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Source: (consider it) Thread: Buddhism and Christianity Compatible
rolyn
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A book which attempt to compare, and in some ways combine, Christianity and Buddhism talks of God as a 'Notion' and Jesus as an historical person who probably came close to achieving enlightenment within Himself.

The ultimate aim of that particular form of Buddhism seems to be about discarding all notions, especially those centred on the ego. I would have thought that God, (re. the manner in which He comes across in much of the Bible), is way to ego orientated to ever be fully compatible with Buddhism.

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Change is the only certainty of existence

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Dafyd
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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
Does it clarify if I say God has no point or purpose in Buddhism?

What I'm saying is that if you're trying to correlate Christianity (Islam/Judaism) with another philosophical system the proper analogue with God in the other system will almost certainly not be a god. (Nor necessarily an active force.)
Given that negative theology is an option in Christiantiy, the proper analogue might quite possibly be nothing: the point where the philosophical system deliberately falls silent.

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we remain, thanks to original sin, much in love with talking about, rather than with, one another. Rowan Williams

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mousethief

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The music of Bessie Smith is both jazz and blues at the same time.

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“Religion doesn't fuck up people, people fuck up religion.”—lilBuddha

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Gamaliel
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Ok, ok, change the analogy already ...

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Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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Golden Key
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anteater--

quote:
anteater wrote:
It's when it teaches detachment from suffering and grief that it gets more controversial, but I see it as no more than the typically CBT/REBT emphasis on avoiding making anything an absolute need without which life becomes awful.

But it does tend to justify low empathy.

My understanding is different. Compassion and mercy are very important in Buddhism.

quote:
The last thing I want to say about the Four Noble Truths is that the classic formulation of it has no pronouns. In the wording of it, it does not say “you,” or “I,” or “we.” Those are just left out. It says, “There is suffering. There is a cause of suffering. There is a possibility of ending suffering, and there is a path to the end of suffering.” I myself am very fond of the fact that there are no pronouns, because what it points to is that Buddhist practice is sensitive to our own suffering and to the suffering of others. We can only take responsibility for our own contribution to suffering, but we can be compassionate to the suffering around us. It is equally important to have the compassionate concern going in both directions. We can have the compassionate concern for ourselves and our own suffering, and we treat ourselves with compassion, with care, when we see our own suffering. By looking at suffering in ourselves and trying to resolve it, it is a compassionate act towards ourselves. And being sensitive and open to seeing the suffering in the world around us is a compassionate act that extends out away from us to the world around us. Not having pronouns in the Four Noble Truths is talking about the flow of compassion in both directions equally. That for me is a really central part of what is possible to a mature spiritual life, which is to have our compassion flow in all directions fully. The Four Noble Truths is one of the ways of manifesting, expressing, and applying our compassion.
--"The Four Noble Truths" by Gil Fronsdal (Insight Meditation Center).

Have you heard of metta/loving-kindness meditation?

quote:
Loving-kindness, or metta, as it in called in the Pali language, is unconditional, inclusive love, a love with wisdom. It has no conditions; it does not depend on whether one “deserves” it or not; it is not restricted to friends and family; it extends out from personal categories to include all living beings. There are no expectations of anything in return. This is the ideal, pure love, which everyone has in potential. We begin with loving ourselves, for unless we have a measure of this unconditional love and acceptance for ourselves, it is difficult to extend it to others. Then we include others who are special to us, and, ultimately, all living things. Gradually, both the visualization and the meditation phrases blend into the actual experience, the feeling of loving kindness.

This is a meditation of care, concern, tenderness, loving kindness, friendship–a feeling of warmth for oneself and others. The practice is the softening of the mind and heart, an opening to deeper and deeper levels of the feeling of kindness, of pure love. Loving kindness is without any desire to possess another. It is not a sentimental feeling of goodwill, not an obligation, but comes from a selfless place. It does not depend on relationships, on how the other person feels about us. The process is first one of softening, breaking down barriers that we feel inwardly toward ourselves, and then those that we feel toward others.

--"Loving-kindness meditation" (Contemplative Mind).
That page also has basic instructions.

I find loving-kindness practice balancing and comforting--especially if I'm concerned about someone, or have problems with them.

FWIW, YMMV.

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Blessed Gator, pray for us!
--"Oh bat bladders, do you have to bring common sense into this?" (Dragon, "Jane & the Dragon")
--"Oh, Peace Train, save this country!" (Yusuf/Cat Stevens, "Peace Train")

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Golden Key:
My understanding is different. Compassion and mercy are very important in Buddhism.

