I’ll say it one more time: You can’t be a Christian and a Buddhist. The differences between the beliefs of the two religions make them incompatible.
Hello Readers, hope all’s well. Time for another End Times post.
I picked today’s topic because I wrote about the antiChrist in the previous End Times post. One thing connected with the antiChrist is the idea of a “one world religion.” That will be one religion for the whole world to follow. Will it be a combination of all religions, or a new religion centered around the antiChrist? I believe it’s the second one, a new religion centered around the antiChrist. But both are evil from a Christian perspective.
So speaking of combining religions, let’s talk about Buddhism and Christianity. Buddhism is a religion people often compare with Christianity. Many people say they teach the same things. Worst of all by far, though, is that some Christians now claim to be both Christians and Buddhists! These Christians have believed those who say Buddhism and Christianity teach the same things.
But if we dig below the surface level similarities, we find two completely different belief systems. The differences in belief between the religions make them incompatible. And that’s what we’re going to explore in today’s End Times post. So let’s get right into it.
Why Are the two Compared?
You can’t be a Christian and a Buddhist.
I want to keep it simple and start right there. You can’t be a Christian and a Buddhist. People love to compare what they see as similar between them, but the differences make them incompatible!
But why do so many people compare the two religions?
I’m going to skip writing a definition of “what is Buddhism?” I think we all more or less know what it is. But here’s the Wikipedia page for “Buddhism,” which you can visit to begin your research if you like.
Many people say a “good Christian is a good Buddhist,” and vice versa. They say this because of what both religions teach about how to act. The actions of a good Christian and a good Buddhist will be about the same. Both religions teach compassion, mercy, love, forgiveness, tolerance, and so on.
“The Noble Eightfold Path” in Buddhism teaches followers to practice: Right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration. Most of these “right” concepts have some equal concept in Christianity. For example, take a look at what Buddhists think of as “Right speech.” The Bible tells us the same thing about how Christians must speak.
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, and from idle chatter: This is called right speech.Pali Canon
So if we don’t dig deeper, yes, it looks like good Christians are good Buddhists and vice versa, because they act the same. But everything mentioned so far is about behavior, actions. What happens when we get into beliefs? That’s where the similarities fall apart, and that’s where we see that we can’t be both Buddhist and Christian.
Completely Different Beliefs
If you believe the core beliefs of Christianity, you can’t believe in Buddhism, and vice versa. They cancel each other out; they are incompatible. So let’s now take a look at what Buddhist beliefs are, and how they differ from Christianity.
For today’s content, I’m going to heavily reference pages 230-232 of The Second Coming of the New Age by Steven Bancarz and Josh Peck. I wrote a review of this book for The Christian Book Corner some months ago, you can READ IT HERE. It’s an excellent book debunking New Age beliefs, including these links between Buddhism and Christianity.
Now, since these authors have already debunked these links, why should I try to say it some other way? I’m going to let the authors speak on this topic, since they say it so well. First, here’s what the authors say about the way people like to connect Jesus and Buddha:
This is the most common comparison […] The problem is, the Buddha and Jesus Christ have next to nothing in common.Steven Bancarz and Josh Peck, The Second Coming of the New Age, Pages 230-231.
Jesus taught that the single most important thing to do is to believe in Him for the forgiveness of sins. In fact, He said to believe in Him is the ultimate will of God (John 6:29). […] Faith in Him is the condition of eternal life (John 5:24), […]
They have more to say than this, of course. This is an excerpt, but I picked out the parts about belief in Jesus. Why do they stress belief in Jesus to debunk the link between Jesus and Buddha? Because there is no God in Buddhism, making the two religions completely different. We’ll get to that in a moment. First, let’s read the two Scripture verses they cited. Here’s John 6:28-29.
(28) They asked, “What must we do in order to accomplish what God requires?”John 6:28-29 (CEB)
(29) Jesus replied, “This is what God requires, that you believe in him whom God sent.”
And here’s John 5:24.
(24) I assure you that whoever hears my word and believes in the one who sent me has eternal life and won’t come under judgment but has passed from death into life.John 5:24 (CEB)
OK, so we know that belief in Jesus as the Son of God is a core part of Christianity. DUH! Of course it is! But since we know that, we also know that we can’t be both Buddhist and Christian.
There is no God in Buddhism, and Jesus said He is the Son of the one God, so you can’t believe in both things at the same time. You have to pick one.
See what I mean? Now let’s get into more differences between Christianity and Buddhism. Once again I’ll defer to The Second Coming of the New Age. They list the differences on pages 231-232.
–There is no almighty God in Buddhism. […]
-Buddhism is strictly not a religion in the context of […] worship and owing allegiance to a supernatural being.Steven Bancarz and Josh Peck, The Second Coming of the New Age, Page 231.
So again, there’s no God in Buddhism, not anywhere in the whole Buddhist belief system. They don’t worship any supernatural Spiritual being or person at all. Moving on,
–No savior concept in Buddhism. A Buddha is not a savior who saves others by his personal salvation. […] It is not within the power of a Buddha to wash away the impurities of others.
-A Buddha is not an incarnation of a god/God […]Steven Bancarz and Josh Peck, The Second Coming of the New Age, Page 231.
