Five Things Christianity Can Learn From Buddhism

buddhaCould Christianity’s future lie in Buddhism’s past? This is a possibility that’s been haunting me lately, but in a good way, I think.

One big critique, understandably, of postmodern views on Christian spirituality is that there’s too much time and energy spent deconstructing old systems and ways of thinking that need to be torn down or reimagined, while lacking the same effort to build up something more helpful – more Christ-like – in its place.

This is true, and I’m as guilty of it as anyone. In my current spiritual practices as part of the current year I’m calling “My Jesus Project,” I’m trying to more fully understand what we mean when we talk about following Jesus. So it might seems strange to some that I would look to Buddhism for help in rebuilding my daily walk along the path of Christ.

Author and monastic Thich Nhat Hanh wrote a book years ago called “Living Buddha, Living Christ,” that had a profound impact on me. At the time, I was “A-B-C,” or “anything but Christian.” I had been thrown out of my church of origin for asking too many questions, and up to that point, I assumed there was no way I could ever associate myself with Jesus or the Gospel again. Thankfully – if surprisingly – it was a Buddhist monk who reintroduced me to Jesus.

In his book, he draws many parallels between the life, teaching and practices of Jesus and those of Siddhartha Gautama, later known as The Buddha after achieving enlightenment. For Jesus, I imagine a similar experience of enlightenment coming to him during his monastic retreat into the desert. And as I seek my own moments of illumination during My Jesus Project, it occurs to me that Buddhism has much to teach us about where we might take Christianity in the 21st century.

No Ego – One of the greatest weaknesses of modern Christianity has been the focus on the individual. This comes more from our individualistic culture than from Christianity itself. Though we focus on personal (often translated as sexual) sin, the idea of sin within the Hebrew Bible was more corporate. There was more of an interdependent, tribal culture, and as such, so were the shortcomings. We’ve also focused too much on personal salvation or a “personal relationship with Jesus Christ,” which has also led to such bastardized interpretations as the false gospel of personal prosperity.

In Buddhist practices, one must learn to let the self die, in a manner of speaking, in order to create a deeper, more meaningful relationship and interdependence with others and the rest of creation. This is actually more consistent with ancient Jewish and Christian thought than our modern, egocentric version of Christianity.

Seeking Wisdom, not Knowledge – If you were like me growing up, you were taught to be “armed with the Word,” which basically meant knowing your Bible inside and out – or at least just memorizing it – so you’d be ready to argue with anyone who refuted it in any way. Meanwhile, we didn’t spend much, if any, time actually experiencing the “real world.” Though our present culture values amassing a wealth of knowledge, or expertise, it actually does very little to prepare us to live in a Christ-like way beyond the church walls.

Wisdom, unlike knowledge, comes as a byproduct of lived experience. Something happens, and as often as not, we screw up. Then we reflect, learn and change our attitudes or behaviors moving forward. Christianity, however, too often teaches us to entrench ourselves in self-righteousness, seeking instead to change others to be more like us. (God forbid we would be changed by someone who isn’t a Christian.) But true wisdom means we learn and are affected by all of our experiences, and use that wisdom as an opportunity to do and be better in the future.

Right-Heartedness Over Right Belief – When someone joins a Christian church, or before they get baptized or commit their lives to Christ, we inevitably ask them with three telltale words: “DO YOU BELIEVE…”But Jesus didn’t ask people what they believed, or to recite some creed before following him or going and doing for others what he did for them. He was more concerned with the nature of their hearts than any claim of belief.

This is where a fundamental tenet of Buddhism serves us very well. We’re taught that right hearts, lead to right thoughts, and this, in turn, leads to right action. But it all begins with the orientation of our hearts, how we see, receive and respond to the world. We’re not sent out into the world so much to coerce people into like-thought; rather, we’re charged with going out and offering ourselves fully, sacrificially in humble service to others, regardless of who they are, what they believe or what the result might be for us.

Impermanence – We seem to become pretty fixated on some false correlation between our faithfulness and the lifespan of our churches and denominations. We know we’re doing God’s work if our churches are full, budgets are met and we can hand off a healthy institutional legacy to those who come after us. But Jesus preached the destruction of the temple not just to freak people out; he was warning them not to cling to tightly to all the trappings of religion around them that would inevitably crumble and fail.

We can learn much from the Buddhist artistic discipline of creating mandalas. These elaborate sand-art designs sometimes take weeks or more to make, with several monks attending to them many hours each day. And though our instinct is generally to preserve and even defend something beautiful, the mandala is intentionally destroyed not long after it is finished. The sand is returned to the earth and the only remaining impression of the mandala is in our consciousness. It’s a humbling exercise in letting go; one from which we can learn a great deal.

Care for All Creation – We Christians have been greatly affected by the industrial revolution in ways that have negatively impacted out relationship with the rest of creation. This, combined with an over-emphasis of disdain for our own bodies and sexual identities, has created a sense of disembodiment that also causes us to feel less interdependent on each other and less dependent on all of nature. The notion of dominionism falsely teaches within some Christian circles that the planet is ours to use as we please. And some even go so far as to suggest that anything we can do to help hasten the end-times gets us that much closer to heralding God’s kingdom on earth.

Buddhism, however, teaches simplicity, humility and intentional care for all of creation. Practices of mindfulness and humility help us loosen our grasp on personal desire and avail ourselves to the excesses and insensitivity of our habits. When we regain a healthier sense of our own places within a much larger, very delicate ecosystem, we not only treat our surroundings with more care; we treat ourselves with greater care as well.

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  • Great piece, Christian. Thanks 🙂

  • Love this. I think the concept of Impermanence is key. Churches can be great, but they serve a temporal purpose. We’d like to think they’re eternal but they will be replaced by something greater (depending on your eschatology of course). Jesus could pronounce a similar judgement on many of our current religious structures. *cough*Focus on the Family*cough*

  • Muzi Cindi

    WOW! This is MY STORY also.
    I always say, “JESUS SAVED MY SOUL AND BUDDHA SAVED MY LIFE”

    • Salt

      What is the difference?

      • Muzi Cindi

        Not much difference I guess!!!
        It’s only that Christianity taught me so much on the salvation of my soul (in the bye & bye), while my life was a real mess. It was only when I encountered Buddhism that I started really living in the HERE & NOW!

        • Salt

          Muzi,

          If the “bye and bye” is all you learned from “Christianity,” it would seem that you did not spend a lot of time studying its primary text (the Bible) with serious intent.

          True biblical faith is about both living now and eschatology. It does not hold to one at the expense of the other. The reason Jesus came was both to share how to live by faith in the here and now so that we can know His Father after we die. All of the Apostle Paul’s letters are about living NOW while keeping our eyes on future hope.

          • Muzi Cindi

            Floyd,
            I’ve just browsed through all the disagreements you have with some people here. You seem adamant to make yourself right and others wrong!

            Apostle Paul spoke of a world ending soon! He even said “there’s no more time left”. He even advised people not to marry because the so called “rapture” was about to happen. He included himself amongst those to be soon “raptured”. This was 2000 years ago BTW!

            The writer of Revelation, Peter, James and others were in the same league also. Everything in the Gospels is about the bye & bye and not NOW.

          • RevGundy

            I agree, if FloydAT acts like this in real life what kid of church condones this behavior, is he even educated to the level he says and how many people/organizations have gotten Harassment Restraining Orders or just an Order for Protection against him for this “scream at you and run” tactic… I know many “liberal” Churches that would have to get such actions against people like Floyd for targeted picketing and to make sure HIS message got though at the expense of anyone being heard or having a legitimate platform.

            I tried to rationalize with him above but see that was a mistake and glad I do not have an account that I could be stalked form.

            Jesus commanded us that is someone DOES NOT WANT to hear our message of Him to shake the dust from our sandals and move on… many a “good christian forum troll” like FloydAT seem to remember all commands that could be used to judge or condemn others but not the ones to move on and let them live in peace. Is that not what the Pharisees did as well force others to follow their interpretation and brow beat and badger you and publicly try and shame you until you did?

          • Salt

            Nice personal assaults

          • Andrey Bolkonsky

            Are you one of those grievance collectors?

            Do YOU Live With an Injustice Collector?
            Psychology Today
            psychologytoday.com/blog/the-therapist-is-in/200809/do-you-live-injustice-collector

            We’ll be watching you.

          • Salt

            >>>”You seem adamant to make yourself right and others wrong!”

            Again, that is your judgment and personal assault on the messenger without addressing what is said and is not one on the merits.

            >>>”He even advised people not to marry because the so called “rapture” was about to happen.”

            No Paul did not. He never spoke of a “rapture.” The word actually derives from Latin through Medieval French to today. The “rapture” teaching has several variations today from Dispensational theology taught by Sperry Chafer and Schofield and was also unknown the the Reformers of the 16th-17th centuries. So you are wrong about Paul’s teachings.

            You are also incorrect about the Bible being a “bye&bye” book. It seems apparent that you have not read Paul’s letters or Peter’s, James, or John’s. The majority of their letters are about practical holy living on earth NOW with hope for the future.

          • Muzi Cindi – “You seem adamant to make yourself right and others wrong!”

            AKBooks – “Again, that is your judgment and personal assault on the messenger without addressing what is said and is not one [sic] on the merits.”

            No, actually Muzi Cindi was expressing a reasonable impression of your character. This based on conduct and attitude abundantly illustrated in this “discussion”.

            Not assaulting THE self proclaimed “messenger”.

          • Alonzo

            yawn

          • “yawn”

            Thank you for the confirmation then. And I’ll leave you to your studies. (or the tending of your camels as it were.)

  • Jerry Lynch

    Like Muzi, this is my story also. Back in ’84 when I got sober, I also realized I was a recovering Catholic. I was hungry for a new spiritual direction in my life while I worked the twelve steps. A friend gave me the book, Zen Flesh, Zen Bones, and it changed my life. I really absorbed myself in Zen and the Tao for about two years when I began to see a link with Christ. They fit together on several levels and I also saw how Buddhism could help Christians better live the life, as you have noted in your piece. The thing that really helped me was when I began to realize how I believe was at least as important as what I believe. To be as a little child is key, the Buddhist’s beginner’s mind. There is a lot more I would like to share about the insights I got but you perfectly covered the subject. Thank you these wonderful insights.

  • Martha Deacon

    “Ego” is just scientized jargon for what we know as Pride. “Acceptance” is psychologized Patience. “Impermanence” was known as Mutability in Spencer and the Renascence. All of that is here, under odd names. “Renunciation”? “Integrity”? Filed under Poverty and Chastity. What they have to teach us is our own, but we need it to arrive in a mask. Alas that it is true, we need it to do so. Humility we know, or ignore, in its proper name.

    • Robert Eckert

      No, “ego” here is rendering a Sanskrit term which is older than the Latin language and does not just refer to “pride”: it means the belief that your individual existence can be meaningfully defined separate from the rest of the universe. The notion that “you” will go to heaven, and remain the distinctive entity “Martha Deacon” and none other for all eternity, is what is meant by the delusion of ego.

      • Martha Deacon

        You commit the error of valorizing relative antiquity, and you have a limited appreciation of pride, surprizing given your inside vantage. You think the persistence of personhood is a delusion, and trot out the tired cariacature of eschatology to put me down. I’m praising th3 article, and showing you commonalities, and you don’t seem to get it.

        • Robert Eckert

          I was doing no such thing. I was correcting the error of assuming that the usage of “ego” here was derived from Latin, when it is rendering a concept from a non-Latin literature, and correcting the error of assuming that it referred to pride, which is a different concept.
          “You think the persistence of personhood is a delusion”: more precisely, BUDDHISTS do, and that is what the concept of “ego” here is referring to. You can agree or disagree with their concept, but at least you should not argue from ignorance of what it is that they are saying.

      • ahaṃkāra (अहंकार) = I maker

        “… does not just refer to “pride”: it means the belief that your individual existence can be meaningfully defined separate from the rest of the universe.”

        Not “belief” really. It is the mistaken identification with the abstracted, mind created sense of self.

        Like my reflection in a mirror being confused for the real thing.

        This is why it is not by constructs of mind that we will cross over.

        It is also why Jesus says “become like little children”.

  • James Miller

    The Eastern Orthodox Church has always had these in some form [ Mindfulness, “descending the head into the heart”, thesos, focus on the community and not the egocentric “self”, “contemplation of death” which is not unlike the notion of impermanence etc.], and, like buddhism, a close relation with its monastic traditions. Eastern Orthodox Church is still rather unknown to the Western churches or it is rejected as “Roman Catholicism ish” by Protestants others because they haven’t had a good introduction. Eastern Orthodox Monasteries and Buddhist Monasteries have had contact [ these folks for example http://vashonmonks.com/wp/%5D. Books like “Christ the Eternal Tao” by Hieromonk Damascene wold be another example of their links. This links are more possible as the EOC has some theological differences from western Christianity such as the rejection of the western concept of “original sin” and the nature of Christ’s work as wells a definite tie to and respect of nature via a liturgical (like buddhism) sacramental and more mystical theology. There is an argument historically it was contact with early Christians, Orthodox, that shaped some of Buddhism.

    • Christian Piatt

      Agreed James. I’ve long talked on the road about how much wisdom and richness we lost when westernizing ourselves and losing touch with our eastern orthodox roots.

      • We can learn all we need to know about Jesus from study of apostolic writings. Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Buddha’s way leads to death.

        • Permit-holder Ron

          No, entropy leads to death. Skipped high school chemistry class, did we?

          • Studying chemistry is no preparation for eternity. Jesus saves those who love and obey Him. Others will suffer.

          • Permit-holder Ron

            Oho, so that explains my sore finger!

        • Andy

          You say that like they had opposite concerns. Both were focused on making the world a better place.

          • Thanks, Andy. I agree that both Buddha and Jesus had good intentions. One also had truth and facts. Jesus saves. He saves those who love and obey Him.

          • Andy

            So Buddha didn’t have facts? He just made shit up? Gotcha.

          • Shall I remark about dirty mouth talk? Buddha spoke as best he could to say what he thought was true. His eating and related physical habits had nothing to do with his teaching so far as I know.

          • Andy

            Ooh, I said a bad word. That makes me a bad person and invalidates everything I said. Lighten up, Francis.

            For a number of Buddhists, it’s more of a philosophy than a religion. Some of them have other religions, and some have none. Supposedly, Buddha himself preferred to avoid answering questions about gods, concerning himself more with ending suffering here on earth. Which sounds a lot like Jesus to me.

          • Andy obviously knows little about Jesus, but wants to tell us all he knows. Jesus lived humbly. He will be Lord of all for eternity. He lived and died in order to establish an earthly kingdom totally unlike any previous kingdom, one which calls for His subjects to serve others, but also to invite others to life, with the promise that those who do not turn to Jesus as Lord will suffer eternally because of their bad choice.

          • Andy

            Lot of assumptions there. I’m not a theologian, but I’m quite familiar with the bible and I’ve known Jesus all my life. Just because my opinions do not perfectly jibe with yours does not make me ignorant. Your condemnation is not welcome here.

          • Some think they know a lot when they really know too little. It’s a surprise that some who love Jesus suppose it’s all right to not know and believe and practice what He taught through His apostles. I agree that we can have differing opinions on matters which are not clearly taught by the apostles. We are wrong if we differ with what the apostles taught. And the apostles were taught by God rather than by Buddha.