This is another place where Christianity and Buddhism run parallel. A whole and objective reading of either leads to compassion and mercy, but one can justify selfishness if one wishes by selective application.

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So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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quetzalcoatl
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quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
Does it clarify if I say God has no point or purpose in Buddhism?

What I'm saying is that if you're trying to correlate Christianity (Islam/Judaism) with another philosophical system the proper analogue with God in the other system will almost certainly not be a god. (Nor necessarily an active force.)
Given that negative theology is an option in Christiantiy, the proper analogue might quite possibly be nothing: the point where the philosophical system deliberately falls silent.

Yes, this is interesting in the light of the notion of no-thing in some areas of Buddhism. There is a kind of creative emptiness for some people in Zen, which you could align with God, but not in personalistic theism.

But I think no-thing applies to everything as well.

Reminds me of the famous replies by Bodhi Dharma to the emperor's questions:

I have richly endowed monasteries and so on, how much merit has this accrued? - No merit at all.

What is the essence of Buddhism? - No essence at all.

Who is speaking to me now? - I don't know.

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the main fear that flat-earthers face is sphere itself.

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Prester John
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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
quote:
Originally posted by Golden Key:
My understanding is different. Compassion and mercy are very important in Buddhism.

This is another place where Christianity and Buddhism run parallel. A whole and objective reading of either leads to compassion and mercy, but one can justify selfishness if one wishes by selective application.
The central message of Buddhism is not "every man for himself" - A Fish Called Wanda
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Tortuf
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I appreciate the discussion.

It is, and continues to be, a fascinating topic.

My take is that the two are compatible in many broad senses, and in several particular senses (depending, as observed, on which version of either.)

That being said, I like what the Dali Lama said in the introduction to a book (not a quote here.) Don't change to Buddhism, explore the potentials of your own religion.

Christianity works best for me when it is about surrendering my separate ego self and living as a part of a greater whole. Maybe not everyone's cup of tea about Christianity, or Buddhism. It is what it is.

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Tortuf:

Christianity works best for me when it is about surrendering my separate ego self and living as a part of a greater whole. Maybe not everyone's cup of tea about Christianity, or Buddhism. It is what it is.

It may not be everyone's cup of tea, but it is the most objective understanding of both.
The desires of the self create obstacles in both paths. In Christianity, there is the idea that in the afterlife one will be oneself, but perfected. This is the natural language of beings trapped within their own minds. But I don't see this as a logical result in the idea of perfection. Not that the Christian idea and the Buddhist idea(s) are then the same, however.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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wild haggis
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There seems to be confusion about tenets of the difference faiths and practices and how they correspond.

There is a word for mixing up religions (if I can spell it!) syncretism. That is not a religion but a pick and mix different belief systems to suit oneself.

You need to go back to what the basic beliefs of Christianity are and the basic beliefs of Buddhism, or for that matter Islam. Judaism, Christianity and Islam have the same foundations but diverge in what they think true religion is.

Do Buddhists believe in a God who reveals him/herself to humankind? If not, they aren't the same as Christians.

Do Buddhists believe that part of the Trinity that is God came to earth to show humankind the way to God and then returned.? If not it isn't the same. Buddha is not reguarded as God but sometimes is worshiped in some strand of Buddhism.

There are practices that we can learn from each other to enhance our beliefs but the different world religions aren't all the same.

You may choose to pick and mix but then you end up with a hybrid that is neither fish nor fowl.

Christians don't believe in reincarnation influenced by how you behave on earth. Most Buddhists do.

I am always puzzled by Buddhist prayer flags when they don't actually believe in a God. Who are they praying to? At least not the Buddhists I knew on the various inter-faith groups I have been on and on 2 different Standing Advisory Committees for Religious Education in England. Nor in my Masters in RE. By Buddhists, I mean those who take the religion seriously.

Yes let's use meditation. Yes lets's do yoga (if you can do the positions!) for a form of keep fit. But that isn't the essence of Buddhism.

I would say that they aren't compatable if you don;t do a pick and mix religion.

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wild haggis

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Golden Key
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quote:
Originally posted by Tortuf:
If the qualification for being a Christian is believing in the Christ, there is a lot of room for variations on the theme.

I've heard that some Hindus believe in Jesus as Son of God--they just don't think he's the only one.