So here’s a critical difference. This is another difference making Christianity and Buddhism incompatible. We believe in Jesus Christ as our LORD and Savior; He forgives us our sins. Without Jesus we can never gain salvation. The belief that Jesus died for our sins and grants us salvation is the most important belief of Christianity.
Nothing like this belief exists in Buddhism. So we can’t believe in Christ and also believe in a religion that recognizes no savior. Not only that, Buddhism teaches a form of self-salvation. It teaches that we are our own saviors. We see this in the next item:
-The liberation of self is the responsibility of one’s own self. […] It places heavy emphasis on self-reliance, self-discipline, and individual striving.
-In Buddhism, the ultimate objective of followers/practitioners is enlightenment and/or liberation from Samsara; rather than to go to a Heaven […]Steven Bancarz and Josh Peck, The Second Coming of the New Age, Pages 231-232.
So because a Buddha isn’t a savior, our enlightenment is our own responsibility. This means that not only do we not need a savior in Buddhism, we can also save ourselves through our own efforts. This goes against the teachings of Christianity, namely Ephesians 2:8-9. We aren’t Saved by any good thing we can do; we’re Saved by God’s Grace through our Faith.
(8) You are saved by God’s grace because of your faith. This salvation is God’s gift. It’s not something you possessed. (9) It’s not something you did that you can be proud of.Ephesians 2:8-9 (CEB)
And not only that, but where else have we heard this idea that we don’t need God, and we can save ourselves through knowledge? It appears somewhere else besides Buddhism … can you remember where?
Of course we read this in Genesis, in the Garden of Eden! This is the essence of the lie the serpent (Satan) told to Eve. He told her that if she ate the forbidden fruit, she would “become like God” (Genesis 3:5) through her new knowledge. But we all know what happened after she fell for it!
Besides Buddhism, this idea also appears in Gnosticism.
The idea that we don’t need God, don’t need a Savior, and can save ourselves is the same idea behind the lie the serpent told Eve in the Garden.
Moving on, Bancarz and Peck explain many more contradictions between Christianity and Buddhism. Each is a major difference in the fundamental beliefs of each religion, and each makes the two incompatible. But in this post, I will only mention one more contradiction between them.
You probably know that Buddhists believe people are reincarnated and keep being reborn into this world. They will continue to live, die, and reincarnate into a new life until they reach their self-enlightenment. It’s a cycle of birth, death, and rebirth that continues forever until they get it right.
But this is not so in Christianity. Scripture tells us we live and die once, then stand before the LORD in judgment. That’s in Hebrews 9:27.
(27) People are destined to die once and then face judgment.Hebrews 9:27 (CEB)
So here we see another core belief of Buddhism is once again incompatible with a core belief of Christianity.
There are more differences between the two religions. If you’re interested, you can check out The Second Coming of the New Age for yourself (AFFILIATE LINK). But now that we’ve looked at the most serious differences, all I need to say is this ….
Christianity and Buddhism don’t mix!
We Can’t Be both; Pick one!
I’ll say it one more time: You can’t be a Christian and a Buddhist.
The differences between the beliefs of the two religions make them incompatible. I’ll let Bancarz and Peck say it:
The beliefs of Buddhism are logically incompatible with the beliefs of Christianity. Every essential tenet of the Christian faith is the opposite of the teachings of Buddhism, which makes at least one set of teachings false. We could say that Christianity is false, Buddhism is false, or both are false, but to say both are true is a logical impossibility. Two opposing view can’t be true at the same time. […]
The most important doctrine in the Christian faith is that Jesus Christ died and rose for the sins of humanity:Steven Bancarz and Josh Peck, The Second Coming of the New Age, Page 232.
That last point brings us to the most important difference between the two. If we’re Christians, we believe in Jesus. If we’re Buddhists, we believe we have no need for Jesus. We can’t be both, we can’t be Buddhists and Christians.
Remember Ephesians 2, quoted above. It’s not our good deeds that Save us, or our knowledge. Our Salvation doesn’t come from anything we do on our own. We’re Saved by God’s Grace through our Faith in Him. Besides the other Scripture verses above, Jesus told us in John 14:6 that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one will reach the Father without Jesus!
(6) Jesus answered, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (7) If you have really known me, you will also know the Father. From now on you know him and have seen him.”John 14:6-7 (CEB)
So it takes more than being a “good person” to get into Heaven. People love to compare the Virtues and values Christianity and Buddhism have in common. It’s true that the actions of good Buddhists and good Christians are about the same. Both religions teach believers how to be a “good person.” But that means nothing—of course they do! All religions teach their believers how to be a “good person!”
We can’t get into Heaven by being a “good person.” Jesus and Scripture are clear on this. Faith in Jesus is what it takes. We could call that “Right Faith.” We need to have “Right Faith.”
To have “Right Faith,” we need to believe in Jesus and His Word. And once we see the contradictions between Christian and Buddhist beliefs, we know we can’t believe in both. We can’t be a Christian and a Buddhist; we must pick one. I pray everyone will make the right choice.
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Until next time, be strong and do good!
Your new best friend in Christ,
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