Is Buddhism closer to Christianity than atheism?

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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dhammapal
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Is Buddhism closer to Christianity than atheism?

Post by dhammapal » Tue Nov 12, 2013 9:11 am

Hi,

Do you think that Buddhism has more in common with Christianity than with atheism? I reckon that many Christians are endowed with ottappa (moral dread) which the Buddha said was a treasure. What do you think?

Thanks / dhammapal.

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Mr Man
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Re: Is Buddhism closer to Christianity than atheism?

Post by Mr Man » Tue Nov 12, 2013 9:24 am

Buddhism and Christianity are both religions atheism isn't (or though religious people often try to argue that it is).

I reckon that many non religious people are also endowed with ottappa. It is a human quality.

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lyndon taylor
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Re: Is Buddhism closer to Christianity than atheism?

Post by lyndon taylor » Tue Nov 12, 2013 9:26 am

Well I would say Buddha has more in common with Jesus, than in common with Christopher Hitchins or Richard Dawkins, if that's any kind of answer to your question!!

You can claim atheism isn't a religion, but they seem to be recently setting up church services all over the world, if you have read the news.
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community, sincerely former monk John

http://trickleupeconomictheory.blogspot.com/

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tiltbillings
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Re: Is Buddhism closer to Christianity than atheism?

Post by tiltbillings » Tue Nov 12, 2013 9:55 am

lyndon taylor wrote:
You can claim atheism isn't a religion, but they seem to be recently setting up church services all over the world, if you have read the news.
"They" are not a singular thing or grouping. "They," who are setting up churches, likely constitute a very small minority of those who might identify themselves atheists.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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lyndon taylor
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Re: Is Buddhism closer to Christianity than atheism?

Post by lyndon taylor » Tue Nov 12, 2013 10:09 am

you're right, the ones setting up church services are hardly representative of the whole, but it seems to me agnosticism is more areligious, whereas atheism is a religion of denial, not just of God, but of the supernatural.
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community, sincerely former monk John

http://trickleupeconomictheory.blogspot.com/

dhammapal
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Re: Is Buddhism closer to Christianity than atheism?

Post by dhammapal » Tue Nov 12, 2013 10:29 am

I reckon that, even with the law of kamma, Buddhism is less fatalistic than atheism, as atheists assume that you will suffer from memories of being cruel for the rest of your life and on your deathbed, whereas in Buddhism memories are a combination of past and present kamma.

Dinsdale
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Re: Is Buddhism closer to Christianity than atheism?

Post by Dinsdale » Tue Nov 12, 2013 10:56 am

dhammapal wrote: Do you think that Buddhism has more in common with Christianity than with atheism?
I've observed that Buddhism seems to be more attractive to atheists than theists, though both Buddhism and Christianity place great emphasis on ethical behaviour and compassion.
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manas
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Re: Is Buddhism closer to Christianity than atheism?

Post by manas » Tue Nov 12, 2013 11:04 am

I think Christianity and Atheism have more in common with each other, than either of them has with Buddhism. They both cling to something that cannot be proven (ie, is there an ultimate, 'Source' of all, or is there nothing but this physical body and trillions of atoms?). The Buddha, aiui, rejected such speculation, and invited us instead to look at this mind of ours, not to either cling to or speculate on whether a 'big daddy' kind of God exists 'out there', or not.

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tiltbillings
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Re: Is Buddhism closer to Christianity than atheism?

Post by tiltbillings » Tue Nov 12, 2013 11:39 am

manas wrote:The Buddha, aiui, rejected such speculation, and invited us instead to look at this mind of ours, not to either cling to or speculate on whether a 'big daddy' kind of God exists 'out there', or not.
Though the Buddha did, however, pretty much say that the was no omniscient, omnipotent, ceator of the universe.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Sam Vara
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Re: Is Buddhism closer to Christianity than atheism?

Post by Sam Vara » Tue Nov 12, 2013 11:48 am

Three phenomena, two of them hugely multiform and varied due to a couple of milennia of evolution in different cultures; and one primarily defining itself by what it is not, and therefore rendering itself compatible with a huge range of other views and dispositions.

So take your pick. The more you know of the three positions, the more you can select things which prove similarity, or difference. One of the important things we might want to think about is whether selecting and pondering these differences and similarities is motivated by skillful intentions or not.

"Why do I think this about Christians, or atheists? And is it good to do so?"

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Mr Man
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Re: Is Buddhism closer to Christianity than atheism?

Post by Mr Man » Tue Nov 12, 2013 12:12 pm

Sam Vara wrote:Three phenomena, two of them hugely multiform and varied due to a couple of milennia of evolution in different cultures; and one primarily defining itself by what it is not, and therefore rendering itself compatible with a huge range of other views and dispositions.

So take your pick. The more you know of the three positions, the more you can select things which prove similarity, or difference. One of the important things we might want to think about is whether selecting and pondering these differences and similarities is motivated by skillful intentions or not.

"Why do I think this about Christians, or atheists? And is it good to do so?"
:goodpost:

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ancientbuddhism
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Re: Is Buddhism closer to Christianity than atheism?

Post by ancientbuddhism » Tue Nov 12, 2013 2:00 pm

The profundity of the anatta doctrine sweeps past any theistic claims. It is a denial of both creator god and soul.
I say, beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of clothes.” – Henry David Thoreau, Walden, 1854

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Dinsdale
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Re: Is Buddhism closer to Christianity than atheism?

Post by Dinsdale » Tue Nov 12, 2013 2:09 pm

manas wrote:I think Christianity and Atheism have more in common with each other, than either of them has with Buddhism.
Yes, I think in a way Buddhism transcends the dichotomy of theist v. atheist, and more broadly belief v. disbelief.
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brahmacharya
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Re: Is Buddhism closer to Christianity than atheism?

Post by brahmacharya » Tue Nov 12, 2013 2:36 pm

If by Christianity you mean the teachings of Jesus Christ & by Buddhism you mean the teachings of Gautama Buddha, then Buddhism and Christianity are basically the same. Jesus and the Buddha taught the same thing. Only the masses differentiate.
Brahmacharya & Related Topics - A website about brahmacharya/celibacy, asceticism, yoga and related subjects.

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Anagarika
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Re: Is Buddhism closer to Christianity than atheism?

Post by Anagarika » Tue Nov 12, 2013 2:43 pm

I'd say it's not "closer" to either of the others. It stands alone in its profundity and its rational and pragmatic approach to life and mind. To my mind, both Christianity and Atheism require a certainty of belief, a dogma. The Buddha implored his disciples to take the Dhamma and with it as a tool, always ask ethical and wise questions in the study of life and mind.

To me, it's like asking "is a diamond closer to an apple than a kumquat?"

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