Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth, Minister for Faith, in conversation at the UK Baha'i National Centre
We observe that discussion in forums addressing contentious issues often assumes the form of a debate. This presents two opposing points of view that are presumed to be in conflict. The objective in such spaces is not necessarily the investigation of truth but, rather, the ascendancy of one point of view over another.
How can we frame public discourse in light of an understanding that many viewpoints, whilst seeming contradictory, are in fact different views on one reality? How can we facilitate discussion in which there are no winners and losers, and where all perspectives can be valued and seen as contributing to the collective advancement of understanding? How do we foster an environment that promotes the exploration of subtle and complex issues and avoids the tendency to oversimplify?
Together with various sections of society, our office co-creates spaces to explore and examine the nature of dialogue in the public sphere, and its impact on social cohesion.
Over recent years, our Office has created several animations exploring themes pertinent to strengthening social cohesion.
We all feel the need to belong somewhere, but are the ways in which we are trying to satisfy this need actually bringing us closer together?
This animation explores what’s happening to our sense of community and belonging, and how focusing our energy towards serving our local community could strengthen the bonds that connect us, bringing a greater sense of meaning and purpose in our lives.
The pandemic has provided an opportunity to re-think what we, as a society, consider to be of value.
What is it that propels our society forwards?
How can we cultivate these values?
What can we change about our society?
Our society is built on the assumption that humans are inherently selfish. Responses to Covid-19, however, have demonstrated our collective capacity to be selfless and altruistic.