When people leave Christianity to be Pagan, often because of bad experiences, they sometimes include Jesus in their personal pantheons, because he still matters to them. And then there are Christo-Pagans, who weave the faiths together. (Lots about them online.)

There are Jews For Jesus, "completed" Jews, etc. AIUI, Jews often think of them as a cult.

Islam honors Jesus as their second-greatest prophet. Granted, it's said that he'll one day accept the truth of Islam.

I think that a lot of people look at Jesus, and feel there's Something/Someone there.

Somewhere, I've got a feminist spirituality book that mentions a woman minister who no longer believes in Christianity (at least of the official sort), but says "...but there's something about that Jesus story".

Maybe people are reaching out as they can?

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Blessed Gator, pray for us!
--"Oh bat bladders, do you have to bring common sense into this?" (Dragon, "Jane & the Dragon")
--"Oh, Peace Train, save this country!" (Yusuf/Cat Stevens, "Peace Train")

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quetzalcoatl
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What's wrong with pick 'n' mix religion? I thought that they all are.

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the main fear that flat-earthers face is sphere itself.

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Stetson
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quote:
There are Jews For Jesus, "completed" Jews, etc. AIUI, Jews often think of them as a cult.

I think Jews For Jesus should be considered just straightforward Christians, not syncreticists. They believe that Jesus is the uunique Messiah prophesized by the Old Testament, same as many, probably most, other Christians.

True, they emphasize the Jewish roots of Christianity in their worship and rituals, but that doesn't chhange the fact that their Christology is quite orthodox by mainstream standards.

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I have the power...Lucifer is lord!

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by wild haggis:

Christians don't believe in reincarnation influenced by how you behave on earth. Most Buddhists do.

Rebirth, not reincarnation. They are distinctly different.
quote:

I am always puzzled by Buddhist prayer flags when they don't actually believe in a God. Who are they praying to?

Buddhist prayers are not to anyone.* The prayer flags are typically meant to impart benefit.

quote:

Yes lets's do yoga (if you can do the positions!) for a form of keep fit. But that isn't the essence of Buddhism.

Yoga is a derivation of Hinduism.

*All definitions are generalisations, of course, specific implementation may vary

quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
What's wrong with pick 'n' mix religion? I thought that they all are.

Shhhh, don't tell anyone.

Don't listen to him, children; you are all unique and special angels.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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quetzalcoatl
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Even quetzalcoatl has been syncretized now with voodoo and Christianity. Plus that stupid Coke Santa.

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the main fear that flat-earthers face is sphere itself.

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Enoch
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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
quote:
Originally posted by wild haggis:
... I am always puzzled by Buddhist prayer flags when they don't actually believe in a God. Who are they praying to?

Buddhist prayers are not to anyone.* The prayer flags are typically meant to impart benefit. ....

That, for a start, points to a very profound incompatibility between Buddhism and Christianity. To whom you pray is fundamental to Christianity. The notions that prayers can be "not to anyone", or that prayer flags could impart benefit without it coming from somewhere just does not make sense within any normal Christian perception of the cosmos.

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Brexit wrexit - Sir Graham Watson

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Latchkey Kid
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quote:
Originally posted by anteater:

I assume, with no proof, that those who wish to harmonise the two, see Jesus as a Bodhisattva, which itself is a minority Buddhist belief.

A Buddhist who was in the same chaplaincy/spiritual care course as I was understood Jesus to be a Bodhisattva. I got along with him just fine.

Jesus can be seen to be buddha if the meaning of buddha is "aware". Jesus could be buddha just as Gautama was buddha. But probably Gautama could not be Christ (anointed).

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'You must never give way for an answer. An answer is always the stretch of road that's behind you. Only a question can point the way forward.'
Mika; in Hello? Is Anybody There?, Jostein Gaardner

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
quote:
Originally posted by wild haggis:
... I am always puzzled by Buddhist prayer flags when they don't actually believe in a God. Who are they praying to?

Buddhist prayers are not to anyone.* The prayer flags are typically meant to impart benefit. ....

That, for a start, points to a very profound incompatibility between Buddhism and Christianity. To whom you pray is fundamental to Christianity. The notions that prayers can be "not to anyone", or that prayer flags could impart benefit without it coming from somewhere just does not make sense within any normal Christian perception of the cosmos.
Whilst I agree that Buddhism and Christianity have a significant division, I would say that it does not make sense to pray to God within Christianity either. Not as Christians generally mean it.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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LutheranChik
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Just an observation that all religions borrow bits from other religions, so we should all think twice or three times before accusing others of being syncretists. The more I read of ancient history, the less tightly I hold on to ideas about Christian exceptionalism.

