Fear of the late modern world has been a major factor in the rise of authoritarianand violent religio-political movements. This article draws on Anthony Giddens andCharles Taylor’s conceptualisation of the self in the secular age, and applies this to twomodernist religious trends originating in the East in the later nineteenth century in thecontext of western global expansion. Endeavouring to rise to the challenge ofaccommodating Islam to modernity by adopting the tools of rationality and encouragingindependent inquiry, Islamic Modernism has become increasingly embattled. The Baha’ifaith, a movement that incorporates similar perspectives and also developed out of anIslamic context, proposes a theophanic transformation rather than renewal through reformof Islam. After a period of infusion of a progressive catalytic impulse into the Middle East,the Baha’i faith performed its own recalibration of modernism, enunciating apocalypticdenunciation of the modern world similar to that found in Muslim revivalist trends. Thearticle ends by making some suggestions for continuation of a progressive religiousapproach in late modernity.
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