The term salvation refers to freedom of the human race and/or the individual from evil. It is a term that is often connected to conversion experiences and to experiences that trigger healthy spiritual and/or religious development. Salvation is most often connected to religious experience; however, as within the New Age Movement, salvation is increasingly sought out and found in secular experiences.
As described in scripture, Jesus Christ saved humankind from sin and its consequences by establishing the reign of truth and thereby showing humans the way to overcome ignorance, offering strength to his human subjects in their struggle against evil, and serving as the liaison between humans and God and reconciling humans with God through atonement of sins. In terms of individual human salvation, the process is described in the Council of Trent in which the grace of God calls the sinner to repent. The sinner can accept this grace or turn away from it. By accepting the call, the individual sinner is "disposed for salvation," meaning he or she puts faith in the power of God, trusts in and loves God, and begins to hate all of his or her own individual sinfulness.
Following this disposition for salvation, the individual accepts God's grace and justifies that grace through a changed personhood-a personhood of goodness and charity. Salvation is a process that develops at different paces within and between individuals. There are endless contexts and experiences that may trigger the process of salvation-from an act of charity offered by a stranger to a religious ritual such as penance or baptism. Whether one is able to accept God's grace, therefore, often depends on the dynamic interrelation between individual and contextual characteristics and timing.
Of discussion among Catholic theologians is the nature of the relationship between grace and salvation. That is, there is some disagreement as to the way in which grace and free will work in the process of salvation, to what degree and in what quality fear and love play a role in being disposed for salvation, and what role the sacraments play in salvation. Within Christian traditions different conceptualizations of salvation are understood to be true. For example, in the Pentecostal tradition, salvation is often linked to the baptism of the Holy Spirit and the ability to speak in tongues. In more liberal Christian traditions the concept of the need for salvation is rejected as is the concept of eternal damnation in hell as they trust in the loving kindness, forgiveness, and goodness of God. Within Orthodox and Conservative Judaism, salvation is achieved by following God's Law as delivered to Moses. However, given that Judaism interprets the Hebrew Scriptures differently, Judaism has no concept of original sin or of the human race being condemned or therefore saved from eternal damnation.
Salvation is also considered by Eastern religious traditions to be part of the process that prepares one for death. To be free of worry from death and to be free of the material enticements available on earth is to have achieved salvation. Salvation is a concept that is also used to describe spiritual secular experiences. However the meaning is largely the same, expressing a release from that which is evil, sinful, and unhealthy to that which is good and healthy. Those who are saved and perceive themselves as being saved often believe they have transcended a former negative human state to a more positive human state. As such, salvation plays a key role in the spiritual and religious developmental trajectories of many individuals and, according to some beliefs, the entire human race.