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Enoch
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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
Whilst I agree that Buddhism and Christianity have a significant division, I would say that it does not make sense to pray to God within Christianity either. Not as Christians generally mean it.

Yebbut, LilBuddha, you're looking at Christianity from outside and from your parameters. Christians do pray to God. It's one of the core things we do.

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Brexit wrexit - Sir Graham Watson

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wild haggis
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Religions can and do borrow from each other, if they are geographically near but that is often more to do with practice than core beliefs. If you change the core beliefs you end up with something different.

The 3 Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have a common root but diverge. A study of these religions even at a basic level will make this clear. There is little in common with the basic beliefs of the Abrahamic religions and Buddhism or Hinduism. (Oh, for decent RE teaching in schools!)

We now know that the so called evolution of religions that was perpetrated in 19th century is a myth. Enough has been studied by proper academics about religion, geographically, philosophically and theologically to understand that although there may be some borrowings, the basic beliefs about god/s and humankind's relationship to their deities, are not all the same.

Yes, I too knew of a Hindu who added Jesus to their pantheon of gods. But that is not the same as Christian belief. Their view of Brahmin and the various avatars is completely different. Moslems believe that Isa (Jesus) was a great prophet but that Mohammed is greater. So that isn't the same as Christianity either.

Budhism doesn't believe in a creator God who intervenes in the world, nor in Jesus, the second person of the Trinity who came, lived, died and rose again, which are the basic beliefs in Christianity.

Yes, I know there are people who might call themselves Christians who may have shades of opinion on these beliefs but since the earliest Christian communities, these have been the bare basics of Christian belief - a study of Patrisitics will show you how the Early church Fathers had to contend with those who taught something different from the faith that was passed down from the Apostles. It's a long, interesting and complicated story.

And yes, Christianity developed many types of expressions through the ages with many add ons and take aways (not the curry and chips kind!) but the basic belief at it's rawest is there.

If people want to pick and mix for their religion that is fine by me. It is their choice. But don't pretend that it is traditional Christianity nor any other major world faith. It is an amalgum which suits you, where you are at this time in history and your preferneces.

To pretend that all religions are the same insults practicing Hindus, Moslems, Christians, Jews and indeed properly practicing Buddhists .

If you want to understand the core belief of a religion and not just go by hear say, an odd ball sect of that religion, or what your experience is, look up a good dictionary of religions and talk to people who take their religion seriously.

So as a Christian, and ex-RE teacher, I may use meditative techniques that seem to be borrowed from Buddhism but could have come from elsewhere too. I may use visulisation and other techniques to help me in my prayer life. But the 2 world faiths are not compatible in basic belief systems.

There is much we can all learn from studying other world religions. Just make sure it is accurate. That can be difficult, I know from experience, as concepts can be complex, and terms from one religion that have migrated into popular culture may mean something else to the practioner of that religion.

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wild haggis

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
Whilst I agree that Buddhism and Christianity have a significant division, I would say that it does not make sense to pray to God within Christianity either. Not as Christians generally mean it.

Yebbut, LilBuddha, you're looking at Christianity from outside and from your parameters. Christians do pray to God. It's one of the core things we do.
Yeah, but no, Enoch. When I make a comment about Christianity, it is within the framework of Christianity, to the best of my ability.
If a Christian prays to God as a form of communion, no worries this is consistent. It is interventional type prying that I think is inconsistent with the God Christianity describes, reagardless of examples of such within the Bible.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Jengie jon

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In some senses, I guess I get where you are. My current prayer practice is close to communion but the communion is more incarnate than a spirit resting with spirit. It takes place very clearly within my reality. However, that is the result of years of prayer. It is not where I started and I would only count myself a beginner.

This is part of the struggle, God meets us not where he is, but where we are. When we start to pray the petition prayer is the form that comes most naturally. God does not withhold his presence until we learn to rest in him but meets the petition prayer as it is. God slows to our pace as a father holds out his hands to the first steps of his child.

