Let us ponder about how other religions worldviews relate to the Biblical worldview. There are three main areas or types of worldviews, Pantheists (Hinduism, Buddhism), Secularism (naturalism), and Theism (Christianity, Islam, Judaism). I will answer 5 basic questions on just one of the non-Christian worldviews and then compare it to the Biblical worldview. Part one will be about Buddhism and part two will compare Buddhism and the Biblical worldview. The questions to be answered are:
1. The Question of Origin.
2. The Question of Identity.
3. The Question of Meaning/Purpose.
4. The Question of Destiny.
The Buddhist people are a peaceful people with a simple worldview, but it is quite interesting. First let me give you a short background on their religious history so that you may understand how they get their worldview. Siddhartha Gautama who was a sheltered, well off child, founded Buddhism. His father did not want him to see the suffering of the less fortunate people of the village had so he tried to hide it from him by building a wall around their home. However, once he was an adult he got to see out side the gate and saw the plight of the common people and had questions and doubts about the Hindu belief. He left home and started his search for the answers to those question and doubts. For several years searched until he was finally enlightened and found Nirvana and changed his name to Buddha. He had found his four truths.[i] The four truths of Buddhism and the Eightfold path are simple. The four truths are (1) suffering is life, (2) the cause of suffering is desire, (3) to stop suffering one must stop desire, and (4) the way to stop desire is the Eightfold Path. The Eightfold Path is comprised of 8 virtues: right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right awareness, right meditation, right understanding, and right thoughts. These simple truths and path is the basis for the Buddhism philosophy.[ii]
Now that we have a basis for Buddhism, let’s answer the 5 questions starting with the question of origin. Buddhists believe that god and the universe are one in the same.[iii] They believe that god is part of the life force and is not personal, sort of like “The Force” from “Star Wars”. This means that they believe everything has always existed and is a part of god. [iv]
The second question to consider is that of Identity. What does it mean to be human and how do we relate to animals? Buddhists consider all life to be sacred or spiritual in nature.[v] They have the view that humans are just as important as a cow or dog or the insects. They feel that all life is the same in the life force. Since they believe that all living things are the same, it leads them to believe that when you die you are reincarnated into a different life and depending on how you have lived your life will determine how you will be returned to life. This is based on their belief of karma. The next area to ponder is the question meaning/purpose. Why does man exist, or better yet, why do I exist? Buddhists believe that our sole purpose is to end the cycle of reincarnation and reach Nirvana.[vi] What is Nirvana? It is not a place like Heaven, but it is a level of consciousness that is free from bondage.[vii] They believe life is like an illusion, sort of like a magic trick performed by David Blain. Man has to realize that the life that we know is not real and must not give into the desires of life to obtain oneness with the life force. Reminds me of a joke Robin Williams told in the movie “Millennium Man”, “A Buddhist said to the hotdog vendor, make me one with everything.” The forth question in this area of discussion is about morality. How do Buddhists determine what is right or wrong? They look at the Eight Paths in their philosophy and look to the god within them. Since all things living are sacred then they treat all living things with respect including...
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