• Ross
    134
    Buddhism focuses on how to live wisely, how to achieve mastery over oneself and to conquer fear and overcome suffering to achieve happiness. Christianity on the other hand teaches salvation. While there are some similarities between Buddhism and Christianity such as the emphasis on love, forgiveness, compassion and kindness, the former gives more practical guidance on how to achieve happiness in this life rather than focussing on the notion of salvation through belief in a Divine Being. Yet Christianity is the biggest religion in the world with 2 billion followers. Does this huge following indicate that the lure for ,many people of attaining salvation by belief in all powerful God who will grant them an eternal life of biss in heaven is more powerful than the practical wisdom of how to achieve happiness in this life?


    Wow my thread above which I posted only 18 hours ago has provoked a huge response.This is a brilliant forum.
    Thanks to all of you who have contributed with your pearls of wisdom!!. It seems this Buddhism versus Christianity debate in relation to wisdom is a very popular issue. I have learned so much from the exciting debate and huge variety of responses it has provoked.
  • Seppo
    93
    I don't know about "wisdom", sort of a slippery and subjective term, but there's certainly more truth in the basic tenets of Buddhism (i.e. the Four Noble Truths) than the fundamental tenets of Christianity (which are, almost without exception, false- i.e. the existence of a transcendent creator-god, the divinity of Jesus of Nazareth, etc).

    Also probably less prone to abuse -> violent fanaticism, though obviously there's always exceptions to any rule (like the "Buddhist Bin Laden" who is a raging Islamophobe).
  • TheMadFool
    11.9k
    Buddhist Bin Laden" who is a raging IslamophobeSeppo

    :rofl: I remember an argument made by one atheist, I think it was Sam Harris, about how a Jain terrorist is a contradictio in terminis, an oxymoron, an impossible object as it were. According to Harris, a true Jain can't ever be a terrorist.

    All I can say is if philosophy is rounded off as it were, it would become Buddhism rather than Christianity.
  • Ross
    134

    I suppose wisdom may be a subjective term but I didn't know what other word to use . Wisdom means different things to different people, but I suppose one could say
  • Athena
    1.6k
    I will vote for Buddhism over Christianity. However, Buddhism can be filled with demons and gods and it can be chauvinistic. It also falls way short of the Greek effort to know truth with its science and political leaning.
  • Ross
    134

    I suppose wisdom may be a subjective term but I didn't know what other word to use . Wisdom means different things to different people, but I suppose one could say that it essentially is about how to live well, how to achieve well being, something akin to Aristotle,s concept of Eudaimonia. That's what I mean. I think a major weakness in Christianity is that it's aim or goal is not happiness, but rather salvation. Buddhism does not believe in a supernatural God and we cannot know ultimate reality. That is for me a core wisdom in it.
    I agree that Christianity like any religion that is dogmatic in it's belief in a God the saviour by its nature lends it's to fanaticism and extremism. Why is it that not more people in the world are embracing Buddhism , perhaps there would be less religious extremism if it rather than Christianity or Islam were the dominant religions. It seems to me a sign that the majority of people in the world are more interested in salvation rather than in wisdom or Eudaimonia , or how to live a good life. Despite the enormous advance of science in the past century and it's challenge to many traditionally held religious views, religion still remains hugely popular in the world, except i
    only in western Europe.
    I don't know if my post is relevant for a philosophy forum, perhaps for the philosophy of religion.
  • Seppo
    93
    Yeah I think its safe to say that Christianity very routinely fails to deliver on its promise of facilitating good behavior or happy living (its been responsible for, or at least complicit in, some of the most horrible actions of our species, and there more devout its followers happen to be, the more horrible they tend to act), so Buddhism probably beats it in that regard as well.

    Again, there's always exceptions, and its not like Buddhism is perfect by any means, but in general or on average it seems way ahead here as well.
  • Apollodorus
    2.5k
    Buddhism focuses on how to live wisely, how to achieve mastery over oneself and to conquer fear and overcome suffering to achieve happiness. Christianity on the other hand teaches salvation.Ross Campbell

    I don't think this is entirely correct. Christianity does teach the cultivation of virtues, living a righteous life, etc. :

    "For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness" (Matthew 21:32).

