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Thread: Can a Christian be a Buddhist? Vice-versa?

  1. #1
    quite like george NikolaiI's Avatar
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    Can a Christian be a Buddhist? Vice-versa?

    This is something that's very interesting to me, and I'd love to have some intelligent conversations about it on here, surely with people of various faiths.

    It's something I'm not sure I've often met with agreement on. There is one person I know however, who first told me he belonged to different faiths. A man in a Buddhist monastery who was there for an interfaith community organization meeting, who told me he was Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, as well as others. I'm the same way as him, except I'm only mainly Christian, Buddhist and Rastafarian.

    Can a Christian be Buddhist? I've been told adamently, almost vehemently, no, and just thought I'd see what others think. I'm posting this thread because I realized I was talking about it on other threads where it was off-topic...

    *sigh* It's a question of labels...

  2. #2
    Registered User Ellie_'s Avatar
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    That depends on the exact beliefs of the Christian, I guess. Many Christians in the modern western world accept only the morals of their religion, such as charity, but are open to other spiritual concepts. Being a Buddhist, you would have to arrange the Christian idea of the immortal soul with the Buddhist concept of disappearing in the nirvana as your main intention in life. I guess that is the main difference.

  3. #3
    The Yodfather Stanislaw's Avatar
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    It depends on if you accept portions of each belief, for example I think the reincarnation of buddhism vs the single life of christians would be a conflict, and it would also depend on which form of buddhism you are speaking about.

    I am christian, but there are many buddhist ideals and beliefs that make sense to me, and that I could even accept, but my primary belief is christian, I suppose I accept many ideas, but do not define my self as buddhist since I do not accept all of the ideals.

    I hope this not too personal of a question, but which form of buddhism do you support?

    ---------------
    Stanislaw Lem
    1921 - 2006, Rest In Peace.
    "Faith is, at one and the same time, absolutely necessary and altogether impossible"

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    quite like george NikolaiI's Avatar
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    Right, the conflicting views and beliefs that determine if someone is a Christian or Buddhsit, and it could be argued they are mutually or at least one way exclusive. I wish I knew what that one guy would say about it.

    Well, I'm not a Buddhist scholar, I don't know the different kinds in detail, but if it is an accepted form, then I am a zen Buddhist? I think Tibetan, too. But really I don't think there should be divisions, really, between religions or in a religion.

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    Freak Ingenu Countess's Avatar
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    I consider myself a Christian Buddhist, with Christianity taking precedent. Buddha never professed himself a God, so there is no antimony there. The practical philosophy of Buddhism walks hand-in-hand with the spiritual daily living of Christianity, so again, no conflict. The only conflict between the two concerns pre-life and after-life. In those I am decidedly Christian.
    Thing is, Buddhism allows for variation: you accept what resonates with you and abandon what doesn't. So, if reincarnation does not resound with me, as a "Buddist" I am free to denounce it and still be a Buddhist.
    The fact is, Christianity is offensive by it's very nature (which is why we have "apologetics") because it pre-supposes an absolute truth with no allowance for deviation. Denying the diefication of Christ means one is patently not Christian.
    Hope I didn't offend anybody by saying that but its a fact. - C

    PS: I have read the Dali Llama's writings and found much value in them - except the reincarnation stuff.

  6. #6
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    The two cannot be mixed. Nietzsche says it best here:

    "Buddhism is a hundred times as realistic as Christianity--it is part of its living heritage that it is able to face problems objectively and coolly; it is the product of long centuries of philosophical speculation. The concept, "god," was already disposed of before it appeared. Buddhism is the only genuinely positive religion to be encountered in history, and this applies even to its epistemology (which is a strict phenomenalism) --It does not speak of a "struggle with sin," but, yielding to reality, of the "struggle with suffering." Sharply differentiating itself from Christianity, it puts the self-deception that lies in moral concepts be hind it; it is, in my phrase,beyond good and evil." -Nietzsche (Anti-Christ)

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    it is what it is. . . billyjack's Avatar
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    jack keroack subsribed to both christianity and buddhism. he labeled himself a "mystic christian."

    all religious traditions, including islam, judiasm, and christianity, have mystical offshoots that tend to resemble buddhism but still consider themselves to be members of their original creed.