          • Andy

            1. I find that the more I learn about something, the more I realize I don’t yet know. I think that’s the counterintuitive curiosity of wisdom.

            2. The apostles aren’t here, and they didn’t speak English, so we can’t really ask them now, can we? The context is so far removed that ambiguous interpretations may even be the norm rather than the exception. For example, the KJV was written about 1500 years — or more — after most of the writings compiled therein. Shakespeare’s writings are currently about 400-500 years old, and today’s English has many differences from that. Imagine, then, how different writings in other languages three times further removed from the translations that compose the KJV could be.

            As I said, I am familiar with the bible, but I would not nearly call myself an expert. Again, the more I learn, the more I realize I have yet to learn. But two things I am fairly certain of are that ambiguity is a given in hermeneutics, and contextually-removed translations are suspicious and should be regarded very thoroughly before being used to condemn others in any way.

          • Andy is wise to realize that the Bible is not writings to be thoroughly understood by quick cursory reading. The King James Version is the least helpful, in my opinion, since it’s written in Old English. We don’t thee and thou people now as they did then. I use the English Standard Version of the Bible. It’s recently translated, using the oldest manuscripts and all the later ones as source of the original text.

            Andy speaks of asking the apostles. Anyone who speaks English can read what was written by the apostles and can learn how to prepare for Heaven while here on earth. Jesus offers eternal life. Those who spurn His offer will not enjoy eternal life. That’s a promise sure to be fulfilled. Those who oppose Jesus will find themselves in a bad place later on. I feel free to pass on that news. I’m sure it’s correct. Only Jesus offers eternal LIFE in glory. All others condemn themselves to Hell. How’s that for telling it like it is?

          • Andy

            “How’s that for telling it like it is?”

            Your refusal to distinguish between those things that are objective and subjective tells me we are not going to get anywhere in this discussion. If you ever recognize that this is your opinion and not an objective fact, I’ll resume this conversation. Short of that, I’m not going to waste my time. Peace to you.

          • “Those who oppose Jesus will find themselves in a bad place later on. “

            Not sure that Jesus would approve of your Mafia Don scenario.

            Maybe try asking your self what he really meant by “I am the Way the Truth and the Life.”

            Is this a description of his relationship to God? Or, his street cred, entitling him to be the Boss?

            Do we worship at his feet for eternity or, get to the point where we too can credibly say, “I and the Father are One”?

            “No one comes to the Father but by way of me”

            Who is this “Me”? He has already told us. There can only be One.

          • Try as anyone might, no human can become God. Buddha was no prophet of truth. Jesus is indeed the Way, the Truth and the Life. We do well if we aim to love as He did and live as He did and trust the Father as He did. But He is God and we are NOT God. Nor ever will be.

          • You are not a Buddhist and so do not understand the Buddha as one. It is easy to scapegoat. A common practice.

            However, the way to Peace is found in your own Teachers words. “Judge not lest you be judged.” “Love God with all your heart, mind and soul. And your neighbor as your self.”

            If Jesus can say “I and the Father are One”, then that is also our destiny.

            We do not replace God by arriving at this “enlightened” state. Only regain original nature by casting off the illusion of separation.

          • Jesus could say that He and the Father are one. No human can ever make that claim. We are humans. Jesus was with God in the beginning of time and was actual Creator of all things that were made–our universe. Life is in Jesus, not in Buddha.

          • “Those who spurn His offer will not enjoy eternal life” – I’m not sure that’s a fair assumption. Also, you can have people who don’t necessarily ‘accept his offer’ who are also not necessarily in opposition to Jesus. Things just aren’t simply that black-and-white. I have loved Jesus and walked with Him for nearly 35 years and although I used to believe what you have written above, the more I have studied and prayed, the less I believe that the assumption is true.

            Sure, if you ‘…believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, you will be saved…’ (Acts 16:31) – but the converse is not necessarily true. Those who do not believe are not necessarily ‘lost’. There are many Bible-believing, theologically sound and Jesus-knowing and Holy Spirit-filled and Holy Spirit-led Christians for whom Hell is actually a doctrine that is open to question. Jesus did not actually say that those who do not believe in Him will go to Hell. He mentioned a lot about Hell, sure, but much of that is questionable with regard to its actual reference to an eternal-suffering ‘place’, afterlife concept or whatever.

            So many people extrapolate and defend long-held Church ideas from Scriptures that actually don’t mean what we thought they meant. For example, ‘You must be born again’. Sure, we say this, but how do you actually do it? For years I have searched the Bible for ‘instructions’ on ‘how’ to be ‘born again’, but it doesn’t actually tell you how. As a Church we have extrapolated it to saying the ‘sinner’s prayer’, or other some such rite, but at the end of the day it’s the Spirit who brings the new life. All the formulae you like can’t make Him do that; He looks on the heart. And so it is with knowing who is and who is not ‘in’ when it comes to Heaven. Only the individual believer knows for himself….he could be a Muslim, a Mormon, a Jehovah’s Witness; if he ‘believes on the Lord Jesus’, he will be saved. We need to lose the parochial mindset and realise that actually God is so much bigger than our little lines, borders and rules. That, too, is ‘telling it like it is’ 🙂

          • Anyone who doesn’t believe Jesus and His apostles can surely agree with Tony.

          • Oh, dear. Another person who can’t seem to enter into reasonable dialogue. What I put was perfectly reasonable and I wonder if you are simply here to troll this blog…..many of the people with whom you have unilaterally disagreed, including myself, are well-established and respected contributors to Patheos blogs. While most of us are perfectly happy to discuss things with people with whom we almost completely disagree, in a civil and proper manner, there are those who do not follow simple good manners. And I suspect that this is what has happened here. As I often have to write to fellow believers with whom I disagree, I look forward to us leaning on each other in Heaven and laughing about this 🙂

          • It surely sounds like you like yourself a lot, far more than might be seemly.

          • Hee hee. Well, God loves me lots, so I feel I’m in good company 🙂

          • A friend who was a Christian, when asked how he was doing always replied, “I’m happy on the way to Heaven.” It would be good if everyone who thought they were headed that way were correct. From appearances it seems that at least one is happy on the way to the opposite of Heaven. Happy, or at least giggling. It’s good that Tony indicates he wants to go to Heaven.

          • Sir, you have me at a disadvantage. I am uncertain as to how to read your postings as I am Autistic….I don’t know how to detect sarcasm, inference, even hidden humour, that sort of thing.

            I have looked at your website and you appear to me to be a proper man of God, and yet you would try to discourage a brother in Christ – or at least that is how it appears to my Autistic mind. You would try to shoot down my faith, and, never having met me or seen the fruit in my life, you would judge me based on a couple of comments on a blog?

            Fortunately I am mature enough in my Christian faith to ride out such storms, or at least light showers, and take it all in my stride. I’ve had worse, brother. But I do find it disappointing that you would – or at least that you would appear to – judge a brother in this manner. My salvation is secure and neither you – nor anyone else – is in no position to make any kind of judgement on that.

            If you want to continue publicly to troll, you are the only one who will look bad in public, not me. And you are disobeying the master’s instructions to not judge. However if you are in humour mode, I’m afraid it’s lost on me and possibly others too, although as an Autistic I wouldn’t know.

            However, I still maintain that I look forward – really I do – to laughing about this with you one day!

        • Andrey Bolkonsky
          • Jesus came from Heaven to earth and lived in a nation far from the East which housed Buddha. Jesus teaches truth. Buddha sought for truth. Totally different people.

          • Andrey Bolkonsky

            Like a fucking parrot.

        • “We can learn all we need to know about Jesus from study of apostolic writings.”

          I thought it was Father, Son and HOLY GHOST. I think these budget cuts have gotten WAY out of hand!

          “Buddha’s way leads to death.”

          Well actually, bearing false witness tends to keep “death” in play. Buddha would have advised against it. (Jesus as well, but you knew THAT right?)

          • For the record, it might be well to recognize that “the gospel” which Christians are to carry throughout the world is about Jesus. His coming to earth. His living on earth. His teaching on earth. His death. His resurrection. His commission for us to tell others ABOUT HIM wherever we go in the world. He is Son of Father God. He sent His Spirit to empower the apostles. But the gospel is about JESUS.

          • Thank you. Actually I do respect and even appreciate this.

            I just have some difficulty with, and feel obliged to point out, some things based on my own understanding. Always hoping to keep it positive, moving in the right direction and most importantly as True as possible. (it’s all a work in progress.)

            If Jesus is in equal measure God, Himself and Holy Ghost (I interpret this as eternal Guru), I worry when people either deify him or make an idol out of the Bible.

            This is all ultimately about Us and the fullness of our Understanding of God.

            [Edit: I originally said “Relationship to God”, but that didn’t seem quite right. When Jesus says “I and the Father are One”, This is not the same as “relationship” the way we experience it in our mortal form.]

          • The point I make is that we learn all we need to know about God from studying the Bible. Jesus reveals the Father and clearly says so. So I see no reason for followers of Jesus to seek additional light from Buddha. Jesus IS the light. Buddha sought the light but so far as I know didn’t know about Jesus. The subject is what Buddha can teach us about Jesus and the answer is nothing at all. Jesus teaches all anyone needs to know about God. If we seek light on the subject of our God, we should look to Jesus.

          • There is something here that I am just not getting.

            What does your type of Christian make of Jesus pointing out the availability of Holy Spirit for guidance after his death?

            And….

            What is the relationship of TIME in terms of God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit?

            Are you saying that before the mortal form of Jesus as a man, there was no Holy Spirit guiding us. (including Buddha, Vedic Rishis, Yogic saints, Lao Tzu)?

            After Jesus’s death, and despite his informing us that guidance would be available through the “Holy Spirit” (as in Ishvara Primordial Guru of Gurus), we are only to rely on the Bible?!

          • My “type” of Christian is simply a Christian only. It’s obvious there are other types. God didn’t inspire Buddha or any other similar spiritual leader. He sent His Son to reveal Himself to mankind.

            The only inspired words God has given are those in the Bible, and only the words in the New Testament are guides to eternal life through Jesus Christ. It is very unwise to rely on other spiritual teachers. They seek to make good people, which is a noble aim.

            Jesus seeks to, and does, provide eternal life to those who rely on HIM and turn to Him as the Lord of the Universe. Those are wise who trust Jesus and obey Him. He is the only spiritual guide who knows and shows the way to LIFE ETERNAL.

      • Bruce Mathwig

        I think through the history of the western church you can find many of these facets of the faith. Not against listening to wisdom from other world religions or from our Orthodox friends but, I wonder if your reducing western Christianity to 20th century North American Evangelicalism particularly of the Dispensational variety? I’ve been learning more about the gospel from progressive Christians and much as been good. At it’s worst however, I often feel they do the same thing as traditional evangelicals (reductionism) except with different emphasis. So traditional evangelicals emphasize salvation and a personal relationship with Christ as the means to that goal and, the progressives emphasize earth keeping and social justice. I find all the above as more scriptural rather than either or. Jesus talks about believing in him in Jn. 11:25 and we should not ignore the rest of the NT which exhorts us to believe upon Christ Jesus and him crucified/resurrected in numerous places. I do believe because of what happened to the the original social gospel in the 20’s and 30’s the conservatives threw the baby out with the dirty bath water.

    • Duncan Pugh

      You could also argue that early Buddhism influenced Jesus.

      • Salt

        Duncan, you could, but it would be an incorrect argument. There is not correlation between what Jesus taught and what Buddha taught. Buddha had sayings and aphorisms divorced from history. Jesus’ teachings were grounded in history. Buddhism was/is atheistic, Jesus taught His Father, the God of all that exists. Their teachings were opposites.

        • Andrey Bolkonsky

          You’re wrong.

          Jesus is Buddha
          http://www.jesusisbuddha.com

          • Salt

            Wow! Wrong about what? You never explain what you say, and since you do not, your statement is irrelevant. Unless you can explain yourself without giving rabbit trail websites, then you have no idea what you are talking about. So, what are your credentials for making your claim that I am wrong? What is your education level for such an uneducated reply? Anybody can build a website and put whatever they want on it. I don’t chase risky websites that could be full of viruses. Funny, funny, funny.

          • Andrey Bolkonsky

            You never explained what you say, so you’re irrelevant by your own standard. Nothing like being hoist on your own petard.

            Anyway, learn some Sanskrit, because without that, you don’t really understand the NT.

            “The use of this method of “transcreation” from Sanskrit and Pâli into Greek has been firmly established by Christian Lindtner.”

            http://www.jesusisbuddha.com/

          • Salt

            Audrey, you show you have no understanding of linguistics or Greek by your reply. Greek and Sanskrit do not even come from the same language families. Besides Greek originated BEFORE Sanskrit. Greek is from Hellenic while Sanskrit is from Indic through Indo-Iranian. You also demonstrate how clueless you are concerning how languages develop. There is no such thing as “transcreation” in linguistic theory in terms of language development. While the word today is used frequently in marketing for messaging, it had nothing to do with language development.

            In his scholarly article “Greek influence on Sanskrit Language” (Journal of Eurasian Studies, 2010, II:3), Clyde Winters shows how the opposite of your claim is true. But of course, since you are uneducated in linguistic theory, you would not know that. I do, because of my background studies in linguistics studies.

            I can read the Greek New Testament just fine without reliance on Sankrit, thank you, because I do not need to rely on fables and fiction for my reading.

            Now, go read a book you can understand like Dr. Seuss, and don’t attempt to bamboozle more knowledgeable people than you with false information.

          • RevGundy

            This is a TYPICAL hate filled response from a “good christian” I have come to expect. When unable to resolve an argument to your “side” and you see you failed to achieve complete victory in with your first post you engage in your own “straw man”/”ad homemen” attacks to discredit your detractors.

            I bailed from the charismatic/pentecostal church after earning a pastroal degree and supporting program in Biblical languages and then got a MDiv further learning more Biblical languages and going to he Middle East and having a rare chance to student exchange with Zen Monastery for 9 months.

            SO, maybe… just maybe your need to examine your education and not just shoot from the hip what you have heard in 3rd rate apologist books, web-sights or your ‘pastor’ and learn that the root of languages was and is Cuneiform so there is a common root that COULD be traced and Buddhism does predate Jesus by about 1800-500 years depending on where you place Jesus and the writings of the gospels, since they were written at least 100 year after Jesus death, in history. Then, even in the Cuneiform Epic of Gilgamesh there is a creation and flood mythology that WAY predated that Moses gave us and was in written form a couple thousand years before the Verbal Traditions of the Old Testament were remotely written down.

            So please, you can free think and explore and not insult and deprecate and actually grow in faith, I assure you a “free thinker is not the devils playground” but rather a buttress to supporting truth of the church … other wise go read the “Lorax” for its pretty colors and learn how to treat people in real life and the net. {/Sarc}

          • Salt

            Gundy, with all your education, you still engage in personal attack and judgmentalism rather than arguments on the merits. You seem to be doing the very same thing of which you accuse others. And yes, the arguments I cited as straw man were straw man.

            Thank you for also sharing your education and being falsely presumptuous about mine. I suppose your education taught you to accept Higher Criticism and Jesus Seminar arguments which have long been refuted (whether you realize that or not). And, yes, I know them when I read them.

            I do speak from what I know with two Master degrees, one from seminary, and an English degree with emphasis in linguistic theory. In addition to that, I have performed a large amount of research. A lot of my research includes scholarship in both OT and NT from notable scholars in the field.

