of Teilhard de Chardin

By Wolfgang Klebel

First presented at the Irfan Colloquia Session #46
Bosch Bahá'í School: California, USA
May 1–4, 2003
(see list of papers from #46)

published in Lights of Irfan, volume 5, pages 77-108
© 2004, ‘Irfán Colloquia

    About a decade before Teilhard de Chardin's death (1881-1955) and the posthumous publishing of his books, Shoghi Effendi, the Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith wrote these words in 1949:

    "The world has at least the thinking worldcaught up by now with all the great and universal principles enunciated by Bahá'u'lláh over 70 years ago, and so of course it does not sound "new" to them. But we know that the deeper teachings, the capacity of His projected World Order to re-create society, are new and dynamic. It is these we must learn to present intelligently and enticingly!" 1

    This catching up of the "thinking world" with the Bahá'í Principles will be the point of comparison of this paper, which attempts to "correlate with the Bahá'í teachings" the corresponding concepts of Teilhard de Chardin, whose books created a sensation in European intellectual circles when they were first published. This correlation will allow to compare the Faith with the "progressive movements of today" and promote the study of the "Bahá'í teachings more deeply." (Shoghi Effendi2) In the following nine chapters these points of comparison will be made:

    Bahá'í Principles Teilhard's Basic Concepts
    1 Unity in diversity Unification and differentiation
    2 Independent Investigation The phenomenon of Man in the Unity of science and religion cosmos (a purely and simply scientific treatise)
    3 Progressive Revelation "The God of Evolution," "Christ the Evolver"
    4 Evil and God's providence Evil and Evolution
    5 Man's position in the universe "Hominization" of the universe
    6 Attraction and love as principle of Reality Love and reason as principle of existence in "spirit-matter"
    7 Service to an ever advancing civilization Service in a "religion of the Earth"
    8 Return of Christ in Bahá'u'lláh "Christ must be born again"
    9 Manifestations of God The cosmic Christ"


    1 Copyright Wolfgang Klebel, 2003

    2 Compilations: Importance of Deepening, Page: 152 (Bahá'í Library CD-ROM)

    3 "Shoghi Effendi has for years urged the Bahá'ís (who asked his advice, and in general also) to study history, economics, sociology, etc., in order to be au courant with all the progressive movements and thoughts being put forth today, and so that they could correlate these to the Bahá'í teachings. What he wants the Bahá'ís to do is to study more, not to study less. The more general knowledge, scientific and otherwise, they possess, the better. Likewise he is constantly urging them to really study the Bahá'í teachings more deeply. One might liken Bahá'u'lláh's teachings to a sphere; there are points poles apart, and in between the thoughts and doctrines that unite them." Excerpt from letters written by Shoghi Effendi: 19 April 1947, The Importance of Deepening, pages 228-229.

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