Search for Religion in the 1860s

COMMENT: Concerning the post today of the “Decline and Fall of Religion?”
I nearly fell out of my seat when you mentioned 1860 as a cyclic date. You mentioned the US Civil War. However, you may not be aware of the Baha’i faith which started in the early 1860’s with the prophet Bahá’u’lláh in Iran. The specific date depends on the source but the consensus is the early 1860’s.

While the Baha’i faith does not have the greatest number of total members, it is globally the second widest spread, and their books have been translated into more languages than the Christian Faith. According to the Baha’i’s, their prophet, Bahá’u’lláh, was prophesied to present himself in the 1860’s as was written in the books of the Zoroastrians, Hindu, Old Testament, and Koran.

One very interesting aspect of the religion is that Bahá’u’lláh claimed that the growth of humanity had progressed well enough that there would be no need for an ordained priesthood anymore. He also proclaimed that all major wars and turmoil that has been brought on humanity have been caused by priests and politicians. Therefore, in the Baha’i faith, there is no organized priesthood permitted and no members are allowed to become elected politicians.

They select their representatives from the intimacy of their small groups that meet in their own homes. These selected individuals then meet regionally and select their regional representatives. Ultimately, their global representatives are selected to serve for defined terms with only a modest food and housing allowance. No campaigning by individuals is allowed during the selection process. It becomes an obligatory duty for the length of the term. In other words, the selected individuals will ask themselves “Why me?”

I can just imagine the potentials for any government if local everyday individuals were selected in this manner to lead their regions and nations with obligatory defined term lengths. What a day for humanity when the selected president will ask themself the question “Why me?” rather than “Why not me?”

REPLY: Yes, the Baháʼí Faith began in Iran as was the case with the Zorasters. The Baháʼí Faith was established around 1863 and spread to various parts of the Middle East. It has been subjected to ongoing persecution ever since its inception. It is a small religion that is estimated to have between 5 and 8 million followers.

The 1860s was a major turning point in religion. There was even the birth of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church during this time period. The Seventh-day Adventist Church also began in 1863 and this is when the Jehovah’s Witnesses also began about 1870. The following decade saw initial movements that began during the 1860s take shape formally creating the Theosophical Society (Eastern Theosophy) by 1875, Ethical Culture in 1877, and the Church of Christ, Scientist (Christian Science) by 1879. It was a major period of a search for new religions.

Of course, it was religion and the objection to slavery that led to the American Civil War. The 1860s was a major turning point in religion.