Jengie

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"To violate a persons ability to distinguish fact from fantasy is the epistemological equivalent of rape." Noretta Koertge

Back to my blog

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Dafyd
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quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
To whom you pray is fundamental to Christianity. The notions that prayers can be "not to anyone", or that prayer flags could impart benefit without it coming from somewhere just does not make sense within any normal Christian perception of the cosmos.

Yes and no. There's a strong tradition of negative theology within Christian spirituality. Within the Cloud of Darkness prayer is not directed to anyone we can see or talk about; only towards one whom we love. At that point there's certainly room to touch a tradition that prays but doesn't pray to anyone.
To say otherwise, to say that God has to be understood as somewhere, seems to me to run the risk of reducing God to a something like a created being, and not a worthy object of worship.

[ 30. November 2017, 19:03: Message edited by: Dafyd ]

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we remain, thanks to original sin, much in love with talking about, rather than with, one another. Rowan Williams

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SvitlanaV2
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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
When I make a comment about Christianity, it is within the framework of Christianity, to the best of my ability.
If a Christian prays to God as a form of communion, no worries this is consistent. It is interventional type prying that I think is inconsistent with the God Christianity describes, reagardless of examples of such within the Bible.

It's your latter point that's the paradox here, isn't it? We Christians get our understanding of God from the Bible, yet you say we must reject a fairly prominent presence in the Bible - a God who listens and responds to our pleas - if we are to be 'truly' Christian.

Church liturgies and the clergy in their pulpits are often of little help in leading us away from an interventionist God. One can guess why. A God who refuses to be petitioned appears to be of limited use to the poor, the uneducated, or the troubled. It's a God who seems somewhat unfathomable or unapproachable to those of us who are barely even 'beginners' (to use Jengie's word) in theological understanding. Such a God requires sophisticated followers, and if the churches insisted on this level of understanding they would inevitably limit their potential audience, and their influence.

However, among the 1000s of Christian sects and denominations out there there must be a least a couple that emphasise God's non-involvement in human affairs. After all, it's hardly a marginal issue, relatively speaking.

[ 30. November 2017, 19:30: Message edited by: SvitlanaV2 ]

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
]It's your latter point that's the paradox here, isn't it? We Christians get our understanding of God from the Bible, yet you say we must reject a fairly prominent presence in the Bible - a God who listens and responds to our pleas - if we are to be 'truly' Christian.

I am not saying what anyone must accept or reject.
Paradoxes exist in the Bible. So how does one reconcile them? Christians say God is all-powerful, all-knowing and all-loving. Such a God doesn't need begging to know what you need. Such a God doesn't need acknowledgement to act. And yet most denominations have intercessory prayer as part of their tradition.
Yes, it is in the Bible. But so is quite a bit of what Christians think is wrong.

[ 30. November 2017, 20:29: Message edited by: lilBuddha ]

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Enoch
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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
Yeah, but no, Enoch. When I make a comment about Christianity, it is within the framework of Christianity, to the best of my ability.
If a Christian prays to God as a form of communion, no worries this is consistent. It is interventional type prying that I think is inconsistent with the God Christianity describes, regardless of examples of such within the Bible.

LilBuddha, yes as Dafyd says, among the traditions of Christianity, there is a negative one. Nevertheless even when we describes God as ineffable or unknowable, he's still there. And, as Svitlana has pointed out, whatever else he might be, a God to whom people don't or can't pray, is not the God who is described in our scriptures.

Although the concept actually comes from a Jewish writer, at the core of our understanding of God, and our place in his world, is an 'I - you' relationship.

Furthermore, and I hope you are only slightly offended by my saying this, for you, as a Buddhist to claim you can describe the God we worship in a way that is somehow a truer understanding than ours, would be much the same as me presuming to try to tell you what the Noble Eightfold Path is really about.

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:

Furthermore, and I hope you are only slightly offended by my saying this, for you, as a Buddhist to claim you can describe the God we worship in a way that is somehow a truer understanding than ours, would be much the same as me presuming to try to tell you what the Noble Eightfold Path is really about.

I am not claiming I am an expert on anything. I am raising the apparent contradiction I see, one that many Christians struggle with as well.
As far as being on the outside, your book is there to read, as is its history. Believing in it doesn't appear to offer any special insight that studying it doesn't.
How it feels, yes. What it says, no.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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lilbuddha

I accept that there's a paradox in God supposedly knowing everything yet still requiring petition. But that doesn't negate petition or make petition somehow indecent. Petition is only a part of the larger story of Christian engagement of God.

