Is there a conflict between Buddhism and Christianity?

Q. Tell me what you can about Buddhism.  Is there any conflict with Buddhism and Christianity?  Can one be a buddist and a Christian at the same time?

John 14:6

6* Jesus *said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.

A number of years ago, I studied with a lady who believed all religions came from God. Even though different religions teach different and contradictory doctrines, she believed they all came from God, so we can pick and choose the best of each and leave the rest alone. A kind of cafeteria-style religion. Also, she believed since all religions came from God, we should not criticize other religious groups. “God is not the author of confusion” (1 Corinthians 14:33).

It is granted there is some good in all religions. If a religion did not have anything good about it, who would be interested in following it? However, it only takes a little false doctrine to destroy us spiritually.  Rat poison only has about 2% poison in it. The rest is good food. Not even a rat is stupid enough to eat 100% poison.

Such is the case with Buddhism. There are some good things stressed in Buddhism. But it is the poison mixed in with it that will cause a person to be lost eternally.

There are so many religions or philosophies that claim to be the guide for people in this life. Buddhism makes this claim. It is hard to know exactly how many Buddhists there are in this world, but there are approximately 600 million people who follow it to some degree.

Buddhism is one of the many eastern religions that fits into Paul’s description of those who

Rom. 1:23 & 25

23* and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.

25* For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

Just as with many eastern religions, Buddhism is very idolatrous in nature. There are a number of passages that show the folly and sinfulness of idolatry (Psalm 115: 4-8; 1 Corinthians 12:2).

Buddhism claims it has evolved into different forms so that it can be relevant to the different cultures in which it exists. They claim it has been  reinterpreted over the centuries so that it can remain relevant to each new generation. It has to be relative to be relevant. Also, there is very little “pure” Buddhism being practiced in the world today. Instead there is a mixture of Buddhism with Taoism and Confucianism. Taoism came from

Lao-tzu and Chuang-tzu. Confucianism is based upon the teachings of Confucius. During the Ming Dynasty (1369-1644), these three were merged into one. Another aspect of this mixture is the practice of ancestor worship. People do not consider it odd to practice some aspects of all three religions.

Buddhism Today

Though there are a number of different branches of Buddhism, the four noble truths and the eightfold path are at the heart of this teaching.

The four noble truths are:

(1) Suffering exists.

(2) Suffering arises from attachment to desires.

(3) Suffering ceases when attachment to desire ceases.

(4)Freedom from suffering is possible by practicing the eightfold path.

According to Buddhism, the eightfold path is the way to end this suffering. It will also enable the follower to attain nirvana.

This eightfold path includes:

(1) Right view or understanding.

(2) Right thought.

(3) Right speech.

(4) Right action.

(5) Right livelihood.

(6) Right effort.

(7) Right mindfulness.

(8) Right contemplation or concentration.

The Bible teaches that suffering exists. Sometimes we suffer because of the consequences of sin (Luke 16:19-31; Hebrews 3:7-17). However, the Bible teaches some suffer in spite of righteous living. The Prophets and Job (James 5:10,11). Christians (1 Peter 4:12-16). Those who live godly lives (2 Timothy 3:12).

The goal of the Eightfold Path is Nirvana. The goal of righteous living is eternal life in heaven (Matthew 5:10-12).

Some Buddhist Doctrines

1. Nirvana. What is nirvana? According to Buddhism: In Sanskrit, nirvana literally means, “extinction, blowing out.” “Nirvana is the ultimate goal of spiritual practice in Buddhism. It is the total, absolute and permanent cessation of suffering. It is the merging of the individual into being one with the universe.”

Nirvana means “never having to be reborn.”

The goal of the Christian is also to go to a place where there will be no suffering or pain. The Bible calls this place heaven (Revelation 21:4).

However, a heavenly reward does not mean we cease to exist. Jesus said:

John 5:28

28* “Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice,

29* and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment.

This passage also points out that the unrighteous are not reborn, but will be doomed to hell.

2. Karma. Buddhism teaches that happiness or suffering in this life is the result of our deeds (karma) in past lives, or past actions in our present lives. Karma is “intentional action, that is, a deed done deliberately through body, speech, or mind.” The effects of karma may be evident either in  short-term or in the long-term. Karma can either manifest its effects in this very life or in the next life or only after several lives. Karma is the

Buddhist explanation for unexplained or unexpected suffering. According to the idea of karma in Buddhism, an individual has free will, but he carries the baggage of deeds done in previous lives.

What does the Bible teach? The Bible teaches each individual is responsible for his own life (Ezekiel 18:4,20; Romans 14:12; 2 Corinthians 5:10).

We do not inherit the sins of our ancestors, nor do we inherit sins from previous lives.

