"Deluded Masses" in 1844
May 3, 2006
In a story on the DaVinci code, an unnamed Associated Press journalist writes in reference to the fervor surrounding the book and upcoming movie, "Bart Ehrman, religion chair at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, likens the phenomenon to the excitement in the 19th century when deluded masses thought Jesus would return in 1844."
This of course is a reference to William Miller's followers But just what do they mean by deluded? If they mean that Christ did not return in the manner that they expected, then perhaps this word "deluded" is meaningful. But if it means that Christ did not return, then I'm sorry to say that this journalist has not bothered to investigate the matter at all. Of course this is hardly surprising as most people do not bother to question the religious truths handed down to them. While we can certainly debate the merits of His claim, there is at least one individual in 1844 who claimed to fulfil the prophecies of old: Sayyid 'Alí Muhammad, the Báb ("gate" in Arabic).