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Thread: Are Buddhism and Christianity fundamentally different religions?

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    Sapere aude Politesse's Avatar
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    Perhaps we are using different definitions of "fundamental" here, but it seems to me that the mere existence of Christian Buddhists demonstrates that the two philosophies are not fundamentally different. Were it possible for two religions to be fundamentally different, syncretism between them would not be possible, and I have never heard of two such traditions. Religions are often politically, socially, or economically opposed, but in terms of basic nature and teachings, major world faiths tend to be quite similar at the end of the day, and blending between them is commonplace in the real world.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Politesse View Post
    Perhaps we are using different definitions of "fundamental" here, but it seems to me that the mere existence of Christian Buddhists demonstrates that the two philosophies are not fundamentally different. Were it possible for two religions to be fundamentally different, syncretism between them would not be possible, and I have never heard of two such traditions. Religions are often politically, socially, or economically opposed, but in terms of basic nature and teachings, major world faiths tend to be quite similar at the end of the day, and blending between them is commonplace in the real world.
    Whatever blending is done it doesn't make the philosophies fundamentally similar. It'd take some reinterpreting to deal with their differences. The fundamental aspects of Buddhist thought that can't work with Christianity are probably especially no-soul (anatta) and no-permanence (anicca). Mahayana made no-thingness (emptiness, sunyata) central, but it's arguably there too in Theravada. Emptiness is the logical consequence of nothing having an essential self. Everything is always in transition in Buddhism. Sentient beings feeling compassion for one another in the maelstrom becomes important.

    So Buddhism is fundamentally non-essentialist and nondualist (no souls and no source stand apart as distinctive from the impermanent world; it's all one process). Christianity is fundamentally essentialist and dualist, with its creator God who made a static and hierarchical cosmos with his everlasting Self on the top tier and some of his creation below him having everlastings souls. The metaphysics are fundamentally opposite to one another.

    Buddhism's notable for how well it molds itself to new cultures. So I'm not saying it or Christianity are immutable or anything like that. The main point I'm making is, it does not logically follow from some people blending Christianity and Buddhism that the two religions are quite similar in their fundamentals.
    Last edited by abaddon; 12-04-2019 at 06:04 AM.

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    Veteran Member seyorni's Avatar
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    Buddhism is a psychotherapeutic modality. Practitioners seek equanimity, relief of suffering and, ultimately expanded consciousness.

    Christianity is a belief in a jealous, judgemental, paternalistic God who will send you to Hell if you don't follow his rules properly and throw yourself on the mercy of his son. Practitioners seek to avoid pissing God off and to curry favor with obsequious praise and obedience. Their goal is to live in Heaven after they die.

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    Sure is you're a very liberal Christian who doesn't take the Christian mythology as the literal word of god, I can see how one could mix the two religions. But, in my little corner of the world, most Christians are quite conservative. I was taught that Buddhism was evil, a religion that worships idols. Of course, that's not true, but that's how some branches of Christianity view it.

    And, I've known Christian atheists. Again, that can work if one cherry picks the more humanistic aspects of Christianity, and ignore the crazy shit. Or, maybe some Christians atheists simply enjoy the community and charity work that's often offered in Southern Christian churches.

    Think of the Baha'i Faith. It regards all major religions as true in their time period, while adding its own prophets and liberal concepts, for a new period of time.

    So, a person can mix and match various ideas and beliefs from an assortment of religious philosophies, but that doesn't mean that their original believes are similar. That's how I see it. I guess it depends on your now personal experiences and worldview.

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    Christianity is an established break off cult that was allegedly led by a single man... and is oddly based on almost no teachings of its alleged founder. The teachings, generally liberal in origin, also lack much in the way of a greater scope. The idolization of Jesus is more important than the teachings (the few that exist).

    Buddhism is a religion based on the alleged teachings of an alleged person. The teachings, however, provide a wide moral and lifestyle envelop on each individual. The teachings are most important in Buddhism, than Guatama.

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    Karma is a sort of moral and emotional causality. It applies to your thinking, family. local relations, amd nations.

    Today we might say 'what goes around comes around'. It is about what you do to yourself,, not what dome external authority does to you.

    In Buddhism you create your own heaven and hell through yurt attachments. If you think you must have a lot of money to be happy and do not, you create your own suffering over it.

    To me enlightenment is simply realizing the causal effects and conditions from the environment around you and minimizing your grief and pain by by sucked into it.

    Todays video mass marketing insyills desires for things, and creates the image to be happy you need those things.

    If you are an average man or woman and fel pain becuse you do not meet the marketing standards of beauty do you let yourself suffer over it?

    It is about creting a balancedstae of mental well being and health. The Middle Way, not too much and not too little.

    The story goes Buddha was born to wealth and lived comfortable isolation. When he got a glimpse of life outside the palace he asked himself why is there suffering?

    He went walkabout seeking an answer. He practiced the extreme Brahmanism yogic rituals of self denial and concluded that was not the answer to suffering. He was born rich and thought that was not the answer.

    He concluded a balanced moderate life without extremes with a degree of self control was the answer. The Middle Way. In a general sense that was Christianity at one time. Moderation and compassion.

    Christians today seem to have no clue what that all means. That would be the opposite of Buddhism, although there are the legalisms and theologian like other beliefs. . It is all about immersion in scripture to them. Chant Jesus! Jesus! and they are transporter to bliss like a narcotic.There s no end state. I read Nirvana is a resting place not a goal or end state. I have heard it said first no meditation, then meditation, the no meditation. One does not practice to get good at meditation. One works to free yourself from debilitating attachments to reality.

    If you see a monk meditating he or she is likely working out something. Relaxation is a side effect.

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    Member aupmanyav's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by abaddon View Post
    The metaphysics are fundamentally opposite to one another.
    Yeah, Abaddon, fundamentally different. Mixing the two is like pacman trying to eat the other.

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    Member aupmanyav's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by southernhybrid View Post
    Think of the Baha'i Faith.
    Dont think of Bahais. For them all religions are defective except their own. Was it not established by one whom the Maid of Heaven visited! Manifestation, mirror image of Allah. Another in the long line of fakes. LGBTQ suffer from a medical condition, Allah consider them as freeks, and women should keep to their place. Was he born in 19th Century or in the Seventh!
    Last edited by aupmanyav; 12-06-2019 at 05:10 PM.

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    Deus Meumque Jus
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    So we've got the low-hanging fruit out of the way and done our rain dance on Christianity.

    So how about their similarities?

    And are they fundamentally different, or just dissimilar?

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    Contributor skepticalbip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rousseau View Post
    So we've got the low-hanging fruit out of the way and done our rain dance on Christianity.

    So how about their similarities?

    And are they fundamentally different, or just dissimilar?
    The religious understandings of reality, goals, and how to attain those goals between the two have nothing in common. The societal lessons necessary for a coherent civilization (don't kill, don't lie, don't steal, be nice to each other, etc.) are universal even for groups that have no religion.

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