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All of the different religions paint a common picture of salvation. The founders, prophets and messengers of those religions have all given us very similar messages.
They each call on us as human beings to save our own souls, to assure our immortality, by recognizing the prophet of God for our time, and by adhering to the laws of life that prophet brings.
Each prophet of God calls for an immediate response during the time of their revelation, and in doing so exerts a temporal sovereignty over previous prophets. God responds as much to our immediate needs as to our eternal needs, and He asks us to do this as well.
Consider this: A mighty prophet, Noah, appears while we busily muse about the garden of Adam and Eve. He warns us of floods, but we are so enamored with our thoughts about the garden that we ignore him. Where is salvation when the floods come?
A Buddha appears among the contending brahmins (Hindu priests). To many he is just another teacher. The priests continue to argue. The Buddha has no words for them. On the one hand we have fruitless mental disputation, on the other hand the path to nirvana. Where is salvation?
The Pharisees argue with Jesus. They claim they have no need of Him. They have Moses and the law. Jesus loves Moses and the law, but He knows that the people of Israel have fallen away from the spirit of the law — and as he tries to woo them back, he knows that Roman armies are posed to sweep down upon them all. Where is salvation?
Let us not be lost in Lords. While many wonderful teachers have created the history of religion, and while we must continually reaffirm the value and sanctity of the founders of past religions, let us not close our eyes to the unique concerns of our own times. Each age has its own needs and at any point in time, for any given place, there can only be one most recent Prophet, one current Manifestation of God’s teaching. Our first job is to find him. Our second is to obey his teachings. Baha’u’llah explains:
The first duty prescribed by God for His servants is the recognition of Him Who is the Dayspring of His Revelation and the Fountain of His laws, Who representeth the Godhead in both the Kingdom of His Cause and the world of creation. Whoso achieveth this duty hath attained unto all good; and whoso is deprived thereof hath gone astray, though he be the author of every righteous deed. It behoveth every one who reacheth this most sublime station, this summit of transcendent glory, to observe every ordinance of Him Who is the Desire of the world. These twin duties are inseparable. Neither is acceptable without the other. – Baha’u’llah, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 19.
Baha’is believe that Baha’u’llah, the founder and prophet of the Baha’i Revelation, calls all humanity in this day toward the newest of the great world Faiths. The Baha’i Faith is not syncretic, nor eclectic. It believes firmly in all Faiths, and is at the same time a new Faith. For Baha’is there is but one God, one Lord and one set of Laws. The Baha’i Faith is defined by a single majestic Figure who dares to stand before the world and announce:
The Revelation which, from time immemorial, hath been acclaimed as the Purpose and Promise of all the Prophets of God, and the most cherished Desire of His Messengers, hath now, by virtue of the pervasive Will of the Almighty and at His irresistible bidding, been revealed unto men. The advent of such a Revelation hath been heralded in all the sacred Scriptures. – Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 5.