Great Classical Liberal Says Free Thought Leads To Development.

The merit of democracy is not as a system of majority rule but rather the freedom of everyone to have the right to beliefs and opinions.

On June 16, 1912 at Central Congregational Church on Hancock Street, Brooklyn, New York Abdu'l-Baha began his talk with this theme: "Just as in the world of politics there is need for free thought, likewise in the world of religion there should be the right of unrestricted individual belief. Consider what a vast difference exists between modern democracy and the old forms of despotism. Under an autocratic government the opinions of men are not free, and development is stifled, whereas in democracy, because thought and speech are not restricted, the greatest progress is witnessed. It is likewise true in the world of religion. When freedom of conscience, liberty of thought and right of speech prevail -- that is to say, when every man according to his own idealization may give expression to his beliefs -- development and growth are inevitable." (Abdu'l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 197)

Take a moment to read (or listen since there is an audio also) to the entire talk.

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