“You can be a Christian and practice Buddhism…”
I see the meme a great deal. It’s catchy. It’s popular. I even heard it at a Christian church.
But, it isn’t true, and the friendly face of the person in the picture does nothing to change that.
Listen: Truth, and claims of truth, are exclusive by nature.
Let me repeat that: Truth, and claims of truth, are exclusive by nature.
A truth claim excludes something. Buddhism itself was born in the reality of such exclusivity when Siddhartha Gautama rejected certain claims of Hinduism. If BOTH Hinduism AND Siddhartha Guatama’s claims were true, then Buddhism would simply be a study of thought within Hinduism. There’d have been no reason to split. There wouldn’t be something called “Buddhism.” Buddha, however, rejected the Vedas and the caste system, and thereby rejected Hinduism. Then he formed his own “way.”
Truth, and truth claims, are exclusive, and Buddhism itself was created within that dynamic. Keep this in mind whenever you’re listening to someone presenting Buddhism as an inclusive world view.
Back to the meme: Which truth claims among Buddhism and Christianity are not compatible? The answers are immediate and irreconcilable.
Buddhism says there is no Almighty God.
Almighty God says that He alone is God, and there is no other god.
Buddhism says find your way.
Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
Can you see the chasm between the two? Buddha said there is no god, and you find your own way. God said He’s the only God, and Jesus said that he’s the only way to the only God.
The clear statements of God, and those of Jesus Christ, cannot be reconciled with what Buddhism teaches about god. Buddhism and Christianity are not compatible. Not at all.
Well, what now?
If you are not a Christian, but you have a religion or a religious world view, then the question you must ask of yourself, and then answer for yourself, is this: “Do I believe what I believe because I’m truly seeking God? Or, do I believe it because I find that it appeals to my own desires & preferences?”
Is there a lifestyle you embrace that is in opposition to what Jesus Christ has taught, and what God has said in the Bible?
Let me provide an example: The Bible teaches, and Jesus affirmed, that God recognizes certain behaviors as sin. Do you reject Almighty God, Jesus Christ, and the Bible because you have made certain choices in your life that the Bible would call sin? Do you embrace Buddhism, or some other religion/practice (including morally liberal Christian denominations) because you find that the lifestyle choices you have made are supported in that religion or practice?
This is a very difficult thing to wrestle with. I know. But, if it is so in your life, then let me point out that you’re making choices about the nature of God based on your own moral preferences.
Would you agree that there’s a problem in that? And, let me take it all the way to its logical conclusion: If your lifestyle preferences are dictating your choice of who god is, then you are your own god.
You are your own god.
You’re the one testing different gods and deciding which one is “true” based on your own morality, your own life choices. Ultimately, your choice of religion then becomes nothing but the window dressing to package it all into, very nicely and neatly.
For the sake of brevity, I’ve just skipped over a lot of dialogue. So, for clarity’s sake, let me come at it from the other direction: Shouldn’t the God you believe in provide you with the objective moral standard for how you live, and not your moral preferences act as the basis for your selection of a god or a religious practice?
Ponder that in your own heart.
Back to the meme: You cannot be a Christian and practice Buddhism. They exclude each other in the truth claims each makes. As it applies to all religions and all religious practices, this is the truth: There is one God, and Jesus is the only way to Him.
May you never stop seeking God, and may you come very soon to the personal relationship with Him that He wants desperately… so desperately that he provided Jesus as the sacrifice for your sins.
“For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”
– Jesus, in John 6:40