I am a 19-year-old evangelical Christian. My sister, who is 21, is a very liberal Catholic. The other day, we got into an argument. She claims that you can be both a practicing Buddhist and a Christian/Catholic (I have also been told this by a theology teacher at my Catholic school when I was in high school).
I feel that this cannot be true, but I had no real good defenses for my position. The only thing that I could think of was that Christianity and Buddhism have two completely different end goals (fellowship with God aka Heaven vs. Nirvana), and that no religions with separate end goals could ever be compatible.
She argued that aspects of Buddhism could be helpful to connecting with Jesus (meditation, the eight-fold path, etc.).
What would you say? Do you think that one could be a Buddhist-Christian? If not, why would you say this?
If any brand of Christianity is compatible with Buddhism, then either it's not New Testament Christianity or it's not any Buddhism I've ever heard of. New Testament Christianity calls for 100 percent love for, obedience to and trust in the Jesus of the Scriptures. It is a life and love that demands all of your heart, all of your soul, all of your mind, and all of your strength for Him first and foremost.
I am deeply concerned that there is a growing trend among those claiming to be Christians who are telling us that Christianity is in any way compatible with any other religion. The New Testament allows for no such thing.
Jesus Himself could not have made it any more plain: I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except by me. And it is only at His Name that every knee should bow in heaven and on earth and under earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. It is a very, very narrow path.
That means every leader of every "religion" and every denomination, and every follower of those "religions" and denominations, must swear 100 percent allegiance to Jesus in this life to be what the New Testament declares to be a follower of Christ. In the New Testament view, Buddha, Mohammed and every other leader of every other religion was merely a sinner like you and me, and in need of the Savior, of whom there is only One.
Many people pray. Many people fast. Many people meditate. Many people do works of justice. Many people are striving to be moral. Many people attend religious services. Many people give of their time and treasure to many good causes. Many people are devout. Many people are religious.
And Jesus reserved His harshest rebuke for just those people, ones who didn't have Him as the center of all things, especially their religious practices.
You are correct. Standard Buddhism is not even in the same universe as New Testament Christianity. Buddhists might pray, meditate, fast, etc., but they are certainly not doing it in order to deepen their love for and loyalty to Jesus. Their goal is "oneness" with the "universe," and bettering ones thoughts and actions by mental and physical discipline. It's trying to become better with human effort alone, and is in complete opposition to Christianity.
Biblical Christianity says that only the triune God is good, and only on the merits of the perfectly lived life of Jesus, His finished work on the cross, and our total trust in that work are we counted as righteous. It requires that we acknowledge our own depravity and inability to become "good" on our own merit or in our own strength. It requires a total reliance upon the God of the Scriptures to save us through the shed blood of Christ, to redeem us and to carry us from moment to moment.
I am concerned because on college campuses all over the nation there is a growing murkiness of biblical Christianity that allows for allegiances other than complete allegiance and devotion to the Christ of the scriptures. In the name of ecumenical-ism, students are being deeply deceived into thinking that more than one road leads to heaven.
Let's be clear: There is only One Savior. There is only One Lord. There is only One King. There is only One Person who will be coming back for His Bride, and His Bride will be those who made Him their first and foremost love, friend, King and Savior. His name is Jesus Christ, and He is passionate for you to know Him, love Him and worship Him alone.
People will tell you all sorts of things about how their religion or worldview is compatible with Christianity. It's not. It's a deception and you need to guard your heart from it. Pour yourself over the scriptures and get to know the Jesus of the Bible. It will become very clear to you how narrow is the path of salvation, and how beautiful.
Copyright 2010 John Thomas. All rights reserved.