  8. #8
    Christianity identifies God through dualism whereas Buddhism identifies its deity as either nondual or does not exist. These are already mutually exclusive. Further questions would be whether reincarnation is true, whether knowledge of Jesus is necessary for an afterlife, and whether the Bible was inspired by God. I would say they are very mutually exclusive.

    I imagine that many people try to take bits and pieces of each and form something they are content with, but I would hardly consider that subscribing to both.
    Last edited by Mr. Dr. Ralph; 05-28-2007 at 04:56 PM.

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    Watcher by Night mtpspur's Avatar
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    I submit that the main problem of borrowing from one belief system and another is that by so doing you tend to leave out the 'down' side of the specified religion and retain that which pleases the flesh and lulls the spirit into a state of contentment much like the lotus eaters from the Odyessey.

    The particular difference I believe that the Bible or if you will Christianity continually declares that humanity has a 'problem' (known as sin) which has made them unfit for the afterlife and the situation needs to be resolved in THIS life. The solution has been provided by the Lord Christ for ANY who believe. But God being a jealous God will NOT share this 'life' with another--as in other beliefs/saviors etc. in competiton with the worship of Himself. I much prefer the word relationship with God and not religious belief. My personal doctrines lean towards liberal Calvinism. Hope this helps.

    Or simpler put you can't serve two masters--neither gets your best.
    Last edited by mtpspur; 05-28-2007 at 05:56 PM.

  10. #10
    no. A true Christian is literally a "little Christ", or a follower of Christ. Christ says "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. NONE can come to the Father, except through Me." He also says that you can only have one master. That leaves no room for other gods, or any religion. If you are a Christian, then you are OnLy a Christian. period
    That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, wherby they lie in wait to decieve; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things, which is the head, even Christ. Ephesians 4:14-15

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    Serious business Taliesin's Avatar
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    But, Bookworm4Him, if we are not mistaken, buddhism is a religion which doesn't deal with the problems of god(s), (actually, some branches are atheistic or even antitheistic, if we are correctly informed), but with problems of ethics. At that, it has also been discussed whether it is a religion or rather a philosophy.
    And Christianity and Buddhism have a lot, really a vast number of branches that have different rules and beliefs and whatnot and so we would not think it impossible for them to mingle.
    However, as it has been pointed out, Christianity and Buddhism, although there is no direct conflict as such (besides the afterlife), are religions of so different natures ("struggle with sin" versus "struggle with suffering") that it would be difficult to practice both.
    However, in our personal opinion, who cares? With religions and personal philisophies, do as you wish, take those parts of the religions that you feel are right and disband those that feel wrong. What you end up with might not be easily classified, but at least it is your own and you don't have to feel like: "I am supposed to do that, because religion X says so, and it is a really nice religion that offers things no other religion does(feels like an washing-powder advert, doesn't it?), and although I don't feel that is right, I should do it, because X says it is right"
    If you believe even a half of this post, you are severely mistaken.

  12. #12
    Freak Ingenu Countess's Avatar
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    I think people must have a false notion of exactly what Buddhism is. Let's look at the 4 noble truths and the 8-fold path:

    4 NOBLE TRUTHS

    1.) "There is suffering, dukkha. Dukkha should be understood. Dukkha has been understood."

    In the garden, man fell from grace. Sin and death (suffering) entered the world. Before Adam sinned, suffering did not exist.

    2.) Suffering: It is craving which renews being and is accompanied by relish and lust, relishing this and that: in other words, craving for sensual desires, craving for being, craving for non-being. But whereon does this craving arise and flourish? Wherever there is what seems lovable and gratifying, thereon it arises and flourishes.

