Salvation in the Baha'i Faith

March 17, 2015 · updated February 15, 2022

According to Bahá'u'lláh, pride or self-centeredness is one of the greatest hindrances to spiritual progress. Pride represents an exaggerated sense of one's own importance in the universe and leads to an attitude of superiority over others.

The prideful person feels in absolute control of his life and the circumstances surrounding it and he seeks power and dominance over others because such power helps him maintain this illusion of superiority. Pride is such a hindrance to spiritual growth because it impels the prideful individual on an endless quest to fulfill the expectations of his vainly-conceived and illusory self-concept.

In the Bahá'í notion of spiritual progress, whatever is conducive to spiritual progress is good, and whatever tends to hinder spiritual progress is bad. This doctrine reminds one of the Buddhist perspective. From the Bahá'í viewpoint, learning "right" from "wrong" means attaining a degree of self-knowledge that permits us to know when something is helpful to our spiritual growth and when it is not. And this knowledge can only be obtained through the teachings of the Manifestations (the prophets of the great religions).

Bahá'u'lláh repeatedly stressed that only revealed religion can save us from our imperfections. It is because God has sent his Manifestations to show us the path to spiritual development and to touch our hearts with the spirit of God's love that we are able to realize our true potential and make the effort to be united with God. This is the "salvation" that religion brings.

Bahai's do not think of salvation in terms of salvation from the stain of "original sin," nor does it protect us from some external evil force or devil. Rather, it delivers people from the captivity to their own lower nature, a captivity that breeds private despair and threatens social destruction. Salvation means drawing nearer to God and progressing on the path to a deep and satisfying happiness.