            The gospels were not written 100 years after Jesus died. No scholarship (except Higher Criticism and the Jesus Seminar group) supports your suppositions. This theory lacks sound scholarship (except the liberal side which has been refuted over and over again). And I can offer plenty of scholarship to support his claim.

            >>>”Cuneiform so there is a common root that COULD be traced and Buddhism does predate Jesus by about 1800-500 years depending on where you place Jesus…”

            Who was disputing that Buddhism (or Siddhartha) did not predate Jesus? Why even bring this up when no one was disputing it? That is reading into remarks things that are not there. Besides Jesus’ birth is irrelevant to Buddha. Again, overwhelming scholarship and early writings substantiate when Jesus lived (Eusebius, Josephus, Tertullian, Polycarp, and so on). Besides, there is more substantiation for the writings of the gospels than Plato, Aristotle, Socrates, or any early Buddhist followers.

            In terms of historical linguistics summation I gave, it is correct from the linguistic scholarship in which I engaged. So you may want to back off your comments about examining my education until you can get your facts right and offer support on the merits rather than personal attacks. You comments about Gilgamesh and Moses are irrelevant to the discussion since you introduced it and the article did not. If you wish to open a discussion on the Bible, I would be happy to engage you on it. I have ample resources at my disposal in my library. But thank you anyway.

          • Floyd was honest and courteous and correct, unlike Gundy.

          • Andrey Bolkonsky

            You show that you have no understanding of basic English. Quit making up stuff that I never claimed, ok, Mr. Clueless?

          • Salt

            Cite where I made stuff up? In terms of understanding basic English, I only earned a degree in it with emphasis in English Literature and linguistics. And how about you? Did you even study English?

          • Andrey Bolkonsky

            Look above at what you wrote. You obviously have zero understanding of Dr. Christian Lindtner’s position, and merely mean to misrepresent it.

          • Salt

            You still have not answered my question or refuted anything I have said. Just to make a claim does not make it so. You must support what you claim, or your claim is worthless. You have not demonstrated your claim to be true. So cite where I make stuff up from what I wrote.

          • Andrey Bolkonsky

            Anybody can tell you’re a huge liar, and misrepresenting Dr. Lindtner’s work by comparing your lies with his work. Simple.

          • Salt

            If all you wish to do is engage in insults and personal assaults with someone you do not know, then you have ended the discussion. Your response is beneath all dignity and is unbecoming discussion. You have been reported to the owner of Patheos.

          • Andrey Bolkonsky

            If you wish to engage in lying about Dr. Lindtner’s work, I’ll call you on it. If you want to stomp off, that’s ok too.

          • Andrey obviously doesn’t know what the subject of this blog is and imagines it’s the work of “Dr. Lindtner.” It isn’t.

          • Andrey Bolkonsky

            Obviously Ray Downen doesn’t know shit.

          • Andrey is correct about what I don’t know. I surely don’t.

          • Andy

            I’m not sure you know what insults are. Calling someone out when you think they’re lying isn’t insulting them.

          • Salt

            Andy, yes it is. It is an insult to slander someone. In fact, slander can have legal penalties.

          • Andrey Bolkonsky

            It’s not slander to point out your lies. But go ahead, sue me. LOL

          • Andy

            I find it hard to believe calling someone a liar could qualify as slander. Find me a person nowadays that has never told a lie.

          • Floyd uses English well, obviously with complete understanding of its meaning.

          • AnahataJL

            Yeah Ray you contributed a lot to this conversation… Self published works of glaring hate speech for anyone not of your identical belief in “jebus”… you are Floyd are are proof the that the First Amendment gave all Americans the right to free speech and the internet via message boards and forms, of StormFront you are both no doubt members, gave people audiences they would not have because they are usually shunned in they own community and already have their soap boxes taken from them…

            Now, move on before real thinking people and logic hurts your hate inundated Neanderthal sized and barely thought capable brains OR your Gawd drops a house on you for making Him, and his Son, look like a fool.

          • Ana is hateful sure enough.

          • Andrey Bolkonsky

            Obviously not, since he can’t comprehend.

          • I have no trouble understanding English. I don’t agree with foolish comments. I like ones which make good sense. I see little sense in what Andrey writes here.

          • Andrey Bolkonsky

            Foolish, eh? Obviously, Matthew 5:22 (And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell) makes no sense to you, since you totally ignore it.

            Enjoy your roasting, nitwit.

          • Actually, Hellenic languages are Indo-European. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Indo-European_languages

          • Salt

            True, Carl, if you back up one more notch in the language chain. However, there have been a number of scholarly discussions concerning the Indic language groups associated with Indo-European (or Proto-Indo-European). That is, did the Indic language groups actually belong to Proto-Indo-European? This radically changes thinking in historical linguistics.

            Also, since Greek existed before many of the Indic languages, did the Hellenic language group influence Indic language groups early on much like it did with the Slavic language groups to Russian (although Russian is considered Proto-Indo-European); hence the Russian alphabet incorporated Greek letters.

            However, all of this is a discussion for another day. However, what is clear is that one does not need to know Sanskrit to understand the Koine Greek of the Bible. To claim one does shows an ignorance of linguistics (language study). Meaning derives from author intent according to the standard set of meanings of words as languages change over time.

            For example, the same word in Early Modern English may not have the same meaning in Modern English. Another example is that hardly anyone today can read or speak Old English of even Middle English (unless you are a scholar). Old English is an entirely different language. Many would have a difficult time reading the Early Modern English of the 1611 Edition of the King James Bible since many of the words in it are now extinct or have different meanings.

          • Andrey Bolkonsky

            You got caught lying, again, Floyd. Mighty Christian of ya.

          • Andrey Bolkonsky

            Trying to explain facts to Floyd? LOL

          • Good for Floyd for telling the truth every time. I also have a website where Jesus is honored. It’s missionoutreach.org.

        • Good for Floyd for telling the truth even if some don’t want to know the truth.

          • Salt

            Ray, Progressive (liberal) religionists do not know or understand the truth. I had a liberal professor in my undergraduate minor program when I majored in English/Linguistics who denied Christ’s resurrection, the Trinity, salvation through Christ (and alone), and the Scriptures as the final authority and inerrant word of God. He at least had the integrity to acknowledge my work and research although he did not agree with it.

            I also has a former Catholic priest professor who taught Whitehead process theology. His integrity was very much lacking. I did a comprehensive research thesis on biblical faith for discussion while another student claimed he did not understand process theology and did not do a paper. I received a B and he got an A. Call that honesty? He criticized my theology rather than my research paper.

            Liberals do not have a solid foundation and rely on pluralism and inclusivism for their theology while denying virtually every biblical doctrine while making up their own. They do not know the first thing about biblical theology.

            So I simply brush them aside and go elsewhere. Thanks for your comments.

        • Robert Eckert

          The concept of a monastic community living apart from the laity and devoting itself to spiritual inquiry was Buddha’s invention, brought to Judea and beyond in the centuries before Jesus by Ashoka’s missionaries. The Essene term moreh which has come to be rendered “Teacher of Righteousness” in English translations of the Dead Sea Scrolls is literally the “enlightened” one (from or “light”). Clement of Alexandria noted that Buddhist teachers were popular not only in Egypt but also in the British Isles, and the early Christian monasteries in Egypt, Palestine, and also Ireland were continuations of pre-Christian monastic communities. Practices such as breathing and sitting meditations, prayers counted on rosary beads, and summarized teachings in the form of numbered lists persisted from the Buddhist heritage even if no particular doctrinal ideas remained.

          • Salt

            Several comments:

            1. Why are these things so important to you?

            2. You omitted any citations about Clement, and why is this important? The “wise men” who came from the east were thought to be Zoroastrians. But so what? It is only tradition and not stated in Scripture who they really were or where they came from. God’s providence guided them to His Son to worship Him.

            3. These were not biblical practices, so they have no relevance to biblical faith.

            4. Concerning the Essenes, which language? Greek, Aramaic, or Hebrew? You do not say. The Hebraic term for “teacher of righteousness,” mō·w·reh, occurred way before the Essenes among the prophets of Israel. The Hebrew word is not limited to a single meaning. In Joel 2:23 it is translated “early rain” and refers to the righteousness of God. It also appears in Psalm 84:6 with a similar meaning. Its meaning depends on context. In Joel 2:23, it is also related to faithfulness (i.e., one of the most prominent meanings of the term “righteousness” in the Scriptures). Just because the Essenes used the word mō·w·reh means nothing in terms of biblical faith or the Scriptures. English pronouns are used by everyone who speaks English. That simply indicates that they know how to use the word

            5. Since the writings of the Essenes are not inspired Scripture and are not included in the Bible and recognized by the Jewish and Christian communities as inspired, they are irrelevant.

            Therefore, you cannot make any correlation between Buddhist practices and biblical faith based on a single word and non-biblical practices. You can compare monastic practices all you wish, but such non-biblical practices are not meaningful to biblical faith. There is no correlation whatever between Christian faith and Buddhism as Christian Piatt attempts to show. Furthermore, your assumptions are also incorrect and speculation at best.

          • Robert Eckert

            “Why are these things so important to you?” Right back atcha, buddy. I’m commenting on a public message board, the same as you. I see reading further that you have built up a reputation for attacking people just for expressing themselves. Why do you do that?

            “The “wise men” who came from the east were thought to be Zoroastrians. But so what?” Zoroastrianism is ALSO crucial to the development of Christianity, which did not emerge in a vacuum.

            “These were not biblical practices, so they have no relevance to biblical faith” The book didn’t fall out of the sky. The church is older than the New Testament. If there were not a living community, you wouldn’t have the book.

            “Greek, Aramaic, or Hebrew? You do not say.” I did not think I needed to. OF COURSE the Hebrew word they used to translate the term existed already in Hebrew; “enlightened” existed in English before, too. As you yourself show, it had never been used as a title for a teacher before, however.

            “Since the writings of the Essenes are not inspired Scripture and are not included in the Bible and recognized by the Jewish and Christian communities as inspired, they are irrelevant.” They are the context in which the Christian community arose. If you do not understand anything about what Jesus or the early Christians were thinking, you cannot understand anything that is written in your books.

            “There is no correlation whatever between Christian faith and Buddhism ” Certainly none between the nasty tribalism that you exhibit and any variety of religion that involves compassion for others and an understanding of how little your own ego matters. But between what Jesus was actually trying to tell you and what Buddha taught there is a great deal in common.

          • Salt

            As I stated before, when all your logic and reason fails you, you launch insults and attacks. You do not know the difference between “attack” and pointing out where someone is wrong factually. And every one of your previous comments are wrong and show a lack of education. They are not worthy of a response. And I thought you had an interest in learning something. You will never learn. By the way, the word mō·w·reh does NOT mean enlighten. That shows you do not know Hebrew. Monastic life and non-biblical rituals are NOT important to me. You missed my point entirely with you snide reply. Right over your head.

            Have a good time preaching to your choir, because nothing else you would say is worthy of response because it arises from ignorance. I ignore whiners and bitter people like you.

          • Robert Eckert

            “you launch insults and attacks.” You are the one who demanded to know by what right I was even commenting here, in your very first sentence to me. Try to develop some self-awareness of how hostile you come across, not just to me, but apparently to everyone you have ever interacted with here.
            “every one of your previous comments are wrong and show a lack of education” I am telling you things you do not know, and YOU have the nerve to accuse ME of a lack of education?

            “the word mō·w·reh does NOT mean enlighten” It is participial-m prefixed to a verbalized form of the word for “light”. You are demonstrating that YOU are the one who has no clue about Hebrew word-formation.

          • Salt

            First sentence – wrong again.

            Second sentence – judgmentalism

            Third sentence – wrong again

            Now let’s test your understanding of the transliteration “mō·w·reh.”

            No matter how hard you try to parse a word into finer morphemes, you still do not get it right, because you ignore three important facts about linguistic meaning: the change of meaning of words over time and in different languages, context, author intent.

            You attempt to assign one meaning and one only to a word when in fact words have several meanings DEPENDING on CONTEXT and AUTHOR intent (and not the reader’s!!). Check any dictionary and you will discover upwards of dozens of meanings for the same word. Such an assignment is the exegetical fallacy of unwarranted restriction of the semantic field. That is, one excludes the possibility that words have a greater semantic range (or meaning).

            Now let’s put your claim to a test in a few places in the Bible where the word “mō·w·reh” appears (as I earlier explained). One is Joel 2:23,

            “Be glad then, you children of Zion, And rejoice in the LORD your God; For He has given you the former rain [הַמּוֹרֶ֖ה, transliteration: ham-mō·w·reh] faithfully, and He will cause the rain to come down for you— The former rain, And the latter rain in the first month” (NKJV).

            To claim that the translation to be “enlighten” is nonsense. The context and the author’s intent demands that it be what the translation renders. The Hebrew word appears in only one other place in the Hebrew biblical record, and that is Psalm 84:6, and the context also calls for the same translation.

            Just because a certain morpheme appears in a certain subsequent language gives no reason to claim that it has the meaning in ALL languages. If that were the case, then a given word in pro-indo-european would have to be the same in all derivative dialects and languages throughout time. Utter nonsense.

            I will be no longer respond to any subsequent posts from you since you do not seem to understand linguistic theory, translation, or exegesis. As far as your continued name-calling, that only goes to reveal your true character and irrational behavior. Those are not worthy of a response. Have fun singing to your choir of liberals, and save yourself from getting carpel tunnel syndrome by staying away from the keyboard.

          • Robert Eckert

            The usage in Joel (“glistening” or “shimmering”) is a poetic form for “dew”.

            “Just because a certain morpheme appears in a certain subsequent language gives no reason to claim that it has the meaning in ALL languages” I am talking about the morphemes IN HEBREW and what they mean IN HEBREW. Yes, the m-prefix is a participle and yes, the root means “light”.

            “I will be no longer respond to any subsequent posts from you since you do not seem to understand linguistic theory” I am sure I have forgotten more about linguistics than you have ever heard of. It looks to me as if you have no more knowledge of Hebrew than to look things up in a concordance: a concordance is not a grammar or even a dictionary, but just an index, of where forms occur and what translational choices have been made by the standard versions– without any explanation of how those words would come to have those usages.

            “As far as your continued name-calling” You are the one who started out hostile, from the outset, and this has clearly been a pattern of yours.

          • ” These were not biblical practices, so they have no relevance to biblical faith.”

            Who died and made “biblical faith” God?

          • Alonzo

            Do not collapse biblical teachings into a straw man. Now go and study the Bible and you will receive your answer. It is apparent that you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God.

      • Permit-holder Ron

        There’s been some discussion of the idea, but I’m inclined to think it more likely that the two came up with the similar bits of philosophy independently. A good idea is a good idea no matter where or when it comes from.
        O’course, having said that, it’s kind of intriguing to think that Yeshua spent some of those undocumented years of his life studying other faiths. Perhaps in Alexandria, if the ‘flight to Egypt’ actually happened.

        • Duncan Pugh

          Yes there are similarities with Socrates too. I think it has been argued that Buddhist ideas were transmitted by King Ashoka to Greece. Karen Armstrong talks of the Axial age which as I recall suggests a bit of both … or at least that a number of cultures were ripe for developing these ideas and receptive to this new way of thinking both in the East and the West.

          • It is important to step beyond “thinking” of these as “good ideas”.

            At ground zero they were/are “experience”.

