devotional

20OCT
2015

To a Buddhist fellow I know who once taught in a church I was in

 

 

The following is a lunchtime response to a Buddhist fellow's response to me in response to him. It's here because the forum we're discussing this in apparently has only recented stopped allowing copy/pasting. I wrote this in Word and there's no way I'm re-typing it all. I've linked him to it here. No, you don't have all of the dialogue here. Sorry.

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Glad to be “re-friended,” John.

     Yes, my 2 questions some time ago were after answering several attack questions from you against the Christian Faith. FYI to all.

 

     John, your answers illustrate so much to me that fascinates me about my fellow man and our religious proclivities. Thanks for taking the time to answer. May God bless our talks.

 

 

     It's hard to deal with Buddhism in anything but its abstract sense with most “enlightened westerners”. When I speak to easterners about it it’s much simpler. It's almost like, at least at this point with you, that one must approach it wholly from its overall, overarching, ultimate sense. It can't be point for point. A system so "fluid" in someone’s mind cannot be nailed down any more than Jello can be nailed to a tree. Its feet are planted firmly in midair. Nonetheless, when I compare the revelation of Christ with the teachings of the Buddha I find it’s like comparing apples to galaxies.

 

 

     Your alteration of "reincarnation" to "re-birth" establishes nothing different as you intended. You yourself refer to "you" as "…this stream of mental reality…" and then state that it “you” is (are) simply "…re-established in a new body." The "you" is constant in new lives, however the "you" is transmitted. Hence, reincarnation or re-birth are merely synonyms that one system may use more than another to its benefit. I see your desired distinction, however. You don't think the words connote the same thing all the way through. Candles lighting other candles, a lovely and ever-adapting Buddhist meme alliteration for sure, only partly relates. Buddhism doesn’t teach that the flame is continuous, but that the wax is.  

 

 

     Buddha was a debater. He debated his ideas (having rejected the faith of his fathers, Hinduism, on many parts) and gathered a following. Like all man-sparked philosophies, the success of the system depends on several things. Though at this point I’m not speaking strictly as the oracle of God, as I will at other times to quote Bible texts and bring them to bear, I’ll list just a few from the hip as I see them while I’m here on lunch. Hey, philosophy has its place too.

 

 

     1) It must remain impersonal and have no God. It must remain disconnected in order to appear connected.

 

 

     2) Systems like this depend on its vagueness. It must only appeal so far…as Buddha #1 did before buddha #2, and them before you picked up your Barnes & Noble book on them that brought you your faith. Vagueness allows the “mystery” of the “humility” of its supposedly limited speculations to take on the appearance of divine inspiration or transcendence. What it really is is no ability to answer. What it really is is a distraction. “Who created the system of re-birth, John, to take people with good consciousness to good places in the next life?” Answer: “No one. The universe is eternal. The moral law of cause and effect (i.e. positive actions lead to positive results, negative actions lead to negative results) is a reality in the same way that the law of gravity is.” Wow! That really is the best you have. All of your answers, wordy as though they may be beyond this at other times, would return to this exact same premise. It is 1) impersonal and 2) vague. It is also literally bursting with logical fallacy. Also, if the Buddha merely approached this in his own light of understanding, and he’s fallible, as you demand in your “humility,” then it’s possible that you must say that he was completely wrong. So anyway, great, candles light other candles, but we’ve no reason to believe we’re right in our assumption of this beyond we think we are and it makes us all feel good to be generous to each other so maybe we’re right. Got it. This is what all man-sparked/manmade philosophies must do. Jesus did not do this. And sorry, your law of gravity relation is the stuff dreams are made of, man. The law of gravity is created, not eternal. It’s like the hydrogen to oxygen bond or the GCAT of human DNA men have codified. The universe too is created with its laws. This makes all the sense. By the way, there are some cliffs that if you jumped off of you wouldn’t fall from. Go to Pluto. God, the designer, made the law of gravity, and it, his law, applies to us here on Earth. It’s no more eternal than anything else created.

