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The Garden of Reality
Transreligious Relativity in a World of Becoming
The Garden of Reality contemplates the relativity of religious truth, religious pluralism, transreligious discourse, postmodern cosmology, and multireligious mysticism. Its transreligious approach aims at a future multireligious, peaceful society in an ecological and cosmic context. It proposes that the future of humanity is bound to conviviality with itself and the Earth, that the deepest religious motivations of existing together are relative to one another, and that transreligious relativity is essential to the conviction of religions that their motivations, experiences, and conceptualities are meaningful, real, and true. By engaging diverse voices from poststructuralism to Sufism, Dzogchen, and philosophical Daoism, from conceptual frameworks of Christianity and Hinduism to mystical and postmodern cosmology, current cosmopolitanism, and interreligious and interspiritual discourses, but especially understudied contributions of process thought and the Baha'i religion, this book suggests that multireligious conviviality must listen to the universal relevance of a multiplicity of minority voices. Its polyphilic pluralism affirms the mutual immanence and co-creative nature of religions and spiritualities with the universal in-sistence of divine or ultimate reality in the cosmos. Embracing a relativistic and evolutionary paradigm in an infinite cosmos of creative becoming, religions must cope with events of novelty that disturb and connect, transcend and contrast, the continuum of their truth claims, but must avoid conflict, as religious diversity is enveloped by an ever-folding landscape of ultimate reality.
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The important, challenging, and lucid volume of Professor Roland Faber entitled The Garden of Reality is without doubt the most important western language contribution to the emergent field of Baha'i philosophical and religious thought. This especially as it engages with key theological and globally important issues pertaining to Whitehead-inspired Process Studies and the perspectives set forth by the under-appreciated central figures of the closely related Babi and Baha'i religions. This volume will greatly assist many readers to embrace and rethink a coming together of seemingly diverse and incompatible religio-philosophical viewpoints. It is rich in apophatic insights and transcends aspects of divisive relativity propositions as well as duality, non-duality modes of thought. It contains a plethora of ideas that promote mutual appreciation amongst diverse followers of world religions and global philosophical pathways. Its novel ideas should be digested and appreciated as they provide a vision for a humanity seeking the genuine oneness of humankind through a befitting unity in diversity. -- Stephen Lambden, University of California, Merced In this book, Professor Faber surveys many of the attempts to face the intellectual reality of the modern world ranging from movements in philosophy, such as post-structuralism and the insights of Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, to religious thinkers such as John Hick and Raymond Pannikkar, and to mystical movements, such as Sufism, Tibetan Buddhism, and Daoism. But for most of the book, Faber focuses on Whitehead's process theology and the writings of Baha'u'llah, the founder of the Baha'i Faith. Although these two approach the intellectual problems of modernity from very different directions, Faber uncovers for the reader a surprising level of coherence and resonance between them. This book is an important contribution to the discourse on religious pluralism and interreligious dialogue in that it proposes that this discourse should go beyond merely describing and promoting tolerance of difference. Rather, that difference should be seen as divergence not bifurcation and should be explored through polyphilia (love of and appreciation for the many different expressions of religion). As such, this book proposes a pathway towards peace and reconciliation among the religions of the world (at a far deeper and more enduring level than most present such endeavors) and thus a vision of a possibility of a peaceful world. -- Moojan Momen, Wilmette Institute There are truths blossoming in this magnificent book that we must not as a species keep missing: truths of a boundless relationality that relativizes any relativism right along with all warring absolutes. The impossibility of any `complete truth' means that the plenitude possible for truth is `the infinite movement of incompleteness in mutual immanence.' With his precise poetics of multiplicity, Faber reveals the becoming diversity of this `transreligious' garden flourishing under one sky. In the genial merger of two minor traditions, a work of ecocosmic munificence invites us in. Rushing readers, never fear: there are hidden shortcuts through the flowers. And you will return. -- Catherine Keller, Drew University Distinctions of religion, race, nationality, gender, class, and species often battle on a chessboard of antagonism. This text offers a vision and method to transform oppositional multiplicity into nonviolent mutuality. Cultivating resonant insights from the lesser-known Baha'i tradition and Whitehead's process-relational philosophy, Faber exemplifies how to anticipate generative tensions, value variations, and tend to the insistent subtleties of bodies and beliefs always in process. -- Brianne Donaldson, Rice University