            So much contention arises because we “mistake pointing fingers for the moon”.

            Reality, untroubled and unchanged by our abstractions, is knowable as Truth. It is a game changer.

          • Duncan Pugh

            Agreed … I believe it is called yathabhutadarsana in the Buddhist tradition (seeing things the way they really are) in the Western tradition Meister Eckhart and Hegel seem to taking a similar perspective in my opinion … but is experience ever truly unmediated?

          • ” … but is experience ever truly unmediated?”

            Attachment remains until it doesn’t. But the root of attachment is a mistaken identity. The finite Ego. A creation of the mind.

            Experience and experiencer indistinguishable. Your question cannot be answered.

          • Kevin Osborne

            Let’s say experience is the process of relative understanding and not understanding. One moves from one place to another, it seems, and observes the relationship between objects and systems of objects, and leaves observation of other relationships, and from that comes reality as recognition. Reality therefore is mediation and experience is motion, so one’s experience is determined by reality and vice versa, as brmckay notes. In enlightenment one holds no reality but may know all realities. We are doves in flight, in a world of white.

          • Duncan Pugh

            Very eloquent!

      • You could certainly argue this, but it wouldn’t be true. Jesus lived in Heaven before coming to earth. He didn’t need Buddha to tell Him anything about God. He was God. He IS God.

  • Brandon Roberts

    i used to be christian i’m agnostic now but *claps* amen agreed! everyone should learn these lessons and try to live this way

  • Agni Ashwin

    If you haven’t already, check out Catholic theologian Paul Knitter’s, “Without Buddha I Could Not Be a Christian”: https://www.oneworld-publications.com/books/paul-f-knitter/without-buddha-i-could-not-be-a-christian#.VTElFCFViko

  • Nimblewill

    Instead of learning form Buddhist, shouldn’t we learn from Christ Himself? Or are you saying that we can’t learn these from Christ?

    • Christian Piatt

      “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

      • Salt

        Anyone can say that about anybody. What Gandhi failed to realize is that the Bible teaches that all humanity is on the same level – going their own way and engaging in rebellion. No one acts, thinks, or lives perfection. Consequently, all need God and His constant help to live right and good lives, even Gandhi. If Gandi held to this philosophy, he would also have to criticize himself for not living consistently with his own belief system, for he too is was not perfect.

        He simply pointed out certain degrees of imperfection he did not like. In doing so, he showed he understood imperfection well enough. However, true humility recognize such flawedness about oneself. Did Gandhi have such recognition? If so, he needed to step back and look at the traits he saw in others and ask if those were in him. That is true humility.

        • Mick

          Gandhi was a fallen man like anyone . He has become an idol of so many in circles of modern liberalism . Interesting if Gandhi was going up against another regime say in the Middle east or The Soviet Union , civil disobedience would have been met with millions being killed . Only a nation with the morality promoted and lived to some extent by Christ himself would have allowed for a peace loving and man like Gandhi to be successful . Gandhi is said to have gotten his inspiration from David Thoraeu , Martin Luther King the ideas of Civil Disobedience from Gandhi , its is a good way in countries where Christian morality has a strong base to win issues based on social justice , Instead of thanking Christians , interesting how even today some people regardless if they say are Christian or an atheist , will blame Christ and His followers .

          • Andrey Bolkonsky

            Don’t fool yourself, Mick. Christians are just as efficient at genocide as Communists.

            “The reason the Christians have murdered…is purely and simply greed.”
            ~Bartolomé de las Casas (1542) A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies

            ” The destruction of the Indians of the Americas was, far and away, the most massive act of genocide in the history of the world..”
            ~David Stannard (1992) American Holocaust: The Conquest of the New World. Oxford University Press.

          • Mick

            Oh please . The Native Americans here were enslaving their neighbors long before others got here . As was all of man kind . The difference was here they were still in the stone age literally , and even had groups who were still sacrificing children to gods and even eating the flesh of others . There were many tribes that were peaceful also . The mass slaughter specifically was based on disease , it was not genocide. Many tribal treaties were broken and yeah treating those who are unfairly are wrong . Sort of like your history and view of the United States . Never considered this a Christian nation , but surely we had original Christian principles . Again not surprised to see people promoting false hoods about Christianson this page . I guess the trick is to get on the wagon and blame Christians , claim you are so you can book revenue , and then make a theology that embraces everything except the Basic Truths and Doctrines of your faith and claim those who support them are not spiritual . I guess it works .

          • Andrey Bolkonsky

            Oh please, the Native American’s Great Law of Peace heavily influenced the US Constitution. Maybe you should read some actual history, instead of spouting your chrisschan racist garbage.

            The U.S. Constitution and the Great Law of Peace: A Comparison of Two Founding Documents
            amazon.com/The-U-S-Constitution-Great-Peace/dp/0966694821

            > …groups who were still sacrificing children to gods…

            Oh please, child Sacrifice is right in the Buy-Bull, and the Hebrew’s Jehovallah apparently loved the smell of child sacrifice offerings to him. Never read your Buy-Bull much?

            > …this a Christian nation…

            Oh please, you’re proving yourself an imbecile.

            Congress shall make NO law respecting an establishment of religion…
            ~U.S. Constitution

            As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion…
            ~The Treaty of Tripoli, 1797
            nobeliefs.com/Tripoli.htm

          • Mick

            Good grief man , where have you spent your life ? Did you go to a public school ? I admit my history tends to be emphasized around Lincoln and the American Civil war . But I have read much about our Founding and the mal treatment of Native Americans . Early on I tend to see it more as a tragedy in the almost the tremendous amount of deaths that occurred , but that was sickness and disease , not a genocide of any kind . The religious aspect was ignorance in regards to considering culture meant some kind of anti Christian view , the attempt to take away culture and language I did so much more destructive in regards to the miss treatment of our Natives here . Especially just a little over 100 years ago it was still happening where kids were sent away to board schools and a whole culture was basically lost to ignorance and prejudice .
            Of course America is not a Christian nation , you sound a stereotype . But basically the founders and people who settled here were Christians . Most of the signers of the Constitution came from states that actually required a Christian oath to be a elected member of their state legislatures . In some states an oath was required even to work for that specific colony . You realize this ? The Founders mostly had signed oaths stating they believed in the trinity , God , Jesus . Things most of us would consider quite wrong today I may add . But changing history to fit your prejudice and obvious hatred makes as much sense as how some people treated the Natives here . The fact is Christianity was basically the only religion around here for a while , Jewish faith was present , and some small groups of others . But the Bible for many reasons was the only book in many homes .

          • Andrey Bolkonsky

            MICK: The Founders mostly had signed oaths stating they believed in the trinity , God , Jesus.

            JEFFERSON: “Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them; and no man ever had a distinct idea of the trinity. It is the mere Abracadabra of the mountebanks calling themselves the priests of Jesus.”
            -Thomas Jefferson, letter to Francis Adrian Van der Kemp, 30 July, 1816
            nobeliefs.com/jefferson.htm

            So quit lying for Jesus, Mick, ok?

            Liars For Jesus: The Religious Right’s Alternate Version of American History
            http://www.liarsforjesus.com/

          • Mick

            LOL , Jefferson did not believe in the trinity . Ha there are many folks who deny the same thing . That’s your concept , out of context quotes ? Notice Jefferson is thanking God for stopping the folks at Tripoli . Hm , does not fit you attempt to change our history does it . As I said Jefferson saw Faith as being so important he did not want Government dictating it , the same view he had would find your hostile attacks on people of faith as equally disturbing . The conscience and morality religious beliefs supported were considered good things to have . It promoted honesty, integrity , being honest , forgiving , In fact Washington spoke to them in Farewell Address. Something that use to be required to memorize in our classrooms at one time .

            In 1779, as Governor of Virginia, Thomas
            Jefferson signed a Proclamation appointing a Day of Thanksgiving and Prayer:

            “Whereas… Congress…hath thought proper…to recommend to the several States… humbly to approach the throne of Almighty God… that
            he hath… been a shield to our troops in the hour of danger, pointed their swords to victory…
            and above all, that he hath diffused the glorious
            light of the Gospel, whereby, through the merits of our gracious Redeemer, we may become the heirs of his eternal glory.

            In his First
            Annual Message, December 8, 1801, Jefferson stated:
            “Tripoli…of the Barbary States…permitted itself to (announce) war on our failure to comply…The style of the demand admitted but one answer. I sent
            a small squadron of frigates into the Mediterranean… We are bound with peculiar gratitude to be thankful to Him that our own peace has been preserved
            through a perilous season.”

            Jefferson’s Bill was passed as the Virginia Statute of
            Religious Freedom, January 16, 1786:

            “Almighty God hath created
            the mind free… All attempts to influence it by temporal
            punishments…tend only to begat habits of hypocrisy…and are a departure from the plan of the Holy Author of religion, who being Lord both of body and
            mind, yet chose not to propagate it by coercions on either, as was in His Almighty power to do, but to extend it by its influence on reason alone.”

            Jefferson
            approved a Treaty with the Kaskaskia Indians, December 3, 1803:

            “Whereas the greater part of the said tribe have been baptized and received into the
            Catholic Church, to which they are much attached, the United States will give annually, for seven years, one hundred dollars toward the support of a priest of
            that religion… and the United States will further give the sum of three hundred dollars, to assist the said tribe in the erection of a church.”

          • Andrey Bolkonsky

            Still being a liar for Jebus, I see.

            liarsforjesus.com

          • Mick

            In other words these Founders in order to hold office had signed religious oaths to be allowed to be even be considered for Delegates to our Constitutional Convention . Not arguing with church and state separation , I think its a good idea . In fact its Christian concept or goes along with it of free choice in choosing who your God is . Forced acceptance means nothing . But to elarn something from an imbecile perhaps is hard or some , but someone as smart as you may find it beneficial .

            In addition, many states required tests to keep non-Christians or in some cases Catholics out of public office:

            The New Jersey Constitution of 1776 restricted public office to all but Protestants by its religious test/oath.

            The Delaware Constitution of 1776 demanded an acceptance of the Trinity by its religious test/oath.

            The Pennsylvania Constitution of 1776 had a similar test/oath.

            The Maryland Constitution of 1776 had such a test/oath.

            The North Carolina Constitution of 1776 had a test/oath that restricted all but Protestants from public office.

            The Georgia Constitution of 1777 used an oath/test to screen out all but Protestants.

            The Vermont state charter/constitution of 1777 echoed the Pennsylvania Constitution regarding a test/oath.

            The South Carolina Constitution of 1778 had such a test/oath allowing only Protestants to hold office.

            The Massachusetts Constitution of 1780 and New Hampshire Constitution of 1784 restricted such office holders to Protestants.

            Only Virginia and New York did not have such religious tests/oaths during this time period.

          • Andrey Bolkonsky

            Times change, Buy-Bull banger. This isn’t Pre-Constitution America, is it?

          • Mick

            LOL , How could someone who is speaking to our history not know ? Of course these oaths were written before the Constitutional Convention , its why I said the majority of the delegates had signed oaths declaring their Faith . Much of the Constitutional Convention has recorded minutes still available to read . But you seem unable or unwilling to understand or care about history . t is what is . Jefferson was in France when the writing of the First Amendment took place . You realize this . The concern as in the letter used to explain the First Amendment was of a Federal Religion dictating to the individual states what religion or denomination would have preference . The Danbury Baptists were a minority in their state , You explained he First Amendment like religion is a bad thing , how unlike our Founders . They considered religion so precious and important no government should have a way of dictating the beliefs that effect a man’s conscience . Many of those oaths remained in force well into the next century . As I said I and anyone today I would hope would disagree with making someone say an oath to hold office . We do seem to do it without laws in certain situations . For instance Jefferson was accused of being a Deist by Abigail Adams . ” He might have been or like most of us switched his beliefs over a lifetime ” Jefferson was running against her husband for President , saying you were a deist was worse then saying your an atheist today in political quarters . Jefferson denied it and had a friend write a small pamphlet and had it distributed through out the country on the Christianity of Thomas Jefferson . If you know American History at this time that was no small task , expensive and hard to do . I don’t think you know your history , that Tripoli link was the first sign , over used and lacking context . You do know Jefferson when President had Bibles distributed to specific Native American Tribes in an effort to help them . Religion was seen as a good thing as I said . Your opinion that it does not or my opinion that religion should stay out of politics has nothing to do with historical fact .

          • Andrey Bolkonsky

            You’re spouting factoids like a Liar for Jesus.

            Liars For Jesus: The Religious Right’s Alternate Version of American History
            liarsforjesus.com

        • mack paul

          Floyd, I can only speak from personal experience, not any kind of Biblical knowledge, knowledge that I’m not particularly interested in gaining. I lived most of my life in Oklahoma, the buckle of the Bible belt. I abandoned Christianity a long time ago because I felt that many of the people preaching it were just mean. I’ve worked along side Christians all my life. Most of them, I will say, and I’m speaking about teachers, are wonderful people who put their hearts and souls into what they are doing and I love them dearly.

          I consider the leaders of this state fascists who want to create a theocracy ruled by the twin hands of the church and the oil industry. I don’t know what true faith might be, but these people are true believers and, in my estimations, a bunch of nuts.

          • Salt

            Mack,

            It is unfortunate that you encountered “mean” preachers. So have I in circumstances when I needed the greatest support. However, in many churches there exist frauds of biblical faith. Even the Apostle Paul found that to be true when he pointed out two men who ridiculed him and abandoned the faith. He also found a very ugly situation in Corinth (incest in the congregation). That did not stop him from committing himself to the gospel. There are many unsafe people in churches throughout the world in every era. However, when people practice a fraudulent faith, they show that there is a real one.

            After I graduated from seminary an individual at the seminary from which I graduated lied and gossiped about me. I found that to be very hurtful. He later got the president of the seminary to side with him to disallow me from even being on campus even though I did nothing wrong. I had a church do the same thing. These are very sad situations when frauds are leaders in Christian organizations.

            I have now have moved away from that city and belong to a wonderful church where I am preparing an apologetics program for the church with a team of committed Christians and the pastor. God works wonderful miracles at times.

            Hypocrites live at the door of the church. However, that should not be a cause for us to abandon the truth and God. Christians in every century have been persecuted for their faith just as Jesus was: many of the apostles, the early church fathers, Martin Luther, John Calvin, Martin Luther King, and so many more, But they persevered in the gospel. I hope you would reconsider and begin reading the Bible again.

          • mack paul

            Your complaint about Biddhism is that it is atheistic. The Buddha dealt with observable reality rather than speculate about the unknowable. Christianity, in all its forms claims to understand God’s nature. Your guess, whether you read the Bible or not, is as good as mine. You’ll never convince me that it is any better.

          • Salt

            Complaint?? Wow, you have a strange way of interpreting things. “Biddhism?” Going off topic?

            >>>”The Buddha dealt with observable reality rather than speculate about the unknowable.”

            If you believe that, then you have never read the Bhagavad Gita. Pure fiction.

            You are making a claim about the Bible that is no more than a hasty generalization. Where is your support? None.

            >>>”Your guess, whether you read the Bible or not, is as good as mine.”

            Prove your claim. Your statement makes no sense.

            One who is unwilling to entertain knowledge remains in ignorance. You claim you do not speak from Bible knowledge, therefore, you love ignorance more than knowledge.

            I bid you goodbye

          • mack paul

            I’ve read the Bhagavad Gita and I agree with you that it is fiction. It is also not Buddhist.