 

 

     3) The charisma of the speaker. There are systems of religion that you, John, would not attach yourself to for various reasons. In Buddhism, he got a lot of people to agree with him. In systems like the Heaven’s Gate Cult of Mr. Applewhite (of the Hale-Bopp comet fame), or Jim Jones, they got considerably fewer. In all these cases, the proponents of the ideology proposed an idea that they “figured out” or were “enlightened” into, or “told.” One person. Depending on the charisma, background, oratorical precision, timeline, or attractiveness of the proponent, etc., these self-made systems will either continue or not. Hitler gathered his nation to him. It’s clear that his oratorical skills were a large part of this. In absolutely any case of the “one guy gets it faiths,” or ideas, their debates wholly pale in comparison to God’s 1,500 yr, 40+author-inspired, different continent, different languages, rooted in the history of a people group, Bible full of prophetic insights (something exclusive to God’s word) that culminated with the personal teaching of God himself become man in Jesus to explain it all…in relation to himself. Buddhism is an ultimate expression of the idolatrous heart. It denies God and makes man the center of it all. Shoot, you might as well follow Joel Osteen.

 

 

     John, I did a lot of things in my past that make it hard for me to remember my past. Too many fights I suppose. I truly don’t remember much of my youth, and have few pictures of it to remind me of it. Just last month I literally re-created a fond childhood memory of a visit in 1986 to the Carlsbad Caverns of NM upon returning from a visit to California with my family. We went to CA on trailways bus lines in 1986, this is sure, but we did not even go close to the Carlsbad Caverns, ever. We went to some other caves in Indiana I found out later. I took my kids through those caves in NM last month. I told my babies how I couldn’t remember, but was once here when I was their age. They marveled. I told them of the bus ride and a guy named Moses doing card tricks. They smiled their sweet smiles. I told them on the road in that it may have been on this very road that I too once came here, and they marveled. I tried to remember the certain underground formations, but couldn’t. I was sure I’d been there when I was 8. I took a picture of us all at the sign for the park and posted it to my family to remind them of our fond family time there some nearly 30 years ago. My dad wrote back like, “What are you talking about? We never went there.” John, I’d never gone. Lydia and I had a big laugh about it enjoying the trip nonetheless. Deja vu, the Scientology of L. Ron Hubbard and us “thetans” with our “engrams.” The Hindu’s reincarnation. The Buddhist’s philosophical mix of what “may be” because I feel good about some stuff that is…like smiling and being nice. It’s all just illustrations of how our minds can deceive us. You are bewitched by a philosophy of fools. John, you can’t see it, but there’s a dragon behind it. All of these man-made idolatries deserve hell. They fall like Dagon at the empty tomb of God incarnate, the very second person of the Trinity Jesus Christ.   

 

 

     The superiority of God’s revelation through Christ simply cannot be compared with something like Buddhism. I must wrench from its heavenly nest and pull it down to a comparison or contrast. The idea that what one finds in the search for meaning is simply a mist or an empty garden is spiritually sickening. And yes, I’m completely biased. An “eternal universe” of random mutation is just gut-wrenchingly distressing. The awesomeness of Christ’s statements that “he” is the Creator. That “he” is the way, the truth, the life, etc., are how we’re made. We want fellowship. You’ve convinced yourself that it’s all about you, but it’s not. Repent and come to Christ. There is God in the heavens. Buddhism is one of millions of examples of failure to find him. We don’t find the fog of fog if we seek after life’s meaning; we find the Creator himself. This is why the gospel goes out and changes nations. It is not a western religion! This is why I can share the Faith with two men in August, one born in Vietnam and raised in the Philippines, and the other from China and hear stories of the Christian missionary influence in their home towns, and how their parents converted. Ultimately, systems of religion like yours fall on their faces in futility. John, you’re living under the assumption there’s no judgment for your sin. No eternal hell. Please make sure that you are right! Christianity is wrapped up in the being of its maker.

 

     I truly cannot yet grasp the truth of the following statement, but conversations like yours are helping me see the wisdom of God’s word. I’m studying the Bible knowing that one day it will come crashing down on me in all its glory. The statement goes something like this: It’s that the being of God (in the Christian Bible) is axiomatic in that God is the only being in the universe that there is no greater being that can possibly be imagined.

 

 

Christians don’t have faith “in faith;” we have faith “in Christ.”

 

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