Patheos Lenses

Side by Side Comparison
The Side by Side Lens allows you to create an easy to read comparison chart for up to three differing religious traditions. Select your traditions from the drop down menus. You can click on the major sections on each chart you build, in order to see more detailed comparisons.
Quick Facts

Origins

Buddhism Christianity
Beginnings
Buddhism
After a profound spiritual realization, the Buddha gathered many followers. He organized them into a community that fundamentally reshaped religious, social, and political structures. | read more »
Christianity
Christianity originated in the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, who was born circa 4 B.C.E. in Roman-occupied Palestine, a Jewish province of the Roman Empire. | read more »
Influences
Buddhism
Buddhism emerged in response to social, political, and religious changes taking place on the northern Indian subcontinent during the 8th to 6th centuries B.C.E. | read more »
Christianity
The Jewish, Greek, and Roman cultures of the formative first two centuries of the Common Era had a deep and lasting influence on the new faith of Christianity. | read more »
Founders
Buddhism
Buddhism's founder was a wealthy prince, born in India in the 6th or 5th century B.C.E., who renounced wealth and power to seek enlightenment. | read more »
Christianity
Christianity is founded in the life and teachings of Jesus, and was established in Jerusalem and propagated throughout the Roman Empire in the 1st century C.E. by enthusiastic evangelists. | read more »
Scriptures
Buddhism
Originally preserved by oral tradition, Buddhist scriptures contain a record of the Buddha's teachings and structures for Buddhist social organization. As Buddhism evolved through the centuries, systematic philosophical treatises and devotional stories were added to the canon. | read more »
Christianity
Christian scriptures are gathered in the Christian Bible, which contains the Jewish scriptures in addition to the twenty-seven books of the New Testament. | read more »
Historical Perspectives
Buddhism
Scholars have criticized the popular emphasis on Buddhist philosophy and the practice of meditation over the ritual and devotional practices much more typical of Asian Buddhism. | read more »
Christianity
What scholars do and do not believe with regard to Christianity influences the ways in which they interpret its history, both past and present. There has been an increasing consciousness of the global diversity of Christianity. | read more »

History

Buddhism Christianity
Early Developments
Buddhism
Early Buddhism was primarily monastic, and Buddhist monks and nuns were expected to follow strict rules and regulations. Lay followers supported the monks by providing food, shelter, and clothing. | read more »
Christianity
In the 2nd — 4th centuries of the Common Era, Christianity endured periods of intense persecution while working to define its identity and beliefs. | read more »
Schisms, Sects
Buddhism
Buddhism continued to evolve after the Buddha's death. Philosophical innovations led to new sutras and new divisions of Buddhism emerged. | read more »
Christianity
Christianity permanently split twice. The first split occurred between the Byzantine Church (eastern) and the Roman Church (western). The Protestant Reformation further split the Roman or western Church. | read more »
Missions, Spread, Changes, Regional adaptations
Buddhism
In the first millennium of the Common Era, Buddhism spread throughout Asia, spawning new social identities, new languages, and new institutions. | read more »
Christianity
From the 5th–13th centuries, Christianity spread dynamically, while the disintegration of the Roman Empire in the West caused churches in the east and west to develop along separate paths. | read more »
Exploration, Conquest, Empire (incl. violence, persecution)
Buddhism
Ashoka, who ruled a large portion of the Indian subcontinent in the 3rd century B.C.E., was a key figure in Buddhism's transformation from local to international religion. | read more »
Christianity
From the 15th–19th centuries, Christian missionary activity, often allied with European political expansion, carried Christianity to all parts of the globe. | read more »
Modern Age
Buddhism
Buddhism has become an international religion with adherents all over the world. It is integral to Asian cultural, political, intellectual, charitable, and religious institutions, and it has made significant in-roads into the west. | read more »
Christianity
The 20th century presented Christianity with dizzying political and cultural challenges. A lively and articulate Christianity in former mission fields and dissatisfaction among American evangelicals produced new movements. | read more »

