What is Buddism & its childhood & what is the difference between him &
Christ? I’m a Christian ; How can I speak with atheists & what is the
main point to persuade them to be a Christian?
Here is a little information on Buddhism, its founder and its teachings:
Founder: Gautama Buddha or Siddhartha. Northern India, 567-487 BC.
Location: Mainly Sri Lanka, Nepal, China, Tibet, Japan, Korea, Southeast
Asiaand Bali. Scattered groups in Europe and the US. Very few in India!
Buddhism began in Northern India. It spread widely there under the
influence of the powerful emperor Ashoka. After spreading through much of
Asia, the religion almost completely disappeared in the Indian
subcontinent. Buddhism is divided into many sects with extremely varying
teachings. The two chief divisions are:
Hinayana?lesser vehicle. Asceticism more common. The most pious saints
reach nirvana. Closer to the original teachings of Buddha. Ceylon, Burma
, Thailand. Less polytheistic.
Mahayana?greater vehicle. Mysticism stressed. Many Boddhisatvas
(incarnations of Buddha). Many gods. Idolatry common. China, Tibet,
Koreaand Japan. This form bears relatively little resemblance to the
teachings of Buddha.
Scriptures: No one scripture is accepted by all Buddhists. There are a
broad variety of “scriptures,” in many languages. In general the writings
of Buddhists include:
Sayings of Buddha.
Doctrines, interpretations of the sayings of Buddha.
Philosophical discussions, ethics.
Apocryphal stories of previous Buddhas. These are clearly mythological,
containing lots of miracles etc.
Buddha: Born of a wealthy family. He left home and his inheritance to
pursue an ascetic life. He later claimed to have a vision, because of
which he rejected asceticism. His movement was a negative response, both
to asceticism (Jaina) and to priestism/ritualism (Hinduism). He proposed
a middle path of righteous living called the eight fold path, much of
which we might find ourselves agreeing with. He did not claim to be God
or to work miracles, but to have a wise path to living a spiritual life.
The eight-fold path to righteous living. Hold the right views, Have the
right aspirations, Use the right speech, Show the right conduct, Pursue
the right livelihood, Expend the right effort, Maintain the right
attitude, Practice the right meditation.
Through this, one can overcome one?s karma, and achieve enlightenment.
Essentially works salvation.
Pantheistic. God is in nature and he is in us. Virtually agnostic.
Modern Buddhism?as opposed to Buddha?s teaching?has many gods, myths, etc.
At first glance one might find a fair amount in common between Buddhism
and Christianity. Both teach a moral and ethical code which stress
humility, good character, and treating others unselfishly. This being
said, the theology of Buddhism could not be more different from that of
Christianity. Siddhartha claimed to be a good teacher. Jesus claimed to
be God. It is unlikely that Buddha intended to start a religion. He
worked no miracles. He did not claim to speak for God. He was a pious
and humble teacher who proposed a wise path of living. Buddhism does not
have a personal God. Some would say that the religion is agnostic. I
think of it as pantheistic. This is the idea that God is the universe,
and therefore we are part of God.
What you should say to an atheist depends on the atheist! My experience
is that there are few atheists, but perhaps you have been speaking to the
real item. A true atheist believes in a materialist view of the world. I
suggest you spend some time studying the argument from intelligent
design. You might want to pick up a copy of my book Is There a God?
(www.ipibooks.com), which covers this topic thoroughly. There are several
articles and a power point on God and science at the web site.
Again, it depends on the person. Perhaps what you could do is simply get
him/her to read the book of John. Another idea would be to do a study on
messianic prophecies (plenty of material on that at the web site, let me
know if you need help there), or on the resurrection of Jesus (see the
power point at the web site). My favorite “evidence” is Old Testament
types and foreshadows, as found in my book From Shadow to Reality
(www.ipibooks.com), although this book requires some background in the
John Oakes, PhD