I came to Christianity from Eastern-influenced spiritualities. And I found — and still find — Christianity harder.
Here are a few of the differences that, to me, make Christianity a tougher, and very different faith.
Evil does not exist: only error in Buddhism, and many Eastern-influenced traditions including the Christian Science of my childhood. No one has attempted to injure you; you have only misperceived an action which has no significance in reality.
And in my experience and observation, living as if difficult events didn’t really happen is much easier than recognizing them and forgiving them. This is what survivors of childhood abuse often do: “forget” the abuse; then other unpleasant events; then eventually forgetting much of their lives.
Christianity places us in the challenging position of recognizing that an evil deed has occurred; recognizing that we are not entitled to penalize the person who committed that act because Jesus already was penalized for it; and then working out how we will interact with that person ourselves. What measure of trust will we afford them? We are called to trust God, but we often learn that certain individuals may not be relied on. How will we be gracious when we feel hurt or fearful?
There is no moral judgment in Eastern traditions. In Buddhism: there is neither good nor bad, just more or less enlightened; more or less skilful. Western traditions, including Christianity, define good and evil, righteousness and sin.
There is certainly less stress in working through relationships with people you think only need to learn more than in dealing with people you think may have chosen to behave very badly.
In one of my early jobs, we had a manager who couldn’t enter a room without setting off a wave of backbiting and recriminations. I was practicing A Course in Miracles at the time and considered him unenlightened. A colleague, who was not a Christian but had majored in English, said, “He’s the ‘Picture of Dorian Gray.’ ” Remember the story by Oscar Wilde about the man who bargained with the Devil to retain his good looks and have the consequences of his many sins land on his oil portrait only? Without a faith background, she read the manager more accurately than I by having read fiction written by a man living in a highly moralistic time.
The Dalai Lama encourages people to use Buddhist practices while remaining part of their home faith community. And that’s kind of possible.
Many Buddhist teachings match Christian scripture.
- Abstain from stealing, robbery, fraud, deceitfulness, and dishonesty.
- Abstain from sexual misconduct
- Refrain from false, slanderous, harsh., and idle speech.
But other Buddhist and Eastern teachings don’t match the Bible at all.
Most significantly, Christianity says you, personally, have a continuing existence into all time. You, personally, are much more than a misperception by your inadequately developed consciousness. God is the speaker in these Bible texts:
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart …” (Jeremiah 1:5)
“The one who is victorious will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out the name of that person from the book of life, but will acknowledge that name before my Father and his angels.” (Revelation 3:5)
There are real differences — sometimes difficult ones — between the traditions of the West and the East. And it’s important for those who want to be Christians to know the differences.
- Why Buddhism is easier to digest, pt. 1 (christianpurposeblog.wordpress.com)
- What is the inutitive appeal of Buddhism? (compassioninpolitics.wordpress.com)
- Buddhism answer: What separates Buddhism from other religions (wiki.answers.com)