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3.13.2005    |    A Buddhist Easter
Buddhism is a fascinating lifestyle, as it apparently can incorporate almost any religous philosophy. I had heard of "JUBUs", or Jewish Buddhists, and although I remain doubtful, it's clear that many others believe that one may be both a Buddhist and a theist.

As for whether Buddhism can coexist with Christianity, I'd say it's possible, but unlikely. The essence of Buddhism appears to be a total release from this world (not inconsistent with Christianity) and a total denial of self in the process. This, too, has its Christian adherents. But the Christian denies this world in order to attach himself to Christ, both in the here and now, and at the end times. If I understand it correctly, the Buddhist, in contrast, seeks nirvana, which entails the cessation of self, and absorption into a supreme spirit. Again, sezemingly not terribly inconsistent with our concept of union with God -- but off just enough to make it false, and substituting something in place of Christ as the center of being.

The bottom line? Buddhism can be harmless as a philosophy; harmful if it us used as a substitute for our desired longing for union with God through His Son. Even were Buddhism totally benign, in other words, it fails my simple test of not advancing the kingdom of God through Christ Jesus. Not to mention that Buddhists around the world do not shy from persecuting or killing Christians and others.

With all of this of background, I was taken aback this morning when a neighbor whom we'd invited to attend Easter services at our church declined, saying that she would be going to her daughter's Buddhist temple's Easter celebration. This struck me as just about a perfect condemnation of what I've been calling the Church of the Fluffy Bunny. A Buddhist temple would be the perfect version of a Church of the Fluffy Bunny. Celebrating something, the coming of spring, perhaps, in the name of Easter. In this they are indistinguishable from so-called Christians who love the Easter egg hunts, candy baskets, and frilly outfits of Easter morn, but will not admit that it took our sin which could only be paid through God's wrath, and the heinous death of His only Son on the Cross.

In this regard, Buddhists are the more honest, I think. They at least don't claim to be about Christ.

1 Comments:

Blogger Jeri said...

>>>Not to mention that Buddhists around the world do not shy from persecuting or killing Christians and others.<<<

By that argument, you must also dismiss Christianity, based on those exceptional times when its adherents killed innocent people. (Repeat after me: "Salem witch trials", when men who professed Christ killed other people who professed Christ, for the simple reason that the accused could not confess to a sin they had not committed, and so died for their integrity.)

Buddhism comes in many shades and varieties, and the type you get in Japan differs very much from what you get in China, and both of them differ so much from what you get in India (the birthplace of Buddhism) that they don't even appear to be the same religion.

Whichever version you choose to decry, the basis of all Buddhist sects lies in the premise that man can perfect himself, even if he has to take extraordinary measures to do so. There are Buddhist writings and Buddhist scholars that put modern evangelical writers to shame, because some Buddhists assess sin far more gravely and accurately than Evangelicals do. And there is at least one Buddhist writer who assesses and explains the action and benefit of showing mercy far better than any Christian writer I have ever read.

All that being said, their basic premise is a gross error, as Buddhists (any sect) do not believe in total depravity. Therefore they do not have faith in the efficacy of the Atonement of Christ. Not having faith in Christ, not submitting to Him as the Son of God, and turning to their own works to save them, they are without Christ.

Comparing doctrine between the major sects of Buddhism and Biblical Christianity is a good idea (but you would have to learn Buddhist doctrines to do that. Say, why did you write your essay on Buddhism if you aren't familiar with their doctrine?)

Comparing the Lord Jesus to the legends of the Buddha can also be a very good idea (but again, you would have to learn the legends of the Buddha to do this).

But comparing Buddhist sinners to Christian sinners has got to be one of the weakest forms of argument. Both groups ar depraved sinners, and you will have a hard time finding any inherent goodness in either one of them. It's what happens in spite of what we are that makes Christians remarkable. But if anybody thinks we are remarkable in and of ourselves, go back to the first paragraph of this essay.

7:14 AM, March 15, 2005  

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About this site and the author

Welcome. My name is John Luke Rich, (very) struggling Christian. The focus here is Christianity in its many varieties, its fussing and feuding, how it impacts our lives and our society, with detours to consider it with other faiths (or lack thereof).

Call this blog my way of evangelizing on the internet.

Putting it differently, we're only here on this earth a short time. It's the rest of eternity that we should be most concerned about. Call it the care and feeding of our souls.

I was born Jewish, and born again in Christ Jesus over thirty years ago. First as a Roman Catholic; now a Calvinist by persuasion and a Baptist by denomination. But I'm hardly a poster boy for doctrinal rigidity.

I believe that Scripture is the rock on which all Christian churches must stand -- or sink if they are not so grounded. I believe that we are saved by faith, but hardly in a vacuum. That faith is a gift from God, through no agency on our part -- although we sometimes turn a deaf ear and choose to ignore God's knocking on the door.

To be Christian is to evangelize. Those who think it not their part to evangelize perhaps haven't truly understood what our Lord told us in Matthew 28. We must preach the Gospel as best we are able. Using words if necessary.

Though my faith waxes and wanes, it never seems to go away. Sometimes I wish it would, to give me some peace of mind. But then, Jesus never said that walking with Him was going to be easy...

Final note: I also blog as Jack Rich on cultural, political and other things over at Wrong Side of the Tracks

Thanks for stopping by.