    "Paul talked about righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come" (Acts 24:25).

    Practicing righteousness, wakefulness, watchfulness, discernment, prayer, contemplation, meditation, etc. are all part of the Christian tradition.

    Unfortunately, this is no longer taught in the West, as a result of which people tend to turn to Eastern traditions instead and denigrate everything Western ....
  • 180 Proof
    5.6k
    Not exhaustively, the basics (IMO):

    Christianity, 1st century CE
    > suffering is good (i.e. idolize a Roman execution-by-torture instrument)
    > take "Christ the Messiah" as your "Lord & Savior" in order to absolve your "soul" from "sin"
    > have "faith" the end of the world – "Judgment of the living and the dead" to punish the wicked and reward the righteous – is imminent ... re: eschatology, theodicy

    dogma
    – "Glory of the world to come" :pray:

    *

    Buddhism, 4th century BCE
    > suffering (dukkha, samsara) is "cured" by mindfully ceasing to grasp at smoke (anicca)
    > salvation (moksha) amounts to release from, or relinquishing of, fixating on (the illusion of) a "permanent" self/soul (anatta)
    > emulate ("the middle way") but do not idolize the Buddha ("if you see him on the road (to salvation), kill him") ... re: soteriology, virtues

    dharma
    – "Be here now" :fire:

    *

    Both traditions teach "compassion", of course, but Buddhists have always meant and practiced it (deeds, not faith (re: Eightfold Path)) much more assiduously in the main than the followers of Christ ("faith, not deeds" (re: Nicene Creed)). I guess 'which is more wise?' may depend on what one means by wisdom. Anyway, no doubt, I've kicked a hermeneutical hornets' nest ... :death: :flower:
  • Cheshire
    911
    Christianity on the other hand teaches salvation.Ross Campbell
    Christianity required a sales pitch that is the 'good news'. The actual message of Jesus if it can be extracted from the carnival of weirdness that surrounds it does offer an ideal that's worth it's weight. Which results in more wisdom on average is probably Buddhism; if nothing else it encourages reflection on a more everyday level.
  • baker
    2.5k
    Buddhism isn't viable in this world. If the wiseness of a religion is to be measured by how well its adherents do socioeconomically, then Christianity is certainly wiser.
  • 180 Proof
    5.6k
    Since when is greed, piracy & missionary colonizations indices of "wiseness"?
  • baker
    2.5k
    They are indices of socioeconomic success.
    Why should wisdom and socioeconomic success be seen as necessarily mutually exclusive?
  • Tom Storm
    2k
    Since when is greed, piracy & missionary colonizations indices of "wiseness"?180 Proof

    Since the Reagan years? :joke:
  • 180 Proof
    5.6k
    You tell me. I didn't claim or imply that. If they coincide, then cool; I just don't see what "socioeconomic success" has to do with "wisdom".

    :up:
  • baker
    2.5k
    I just don't see what "socioeconomic success"has to do with "wisdom".180 Proof

    The purpose of wisdom is to improve one's life, and that includes improving one's socio-economic status. Agree?
  • Tom Storm
    2k
    The purpose of wisdom is to improve one's life, and that includes improving one's socio-economic status. Agree?baker

    Is it not that case that in most traditions, wisdom privileges aestheticism?
  • baker
    2.5k
    Is it not that case that in most traditions, wisdom privileges aestheticism?Tom Storm

    Surely you mean asceticism.

    But your thought is nice too. Heh.
  • Tom Storm
    2k
    Surely you mean asceticism.baker

    Oops typo. Yes, I did mean asceticism. The former would be the spiritual wisdom of Oscar Wilde.
  • 180 Proof
    5.6k
    No. Successful people, like kings and emperors, throughout history have been notoriously miserable or dissatisfied people. "Socioeconomic success" is like being a junky dope dealer hooked on his own supply. More to the point; Siddhārtha Gautama's life improves and his "wisdom" grew only after he had relinquished princely wealth and priviledge; and Yeshua ben Yosef seemingly was a poor carpenter and itinerant preacher who had directed his follows to give away all they owned, that the rich will have a much harder time getting into heaven, and that one should live by grace "in this world but not of this world".

