steveburdick3Right after Tiger Woods first admitted his infidelity many years ago, he said: “I have a lot of work to do, and I intend to dedicate myself to doing it. Part of following this path for me is Buddhism, which my mother taught me at a young age…Buddhism teaches that a craving for things outside ourselves causes an unhappy and pointless search for security. It teaches me to stop following every impulse and to learn restraint. Obviously, I lost track of what I was taught.”

Basically the Same?

On the surface, this sounds very similar to the teachings of the Christian faith and has left many to ponder the question: Are all religions basically the same?

Though many religions present a way to ultimate reality, a way to God, or a way to become a better person, they are not all the same. Beyond this, they cannot all be correct because they teach things that cannot both be true at the same time.

Buddhism and Christianity

When you compare Buddhism and Christianity, you’ll quickly see they aren’t the same.

  • Buddhism is polytheistic or atheistic. Christianity believes in one supreme God
  • Buddhism views this world not as created by God, but as having four distinct elements—earth, water, fire and wind—without any plan and purpose. Christianity views the world as created by God according to His own design and purpose.
  • The Buddhist trusts in Karma—the understanding that you get what you deserve—and that you will get reincarnated to a higher or lower existence based on your good or bad works. The Christian trusts in God’s forgiveness and gift of mercy—not getting what you do deserve (hell/eternal separation from God) and grace—getting what you don’t deserve (salvation/redemption/eternal life/heaven).
  • The Buddhist’s goal is to escape from the world.  The Christian’s goal is to participate in God’s redemptive plan as ambassadors in this world as we look forward in confident assurance of an eternal home with the Lord.
  • A Buddhist tries to work out his own salvation by keeping the Buddhist commandments. A Christian receives salvation from God as a free gift of grace and responds gratefully by keeping God’s commandments.
  • The Buddhist looks inward for ultimate reality and fulfillment.  The Christian looks outward to the Creator God for ultimate reality and fulfillment.
  • The Buddhist tries to empty himself to find peace.  The Christian is filled, indwelt, and sealed by God Himself through the Holy Spirit and receives the fruit of the Spirit—one of which is peace.
  • Buddhism’s ultimate goal is Nirvana—tranquil extinction.  Christianity’s ultimate goal is eternal life—living forever in unbroken intimacy with God.

It is not my goal in this short devotion to prove to you why Christianity is true and Buddhism is false.  Instead, it is my desire to show you that they cannot both be true at the same time.  Rational logic does not allow it to be so, and so we are left with Jesus’ bold claim in John 14:6 (NIV):

“Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.’”

One Way: Jesus

Jesus didn’t claim to just be a way of many.  He claimed to be the only way.  It doesn’t matter how sincere your faith is.  The only thing that matters is how trustworthy is the object of your faith.

Written by Steve Burdick for College Golf Fellowship. Based on Links Devotion #103.

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