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Can a Christian be a Taoist or Buddhist??


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Showing 176-200 of 528 posts in this discussion
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 22, 2008 12:06:03 PM PST
LG says:
lol

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 22, 2008 12:46:45 PM PST
As someone who has studied the Taoism a bit (as philosophy not religion) I really enjoyed your comments.
However I must comment on some contradictions (inherent in any description of Taoism?). On one hand you argue against the validity of some religions (maybe not a good description but don't nitpick) while on the other explain that since man is a part of nature every thing he does is a part of nature therefore natural. Hence even seemingly irrational beliefs are by that definition natural. And since labeling something wrong or right is a matter of definition and/or judgment it is not very Tao.
Again I really liked the way you expressed your views and enjoyed reading it, I would only suggest you leave out the parts that attack other religions, not only it is non-Tao to do (at least as I see it) but trying to use reason against a closed mind is like trying to push a rope...pointless and a waste of effort.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 22, 2008 1:01:10 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 22, 2008 1:21:01 PM PST
Tad Nastic says:
Hi AJ.

Andi seems to have been attempting to clear up your misconceptions about Buddhism. With all due respect, this thread has been an enjoyable read until I've came to your postings that you try to pose as logical, but actually come off as contentious.

Also, I've also noticed you're often wrong with your conclusions. For instance, it hasn't been shown that Buddhism and Taoism most certainly ARE religions. This only appears certain to you. Here's a clue: One of the reasons why the original Buddha disagreed with Hindus was specifically because the latter overemphasized reincarnation. Gautama's "eightfold path" was offered as a means to avoid the negative effects of karma in THIS lifetime. Gautama didn't believe in the human soul -- although, it's true, he didn't officially renounce it either. That's because it WASN'T originally meant to be a religion. And this would even be more true with Taoism (of which Jeromy Rutter on page one gave a good account, as does Reta Derkson on a later page). The tao te ching was originally meant to be a political treatise, for instance.

You should actually consider other people's replies to you, rather than reply in auto-pilot and merely defend what appears to be your own self-righteousness. Your "my way or the highway" outlook really has been unpleasant for me to read.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 22, 2008 1:20:37 PM PST
LaToya T says:
LG: lol @ your lol. Nice to know that some of us are not taking this discussion so seriously.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 22, 2008 1:30:08 PM PST
LaToya T says:
Tad: Thats very good information. I didn't even know that.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 22, 2008 2:20:38 PM PST
LG says:
Brother A.J.,

I really don't wish to offend you, but I really think you should go back and re-read some of your posts. There's something about the way you express yourself in writing that causes Buddhist's to think you are contentious (Tad) and perhaps a bit pompous (La Toya), and a fellow Christian (me) to agree with them. As Christian's we have got to be very careful in how we present The Message.
By all means speak the truth, but do it in love, remembering whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

A.J., I pray that you will receive this message with the spirit with which it is intended.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 22, 2008 2:27:00 PM PST
Tad Nastic says:
Thanks LaToya. I've enjoyed reading your posts. I was wondering why nobody brought this fact about reincarnation, though. Seems to put an end to the assumption that Gautama had a religion in mind with his teachings.

http://www.wsu.edu:8000/~dee/BUDDHISM/SIDD.HTM

"Like Jainism, then, Buddhism centrally concerns the problem of the eternal birth and rebirth of the human soul. Unlike Jainism, Buddhism in its original form does not posit some transcendent alternative as a goal. In fact, Buddhism in its original form held that the soul actually died when the body died. How, then, could a soul pass from body to body? What passed from body to body was a chain of causes set in motion by each soul; the Buddhist philosopher Nagsena said it was like a flame passing from candle to candle. The individual, in snuffing out the self, brings those chain of causes to an end."

Basically, by transcending the self, one is no longer bound by the chains of the present age, yet lives on as a positive influence nevertheless (as an example for others). In other words: good advice all around.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 22, 2008 2:43:08 PM PST
Tad Nastic says:
Hear hear, LG.

I've enjoyed your posts, too. I'm not a Buddhist. I agree with others that don't abide by "isms." For instance, even A.J. may be right about "Buddhism" believing in the human soul differently than would a Christian. But even so, Gautama ironically wouldn't have agreed with the Buddhists either.