    So neither tradition preaches "the prosperity gospel", baker; that Christians in general currently (the last few centuries of imperialist / globalist centuries out of two millennia) enjoy a higher material standard of living is due to many more historical factors than religion as well as that the followers of Christ tend not to live in a Christ-like way compared to how Buddhists tend to live, perhaps until very recently, more Buddha-like lives. In any case, "socioeconomic success" is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for (seeking) wisdom.
  • Benj96
    503
    oes this huge following indicate that the lure for ,many people of attaining salvation by belief in all powerful God who will grant them an eternal life of biss in heaven is more powerful than the practical wisdom of how to achieve happiness in this life?Ross Campbell

    If you offer someone two options:

    Do nothing and place your hopes on a provider which will give you all you want if you’re good

    Vs.

    You can be your own source of good things but it’s arduous, the road is riddled with obstacles and suffering and the challenge will put you to the greatest test of your will/ ability to continue and character.

    Many will prefer the passive role. Begging for a morsel instead of finding the wheat and grinding their own flour.

    It also has to do with the fact that in Buddhism the analogy is that living is a superposition of both pleasure and suffering and it’s up to you to resolve yourself in this cycle because coming back is only ever going to be in this world. Whilst Christians polarise it and project expectations onto an uncertain point after death which is infinite and different from the world we live in - either all good or all bad rather than a mix.

    The problem here is that you can’t live in a state of all good because goodness is meaningless without a constant reminder of its opposite.
  • baker
    2.5k
    No. Successful people, like kings and emperors, throughout history have been notoriously miserable or dissatisfied people.180 Proof
    No. You're just sourgraping.

    More to the point; Siddhārtha Gautama's life improvde and his wisdom grew only after he relinquished princely wealth and priviledge;
    How did it improve?? He became unfit to earn a living!

    and Yeshua ben Yosef was it seems a poor carpenter and itinerant preacher who directed his follows to give away all they owned, that the rich will have a much harder time getting into heaven, and that one should live by grace "in this world but not of this world".
    Don't forget that he and his immediate followers lived off the mercy and generosity of others, they were parasites, unwilling to meet their own needs on their own. A society could not function this way if everyone would adopt such a lifestyle.
    And if a principle is such that not everyone can live by it, due to objective constraints, this means that said principle is immoral and should be abandoned.

    In any case, "socioeconomic success" is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for (seeking) wisdom.
    Yeah, which is why gutters and prisons are full of enlightened people!
  • baker
    2.5k
    So neither tradition preaches "the prosperity gospel", baker180 Proof

    They both teach people to work hard, earn a lot, and support the clergy.

    Neither views poverty as a virtue when it comes to laypeople.
  • Ross
    134

    Good point but I'm only interested in the Philosophical aspect of Buddhism not the religious part. And the philosophy in my opinion is neither chauvinistic to my knowledge and is full of practical wisdom. What do you mean it falls way short of the Greek effort to know truth with its science and political leaning. What science are you referring to. Greek and Roman Stoic philosophy has many similarities with Buddhist philosophy. They may have influenced each other as a result of Alexander the greats conquering of the Middle East and the fusion of Greek and Eastern culture in the Hellenistic period
  • Athena
    1.6k
    Good point but I'm only interested in the Philosophical aspect of Buddhism not the religious part. And the philosophy in my opinion is neither chauvinistic to my knowledge and is full of practical wisdom. What do you mean it falls way short of the Greek effort to know truth with its science and political leaning. What science are you referring to. Greek and Roman Stoic philosophy has many similarities with Buddhist philosophy. They may have influenced each other as a result of Alexander the greats conquering of the Middle East and the fusion of Greek and Eastern culture in the Hellenistic period
    37 minutes ago
    Ross Campbell

    I don't think Buddhism has one official book like the Christian Bible. It is not an organized religion like Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, but is like philosophy where anyone can make an argument for this or that, and if is liked, it gets passed on. Buddhism is not "God's truth" or "God's commandments".