Moreover, as preachers often say, prayer is more for our benefit than it is for God's. Petitionary prayer most obviously helps to remind us that we rely on him for everything.

And it's often noted that those who live in daily awareness of their reliance on God are frequently the most grateful, the most devout, and the most fulsome in their praise of him. It may be likely that Christians who see no (personal or theological) need to ask God for anything are presumably also less likely to thank him. Why would they, if they don't think God has 'intervened' to do anything particularly notable for them?

Yet Christianity is a religion that emphasises God's benevolence towards us and his desire to have a deep connection with us. It becomes something different when that sense of reliance and hence gratitude is no longer there.

For Westerners, God may be becoming less personal, more of a 'something out there', and hence with less interest in individual choices, petitions and other interactions. But I don't see how this will make our understanding of God more 'Christian'. (It might bring the religion closer to Buddhism though!)

[ 30. November 2017, 23:25: Message edited by: SvitlanaV2 ]

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Jengie jon

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Jengie only described herself as a beginner.

All I know about my state of prayer is while I have made some progress, there is an awful lot of possible travel ahead. Slightly scary when you realise is that all you have for the way ahead is travellers' tales.

Jengie

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Jengie jon

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Lilbuddha

It appears to me that you are missing a vital part of the Christian understanding of the incarnation. I am not surprised, half the time Christianity backs away from this.

The idea often is that we need somehow to learn how to become open to the divine. Christianity at its core says "NO" to this; God comes to us as we are, where we are, on our term. We do not need to behave well, learn to pray, or understand arcane knowledge before God comes towards us. God yearns for us before we move towards him and even as we start moving he comes running towards us (prodigal son Luke 11:15-32).

Lets apply this to prayer. Petition is one of the most basic forms of prayer to humans. It is often through it that we first encounter a nascent desire for the divine. God often seems to particularly delight in responding to these requests, and I suspect precisely because these are signs of seedlings of faith. Just as a seedling is a precusor of a full plant so these petitions are precursors to more full life of prayer. They are however in some ways really special because they are often some of the few prayers offered where the individual is asking without trying to control God.

C.S. Lewis pointed out that while a human might empathise with a horse, a horse will not empathise with a rat. The higher a being is the more capable they are of empathising with something lower down the scale. Ignore the specie-ism implied here, lets just apply it to beings we know interact spiritually. We are taught that the more one rises towards the good the more one should be able to empathise with others. Now if we apply it to the divine, then the divine should be more capable of reaching us than we are of reaching the divine. All Christianity does is propose that the divine is actually motivated to do this.

Jengie

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Jengie jon

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Sorry for the third post but Rowen on Book of Face just posted First Coming by Madeleine L'Engle

quote:


We cannot wait till the world is sane
to raise our songs with joyful voice,
for to share our grief, to touch our pain,
He came with Love: Rejoice! Rejoice!

Jengie

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Martin60
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Apart from in Jesus, one is.

--------------------
Love wins

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Tortuf
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quote:
Originally posted by Jengie jon:
The idea often is that we need somehow to learn how to become open to the divine. Christianity at its core says "NO" to this; God comes to us as we are, where we are, on our term. We do not need to behave well, learn to pray, or understand arcane knowledge before God comes towards us. God yearns for us before we move towards him and even as we start moving he comes running towards us (prodigal son Luke 11:15-32).

Jengie

I fully agree that God comes to us. Further, God loves us because God is good, not because we are good, or believe the right way, say the right words, go to the right church.

I have come to realize that God has always been open to me and there for me. My problem was I didn't know it before. I didn't know it because my ego, my self centered fear, was in charge and it was not going to let me truly admit to a power greater than myself. I call this delusional thinking, but there you are.

So, where I disagree with you is the necessity of learning how to become open to the divine. I think humans all have to learn how to reject ego so that they can truly experience God. We learn early on how to put ego in charge. Ego filters God, therefore learning how to reject ego allows a clearer view of God. It's like wiping schmutz off of my glasses.

The fruits of learning how to experience God for me lie in no longer worrying about what will happen when I die. I know that God is here - right now - always. I know that God loves me just the way I am. I don't have to change anything to be loved by God because love is the nature of God.

What I did have to do was learn to see that. And yes, that learning came withe the help of God acting directly and through other people.

In this for me the teachings ob Buddhism have been valuable. YMMV.

