a question for everyone who reads my blog

I don't really want to answer the question myself, but instead turn it on all of you.  Leave a comment, let me know what you think:

Can someone be a Christian (as in, a follower of Jesus Christ and his teachings), and at the same time be Buddist?  Hindu?  Jewish?  Sikh? 

I look forward to your answers. 

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8 Comments

  1. Hm… That’s kind of a tough question. I’d have to say it depends on your interpretation of being a Christian. The strictest would say that Jesus alone is the way, the truth and the life, etc, etc…
    That being said, there are numerous parallels between Christian teachings and just about any other religion. They were, after all, founded by very wise men, and wise men know what they’re talking about, for the most part.
    Personally, I’d have to say that the state of BEING a Christian, Buddhist, Jew, etc, is exclusive in its definition. However, it is not impossible to be of one faith and see the wisdom in the teachings from other faiths.
    Yar, it be time for me ice-cream… Arrrg…..

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  2. Yes – and here’s why.

    There is no such thing as a context-free/culture-free gospel. I’ll explain this in parts.

    1) What is the Gospel?
    Simply put the gospel or “good news” is Jesus Christ. To flesh this out a little more the Gospel is the story of what God has done, is doing, and will do in the world. So, the major events in the story are creation, fall, covenant (with Israel), Jesus Christ (the incarnation of the son, his life, death, resurrection, ascension, and his present reign) and the promise of the eschatalogical return of Jesus Christ in which all things will be made new (Rev 21-22).

    2) The historical foundation of the gospel story itself emerged in a particular place and time, and therefore with in a specific social context. You cannot tell the story of the Triune God and the world apart from a specific context.

    3) Religious affiliation is often closely tied to cultural. We in the United States don’t recognize this as much only because the Christian faith is common amongst people in our culture and is the dominate faith. However, when we tell the story of God and the world we do so from a Western perspective. If you look at the list of faiths that you listed two are very closely tied to culture (Judaism and Islam). Hence, why you have “Messianic Jews” and the newly coined phrase “C5 Muslims” (see http://bgc.gospelcom.net/emis/special%20articles/hisways.html)

    So, in one sense it is entirely appropriate to speak of people who are Jewish Christians or Muslim Christians, just as I would have to identify myself was a Western Christian. But this means people who are seeking to be faithful discpiles of Jesus Christ within their given cultural context which is shaped by another faith.

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  3. My opinion is absolutly not.

    In order to be a Buddhist, you need to follow buddhism. Buddhist don’t worship a Creator or “Higher Power”, Christians know God is our Creator. Buddhist’s also believe in reincarnation, which is fale. You can’t worship or believe in another doctrine as truth, if you are a follower of Jesus Christ and His Word. Because it clearly states in Exodus 20:
    2 am the LORD thy God, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.
    3 Thou shalt not make unto thee a graven image, nor any manner of likeness, of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth;
    4 thou shalt not bow down unto them, nor serve them; for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God…

    I know I just picked out Buddhism, but it goes for all others listed. You can’t believe in the ways of Hindism, Judaism, or Sihkism and also claim to be aFollower of Jesus Christ and The Word.

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  4. I agree with the idea of the cultural distinction and the necessity of making that distinction. The examples given are classic – “Jewish” no longer simply refers to a religion, but a culture and a history, as does Muslim and Buddhist and etc. From a strict viewpoint of religion, I think it’s impossible to be a follower of both – certainly one can see value and merit in beliefs of other religions, but what it boils down to is the singular belief in a singular God. Either an acknowledgement of the “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” OR a belief in teh teachings of the other religion.

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  5. I believe that to be a member of a religion, one should follow the core tenets of that religion. My knowledge of both Buddhism and Christianity is nebulous at best; the former gleaned from whatever sporadic teachings i’ve read or received, the latter acquired mainly from Charlton Heston movies. However, there are certain disparities between them: Original Sin, the final destination after death, the existence of a messiah that is the way, rather than just showing the way. I believe it would be very difficult to say “I am a Christian and a Buddhist”, without finding a proper way of bridging those differences. For the others listed, the difference is even greater, since Christianity says that “Jesus is the messiah”, while Judaism and Islam both say “Jesus is not the messiah”. While I don’t put it past people to believe in both A and not A, in my mind it just doesn’t work. I do not know enough about the Sikh religion to comment on it.

    However, I also believe that it is entirely possible, and quite common, for a person to find teachings that resonate with him/her, regardless of the source, and integrate them into his/her belief system. Truthfully, I think that there should be approximately six billion religions, one for every human being on earth. Everyone’s experiences and perspective are different, so it follows that their view of the world is different. Their view of the world shapes what they believe. People, regardless of religion, will follow what they feel comfortable believing, what they feel to be true, and reject teachings that they don’t.

    Anyway, to sum up: The logician in me tells me that to claim fully “I am X and Y”, when X and Y have contradictory ideas, is a bit of a stretch. However, a part of me also doesn’t want to say that it’s impossble. People can claim whatever they want to, and will believe in whatever they want, so what right is it of mine to tell them otherwise?

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  6. The Word of God says that “a house divided cannot stand”. There is only one true God. Now the Jewish do serve the same God as Christians do. You indeed can be Jewish and Christian but only if you are willing to accept Jesus as the Messiah. However, Buddhists, Hindus, and Sihk do not serve the same living God and cannot be Christian.

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  7. Given the existence of a Creator, then I cannot see what purpose we serve on this Earth other than to be good to each other.

    This may not seem to address your question or the responses thus far, but I think it does.

    And it’s hardly fair for you not to answer your own question.

    Reply

  8. Alright, Tricia, I’ll say something =)

    Thank you, by the way, for everyone who has written something, and if anyone else wants to add something, feel free.

    At this point in my life, I can’t help but agree with you the most on my heart’s level. I think that each person who said something is very right given their background and where they’re looking in their lens. But I can’t help but think beyond all of that theology, there’s a whisper that says “love” that maybe we miss.

    Not to say anyone who responded did. Far from it. But I appreciate your reminder.

    ps – thanks for commenting, by the way 🙂

    Reply

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