            And you are correct in that I can’t prove my claim that my guess is as good as yours as to the nature of God. That’s the point you fail to grasp. You can’t prove it either.

            I bid you goodbye.

          • Salt

            I stand corrected about BG. It has been some 40+ years since I read it.

          • Andrey Bolkonsky

            You never read the Bhagavad Gita; braggart.

          • Andrey Bolkonsky

            Supernatural faith is always a fraud, or better put, a confidence trick. Bible even says so.

            • Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
            • Ephesians 3:12 confidence through faith
            • 1 Timothy 3:13 increased confidence in their faith

    • Elaine Goddard

      Can we not learn from both?

    • You are right. We may not learn them from cultural Christianity, but we certainly will learn them from Christ Himself. We need not look any further. http://contemplativechristianity.com/

  • pagansister

    Totally enjoyed your post. I agree with your 5 points that Christianity could learn from Buddhism.

  • friendly reader

    I like some of your points, but don’t like how you framed it. Thich Nhat Hanh doesn’t represent “Buddhism’s past,” he’s a contemporary thinker who reflects contemporary Buddhism, and his emphasis on social justice and environmentalism are very definitely NOT things that Buddhism emphasized historically. He reflects modern Buddhism’s response to Protestant and secular criticisms that it was too otherworldly, focused on escaping samsara, blaming people’s current states on their past karma, etc. He represents a meeting of two worlds and an interesting synthesis of them.

    Fwiw, I’m personally way more drawn to Pure Land traditions than the Zen/Thien tradition Thich Nhat Hanh represents (read Taitetsu Unno’s “River of Fire, River of Water” for a good introduction).

    • BrotherRog

      Indeed a strong case can be made that modern Buddhism has been Christianized; i.e., they learned to shed moral quietude from Christianity.
      Roger Wolsey

  • Barney IronBear Shannon

    Thomas Merton knew all this in the 60s

  • Earl Tower

    As a Buddhist I found this a very interesting take on modern Christianity in comparison to modern Buddhism.

  • WeldonScott

    Buddhism, however, teaches simplicity, humility and intentional care for all of creation.

    Sorta.

    http://a248.e.akamai.net/f/1202/1579/4m/i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2013/07/06/article-2357372-1AB08251000005DC-401_634x362.jpg

  • Interested Party

    I find this article interesting but quite frustrating. Everything listed here as problems or opportunities with Christianity is actually already in the tradition. No need to copy at all. Focus on ego in Christianity is a recent occurrence. It was a switch that occurred fully in the 16th century. Right heart versus right thinking has been part of the Christian debate. Buddhism has its own arguments about orthodoxy too.

    I studied comparative theology at the graduate level and know both Christian and Buddhist tradition deeply in practice and theory.

    There is really no need to take Buddhism as a band aid for Christianity. All one needs is to have Christianity return to its roots and not the modern approaches that were grafted on to it.

    When I teach Christian historical theology, most are amazed at how much more overlap to Buddhism the tradition has in it.

    FWIW

    • Salt

      Interested, please show where the teachings so Buddha as expressed in their various traditions (Therevada, Easter, and Tibetan, the Vinaya and various Sutras) have any correspondence with the Bible without reading into these texts teachings that are not there. You will not find it.

      • Interested Party

        I didn’t say they were saying the same things. At all. They are very different. What I was pointing out that ego and the individual is a modern concept. Not in original focus of the church. Etc

        It is as the Eastern Orthodox pointed out. All this stuff is in our tradition. No need to fix Christianity by taking Buddhist concepts.

        • Salt

          I did not say you said they said the “same thing.” You did not read my post accurately.

          Below is what you said:

          >>>”When I teach Christian historical theology, most are amazed at how much more overlap to Buddhism the tradition has in it.”

          I replied by asking you to show me where the various Buddhist expressions had any correspondence. “Overlap” suggests correspondence, i.e., the VEN diagram.

          Buddhism is man-centered while biblical faith is God-centered. Buddhism is atheistic, biblical faith is theistic. Notice I do not point to any tradition. Traditions do not have authority over biblical faith. Buddhism does not believe in the biblical view of sin. Buddhism does not have God-centered redemption. Buddhism does not have any semblance to biblical eschatology. Show me the “overlap,” then, to use your word in each theology. You won’t find it. Do not point to a tradition but to biblical faith.

          • “I and the Father are One.”
            “Judge not lest you be judged.”
            “Love God with all you heart, mind and soul and your neighbour as your self.”

            This is Dharma.

            The individual blinded by ego, entangled in the web of karmic inertia is the essence of samsara. (read as fallen from grace)

            The atheism of Buddhism simply acknowledges that the Entirety of God leaves no room for other. (read as there is only God. So full it is empty. Shunyata. i.e. The existence of God is moot in the best possible way.)

          • Alonzo

            NOPE. You really like to read into texts don’t you? Another logical fallacy.

          • Beg your pardon?

          • Alonzo

            You are attempting to association Buddhism with Jesus’ words. That is the logical fallacy of false association. You are reading your own meaning into the text of the Bible.

          • Kevin Osborne

            Buddha and Christ played a seven game series long ago to decide who would be which. Christ won the seventh game, 4 to 3, on a sacrifice fly which many feel was the inspiration for his death and the ensuing story of the cross and all that. Buddha was jealous of course but pretended not to be which was his revenge, and took a few thousand years advantage to spread the word as he wanted. Now both are baristas at Starbucks but what the heck, no one wins them all.

          • Alonzo

            Kevin,

            I think you misremembered the series. Buddha lost all four games, resulting in him not being able to get that job. He got prideful and resented Jesus. So God kicked him out. Besides, he was not into coffee. When someone offered him a cup, he turned away and sat under the Bodhi tree and drank tea. God, Jesus’ Father, sent Him to earth to be born in the normal way so that all who believed in Him would be winners and Jesus would take them back with Him to live in His Father’s heavenly mansion forever. As the poet EE Cummings wrote, not everyone loses, just those who get filled with pride.

      • Andrey Bolkonsky

        please show where the teachings so Buddha as expressed in their various traditions (Therevada, Easter, and Tibetan, the Vinaya and various Sutras) have any correspondence with the Bible

        Dr. Christian Lindtner has done just that.

        Old Testament and Buddhist texts were combined – not quite at random but according to certain rabbinic rules, the middoth (see e.g. Hermann L. Strack, Introduction to the Talmud and Midrash, NewYork, 1959, pp. 93-98). If, for instance, the same ideas, words or numbers were found in the Jewish and the Buddhist texts, they could be combined and thus, a “new” story came into being.

        I imagine a group of Buddhist monks, some of them Jews, sitting around the same table. You can easily imagine the fun: Take two different books. Combine words and numbers etc. from one with the other. Soon you have a new story – still faithful to the originals.

        Interview with Christian “Jesus is Buddha” Lindtner
        Danish scholar directs our attention to “Sanskrit originals”
        jesusneverexisted.com/buddhist-source.html

        • Salt

          You cite secondary sources from liberals who followed the long refuted Higher Criticism and documentary hypothesis of Graf and Wellhausen and syncretism philosophy. That is philosophically bent and not scholarly. I don’t care about secondary sources. Take me directly to primary sources to demonstrate that you know what you are talking about. You veered away from the Greek to the Hebrew. Who cares about Christian Lindtner? He has nothing to do with this discussion

          “I imagine…” or “ifs” do not cut it.

          And cut if with your ad homenim remarks, because they only reveal your true character.

          • Andrey Bolkonsky

            Oh noooosss, those “not scholarly” liberals!!!

            …your ad homenim remarks…

            *snort* Are you projecting? It appears you specialize in them, hypocrite.

            Take me directly to primary sources…

            Good idea. Show us some “original” Buy-Bull scriptures. Oh right, manuscripts are all secondary.

            P.S. Are you still going to sue me, nitwit? Got a lawyer yet? LOL

      • Andrey Bolkonsky

        Floyd, you’re just lying for Jebus.

  • Your readers might look into the tenets of the Bahá’í Faith, which asserts that ALL the major prophets –Abraham, Moses, Zoroaster, the Buddha, Jesus, Muhammad, and Bahá’u’lláh of Persia– are ALL Manifestations of one God. Other tenets of the Faith include unifying humanity, unity in human diversity, equality between men and women, elimination of all forms of prejudice, promoting world peace, harmony of religion and science, independent investigation of truth, universal education, elimination of extremes of wealth and poverty. Not a bad philosophy for salvation and right living! Oh–and don’t worry; Bahá’ís love and believe in the message, divinity, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

    • If they did love and believe in the message and divinity and death and resurrection of Jesus, they would know that Jesus said he was the ONLY way to God, and all other ways are false.

      • Jesus also said “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.” –John 10:16. He also said “I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into ALL the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.…” –John 16:12

        I invite you to read “Thief in the Night: The Case of the Missing Millennium,” by William Sears. It was written by a devout Christian who carefully examined Jewish, Christian, and Muslim prophecy to determine the validity of the claims and the nature of the Manifestation to follow Jesus. His conclusion was firm: That the Spirit of Truth had already re-appeared, but that most Christians had not been vigilant enough to understand it. Surely our God is a god of love and inclusion, of mercy and justice and grace, not a Being who can be limited by the minds or needs of humans, with all our fears, foibles, and proclivities.

        • Salt

          Michael, it is easy to quote Bible verses, but it is an entirely different manner to understand what those verses mean unless you read it from the intent of the author.

          If Sears attempts to reconcile the prophecies of all the three faiths you claim, he would be wrong by reading into the texts of the Bible and interpreting apart from what the authors’ meaning.

          • I was a Bible-believing Christian for 60 of my 68 years, Floyd. And I didn’t just stop at what I learned as a 9 year-old in Sunday School. I know how redacted and bowdlerized and prioritized the Biblical scriptures are, how many gospels were excluded altogether because they didn’t meet with the complete approval of the bishops and politicians and philosophers who attended the convocation at Nicene. One can only guess how many drunken or drowsy monks were careless or just plain wrong in their translations of the Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek and Latin texts. It’s preposterous to think that only Christians are exclusive heirs to God’s love for mankind. Foolish and arrogant to think the Divine Spirit could be limited in such a petty way.

            I know that Paul the Apostle created a lot of the faith that more rightly should be called Paulism….and how many versions of the Holy Bible preceded the “infallible” King James. I’ve also studied the basic teachings of the world’s major religions, and they are NOT radically different. They are each founded by Divine Manifestations with something different to teach the human race. Anyone who is not open to that fact deprives himself of 2/3 of the world’s wisdom and cultural heritage.

          • Salt

            Michael>>>”I know how redacted and bowdlerized and prioritized the Biblical scriptures are, how many gospels were excluded altogether because they didn’t meet with the complete approval of the bishops and politicians and philosophers who attended the convocation at Nicene. One can only guess how many drunken or drowsy monks were careless or just plain wrong in their translations of the Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek and Latin texts. It’s preposterous to think that only Christians are exclusive heirs to God’s love for mankind. Foolish and arrogant to think the Divine Spirit could be limited in such a petty way.”

            You “know” but do not give any support for your knowledge. I also recognize the Higher Criticism and documentary hypothesis arguments you are presenting. The arguments you give have been refuted numerous time over not only by thousands of source documents from the 1st century forward in papyri, uncials, minuscules, and lectionaries.

            “Guessing” is not a scholarly approach to biblical studies, because such guessing is not corroborated by evidence. Are you aware of the amount of documentation for the Nicene conference? For the text passed down from the apostles to their disciples and on down their their disciples? How consistent this series of documentation is? They prove your claims about Nicene wrong. And yes, I am not open to unsubstantiated claims which have arisen from the Higher Critics, Eastern religious leaders, the documentary hypothesis and its offshoots taught today in liberal universities and seminaries.

            I really do not care how long you have taught. Unless you can support your claims, then you have no evidence to support them. But thanks for giving me an idea of the source of your theology.

            Calling people “foolish” and “arrogant” is fallacious and not an argument on the merits.

          • My apologies for the “foolish and arrogant” statement. It isn’t my wish to belittle you or your beliefs. It sounds very much as if we are both comfortable in our convictions. If there was never any room in your heart or mind for doubt, more power to you.

            It’s merely that, to my mind, an exclusive “we’re the only True believers” attitude seems a bit puerile and insulting –to both my fellow humans and to God. Oh, and I didn’t say I had taught for 60 years. I’ve studied for 60 years, and will continue. :o)

          • Salt

            >>>”It’s merely that, to my mind, an exclusive “we’re the only True believers” attitude seems a bit puerile and insulting.”

            Do you realize what you just did with your statement? You made yourself an exclusivist and then claimed that if one does not agree with you, they are “puerile and insulting.”

            By making up your own mind as you claimed, you have excluded any thinking that does not agree with your conclusions. That is exclusivism. As such, do you then pass the same judgment on yourself as you pass on others whom you judge to be exclusive?

          • Sorry, Floyd. I’M the one who’s trying to include everyone! Don’t forget, I believe in Jesus, too! Life, teachings, death, resurrection …and already RETURNED! 🙂

          • Salt

            But your writing claims the opposite, and by engaging in name-calling does not help your cause.

            I actually wrote a book on inclusivism and am very well aware of its faulty logic. There is no such thing as inclusivism, because once an inclusivist makes a statement about someone else not being in accord with their philosophy, one becomes an exclusivist.

          • Mick

            I noticed what he was saying Floyd , so your not alone here . If you deny the truth saying your truth makes sense because it accepts all truth ” but denies yours” you are in a fallacy argument .

            1 John 4:1–3 (ESV) 1 Beloved, do not believe
            every spirit, but test the spir…its to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God,
            3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already

          • Mick, the most satisfying and fully realized explication of the Gospels and the Christian faith can be found in “Some Answered Questions” by Abdul Baha, son of the Divine Manifestation Baha’u’llah. It may very well be that I have not explained the Baha’i faith well here; that is my failing. It can be difficult to explain progressive revelation to many folks. I will only add that traditional Christians do themselves a disservice by taking literally so much of what they see in the Bible. The ancients were far more comfortable and conversant with metaphor, symbolism and concepts of time.

            As for the Antichrist inference, my response would be “by their works ye shall know them.” While so many American Christians today seem to advocate marginalization of the poor, turning a cold shoulder to immigrants, turning a blind eye to corruption in our government and its big money supporters, continuing to poison our environment for profit, and demonizing those of other faiths …the Baha’i Faith advocates love, inclusion, sharing, an end to extremes of wealth and poverty, equality for men and women, universal education, individual and personal pursuit of knowledge and truth, and unification of the world’s people to assure peace for everyone. There’s nothing anti-Christian in that.

          • Mick

            Michael I was speaking as a Christian , a believer of Jesus , and who He said He was . He is the Way , He is the truth , He is the Life . I do not share your universal understanding so we are at a cross roads . No need to be rude with each other . But we have totally different beliefs .our God is not the same God .
            Michael you are using political talking points in referring to Christians also I noticed . You also left out some sad problems we have with porn , sexual morality , the putting the life of the unborn below our own importance , convenience the number one reason for killing the most vulnerable in this country and much more . I have seen those who promote a tolerance and diversity actually being the most harsh . Similar to the Romans who promoted so many different beliefs , different gods , their morality was based on gratification and left to each individual to decide . Israel they saw similarly to how you describe some Christians , believed in one God , Believed in a morality based on God of their faith . The Romans were the mass murderers of their time , least tolerant also of other cultures and beliefs in reality . They made others pay for their lifestyle till they themselves were conquered because of their selfishness .

