Barriers to Truth
Bahá’u’lláh’s severest condemnation is reserved for those who, presuming to speak in God’s name, have imposed on credulous masses a welter of dogmas and prejudices that have constituted the greatest single obstacle against which the advancement of civilization has been forced to struggle.
While acknowledging the humanitarian services of countless individual clerics, He points out the consequences of the way in which self-appointed religious elites, throughout history, have interposed themselves between humanity and all voices of progress, not excluding the Messengers of God Themselves.
"What ‘oppression’ is more grievous," He asks, "than that a soul seeking the truth, and wishing to attain unto the knowledge of God, should know not where to go for it…?" 23
In an age of scientific advancement and widespread popular education, the cumulative effects of the resulting disillusionment were to make religious faith appear irrelevant.