Was Jesus the best Buddhist?
Thank you for your responses. To conclude, it seems like the general agreement is that while there are many shared components of Christianity and Buddhism, a rigid traditionalist in either religious path would find the other incompatible. The differences between the core beliefs, requirements, and practices of each religion are too distant - sometimes even contradictory. The gap between world views is too extreme, causing problems for premise 4 of the first argument:
If two religions have the same end, they can be practiced together — tryhard
However, Baker’s remark seems most compelling
the conviction that by picking and choosing as one pleases, one can still patchwork together an effective program for happiness — baker
The pick-and-choose approach to religion may cause issues for traditionalists, but why shouldn’t religion be approached in this way? To determine the most effective vehicle for religious fulfillment, one should be proactive in exploring different perspectives from around the world and from various periods of human history. How else are we to know which approach is most relevant to our own experiences of the world?
In this sense, a Christian can employ methods encouraged by the Buddhists while maintaining the elements of their own faith that they admire. Perhaps Buddhism can offer the Christian unique and practical advice regarding the nature of the mind and how best to respond to it; advice on an issue that the Christian may not have as direct of an acknowledgment towards in their own religious texts.
My primary worry with the pick-and-choose method of compatibility is that it seems to suggest that religious truth is simply what seems most agreeable to the individual. I could imagine someone choosing to have faith in the forgiveness aspect of Christianity as an excuse for immorality with lesser consequences, while choosing the individualist aspects of Buddhism that seem to suspend judgment of right and wrong onto the world.
Ultimately, the pursuit of religious truth is up to the individual. In this sense, picking-and-choosing pieces of information that seem most justified and crafting our own relationship to religious ideas is the only sensible approach to any pursuit of knowledge. We must consider different views, evaluate the evidence, and emerge with a redefined perspective of the world. With this, I see little danger given that the individual’s pursuit is truly based in reasoning rather than convenience.