            Using the poor as pawns to attract power has been a convenient tool in politics from both sides . . But massive corporations have also made phones , cars , appliances , and other goods so affordable that our poor today own these things , just a generation ago only the rich could . We actually have it quite good in this country because of big business also . Homeless have cell phones today . Using government to implement or not to those restrictions or requirements for government is not a way for Judgment of Christianity , especially yours or mine on people of Faith who say Jesus Christ is their Lord and Savior .
            But obviously history shows those governments with Totalitarian governments have causes much death and poverty on the poor , especially recently in our short history on earth claiming to be on the side of those issues you claim are governmental supports that Christians should entrust in government .
            My idea of government is personally to stop evil , stop the bad guys from hurting all of us . I believe that is the reason we should support Government as The Bible teaches we should obey government authorities . . God is the Judge here. To allow government to be in the drivers seat here requires some to agree to use the force of government to take away and be the judge of others property . Promoting us to covet what others have , of what others have earned has been a common practice of one political party in this country ,
            Indeed by their works you will know them . But that has nothing to do with voting for a government that restricts God in its decisions and supports the poor . We have seen governments using Government and the purpose of helping people become deadly and the most have the past 100 years . Their is a spiritual need and a physical need Christ commands us to attend to . You can not live without bread , but man does not live by bread alone . If a person rejects Christ , they are putting themselves above God . Its that simple . Go in peace , but I don’t accept your beliefs or do I consider them more Loving then the Gospel of the Love Jesus taught us to have . Sorry almost everything you said was anti Christian , from denying who Christ is , to suggesting world peace and unity at the expense of supporting that denial is something Christians should support .

          • MaryLouiseC

            So if one doctor said he had the one and only cure for a malady and he did, would you say it was insulting and puerile of him to say so, especially when he could save your life with it?

            And are you yourself not saying that you and your beliefs are correct while those of the Christian are wrong? Doesn’t that mean that you think of yourself as a “true believer”?

          • Mick

            Kind of hard to have a conversation when you deny the scriptures to be the inspired and errant word of God . Yes I can see how we have to Have Faith in God to have gotten the Bible right . But your philosophy and view allows each individual to define nihilism to their own interpretations
            instead of God’s word and to many believers God Himself .. How convenient .You will win every conversation I assume , but leading another to the Lord will only lead them to their own construct with no guidance or help , in fact even ignoring the help the Holy Spirit does through our time reading the Bible . I guess they can learn from Buddhism then .

          • Mick, are you talking about the King James Version? Or the Tyndale? Or the Vulgate? Are you aware that the original Greek word used in the scriptural verses relative to the story of Mary is that she was a “maiden,” not a “virgin” –because the Roman Catholic concept of original sin precluded entertaining any idea that Jesus could have been conceived in sin, like regular humans?

            A modicum of reading into the history and origins our Biblical scripture pretty well negates the idea that the Bible, as we have it today, is inerrant. The intentional mis-translations and the dozens and dozens of “modern” translations available today are so broad in scope, audience, and objective are ample proof of that. My position is that people must be willing to do their homework and make sure they understand what they claim to believe –rather than merely taking what they learned as children at face value.

          • Mick

            Wow you have been fed a real bunch of atheism 101 stuff here . Good book if your s8incere of knowing the truth to start out with is Josh McDowell’s. “The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict ” The Jesus Seminar you realize would never pass any kind of historical support based on its methodology and almost all Christian scholars disagree with what you just said . More or less you gave the Howard Zinn understanding of who the Lord was . Not only contradicted the OT , you used historical scholarship that uses the Gospel of Thomas as having merit . who set out to prove the Bible wrong . You have a different religion and your attempting to claim the truth is false . In other words speaking with these who claim to be tolerant of all religions yet refusing to examine the truth , even when it does not agree with their pre conceived beliefs is what I was speaking to . You have only read from a source that set out to prove the Bible wrong . My source for you is the same concept but someone finding a different answer . There are quite a few books and literature on the subject , but this recommendation is a good read also . Perhaps you don’t see the irony of Mr. Piatt sharing Buddhism and those who agree with him attempt to show how Jesus is not who claims He was in the Bible .

          • It sounds as if we’re at an impasse, Mick. I can tell you, however, that I have NOT swallowed a lot of “atheist 101 stuff.” Baha’is see the Divine Manifestation in Jesus and all the other Prophets I mentioned above. We love and revere Jesus, His life, teachings, sacrifice, and resurrection. Our own founder, Baha’u’llah, very often wrote quite movingly and persuasively about Jesus’ life and teachings, as well as His immeasurable gift of salvation. If that were NOT true, I could not be a Baha’i myself. We simply feel that no one “religion” can possibly contain the vast, cosmic immutability, beauty, love, and mercy of the One True God. As His Holiness Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama once observed, “just because someone is on a different path to God, that does not mean that person is lost.”

          • Mick

            Michael is why I said at the beginning we have different faiths . I realize you believe in God , but we have different beliefs in who that God is . The attempt to marginalize the accuracy of the scriptures supports your view I understand . Atheists do the same thing is what I was speaking to , different reasons somewhat , but similar in the attempt to make another person doubt their beliefs . After all if Christ was not Resurrected for instance , my Faith is useless . If scriptures can be argued to have a lack of creditability , basically we are left with what we don’t believe any longer . I see you are trying to be kind and charitable , but your faith is not kind and charitable to Christianity . Just one more way is how you see it , to me it a narrow path with massive results . People have sacrificed and helped so many because of it , that is what I want to be like . Your view is the opposite basically of Christianity , leaving the path to God to our own personal views . Well in many Christian Churches today our Pastors are explaining to us its why the Church itself is in trouble in America , Mr Piatt points it not without substance but instead of encouraging and getting us back on track he tends to go with the new world view of existentialism that has taken over our educational systems and media . Likes to sucker punch the church every chance he gets also . I am sure he has his rewards , but I don’t think he will find his book income lasting very long , there are always new fads in religion and his will be replaced .

          • Andrew Dowling

            LOL he didn;t even mention the Jesus Seminar or the Gospel of Thomas (written to disprove the Bible? That’s a first). Are you just copying and pasting your answers from somewhere. “Oh, someone is rejecting my fundamentalist doctine . .I’ll say something about the Jesus Seminar!”

            The JS has bad historical methodology and you’ll trump up Josh McDowell? I’d bet you have never read one book by JD Crossan . . .

          • Mick

            Just an example of the facts based on your assumptions and attempts to dis credit the Bible . In fact that has been done for thousands of years ,, nothing new . Comes from the liberal viewpoint and the conservative , sometimes for obvious reasons of attempting to discredit the Bible , sometimes out of attempting to support ones individual morality using the word as a sort of back up . See many activists attempting to use translation as a means to support immorality to politics. But to your one point here . http://www.awordfromtheword.org/virgin

          • I don’t know what else to say to you, Mick. I’m sorry if my view of the veracity of Biblical scriptures upsets you. Like you, I have to decide based on what I’ve learned and what I’ve sensed is true and that works for me in my 60 years of learning. I guess I’m both a pragmatist and a (gasp!) liberal. I understand that there are a lot of things one must accept on faith, but that doesn’t relieve me of responsibility for the fate of my own soul. So I’ve searched until I found the approach to God that matches my feelings about Him and his many Sons, sent to mankind as needed throughout history, each with his own lessons and gifts for Mankind.

          • Mick

            No problem my friend . As I stated I was a Christian . I do not accept your religion who claims your founder was a latter manifestation of God . Just you have no evidence to that point .I can understand you feeling the need to promote your belief as deserving creditability , I just have seen none . Baha’ism repudiates the New Testament doctrine of a visible, audible return of Christ to judge the world (Matthew 25:31ff.; 1 Thessalonians 4:16; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9). The doctrine of the Baha’i contends that the prophecies regarding the second coming of Christ were fulfilled with the arrival of Bah ’u’ll h. Such a theory, of course, is void of any evidence. The only evidence I have seen are attempts to dis credit the Bible . That of course only points to the lack of creditability of what your saying , especially when you have no such evidence to offer . Attempting to dis[prove something does not promote belief in something unsubstantiated . Nice that you think Jesus is worthy to be followed . Peace.

          • Mick, I’ve been interacting with a couple of people in this discussion; you may not have seen the “evidence” I posted for one of the other folks. The book “Some Answered Questions,” from a series of talks by Abdul-Baha, the son of Baha’u’llah, presents a series of questions and answers that this 60 year Christian found to be far more illuminating of the meanings and contexts of many Christian writings and scriptures than I had ever come across in my years of study. Another book (the one that really sealed my membership in the Baha’i Faith is a book entitled “Thief in the Night: The Case of the Missing Millennium, by William Sears. Mr. Sears was also a devout, stubborn Christian who undertook to disprove the claims of Baha’u’llah. He dissected the Faith sixteen ways from Sunday …and was astonished to find that he had PROVED the claims with his research.

            The other fellow in this discussion dismissed my references without even checking them. But surely it’s better to go to the source itself than to expect me to do a lesser job of explaining and justifying the Faith. Those works have done a splendid job of converting hundreds of thousands to the Baha’i Faith.

            I don’t know why it’s so difficult for Christians to get hold of the idea that Jesus, as a Divine Son and Manifestation of God, might have already returned –as he said he would!

          • Mick

            ;0) You don’t understand why Christians have a problem leaving their faith ? Not so sure I understand that one .

            That was just one example was Christ coming back I gave you . The Baha’i religion teaches that Krishna, Zoroaster, Moses, Buddha, Confucius, Jesus, Muhammad, and the Bab (the Persian founder of a
            nineteenth-century religious movement which laid the foundation for Baha’ism)
            were all prophets or manifestations of God for their time. Yet all these
            teachers contradict the other beliefs you claim come from the same God . Basically what your saying is this god changes over time , the Christian faith teaches God is the same today , yesterday and tomorrow .
            .

            MANIFESTATION IMPORTANT ELEMENTS IN HIS DOCTRINE
            OF GOD
            Moses One personal God. The universe is not eternal, but
            was created by God (Gen. 1-3; Deut. 6:4; etc.).
            Krishna Mix of polytheism and impersonal pantheism. The
            universe is eternal.
            Zoroaster One good god and one evil god (religious dualism).
            Buddha God not relevant; essentially agnostic.
            Confucius Polytheistic.
            Muhammad One personal God who cannot have a Son.
            Jesus Christ One personal God who does have a Son (Mark 12:29;
            John 4:24; 5:18-19; etc.).
            Baha’u’llah God and the universe, which is an emanation of
            God, are co-eternal.

          • Okay, Mick. I understand your point of view. God bless you. :o)

          • Andrey Bolkonsky

            The Bible discredits itself quite well enough.

          • MaryLouiseC

            I would suggest that you check out the following, Michael:

            Dan Wallace’s work on textual criticism and his evidence that what we have today is what the early Christians had.

            F. F. Bruce’s work as well as that of Craig Blomberg’s on the reliability of the Scriptures.

            Darrell Bock’s debunking of the so-called “alternate” gospels (all several centuries AFTER Christ walked this earth and not written by anybody who actually knew Jesus or anybody else who knew Jesus).

            And check out Apologetics315. It’s a great resource for all kinds of information.

          • Thank you, MaryLouiseC. I’m looking forward to exploring them. When we stop searching and learning, we’ve lost the purpose of living. :o)

          • Andrew Dowling

            Ah, people engaged with “scholarship” who will twist the data to fit their preconceived conclusions. Apologetic “scholarship” is a sham; real scholarship does not rule out certain outcomes before one has even done any research.

      • ctaya

        Then what did Jesus mean “the ONLY way”?

        • Andrew Dowling

          John is not talking about “the only way to heaven.” Read some real biblical scholarship on Johnanine literature.

    • Salt

      Michael, such a claim is impossible to make because that would make God one large contraction and fickle catering to the whims of humanity’s religions and not being too sure of himself. All of these religions are starkly different in content and practice. Some give lip service to Abraham and Moses and borrowed from the Christian faith without recognizing and understanding the content of their theologies. Only the biblical faith is unique from all the rest in that it makes the distinction between the Creator and creation and that God is totally distinct and separate from His creation. None of the others make this claim. Furthermore, none of the others make the claim that humanity rebelled against the God who created them and rejected God by accepting their own paths. None of the other religions of the world believe that humanity is innately evil and bears the unique mark of separation from God. None believes that God took on human flesh without sacrificing His divinity, died on the cross for all the evils humanity committed.

      That makes it impossible to say that biblical faith can be reconciled with all other religions.

      • It’s your soul, Floyd. I’d make very sure I’m right –without presumptions! God bless you.

        • Salt

          Michael, my soul has nothing to do with the claim you make, and it is presumptuous to bring it into the argument.

          You gave citations but failed to explain what they meant from their context or even explicated them to support the discussion.

          You used Sears as an example but failed to show his relevancy or how he supported his claims or yours.

          • I invited YOU to read Sears’ book; he did a much better job of explicating them than I could. And in context. As I said, God bless you. :o)

          • Salt

            Unfortunately, Sear’s book relies too much on the authority of limited experience and not on the authority of the Bible. 1961 was a long time ago for having written a book about what could have happened in the 19th century from someone in the Bahá’í Faith. Russell also claimed Christ returned about the same time period and started a whole new sect called the Jehovah’s Witnesses while writing their own Bible. They are also false witnesses. I rely on the authority of the Bible by which all philosophical and theological claims are tested. If they do not accord with what the Bible teaches, they are false prophets and do not know the truth.

      • “Only the biblical faith is unique from all the rest in that it makes the distinction between the Creator and creation and that God is totally distinct and separate from His creation. “

        Except that Jesus shows (by his incarnation) that this is not True.

        The Buddha by his awakening, shows us that this is not True.

        The god that you describe would be one among others.

        If creation can exist outside of a god then that god casts a shadow. Is that the “evil” that you refer to?

        Just what is your investment in this tangle of proprietary nonsense?

        • Alonzo

          You have not read the Bible yet. When you do, then come back and we can have a reasonable discussion rather than you spewing out all kinds of nonsense.

          • “You have not read the Bible yet. When you do, then come back and we can have a reasonable discussion rather than you spewing out all kinds of nonsense.”

            It should be obvious (but in your case is not) that going directly to the Source would be indicated. Rather than secondary sources.

  • Salt

    Christian, it appears that you have not read the Bible very closely. What you have done is set up a straw man Christianity and not the biblical one.

    First, focusing on the individual is not “ego” but honor, because men and women are made in the image of God. This means that God created them to reflect Him: to love as He loved, to be holy as He is holy, to be righteous as He is righteous. This is true humility, because it is submission to God and the way He created us. To attempt to live our lives apart from Him is pride and rebellion. The latter is real egoism.

    Second, you create a bifurcation between wisdom and knowledge without offering a definition of either. By doing this, you create a false dichotomy or an either/or situation. The Bible speaks of both united in one God and as gifts of God to humanity. Wisdom actually arises from true knowledge, the knowledge of God. See the Proverbs.

    Third, you do the same thing with “right-heartedness” and “belief” that you do with wisdom and knowledge by making them an an either/or proposition whether you accept this or not. True faith (belief) as the Bible teaches leads to right-heartedness or what it claims as righteousness.

