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During the Middle Ages, the resulting Islamic civilization was responsible for dramatic advances in mathematics, astronomy, and medicine.

Yet, while the world’s great religions of the past have proved capable of building cohesive communities within their respective regions or epochs, it seems unlikely that they are capable of supplying the kind of common values needed for the unique challenges of the global age.

Throughout history, the most important source of common values in the process of community building has been religion.

“The fundamental purpose animating the Faith of God and His Religion is to safeguard the interests and promote the unity of the human race, and to foster the spirit of love and fellowship amongst men,” said Bahá’u’lláh.

This phenomenon has led a number of people to reject religion altogether.

At the same time, recent history suggests that no secular ideology alone will be able to promote the kind of unity and commitment that will be necessary to meet the challenges posed by globalization and the inevitable coming together of humanity.

Indeed, religion, with its emphasis on moral conduct, obedience to law, selflessness, and other virtues, has been the cohesive power behind the creation of the world’s great civilizations.

Judaism, with its emphasis on monotheism and divine law, has held together its community of believers despite some 6,000 years of tribulations, exile, and prejudice.

Buddhist teachings on right living and conduct are intimately associated with the concept of the “sangha” or “community” and have lent the underlying impulse to Buddhist civilization.

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Indeed, such sectarianism can be traced back to each great religion’s earliest days.

Another issue today is the rift that has opened within each of the world’s traditional religious communities over how to confront the modern world.


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