Baha’i claims to represent the summit of humanity’s spiritual and religious journey. Do Zoroastrians, Jews, Christians, and/or Muslims make similar claims? Is it legitimate for any religion from one particular time and place to make such a claim to universal superiority?
The Baha'i religion believes that through prayer, regularly helping mankind, and following twelve principles concerning belief in God, the equality of humankind, and the unity of mankind, man can achieve unity with God. It is the things done to achieve unity with God that are understood to be the spiritual and religious journey Baha'i teaches, while the unity with God is the summit of the religious and spiritual journey ("Baha'i Faith"). Many religions do indeed teach that the ultimate goal is unity with God. As we are limited in space, below is a discussion of how unity with God applies to both Judaism and Christianity.
The Jewish religion is understood to be the manifestation of the covenant God made with the Children of Israel. By covenant, we mean the promise made by God to the Israelites to protect them so long as they remain faithful to God. This promise of protection based on faith also established a direct relationship between God and the Israelites. Hence, like Baha'i, Judaism teaches the importance of a direct relationship, or unity, with God. What's more, like Baha'i, Judaism teaches that this unity with God is established through mankind's correct actions, such as keeping God's commands. More specifically, God commands the Jews to love and worship God as the only true God and also to love one another. Hence, it is through fulfilling the actions of showing love for God and humanity that one achieves unity with God, much like Baha'i teaches ("Judaism").
The Christian faith also teaches a similar unity with God. Christianity differs from Judaism in that Christians believe God's promised messiah was already manifested in Jesus of Nazareth. What's more, they believe that "Jesus suffered, died, was buried, and was resurrected from the dead in order to grant eternal life to those who believe in him and trust in him for remission of their sins"("Christianity"). They further believe that after the resurrection, Jesus ascended bodily into heaven where he now reigns with God the Father. Christians accept Jesus as both a judge who can grant eternal life and as a model for a holy life, a life aligned with God. Hence, similarly to both Judaism and Baha'i, Christianity teaches that mankind must follow certain actions. However, in contrast to both Judaism and Baha'i, Christianity also teaches that it is first your belief in Jesus as the Messiah that leads to unity with God through eternal life and then it is your actions that continue to demonstrate and justify your unity with God. Hence, according to Christianity, eternal life, or unity with God, is seen as the ultimate summit of humanity's spiritual journey, while faith in Jesus as Christ as well as maintaining virtuous actions is the journey mankind must take to reach the summit.
Therefore, all three religions teach that unity with God is the ultimate spiritual and religious goal and that this goal is accomplished through faith and actions.