    Fourth, your word “impermanence” is not biblical Christianity nor mine. It is again a straw man Christianity you have imagined Christianity to be based on your experience as authority and not on biblical authority. You describe cultural “Christianity,” which is a false one, because that Christianity is not biblical.

    Fifth, again you raise another straw man when you associate Christianity as not caring for creation itself. You cite dominionism for your example. This is false.

    All of your claims are experience oriented. That is they are experience of one – you. Your experience is not the sum of biblical Christianity. In fact, your experience is extremely limited and leaves out much of true biblical Christianity. It is unfortunate that you decided to reject Christ in favor of your own religion.

    I hope that during your studies in your “Jesus Project” you take up the reading of the Bible. The biblical Christianity you describe is not the real one, but one many like you have conjured up and imagine as you have. Since God created all things and and imparted His image in us to reflect Him. All have gone their own way and by doing so rebelled from God and created their own religions, including Buddhism. There is nothing a man-centered religion can teach God. He spoke to us in His word, the Bible to disclose to us how we should live. You should reconsider your critique.

    • Guest

      Sorry, but I think you have proved Christian’s point (and I say this as someone who was prepared to disagree with him). I don’t think Christian was saying that we should all become Buddhist-Christians, but that we should understand that we can learn from those who, at first appearance, we may be tempted to initially disagree with. I am also an evangelical who believes that we can learn from others without losing sight of Christ or Biblical tradition.

      • Salt

        >>>”I think you have proved Christian’s point…” Exactly how and where?

        >>>”I don’t think Christian was saying that we should all become Buddhist-Christians”

        Who claimed that he did?

        >>>”but that we should understand that we can learn from those who, at first appearance, we may be tempted to initially disagree with.”

        Oh, I agree that we can learn from others. However, we should also be prepared to discern truth from error (1 John 4:1) so that we do not fall into error. I do not carte blanche accept error. Furthermore, when I learn about erroneous teachings, I am in a better place to contest it and reply with the truth. I can also disagree with error once I have established it as such.

        The issue before us in terms of your statement is authority. By what authority do we establish truth? Once we determine the authority for truth, then it becomes the standard for judgment of truth and error. My authority is the Bible, and I confirm its authority through extensive study of its contents over decades of study and research.

        What Christian claims is false and non-factual in numerous ways, which I elaborated in my post, and shows that he does not know the Bible well enough to comment on its contents in the manner he has.

        • Al Cruise

          Are you saying that all Buddhists, if they don’t believe like you do, are going to hell?

          • Salt

            No

          • Al Cruise

            God’s truth is absolute. It doesn’t matter where it comes from, humans who are Christians, or humans who are Buddhists, or humans who are native American. No one group has a exclusive franchise on God’s truth.

          • Salt

            Al,

            You contradict yourself. In your first statement, you make several assumptions:

            1. You assume God

            2. You assume truth

            3. You assume truth belongs to God (“God’s truth”)

            4. You assume truth is absolute

            Then in your second statement you claim, “It doesn’t matter where it comes from.”

            If you claim truth is God’s, then it must come from Him and have its source in Him. To claim that it does not matter where it comes from is to say that it does not matter that truth has its source in God. The two claims make no sense.

            To claim that truth belongs to God rules out that it comes from any other source no matter the religious persuasion. Consequently, it rules out that truth comes from any human. Therefore, your second claim makes no sense either.

            You third claim about exclusivity also has no meaning, because if truth belongs to God, then it is obvious that truth does not have its source exclusively with any group. So what is your point?

            Also, what is your point for your preceding statement, “Are you saying that all Buddhists, if they don’t believe like you do, are going to hell?”

            Furthermore, your last claim is an exclusive statement: “No one group has a exclusive franchise on God’s truth.”

            By making this claim, you are stating that those who do not accept your claim are wrong. You admit to an exclusive position in making this claim.

          • Al Cruise

            Floyd you come across as very holier than thou. I assume you are a right wing fundie evangelical.

          • Salt

            More insults, eh? Is that all those of you who frequent this discussion do. After all logic and reasoning fails you, you engage in insults, accusations, and personal attacks. Very revealing. Go find someone else you know to insult. I suppose that is how you live your life. I have reported you also to the owners of Patheos to have you banned, also. Bye

          • Al Cruise

            Looks like my guesses were correct.

          • Andrey Bolkonsky

            Floyd, you are the master of insults, accusations, and personal attacks. They must have been your majors at your Bible College.

          • Andrew Dowling

            Is that why you changed your moniker . . . because your trolling was banned? LOL

          • Salt

            Only children use LOL. Now go back to your class before your teacher misses you.

          • Floyd makes good sense when he speaks to the truth that eternal salvation is found only in Jesus. And how wise are those who seek in what Jesus taught to learn what Jesus wants us to know.

          • Andrey Bolkonsky

            People sayin’ Hooray for our side.

          • Hell is where all who do not believe in and obey Jesus will spend eternity. Jesus offers life to all. No other can save. Only Jesus. Studying Buddhism is a waste of time.

          • Al Cruise

            Are you from Bob Jones University?

          • No.

          • Permit-holder Ron

            You’re funny!

          • Andrey Bolkonsky

            Hell is a myth. Are you ignorant enough to believe in Greek mythology (Hades) or Norse mythology (Hell?)

          • Hell is where all who do not believe in and obey Jesus will spend eternity. That’s right. So of course we should honestly state the truth. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life.

          • Al Cruise

            Suggesting that people of other faiths are going to hell, like you are, because they do not believe like you do, is the first step in dehumanizing them. As history has shown, it then becomes easy to demonize and kill them. It is hating your brother. Jesus said he who hates his brother cannot enter the kingdom of God.

          • Al, it’s not warning about Hell based on them not agreeing with me. It’s warning that those who imagine there is no God and no Hell will surely go to Hell. There IS a God. He will judge and send some to Hell and others to Heaven. Jesus saves those who love and obey Him. Others will have a different future.

          • Andy

            There are just so many problems with the idea of a literal hell, not the least of which is that it’s logically antithetical to the idea of an all-loving God. And I have no interest in a god that’s not all-loving. But that’s just me.

          • Children early learn to like what is “fair” and to dislike what is unfair. Surely you think they should like everything and not dislike anything if you think a loving God would equally like good and bad. God rewards the good. In fairness He punishes the bad. And sensible people don’t think he’s unfair to punish wrong-doing.

          • Andy

            I didn’t say God likes evil or that he couldn’t punish us. After all, parents who love their children do punish them when it’s warranted. But punishment does not need to be eternal.

            And I’m not sure I buy the punishment thing, anyway. There are way too many good people whose life sucks. (And before you invoke the “it wouldn’t suck if they were Christians” argument, know that a lot of them are. In fact, for some, it’s all that gets them through the night.) Likewise, there are plenty of bad people, or at least people that did really really bad things, whose lives are awesome, comparatively speaking.

            To that you might say that this transitory life doesn’t compare with the afterlife, and that all good people will have good afterlives and bad people won’t. Frankly, that’s a terrible argument, because it presupposes that there is an afterlife, which not everyone agrees is the case. And perhaps you might say that God has a plan, which in this case implies that some must suffer in this life before going to heaven, and some others who are good in this world don’t have to suffer for the same treatment in the afterlife. That also is logically untenable, so don’t even try it.

          • I don’t think we need to learn anything from Buddha. Jesus is the Way to life. Jesus has the truth. He offers life.

          • Andy

            You can learn something from everybody. I think it’s a shame you’ve closed yourself off from so much.

          • ctaya

            There are over 30,000 denominations over the world. They have different opinions. Some say “once-saved-always-saved”; some say salvation can be lost, … etc. Why must you be right?

          • Are some of the opinion that since there are differing opinions they must all be wrong? My view is correct. It is not wrong. Opposing views are wrong.

          • Andrew Dowling

            My God your argumentation has never advanced beyond about a 3rd grade level, has it?

          • ctaya

            You better talked to FloydA. Apparently, he does not agree with a “No”, at least not applicable to Buddhists.

          • ctaya

            Non-believers must go to hell.
            I thought that this is in the belief of mainline Protestantism.

          • Salt

            You have a reading problem and failed to accurately read that to which I responded. Who cares about “mainline Protestantism?”

          • Hell is where all who do not believe in and obey Jesus will spend eternity. That’s right. And it’s from apostles of Jesus that we should seek light and guidance, not Buddha.

          • Andy

            You keep saying that, but you’re not convincing anyone. Saying the same thing over and over won’t make it true if it isn’t already.

          • Andrey Bolkonsky

            Hell-bot is upon us! Too bad the Hell-bot doesn’t realize his fear insurance scheme is just an ancient scam.

            […] they perform their ritual, and persuade not only individuals, but whole cities, that expiations and atonements for sin may be made by sacrifices and amusements which fill a vacant hour, and are equally at the service of the living and the dead; the latter sort they call mysteries, and they redeem us from the pains of hell, but if we neglect them no one knows what awaits us.

            Plato (4th century BCE) The Republic. Book II.
            classics.mit.edu/Plato/republic.html

    • Andrey Bolkonsky

      Another Bible-thumper telling everybody how they’re wrong. Do you suppose we haven’t heard all your crap before, Floyd?

      • Mick

        Andrey perhaps ever consider he heard all yours ? Your on a page telling someone their heart Felt Faith in God , who Loves them and you , Is there for him or anyone in time of need , supports us in our good times and bad , who is a ever challenging us to better who we are , and primary Regulation’s is to love your neighbor , help the poor and God as number One in your life is based in hatred in ignorance . Holding God Number One is a sure way of being able to go on and love your neighbor . Perhaps Christians do not live up to your measurement , but obviously having the goals of helping your neighbor is a good goal to many people . I tend to think the American Church got side tracked , but I know too many people and too many hearts that go out of their way to help others , and before they knew God as their Lord and Savior were not concerned about such things . God is Alive .

        • Andrey Bolkonsky

          Love your neighbor is number one? Sure, and you can do that without any belief in magical skygods telling you to. Morals evolved; they weren’t handed down from on high. Read some biology.

          Good Natured: The Origins of Right and Wrong in Humans and Other Animals. (1996) Harvard University Press

          Primates and Philosophers: How Morality Evolved. (2006) Princeton University Press

          Wild Justice: The Moral Lives of Animals (2010) Chicago University Press

          Moral Origins: The Evolution of Virtue, Altruism, and Shame. (2012) Basic Books

          • Mick

            Andrew Love your neighbor can be done without God , of course . As you pointed out it has not been done so well with God either . The problem is loving someone when they are hard to love . many parents have kids who are like that , and it takes perhaps the natural Love of a Mom or dad to do it . But say someone like you who for some reason feels the need to attack religious beliefs , it is harder for someone like me to love who thinks His religious beliefs define who I am and who I want to be . So yes it can be done without religious belief , but if your definition of who you are suppose to be states you are to love your neighbor , regardless if they hate you , regardless if they disagree with you , try to hurt you , attack you , hurt people that you love , its takes on a different meaning . Its one of the reasons Christianity has grown , people sometimes realize they were wrong , they were rude , or they were being uncaring and see that the person showed love instead of being just as hatefull . Of coursed I would say today many Christians will attack or believe they are standing up for God , I think I have made that mistake myself .

          • Andrey Bolkonsky

            You’re sugar-coating it now. In fact, your Buy-Bull is actually more violent than the morally reprehensible Koran.

            Religious historian Philip Jenkins says scriptures from the Bible are more violent than those from the Quran.

            Is The Bible More Violent Than The Quran?
            npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=124494788

          • Mick

            Your going nutso my friend . Where would you want to live the Middle east with no Religious Freedom , maybe the Soviet Union or China where religion still has limited freedom . I happen to like this country and believe it has much more freedom and is better place to live then most places in this world . Gandhi for instance if he was using his non violence protests in China or Russia would have been slaughtered . It worked as Martin Luther Kings non violent protests work because we do have a Christian heritage . People are made in the image of God and deserve rights that God has bestowed on people , not what government has . Gays in the Middle East are put in jail , sometimes worse . Gays have it better here then most places . What you are doing is becoming silly , your not even making sense . I was born in this country , I lived in neighborhoods where the street lights told us to come home , moms and dads loved their kids , some brought us to churches . Social sciences even saying exposing children to church is a positive part of they maturing , it teaches helping those those in need for reasons I am not sure you will understand . You don’t have to go church to help people , but wow man , what’s the deal . Lay off the coffee. Blame the guy who takes the BAHA religion , he accepts all of them .. What makes me so lucky , I only support one .. ;0)

          • Andrey Bolkonsky

            LOL…you can’t even begin to answer for your violent Bible, so you slander me like the damned liar you are.

  • Doug

    Great post. I too was disillusioned with main stream Christianity, and delved into the basics of Buddhism , and loved it. I too read Thich Nhat Hanh ‘s Living Buddha Living Christ ,and that got the ball rolling for me. Its takes some time but I now see Christ with totally new eyes, and have found what I need from my “mother” religion. I believe the Indians have a saying something like, you are born into the religion you need for your journey.
    Richard Rohr has helped me to see Christianity in a more mature “light.” Moving beyond the dualistic mind and finding what I needed in Christianity.

  • Bobby Garringer

    I think you don’t understand, very well, either the gospel or Buddhism. You are attempting to replace the church and its flaws with a personally-designed version of Christ. And you are advocating a sifted version of Buddhism. Whether in the adapted version or in the historical varieties, Buddhism (and Buddha) are incompatible with the apostolic gospel. It is this gospel that you should consider. Is scuttling it and launching a different religion worth the effort for those of us who trust in and love the Lord Jesus Christ? I don’t think your move is sound. It would require that we believe in you rather than Jesus.

    • Andrey Bolkonsky

      Buddhism (and Buddha) are incompatible with are the origin of the apostolic gospel.

      FIFY

      jesusisbuddha.com

      • Bobby Garringer

        I am glad you don’t teach history, philosophy or theology — because it is impossible to make your assertion and be taken seriously by anyone familiar with any of these fields of study.

        • Andrey Bolkonsky

          LOL Keep banging on the Buy- Bull, boy.

          • Bobby Garringer

            Wouldn’t it be a simpler world if intelligence and convincing argument was as simple as a well-placed bit of ridicule and name-calling?

          • Andrey Bolkonsky

            You’re quite the hypocite; read the derogatory garbage you wrote, without the slightest attention to facts to back up your bile. I’m just returning the favor, nitwit.

          • Bobby Garringer

            Slander and more name-calling does not increase either your intelligence or the quality of your argument.

            I stand by my original statement. Reading the original article and comparing it with what I know of the content of Buddhism (in its varieties) and the content of the gospel, I am convinced that the article results from a lack of understanding of both.

            And then comes the statement that the apostolic gospel originated in Buddha — an assertion that cannot be sensibly discussed from an historical, philosophical or theological viewpoint, because it has no basis.

            I have paid careful attention to every aspect of what I am talking about. I have invested a great deal of time and effort to studying history, philosophy and religion.

            And the matter of the article touches on the topic that is dearest to me. Jesus and his gospel are at the center of my life.

          • Andrey Bolkonsky

            Maybe you should quit slandering. Do you know Sanskrit like Dr. Christian Lindtner? No? Come back when you’re better informed, ok?

            The use of this method of “transcreation” from Sanskrit and Pâli into Greek has been firmly established by Christian Lindtner.