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balaam

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quote:
Originally posted by Jengie jon:
C.S. Lewis pointed out that while a human might empathise with a horse, a horse will not empathise with a rat. The higher a being is the more capable they are of empathising with something lower down the scale. Ignore the specie-ism implied here, lets just apply it to beings we know interact spiritually. We are taught that the more one rises towards the good the more one should be able to empathise with others. Now if we apply it to the divine, then the divine should be more capable of reaching us than we are of reaching the divine. All Christianity does is propose that the divine is actually motivated to do this.

Jengie

Aspie checking in.

My difficulty in empathising - like many on the high functioning side of Autism I can do it but it does not come naturally and I often miss obvious signs - I have not found rising towards the divine makes a jot of difference, but I expect the mileage of most will vary.

I can see a lot of similarity between Buddhism and Christianity, but I also find that the quintessence of Christianity is that its main force is relationship and not philosophy. I have not heard Buddhism expounded as a relationship. I would like to hear anyway that any form of Buddhism is explained through relationship.

I would think that the differences between the two are greater than the similarities.

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sharkshooter

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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
]It's your latter point that's the paradox here, isn't it? We Christians get our understanding of God from the Bible, yet you say we must reject a fairly prominent presence in the Bible - a God who listens and responds to our pleas - if we are to be 'truly' Christian.

I am not saying what anyone must accept or reject.
Paradoxes exist in the Bible. So how does one reconcile them? Christians say God is all-powerful, all-knowing and all-loving. Such a God doesn't need begging to know what you need. Such a God doesn't need acknowledgement to act. And yet most denominations have intercessory prayer as part of their tradition.
Yes, it is in the Bible. But so is quite a bit of what Christians think is wrong.

Jesus introduced intercessory prayer. That would likely put the stamp of approval on it.

--------------------
Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer. [Psalm 19:14]

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by sharkshooter:
quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
]It's your latter point that's the paradox here, isn't it? We Christians get our understanding of God from the Bible, yet you say we must reject a fairly prominent presence in the Bible - a God who listens and responds to our pleas - if we are to be 'truly' Christian.

I am not saying what anyone must accept or reject.
Paradoxes exist in the Bible. So how does one reconcile them? Christians say God is all-powerful, all-knowing and all-loving. Such a God doesn't need begging to know what you need. Such a God doesn't need acknowledgement to act. And yet most denominations have intercessory prayer as part of their tradition.
Yes, it is in the Bible. But so is quite a bit of what Christians think is wrong.

Jesus introduced intercessory prayer. That would likely put the stamp of approval on it.
No, no he didn't. Jesus didn't write down anything. Other people said he said things. And this is an important thing to remember about any holy book.
I assume you are speaking of John 17:1-26? Even if this is a right and true representation, I don't think you can get from there to the common Christian interpretations such as 'Help me get the promotion' or 'Please cure Mum's cancer'.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Jengie jon

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Tortuf

The question is not whether we need to reject the ego/id* but when. Christianity says God moves towards us before we start to reject the ego. It is inevitable in relationship with God that we will move from a false love of self to a truer one but God comes towards us before that. The seedling is not the full plant.

Indeed one of the things I am learning from earlier Christians is that actually we can only healthily start to reject the false love of self when we are already starting to experience the true love of self that is based on God's love for us. To do so prematurely is to grow into a works based form of salvation.

Jengie

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lilBuddha
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I think the false love of self is something we should avoid, but I would like to raise a polite objection at specifying the need for God to be involved. Acknowledging, at the same time, that TIACW. [Biased]

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Enoch
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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
... TIACW. ...

LilBuddha, what does that acronym mean? I, for one, have never heard of it, and can't find anything by searching that might elucidate.

--------------------
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Nick Tamen

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quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
... TIACW. ...

LilBuddha, what does that acronym mean? I, for one, have never heard of it, and can't find anything by searching that might elucidate.
This is a Christian website. At least that’s my guess.

--------------------
The first thing God says to Moses is, "Take off your shoes." We are on holy ground. Hard to believe, but the truest thing I know. — Anne Lamott

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Regarding interventionism, maybe the problem is that Christians' expectations of God are too high.

Muslims are often said to be a fatalistic people. I don't know how true that is, but when one observes as an outsider, they do seem less troubled by God's silence than Christians are. They don't seem to lose their faith because God didn't save their loved ones from a tragedy.

Does this mean that in some ways Islam is more at home with a non-interventionist God? If so, some might argue that Islam is a more 'advanced' religion than Christianity in this respect.

