Comparison between Buddhism and Christianity

Document Type:Coursework

Subject Area:Philosophy

Document 1

According to Buddhism, Just like a piece of paper cannot spontaneously come into being without being made from wood pulp and water, humans did not spontaneously come into existence but resulted from their parents, their circumstances of meeting and of all that happened in the past. In other words, we are alive today because we were born due to our parents having met at an earlier time. The cycle of dependent origination depicts the cycle of human life from birth to death to rebirth. Therefore, according to Buddhists, human existence is cyclic and closely tied to the four noble truths. Buddhism perceives human existence as interdependent and does not see a separate and benevolent creator who could act on behalf of humans ("Buddhism - Dependent Origination. Christianity, on the other hand, teaches that human beings were created through love by an intelligent power called God. According to Christianity human beings were created in the divine image of God and thus through creation they were bestowed with the power to understand God and His vast and complex design. Therefore Christianity illustrates that the nature of human beings is the nature of their creator, God. The purpose of human existence differs depending on the situation in life and individual in Buddhism. There is no single defined purpose of human existence in Buddhism. For instance, if life is samsara, the purpose of human existence is to escape from it. For some Buddhists, the purpose of their existence might be the recognition of the true nature of existence and the preceding enlightenment in Nirvana while others may find purpose in accumulating merit so that they can be born to a better life in the future during rebirth or may be for them to become a bodhisattva ("Buddhism – Beliefs: Human Nature and the Purpose of Existence”).

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Similarly other Buddhists adherents find purpose in following the eightfold path. Christianity, on the other hand, stipulates that in order to bring about God’s glorious plan for creation, humanity’s purpose of existence should be to love and serve Him. Buddhists do not believe in the concept of an all-powerful creator God operating in the universe but instead believe in an enlightened being that saves all those who live according to the eightfold path from the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth to enlightenment in nirvana. Buddhism completely rejects the notion of a Supreme God and the notion of an abstract God-principle operating in the universe. Buddhists argue that for God to be phenomena without exemption, He must bear the basic attributes of dukkha, anicca (Impermanence), and anatta (insubstantiality) which are the universal marks of existence.

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He “must be free from dukkha, he must be eternal and must have a distinct unchanging identity. ” According to Buddhism, the attributes of God are not consistent with these universal marks and thus the God-idea is completely incompatible with this religion. Buddhism cosmology speaks of a category of beings called devas or gods but the literal meaning of the word devas is a radiant being and thus from this, it is evident that Buddhism only describes the physical appearance of the gods but not their supernatural powers (Gunasekara). However, when man sinned, his relationship with God was constrained, the image of God before humanity was distorted and thus could relate to God as he had intended. Through Jesus Christ, God’s image was restored amongst humans and humanity was redeemed from sin.

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This depicts the relationship between God and humanity as the relationship between the redeemer and the redeemed (Hotz). Buddha, the father of the Buddhism philosophy could not reconcile the existence of suffering from an all power-full, loving God and thus he rejected the teachings of Hinduism. According to the argument of evil which Buddha frequently uses the “empirical fact of the existence of dukkha or suffering cannot be reconciled with the existence of an omnipotent and omniscient being that is also all good. Buddhists believe that one goes through this cycle of birth, death, and rebirth until he is set free and enlightened into Nirvana. However, only those who live according to the eightfold path which lies within the four noble truths shall be freed and enlightened into nirvana (Buddhism-beliefs). In Christianity, on the other hand, it is believed that there is life after death.

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But for one to be raised from the dead in Christian faith her she has to go through judgment. After the judgment, the spirits of those who overcome judgment will resurrect and their spirits will rejoin the body (Hamilton, et. On the other hand, Christians commemorate the last meal that Christ had with his disciples before his death in a ceremony referred to as the Eucharist. In this ceremony, Christians eat bread and drink wine in remembrance of their savior and Lord Jesus Christ. In addition, Christians around the world are united in celebrating the birth of the Messiah. Christmas is one of the most celebrated religious ceremonies in the world and it has a very huge impact on Christian belief and unity. Buddhism functions as a civilizing force and sets a perfect example of nonviolence, tolerance, understanding, and coexistence.

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biblegateway. com/passage/?search=Genesis+3&version=GW. Accessed 31 July 2018. Buddhism - Afterlife and Salvation.  Patheos | Hosting the Conversation on Faith, www. buddha101. com/p_origin. htm. Accessed 31 July 2018. Buddhism - Rites and Ceremonies. Accessed 31 July 2018. Gurunge, Ananda. PEACE, HARMONY AND CO-EXISTENCE.  Urban Dharma / Buddhism in America, 16 May 2011, urbandharma. org/udharma14/ananda01. org/neighbors/beliefs/humanity_c. html. Accessed 31 July 2018. Lewis. How Can I Reconcile Belief in God with Suffering?" Christ Presbyterian Church New Haven, www. World Publishing Company, 1989.

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