3. Reincarnation or Rebirth (Transmigration of Souls). The idea of reincarnation permeates our society. There have been a number of books written, television shows, and movies produced that promote this teaching. Many famous people in history believed they were someone else in another life.

According to Buddhism, all creatures (including animals) have a soul, so it would be cannibalism to kill and eat animals. Many who believe in reincarnation are vegetarians.

It is amazing to me that those who believe in reincarnation try to use the Bible to uphold their doctrine. They try to use the examples of Job and Jeremiah in the Old Testament (Job 1:20,21; Jeremiah 1:4,5). However, neither of these passages are talking about reincarnation. Job also said: “When a few years are come, then I shall go the way whence I shall not return” (Job 16:22). In the New Testament, they try to use passages that speak of

Paul and Elijah (Galatians 1:15,16; Matthew 11:14; Luke 1:17). Again, these passages do not remotely suggest reincarnation. In the case of Elijah, he did not even die (2 Kings 2:11). Also, Elijah appears as himself with Jesus on the mount of transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-5).

Reincarnation teaches that we die over and over again. However, the Bible teaches us “it is appointed unto men once to die” (Hebrews 9:27). This same verse tells us that after we die, we wait for the judgment.

4. The Buddhist View Of God. As in Hinduism, the Buddhist view of God is that there are many gods, or no gods.

“In China…religions are viewed as inclusive, and a person may commonly be a combination of Buddhist, Taoist, and Confucianist, with some other elements thrown in as well. Chinese tend to look for a “god” that can solve a specific problem at an immediate time, and to fill a particular need. They

visit a variety of temples and shrines to give offerings. When the westerner inquires as to which idols or images in the temple are representative of which religion(s), it is most likely none of the Chinese in attendance knows.”

Buddhism is a religion that “offers the chance to be an atheist without having to dispense with religion.” So in Buddhism, you can be a polytheist or an atheist. It does not affect the final outcome or goals of Buddhism. The Psalmist said, “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God” (Psalm

14:1).

Defeating Buddhism

. Jesus said, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). He then says, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth (John 17:17). The Word of God is our source of truth (2 Timothy 3:16,17).

There is only one right way

The Bible teaches there is only one right way (John 14:6). We will be judged by the words of Christ (John 12: 48). There are only two choices in life -the narrow way or the broad way (Matthew 7:13,14). If we want to go to heaven, we have to obey the will of God (Matthew 7:21-23). The Bible is the proven guide for the lives of all people.

Buddhism contradicts the truth of the Bible

The Bible emphasizes the existence of God (Genesis 1:1; Daniel 2:28; Acts 17:23-29). The Bible also teaches there is only one true God (Isaiah 44:6). Buddhism teaches there is either no God or many gods – your choice! Buddhism contradicts the Bible. The Bible is right, therefore Buddhism cannotbe right!

The Bible teaches it is our guide in life and it reveals all truth (Psalm 119:105; John 14:26; John 16:13; 2 Peter 1:3). Buddhism teaches the writings ofGautama and one’s feelings are the guide in this life. But the Bible says: “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are theways of death” (Proverbs 14:12).

The Bible proclaims Jesus to be the Christ, the Son of God (Romans 1:4; John 20:30,31). The Bible teaches that Jesus rose from the dead(1 Corinthians 15:3,4). Buddhism denies Jesus rose from the dead, and also denies Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. Since Buddhism contradictsthese plain passages, Buddhism cannot be true!

The Bible reveals God’s eternal plan to save mankind through the church (Ephesians 3:10,11; Matthew 16:18; Acts 20:28; Ephesians 1:22,23;Ephesians 5:23). Buddhism denies this is the path of salvation. According to Buddhism, a person is to follow the eightfold path that will lead tonirvana. Since this contradicts the Bible, it cannot be right!

The Bible teaches that our soul is eternal and we will be judged according to our works, by the word of God (Matthew 10:28; Romans 2:16; 2 Corinthians 5:10). The difference between humans and animals is humans have an eternal soul, animals do not. Yet Buddhism teaches all life,human and animal, is of the same value. Buddhism also teaches reincarnation, which is a continual rebirth. These views are in conflict with the Bible.

The Bible is true, therefore these doctrines of Buddhism are false.

Conclusion

Buddhism stresses self-dependence and self-salvation. It cannot be true because it is a religion from man (Matthew 15:8,9,13,14).

Christianity is far superior to any other religion in the world. It offers forgiveness of sins through our obedience to Christ (Hebrews 5:8,9). The only hope this world has is through Christ (Ephesians 2:12; John 14:6; 1 Thessalonians 1:9).

Special thanks to our brethren at http://www.oldpaths.com for the above notes and material.

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