    Lust of the flesh/ corruption of the soul. We worship ourselves. "Man is too easily satisfied" - Pascal, Christian scientist.

    3.) What is the Noble Truth of the Cessation of Suffering? It is the remainderless fading and cessation of that same craving; the rejecting, relinquishing, leaving and renouncing of it. But whereon is this craving abandoned and made to cease? Wherever there is what seems lovable and gratifying, thereon it is abandoned and made to cease.

    St. Augustine said by renouncing the self, we bring ourselves/our will in line with Gods. When we do this, suffering ceases because our will and God's will are in perfect harmony. (Yes, this is very Ideal and nobody will achieve it on earth, but it's the goal.)

    The only difference here is Buddhism says "stop wanting" while Christianity says "stop wanting but desire God's will". Christianity takes Buddhism a step farther by positing an affirmative action rather than renouncing a negative one.

    4.) What is the Noble Truth of the Way Leading to the Cessation of Suffering? It is the Noble Eightfold Path, that is to say: Right View, Right Intention, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness and Right Concentration

    8 FOLD PATH:

    WISDOM

    1. Right View (God's perspective)
    2. Right Intention. It means to see things through, to grasp the impermanent and imperfect nature of worldly objects and ideas/that all human beings suffer (Right understanding, etc leads to right action). I don't think I really need to explain this in Christian terms.

    ETHICAL CONDUCT

    3. Right Speech (no lying, gossiping, cursing, slandering etc - speak only what is holy and edifying. Speak truth in Love)
    4. Right Action (Ten Commandments; The Greatest Commandment)
    5. Right Livelihood (see Psalms 31 about the Godly wife; also passages about it being good to work with one's hands and to work)

    MENTAL EFFORT

    6. Right Effort (to pour energy into abstaining from unwholesomeness while also obtaining wholesomeness)
    7. Right Mindfulness (contemplation in order to see things as they really are, not as we initially perceive them to be or want them to be: ie: get rid of denial.)
    8. Right Concentration (complete focus on wholesomeness, or as Christians would say, "spirtual-mindedness" without "fleshly appetite").

    Buddhism is general while Christianity is specific. Christianity's specific edicts (if they were arranged systematically) would easily fall under Buddhism's general principles. The two walk well together.

    I don't worship Buddha (or really pay any attention to him) but I do love his ideas and his systematic approach to spirituality. It's easier for me to think "right action today" and implement it than to recall the 50 or more specific Christian commandments and try to remember each one, putting it into practice.

    Anyone who says they're mutually exclusive - I suspect they don't understand Buddhism or Christianity or both.

  13. #13
    Freak Ingenu Countess's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bookworm4Him View Post
    no. A true Christian is literally a "little Christ", or a follower of Christ. Christ says "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. NONE can come to the Father, except through Me."
    That's true. Salvation occurs only through Jesus, but Buddha isn't interested in saving your soul - mainly because he doesn't think you have one.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bookworm4Him View Post
    He also says that you can only have one master. That leaves no room for other gods, or any religion.
    I don't worship Buddha - and he's never asked me to, either. He never considered himself a god, and neither do I. If anyone makes him a god, it's their fault, not buddhas.

    Actually, Buddhism is an atheistic religion - that's what people don't understand - but to be honest, the Buddhists I know have a little Christianity in their mix and pray to God. They're only a step away from Christ in alot of ways - it's just trying to figure out how to reintroduce Christ as a loving savior when there are self-righteous idiots screaming Hellfire and Damnation on every TV station in America.

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    quite like george NikolaiI's Avatar
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    Metaphysical speculation kind of lends itself to Buddhism, I think.

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    I found a good article on the topic by Dr. John Ankerberg and Dr. John Weldon.

    PDF: http://www.ankerberg.org/Articles/_P...s/AP3W1101.pdf

    HTML:
    http://209.85.165.104/search?q=cache...lnk&cd=2&gl=us

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