Beliefs

Buddhism Christianity
Sacred narratives
Buddhism
Buddhist sacred narratives include the life story of the Buddha, stories about his past lives, and stories he told as a teacher as recorded in the sutras. | read more »
Christianity
The Christian story of Jesus is sacred to Christians. The biblical stories of Jesus' life, death, and resurrection reveal God's plan for humanity, which includes salvation and eternal life. | read more »
Ultimate Reality and Divine Beings
Buddhism
There are varying and sometimes contradictory notions of ultimate reality in Buddhism. There are scholarly interpretations and popular interpretations, interpretations within different countries and in different eras. | read more »
Christianity
Christians are monotheists who believe that the one God has an internal relationship of three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Christians also believe in the existence of angels and demons. | read more »
Human Nature and the Purpose of Existence
Buddhism
Human nature is illustrated by the Buddhist teaching of dependent origination, or arising, which shows how poisonous mental states give rise to suffering. | read more »
Christianity
Christianity teaches that human beings were created good by a loving God. While being prone to sin and in need of grace, they are partners in accomplishing God's plan for existence. | read more »
Suffering and the Problem of Evil
Buddhism
In Buddhism, there is no "problem of evil." Suffering is a normal part of life, but the nature of suffering is determined by how one responds to it. | read more »
Christianity
Their belief in a good and powerful creator God has prompted Christians to search for an explanation for the existence of evil. There is no single authoritative Christian response. | read more »
Afterlife and Salvation
Buddhism
There is no consistent notion of the afterlife or salvation in Buddhism. It varies according to country, era, and individual perspective. | read more »
Christianity
At the center of the Christian religion is the story of how God achieved reconciliation with humanity through Christ. | read more »

Rituals and Worship

Buddhism Christianity
Sacred Time
Buddhism
Early Buddhists sought to escape from time. Their goal was nirvana, which is beyond experience and thus not a form of sacred time. Later developments deconstructed the nirvana/samsara dichotomy. | read more »
Christianity
Christians worship weekly and throughout the year. Although the worship styles of the churches differ, the weekly service, Christmas, and Easter have special meaning for all Christians. | read more »
Sacred Space
Buddhism
Buddhist sacred spaces include stupas, containing relics of the Buddha or other monks, and the monastic complexes that grow up around them. Some mountains are also considered sacred. | read more »
Christianity
Christians worship and pray together in churches built in a variety of shapes and styles. The use of art and decoration varies greatly according to denomination, but almost all churches feature a cross and a pulpit. | read more »
Rites and Ceremonies
Buddhism
Buddhist ritual calendars vary widely, but all usually include celebrations of the Buddha's birthday and the New Year. Other ceremonies typical of Buddhism are pilgrimages and rituals surrounding death. | read more »
Christianity
The sacred rituals of Christianity, called sacraments or ordinances, vary greatly between Christian denominations. Almost all Christians practice baptism and the Eucharist, which are ancient traditions connected to Jesus and the apostles. | read more »
Worship and Devotion in Daily Life
Buddhism
The daily life of a Buddhist monk is quite different from that of a lay person. The interrelationship between the two reflects a symbiosis that revolves around the concept of merit. | read more »
Christianity
Christians seek to sanctify their daily lives with prayer and scripture reading. These activities, performed in solitude or in groups, help Christians cultivate a close personal relationship with God. | read more »
Symbolism
Buddhism
Early Buddhist symbols include the Buddha's footprint, the dharma wheel, and the stupa. Other symbols include mudras, mandalas, and monk's robes. Different Buddhist countries also have their own unique symbols. | read more »
Christianity
Much of Christian life and practice is accompanied by symbols that reinforce the Christian's relationship with God. Of these, the most common and distinctive is the cross. | read more »

Ethics and Community

Buddhism Christianity
Community Organization and Structure
Buddhism
Buddhist institutions are deeply involved in local communities in a variety of ways, both religious and secular. They provide rituals, festivals, places to worship, and practical benefits. | read more »
Christianity
Christians share worship and fellowship in communities called churches. Although divided into denominations differing in belief and practice, contemporary Christians share a common belief in the God of the Bible. | read more »
Leadership/Clergy
Buddhism
All Buddhist clergy wear distinctive robes and devote their lives to religious practice and service. The organizational structures of leadership are different, depending on region, size, and sect. | read more »
Christianity
The early Church, influenced by the Roman Empire, developed a hierarchical form of leadership. Contemporary Christian churches have a number of different leadership styles. | read more »
Principles of Moral Thought and Action
Buddhism
Buddhist principles of moral thought and action include karma, merit, and the Eightfold Path. The Eightfold Path provides guidelines for behavior that will lead to spiritual growth. | read more »
Christianity
Christians follow the principles of morality expressed by Jesus' command to love God and neighbor, and rely on the Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount for basic guidance. | read more »
Vision for Society
Buddhism
The social vision of Buddhism is to unite the entire cosmos and all beings within it into one harmonious whole. | read more »
Christianity
Christians expect a final day of judgment when the Kingdom of God, a reign of perfect peace and justice, will begin. | read more »
Gender and Sexuality
Buddhism
Attitudes regarding sexual misconduct, abortion, and divorce are often governed by societal norms rather than religious regulation. The issue of gender equality has been of greater interest in recent Buddhist scholarship. | read more »
Christianity
Christians teach that sexual relations should be expressed within marriage. The roles of women and gay Christians are being debated within the Christian community. | read more »