• 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 togethertryhard

    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 happinessbaker

    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.
  • Was Jesus the best Buddhist?
    Firstly, thank you for your response. I appreciate the perspective you offered regarding the stories to rituals to script to guru to doctrine model that most religious developments seem to follow. It definitely seems like there are parallels between the development of Buddhism and Christianity in terms of this. I also agree that, in general, Buddhism and Christianity seem to have similarities in terms of their influence in the East vs the West, and it’s certainly likely that religious schools have influenced each other throughout their progression into commonly held belief systems.

    A practicing Buddhist checks all the boxes of a virtuous Christian, all the while making little to no assumptions or claims about God. Rather than providing a "strong argument" for why they would be compatible, what is a single argument that they wouldn't be?Hermeticus

    In response to your reply, it does seem like a practicing Buddhist has similar characteristics and acts in similar ways to express virtue to the ideal Christian. However, it seems like Christian doctrine excludes participation in the Buddhist belief system. If Christianity does exclude its followers from pursuing the Buddhist journey, an argument against Buddhist-Christian compatibility might look something like this:

    1.Christianity holds that the only path to salvation is through Jesus Christ
    2.The Buddhist path to salvation doesn’t include Jesus Christ
    3.For Christians, the Buddhist path won’t lead to salvation.
    4.Therefore, Christianity and Buddhism are incompatible.

    My worry is that it seems like Christianity’s necessary condition for salvation is through Jesus Christ, which would restrict Christian from participating in the Buddhist path - even if the paths do lead to similar ends. If you were to meet a Buddhist and a Christian out in the real world, the two may act in similar ways, expressing similar values and getting along with each other. Although the fruits of their spiritual labor may appear similar, if Christianity requires belief in Jesus Christ for salvation alone, it seems like the two would be pursuing similar ends but for quite different reasons. It doesn’t seem like a Buddhist could be a Christian but not the other way around - do you have any suggestions on how this difference could be remedied? Thanks