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Buddhism Part 1 of 2
MONDAY, MAY 15, 2006
Posted by: Scott McMahan | more..
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Besides Christianity, I once thought Buddhism was an attractive religious practice. It rejects materialism and worldliness. It calls for simplicity, honesty, and moral conduct. I once even thought Buddhism was compatible with Christianity. (I was wrong.)

By the way, there are three main flavors of Buddhism: Zen, Tibetan, and Therevadan. You can find out about them almost anywhere on the Internet if you want to know more. For this discussion, I discovered that Zen is complete nonsense (using irrationality as a religious practice). Tibetan Buddhism is pagan and supersitious, combining some Buddhist beliefs with native religious ideas.

But Therevadan is a thoughtful, consistent, interesting religious practice. (Particularly in the West.) They don't particularly believe in reincarnation. They have a slightly different view of karma than other Buddhists (maybe I'll get to that some day). It's a huge umbrella, but the main Western branch of Therevadan Buddhism is Insight Meditation (Vipassana), which is a way to understand your thoughts and take conscious control of them. Because I had been given a "default" secular world view, this appealed to me. I studied Therevadan Buddhist philosophy in considerable depth, but ran into two things that caused me to utterly repudiate it.

I'll talk about the other reason in my next entry, but one reason I reject Buddhism concerns imagination. I've always been captivated by imaginitive stories. I became a Christian as much through stories (like J.R.R. Tolien and C.S. Lewis) as I did through any sort of formal training. They were part of my life long before dry doctrine ever was, and I internalized many of the concepts that would be spelled out doctrinally for me later on. The importance of stories is central to my salvation. The gospel is, at its heart, a story that is told from one generation to the next. Jesus taught in stories. He encouraged imagination. He created a plan of redemption that can only be understood by using the imagination.

Buddhism denies imagination. In fact, Buddhism and Hinduism are two sides of the same coin: Hinduism says nothing that exists is real, and Buddhism says that only what exists is real and nothing else. Both have no place for imagination. Hinduism says imagination is part of the illusion of reality, and has to be snuffed out. Buddhism says imagination is the distraction that keeps people away from reality and must be snuffed out. I utterly repudiate both, since they're both saying that telling the gospel story of salvation is a bad thing to do.

Category:  Calvinism

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