    Greek logos, reason, the controlling force of the universe. That means asking the question "How do things work?" What is the "cause and the effect"? It is concerned with what we now call science and religion is not. Philosophy can help us make good moral judgments but does not help us understand our planet and how to manifest all the different parts of a city or protect endangered species.
  • Possibility
    2.3k
    Interesting. I’ll make two points regarding the question.

    Firstly, teaching cannot contain wisdom - either by words or by example - only constitute a way to it. What is missing is our own embodied interpretation.

    Secondly, the original teachings of Christianity and Buddhism (as far as we understand them) require both words and ideal life example together (and there are also many who combine either the words of Christianity with the example of Gautama, or the words of Buddhism with the example of Jesus, or some hybridisation). As far as I can see, this combination of words and example enables certain checks and balances - and any religious or philosophical approach that prioritises one over the other, or indeed defers to or denies personal (or cultural) affect/desire, is not an effective way to wisdom. There are plenty of these wrong turns throughout the subsequent history of both.

    Much of the modern teachings (words or examples) of Christianity are way off the mark as far as wisdom goes. Fundamental Christianity heavily prioritises the words but defers to individual desire; Catholicism prioritises the example, but defers to cultural affect. And from what little I’ve experienced of modern teachings of Buddhism, there seems to be a growing distinction between ascetic and intellectual Buddhism (denying affect/desire).

    The way I see it, practical wisdom in either Buddhism or Christianity (as in any philosophical approach to life) strives for an interactive balance between logic, quality and energy. So you won’t notice it unless you’re looking for it.
  • darthbarracuda
    3.3k
    Depends on the form of Christianity. Gnostic traditions of Christianity are pretty wild and have much in common with Buddhist traditions, since it is more soteriological (escaping rebirth and achieving union with the supreme) than eschatological (the final days of judgement).
  • Ross
    134
    practical wisdom in either Buddhism or Christianity (as in any philosophical approach to life) strives for an interactive balance between logic, quality and energy. So you won’t notice it unless you’re looking for it.Possibility

    I'm afraid I don't understand this point. I don't know if you answered the central question in my thread which was that Christianity is focused on salvation whereas Buddhism is not. It focuses on overcoming suffering and achieving happiness in THIS world not some kind of eternal Bliss in another world, which Nietszche criticizes Christianity especially for, it's turning away from this life. Marx also attacks religion, (and I'm sure he had Christianity in mind) for it's false promises of happiness in the hereafter as a way of ignoring the suffering and plight of the oppressed in this life. In my opinion Buddhism differs , firstly it does not believe in a supernatural Being who grants eternal Bliss in the hereafter to those who worship Him .
  • TheMadFool
    11.9k
    Yeah, which is why gutters and prisons are full of enlightened people!baker

    You may have a point there but do consider "gutters" and prisons" metaphorically. :chin:
  • TheMadFool
    11.9k
    The purpose of wisdom is to improve one's life, and that includes improving one's socio-economic status. Agree?baker

    With that improved "...socioeconomic status..." to Batman...

  • Josh Alfred
    132
    Meditation doesn't stop human need. Any knowledge that is practical is applicable to fulfilling the rational needs of people. Both can be bizarrely irrational, especially in the extremists positions. The code of conduct for both religions is usually admirable, stop suffering/be kind, and love your neighbor as yourself. Great moral codes but you will probably prosper more from studying economics or business in the modern world.

    A way of determining which is better is not about the plea of popularity but rather a determination of which religious countries profit the most, have the highest standard of living. If your wisdom doesn't mean you profit or someone else profits from its application it likely defunct.
bold
italic
underline
strike
code
quote
ulist
image
url
mention
reveal
youtube
tweet
Add a Comment

Welcome to The Philosophy Forum!

Get involved in philosophical discussions about knowledge, truth, language, consciousness, science, politics, religion, logic and mathematics, art, history, and lots more. No ads, no clutter, and very little agreement — just fascinating conversations.