Most of these principles are, alas, also widely flouted, not only among recognized enemies of social peace, but in circles professedly committed to them. What is lacking is not convincing testimony as to their relevance, but the power of moral conviction that can implement them, a power whose only demonstrably reliable source throughout history has been religious faith. As late as the inception of Bahá’u’lláh’s own mission, religious authority still exercised a significant degree of social influence. When the Christian world was moved to break with millennia of unquestioning conviction and address at last the evil of slavery, it was to Biblical ideals that the early British reformers sought to appeal. Subsequently, in the defining address he gave regarding the central role played by the issue in the great conflict in America, the president of the United States warned that if “every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said ‘the judgements of the Lord are true and righteous altogether’.” That era, however, was swiftly drawing to a close. In the upheavals that followed the Second World War, even so influential a figure as Mohandas Gandhi proved unable to mobilize the spiritual power of Hinduism in support of his efforts to extinguish sectarian violence on the Indian subcontinent. Nor were leaders of the Islamic community any more effective in this respect. As prefigured in the Qur’án’s metaphorical vision of “The Day that We roll up the heavens like a scroll”, the once unchallengeable authority of the traditional religions had ceased to direct humanity’s social relations.