            (Michael Lockwood, Buddhism´s Relation to Christianity, Chennai (India) 2011, p. 250)

            jesusisbuddha.com

  • Everything we look for in Buddhism, or for Buddhism to teach Christianity, is already found in its most pure form within authentic Biblical Christianity. http://contemplativechristianity.com/

    • Permit-holder Ron

      Buddhism might have a word or two to say about animal sacrifice…

      • Right you are . . . and Jesus did as well. The OT way of worship was very bloody. Jesus became the perfect sacrifice and did away with animal sacrifice.
        This points to some of the fundamental differences between Buddhism and Christianity.
        Buddhism can give you the emotional and physical benefit of quietness and silence, but it acknowledges no God. It cannot bring you into fellowship with Him.
        Between God and us there is a blood barrier; we can only come to Him though the Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.

  • Duncan Pugh

    I agree with these observations on the whole but would go further and say that the doctrine of not self/no ego/anatta cannot be reconciled with Christianity unless the crucifixion is understood as the death of God/Ego/Self without a literal understanding of the resurrection. Selflessness is the main point of convergence by my understanding. Yes Jesus’ crucifixion heralded the death of God. Furthermore, to paraphrase/maybe quote Nietzsche: ‘There is only one Christian who ever lived and that is the one who died on the cross.’

  • not all Buddhists teaching are alike, just as in all belief systems, theologies, ideologies, religions, political parties, etc

  • Mick

    Jesus was challenging the application of the scripture all the time , not the scripture itself . Jesus refered to scripture as having authority and coming from God . Jesus is God . Disagree with scripture you disagree with Jesus . The essay takes miss applications of scripture by Christians but instead of correcting it as Jesus did with the Pharisees , we go off to another religious concept , we should not make the mistake of worshipping the earth but worship God , but make sure we take care of the earth . That’s a big difference that Buddhism makes . This sounded like some standard sterotypical attacks on some evangelcial churches that have miss applied the scriptures , well we do not solve that problem by pointing to Buddha, or do we solve that problem attacking liberal churches who have miss applied the same scriptures through pluralism , we solve that problem by joining hands and reaching out to Jesus . The Bible is our reference . Jesus is the way , the truth and the life . Honest .. ;0)

  • Bill

    I find this very interesting as when I had my meltdown (from fundagelicalism), I became good friends with a Buddhist and started doing meditation. I found that Buddhist meditation and philosophy helped me salvage my faith and brought me closer to Jesus. I no longer practice much of the Buddhism but I want to again. Mindfulness meditation is a great way to bring yourself to focus on God within and in turn on Jesus Christ. that may sound a little out there but I could say it saved my faith. I am first and foremost a Christian (as in follower of the real Jesus Christ). Buddha (as in Siddartha Gautama) was a wise teacher (Buddhist for the most part do not think he was a god). You could say Jesus is the ultimate Buddha

  • BrandonR

    I love the comments section. And by “love,” I mean that ironically. This website and article is not immune from the same crap storm of trolls that every other website has.

    The author of this article had good intentions with his writing. The idea of bridging a gap between different cultures and religions is a good one. It would be awesome if people cared more about how we were the same than different.

    But regardless of what the article was about or intended for, you will always have a jerk troll or two that need to feel smart or right.

    If you didn’t like the article, it’ll be ok if you just move on and let it be. I promise. The world won’t end if you’re NOT a know it all douche who feels the need to admonish or correct someone else who BELIEVES differently from you. Heaven forbid someone have a philosophy that differs from you and your infinite rightness.

    Apparently, being “Right” is better than being civil.

    • You are right Brandon, we need to be civil with those with whom we disagree. But you are disagreeing with those who you think are not civil, and in doing so you are using names like “crap storm of trolls” and “know it all douche”, and addressing them in a snarky tone. You scold those who feel “the need to admonish or correct” and say “Heaven forbid someone have a philosophy that differs from you”, and then you admonish and correct. I think it would have been better had you disagreed with those who disagree, and done so civilly.

  • Kate

    Thank you, Christian, for such a thoughtful and realistic approach to Jesus and His teachings. I have always seen the correlation of Jesus’s words and those of Buddha. I know that there are people who will oppose you and try to tell you how wrong you are, etc. But for me, it is never about the organized religion, as we know it today, but the real words, the thoughts and the lessons presented. I have to live the Word, and for me, that is compassion and care of others in this life, and as far as belief is concerned, it is deeply personal.
    I really just discovered your blog, but I hope to check in again!

  • mack paul

    This is what I’ve learned from Buddhism. Life really is suffering. Sit for five minutes as the Buddha taught, and you’ll most likely feel some dissatisfaction that, if you think about it, will grow into pain. We grow old and we die. In time, we lose everything we love. The pain of life is unavoidable and a cause of great dis-ease.

    We hurt each because we want to avoid pain. When we see someone hurting, we want to push them away, blame it on them, somehow make it their fault. . When I hurt someone else, I hurt myself. When I argue, when I say something unkind, it hurts me. When I pay kind attention to my own suffering, it soothes me and when I pay kind attention to someone who is suffering and pull them closer, I heal myself.

  • Eric Thorson

    While I agree wholeheartedly with the values this article wishes to promote, I feel that this article slips into the time-honored tradition of Westerners romanticizing the exotic and mysterious East. For centuries, we have taken the values we fail to live up to, and project them onto an idealized other, the Guru, the Lama, the Zen Master. In America, when we speak of Buddhism, it is already “Christianized,” with values of peace and love and social justice. Because it has never had to be a religion of the common people in this culture, it remains pristine, and can be an empty vessel into which we pour our ideals. I love and admire Buddhism, and I do think there is much to learn from it. I also think that Christians will find all of these treasures hidden in their own tradition, if they are looking for them. In our quest for purity, let us not blame Jesus for our own failings. The Christian doctrine of sin explains why Buddhists fail to exemplify enlightenment, and why Christians make better Pharisees than the originals.

  • Permit-holder Ron

    Wow. Even for spam that’s obnoxious.

  • Andy

    I like this a lot. Well done, Christian.

  • The Truth

    Idealizing Buddhism in this post…

    Buddhism has so many different flavors and ways of practicing. Reading one superficial book is not going to really give anyone a full understanding of it, and besides that, Buddhism is full of just as much superstitious junk as the other major religions.

    Meditation, in my view, can be helpful just like running can be beneficial, or playing music, or playing basketball…

    Trying to destroy the ego or sense of self is a complete and utter waste of time. I’ve been around Buddhists and other practitioners and none of them are any different than the next person–usually their egos are even more pronounced.

    In my view, there is no trick–no way to get past the doubts your religion is bringing up for you. Instead, follow the doubts all the way to the end, rather than fighting them.

  • doug

    Hello Floyd. I am no expert on either path and if I were, I would be missing the point anyway. I think Christian wrote a nice piece about continuous learning within an inclusive worldview. But that’s just me. Apparently, it was not for you and that is fine. But you know it just might be time for you to think about “getting over yourself”.

    Debates about wisdom and knowledge, right-heartedness and belief, whether the Bible speaks to impermanence or nothing last, or your views of false this or that; while interesting and perhaps ego validating are simply your personal version of reductionism. I can tell you are a smart, serious Christian and I respect that but your “one right way” has no more validity even with your tone of moral indignation.

    In reality, you are a man of faith. You have faith and trust in the word, faith and trust in your understanding of the teachings of Jesus and faith and trust in your ability to live your life as you believe best serves God, his teachings, and commandments. Always being true and dutiful in his name.

    Nevertheless, faith is not knowledge or wisdom. We are human beings and that means we are fallible. Who speaks with certainty for the unknown? What do we know (not believe) for sure anyway? Is it Jesus or Hell, do you really know?
    I am very happy that you found your religious “way” and devoutly believe as you do. So maybe you could just let others do the same. Btw, the tone of you reply did not sound very Christian to me. Just my opinion and I could be wrong. Blessings…

  • Phil Rehberg

    All truth is God’s truth. And reminders

    Definitely good principles . It is sad the author had to endure that group at his church. Anti-intellectualism is an extreme minority viewpoint in reaction to 19th century skepticism and attack on Christianity. I respect Buddha’s improvement over the Hindu religions he saw around him about the fourth century before Christ.

    Just a reminder that these were all taught hundreds of years before Buddha in the wisdom and prophetic literature of the Old Testament . As the author mentions they were also taught in the New Testament, and I would add they were taught with more force than Buddhism which is not aware of an infinite God, nor a personal God. And as a student of classic Christian spirituality these themes have been taught by various Christian writers for since the Second century. And the great majority of Christian traditions teach these today. (Except Jesus was very concerned with beliefs; he complained about it often.)

    Also the motive and context of Buddhist practice is much different than Christianity. A Buddhists goal on earth is to eliminate pain by eliminating desire. A Christian’s goal is to love God and others, and accept the pain it takes to do that. Buddhism does not value love and relationships nearly as much as Christianity because love brings desire and desire leads to pain. A Buddhist has compassion on people to escape the judgment of reincarnation. A Christian is free from judgement because God died for them! A Christian loves because God loves them. A Buddhist does not know their ultimate afterlife, but do believe their individuality will fade . A Christian knows they will be in relationships of mutual love forever.

    Thus, the context and motives of Buddhism is very different. It is good to be reminded of the 5 principles the author mentioned; maybe it will spur Christians to rediscover them if they are not part of their life. Yet our goals and relationships are very different.

  • BrotherRog

    Interestingly, a strong case can be made that modern “engaged” Buddhism has in fact learned things from Christianity; i.e., it’s been Christianized. The historic Buddhist moral quietude (there is no right or wrong or good or bad and just come to accept things as they are) – has morphed into a platform for activism to help improve the world and challenge unjust status quos. A major player in this was no doubt the friendships that Thomas Merton had with Tich Naht Han and the Dali Lama. Moreover, Buddhism had to adapt as it came to America in the 1960s- a time of great social activism – largely the fruit of the Christian based Civil Rights movement.

    That said, like Merton, I seek to weave in the best of Buddhism into my practices in order to help me be the best Christian I can be. Though much of that is very similar to the contemplative practices that I weave in from our Eastern Orthodox Christian friends.

    Roger Wolsey, Kissing Fish: christianity for people who don’t like christianity
    p.s. perhaps on a related note, see “Jesus is/isn’t the only way” http://www.patheos.com/blogs/rogerwolsey/2015/04/jesus-isisnt-the-only-way-they-cant-all-be-true-except-when-they-are/

  • BrotherRog

    Re: “Could Christianity’s future lie in Buddhism’s past?” I’d say that it more keenly lies in re-embracing Christianities oldest past. The early Christians had it right. See: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rev-roger-wolsey/progressive-christianity_b_892727.html

  • mintap

    “Though we focus on personal (often translated as sexual) sin, the idea of sin within the Hebrew Bible was more corporate.”

    Yes, and so the Hebrew Law involved cutting off the unrighteousness, stoning the individual sinners. That is how the corporate righteousness was supposed to work. But Jesus was the one cut off. Through this, he offers grace to individuals, households and communities.

  • mintap

    “build up something more helpful – more Christ-like”

    Who are we to build something ourselves?!?

    Seeking Wisdom = fear of the LORD
    No ego = submission to the God’s revealed Word

    right-heartedness = right-belief

    The deeper we fall into wisdom and the deeper we fall into right-heartedness, the more we reach the mind of Christ.

    The deeper we fall into the mind of Christ and the deeper we fall into right-belief, the more we reach right-heartedness.

    Placing autonomous human thought above God’s revealed Word is an act of fleeing wisdom.

  • Mark Fitzgerald

    In my spiritual journey I for the last couple of years have drawn from Buddhist writings. I have found the Buddhist writings help me in my Christian walk and really I think the basics such as the Noble 8 Fold Path would benefit anyone, any religion and even atheists who want to live a good life.

  • stlhdsal

    As a Roman Catholic who left the Church for 2 years of intensive Zen Buddhist training, I discovered the similarities between the 2 faiths are deep, yet they part ways on a very fundamental level. I won’t go into it here, but John Paul II wrote about it in his comments about Buddhism in “Crossing the Threshold of Hope.” His clarification of the differences paved my way for my return to the Catholic Church. I am deeply thankful for my Zen training and I still use the techniques of zazen meditation every day for my ‘contemplation.’ I’ve never looked back.

  • Christopher LaHaise

    This is a wonderful piece, and I agree with it completely. The focus should be on connecting with those around you, helping them, and learning from them. I think you tapped into the idea perfectly here. Great!

  • Just wanted to add that Ego is usually a problem, but Self is not. We are meant to individuate. (I believe 🙂

    However, Ego is the part that is prideful and arrogant and can’t stand to be corrected. It needs to be handled properly, and taught its proper place 🙂

  • Mark Douglass

    Mr.Piatt, you missed one very important thing that Christians can learn from Buddhism, and that is the importance of a regular practice of meditation and contemplation. Once upon a time, contemplative prayer was a necessary prerequisite for baptism into the body of Christ, because the practice directly informs the other five things you address. I say this as a Christian loving Buddhist who daily practices meditation and trains his mind in prajna (discernment), shamatha (peaceful abiding), and maitri (compassion). If you don’t yet have one, I encourage you to start a practice and gather a group of co-practitioners to join you on the journey.

  • MaryLouiseC

    An interesting article indeed. However, there’s really no need to borrow from Buddhism. Everything we need to learn about life is in the Bible, including information about those five points.

    For example, getting rid of the ego. The Bible is full of verses to that effect and the life of Jesus is the ultimate example we are told over and over and over again to imitate.

    The Bible states that we need BOTH wisdom AND knowledge. They go hand in hand. The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, meaning that we need a right understanding of God which leads to an awe of him that leads to true wisdom.

    Right-heartedness only comes from right belief. If you believe the wrong things, your heart is going to lead you to the wrong things. God promises to take our hard hearts and make them tender. Can Buddha, who is dead, do that? What sets Christianity apart from Buddhism is the fact that Christians are filled with the Holy Spirit who empowers us to do the right thing. Buddhists can only try to do what they think is the right thing in their puny, limited human power.

    Impermanence is one of the teachings of the Bible. We are told that only God’s Word will last, that everything else will fall away, that we are like the grass that dries and withers, that our days are numbered.

    Care for creation — that was God’s order to Adam and Eve, one that hasn’t ever been rescinded. God appointed humanity to be stewards of the world he created.

    Ultimately, people don’t have to go to Buddhism to learn how to live properly. They simply have to read the Bible and follow what is said in it. I didn’t bother to cite texts for what I have stated, but I hope there are those who will take up their Bibles and look for this information in them. It’s all there — and more!

  • Reading the comments below, I would like to emphasize that much of today’s different divisions of Buddhism have added MUCH to what the Buddha actually taught himself and lived. The bare bones of what HE taught could easily be used to emphasize the focus of what can really be attributed to what Christ actually taught and lived in the time he lived on earth and not what was added to the texts of the New Testament at a later date. Neither Christ nor Buddha would have any problems with what the other taught & lived in reality.

  • Grady Walton

    “But
    Jesus didn’t ask people what they believed, or to recite some creed before
    following him or going and doing for others what he did for them.” True, but
    Jesus made it clear that belief is the most important step in every seeker’s
    journey (see John 11:25). Jesus also told Saint Thomas to stop doubting and
    believe. At some point, we all have to get off the fence.

  • Anna

    Christianity teaches these things.