[ 02. December 2017, 19:42: Message edited by: SvitlanaV2 ]

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Nick Tamen:
quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
... TIACW. ...

LilBuddha, what does that acronym mean? I, for one, have never heard of it, and can't find anything by searching that might elucidate.
This is a Christian website. At least that’s my guess.
Yep. I thought is would be obvious due to its similarity to ITTWACW.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Jengie jon

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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
I think the false love of self is something we should avoid, but I would like to raise a polite objection at specifying the need for God to be involved. Acknowledging, at the same time, that TIACW. [Biased]

Ah you see this is picking up the differences. Christianity does rather suggest that our own efforts are never sufficient to overcome this false love. We need first to know ourselves as loved before we are able to rise above self absorption.

Jengie

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Jengie jon:
Christianity does rather suggest that our own efforts are never sufficient to overcome this false love.

Of course it does. Every religion, EVERY religion, has built into it a bit of dependency. My suggestion is that at least some of this is added after the founders' intentions.
quote:

We need first to know ourselves as loved before we are able to rise above self absorption.
Jengie

I think it can help, but I do not think this is strictly true.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Jengie jon

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Lilbuddha

I cannot persuade you that it is the case that we need to know ourselves as loved before we can deal with self absorption. What I do say is that there is substantial evidence that suggest this at least a possibility outside Christianity. Maslow for instance put it in his hierachy below esteem and self-actualisation and attachment theory, though I would not want to apply rigourously, does suggest that the love is important. No earthly mother is perfect, no earthly father is perfect; each does was their best according to their goals, insight and ability. I am with Winnicott on this and think most parents are 'good enough' to raise reasonable individuals but to reach out to the divine, that is another ball game.

I am afraid Christianity has problem with 'founder's intentions'. Think of the narrative we tell about ourselves. How do we distinguish between the intentions drawn from human nature of Christ and the intentions drawn from divine nature of Christ. My own take and I think that of most traditional Christian is you can't as the intentions as they appear are an amalgam. If you add onto that the process of recording, where to my reading at least the chance is that God desired the different takes of the gospel writers. I believe Buddhism is worse. The problem I see is that so often when we read scripture of whatever tradition we actually see a reflection of ourselves rather than catch the glimpses of the divine that lie there in at least through selection bias. I was taught I had to read the bits of Bible I disliked precisely because I dislike them. I have found them rather effective at pointing out where I may be blind. Particularly as I so often need to ask two questions:
  • Why do I find this portrayal of the divine action offensive? What does it say of my understanding of the divine?
  • Do I dislike this passage because the behaviour in it reflects failings in my own grasp of the divine that I would deny?

Jengie

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Jengie jon:
Maslow for instance put it in his hierachy below esteem and self-actualisation and attachment theory, though I would not want to apply rigourously, does suggest that the love is important.

I would argue that most structural models do not mirror the real world as its intertwined tangle would make a difficult illustration.

quote:

I am afraid Christianity has problem with 'founder's intentions'. Think of the narrative we tell about ourselves. How do we distinguish between the intentions drawn from human nature of Christ and the intentions drawn from divine nature of Christ.

All Christian denominations hand-wave over the bits they don't like and the bible was built by excluding various testaments in favour of others. Evaluation is foundational to Christianity.
quote:

I believe Buddhism is worse.

Notice how I said all religions share this problem? Buddhism has its own issues, some of which parallel Christianity, some of which do not.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Jengie jon

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Lilbuddha

I am a liberal Reformed Christian. The Reformed have always insisted that we need to take 2 Timothy 3:16 and we cannot simply say lets ignore the Old Testament. It is difficult to get the balance right between the Testaments but we insist that you need to and not just cherry pick from the Old Testament.

You may not like this but do not try and tell me what my tradition teaches.

Jengie

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Jengie jon:
Lilbuddha

I am a liberal Reformed Christian. The Reformed have always insisted that we need to take 2 Timothy 3:16 and we cannot simply say lets ignore the Old Testament. It is difficult to get the balance right between the Testaments but we insist that you need to and not just cherry pick from the Old Testament.

The bible doesn’t work as a whole without picking and choosing or interpretation and I’ve yet to encounter a denomination which doesn’t do one or both.
Your balance is exactly this. Unless one chooses to view the Christian God as a capricious being, an evaluative approach is the only rational one.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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