So, in as much as original teachings are concerned, you can be a Christian and still accept the teachings of Buddha, Lao Tzu, Chuang Tzu, et al. By doing so, you're not denying Christ as a savior. As N. Murphy said in a Dec. 17th post: God didn't make us helpless infants who can do nothing without him. Maybe moderation, which both Buddhism and Taoism recommend, is a good way in becoming a "peacemaker," as Jesus urged for us to do on the Mount. The writings of the Buddha, Lao Tzu, et al just provide advice on attaining such a positive character trait, which Christ's own sermon seems to recommend.

Interestingly, there are historical accounts of how Jesus himself may have studied these ancient texts while he was living among the Essenes and being taught by John the Baptist.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 22, 2008 2:54:42 PM PST
LG says:
Tad, I am a Christian, and I think delving into Buddhism is a real slippery slope for a Christian. I've addressed this in quite a few prior posts so I'm not going to make this long.
For the Christian there is only one way. John 14:6 (New International Version)

Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 22, 2008 2:59:33 PM PST
LaToya T says:
Tad: Hmmm...that's certainly food for thought. I really like your posts.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 23, 2008 1:48:44 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 23, 2008 3:44:25 AM PST
Hi Tad

Before I answer your post I'd like to repeat a point I've already made several times:

The question asked was "Can a Christian BE a Taoist or a Buddhist?" - NOT "Can a Christian be interested in, or agree with some of the ideas in Taoism or Buddhism?"

I am ONLY interested in claiming that the answer to the first question is "no."
Having been directly involved in several religions when I was younger, including Buddhism, I am NOT arguing against the second.

You say:

"this would even be more true with Taoism (of which Jeromy Rutter on page one gave a good account"

OK. So what sort of thing does Jeremy have to say?

"it is the path of no path in particular, because all paths lead to the same place....that beginning again"

If this is accurate, and it seems to me that it is, then clearly the Taoist view is diametrically opposed to the Christian view, since the Taoist is going round in circles, and the Christian is going in a straight line!

As to my being contentious - I definitely agree with LaToya, LG and yourself - and anyone else who agrees with you

BECAUSE

I am putting the Christian viewpoint which contradicts what the rest of you (except LG) are saying. Especially since, within your current mindset - and I really have been there, albeit many years ago - you (generic) genuinely do not understand that different religions really are -->different<--.
The most common reason for this, in my experience, is that it is hard to understand - whilst in the Buddhist, Taoist, whatever mindset - that these religions are are rigid and dogmatic as Christianity ever was. The difference is that Christianity is quite clear that it is offering a single, unnegotiable option, whilst Eastern religions invariably claim to be all encompassing.

The claim to offer complete freedom is as appealing, especially to young people, as it is illusory. If we look back through all the posts we find that almost without exception those which support the Buddhist/Taoist viewpoint DENIGRATE Christianity in some way. It is too rigid, it doesn't understand what Jesus really meant, it's too limited, and so on and so on.
All of which is also thoroughly contentious - from a Christian perspective.

If I don't agree with you, obviously I disagree with you (unless I'm in neutral) - which most people I've had similar discussions with regard as contentious.

Moreover all of these posts show a very poor understanding of what Christianity is REALLY about - i.e. not necessarily what is taught in churches, etc. - and in many cases, not a very good understanding of Buddhism, Taoism or what constitutes a religion.

BUT

You are entirely welcome to your opinions. Just don't expect me to compromise what I *believe* is an accurate representation of Christianity.
As long as people on this forum go on misrepresenting Christianity I plan to hang in there offering the alternative point of view.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 23, 2008 1:52:10 AM PST
LaToya

"AJ: It might be my own misunderstanding of your point but you appear to be talking in circles."

I realize that YOU know exactly what you are referring to. However, since you have addressed this comment to me I must point out that you haven't given me the slightest indication as to what you have in mind.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 23, 2008 2:08:36 AM PST
Thank you for the clarification. Unfortunately my question still stands. You write:

"1. The term Holy Scripture in the aforementioned statement means - Old and New Testament i.e. The Bible. That is THE DOCUMENT I have referred to repeatedly."

Again, there is NO one document which constitutes The Bible. The KJV, as you well know, is four hundred years old and the translation was based on far fewer early manuscripts than we have now, and consequently is a little less accurate than recent translations.

So I repeat my point, if you mean that the MEANING of The Bible (in any authentic translation) is inerrant then I happily agree with you. If you are saying that some notional physical document, be it ancient or modern, is textually inerrant then I think you are claiming more than the writers of the New Testament claimed for themselves.

And it seems, to me, that my view is completely compatible with that of the Chicago statement, which talks about "meaning" (clause 3), "teaching" (clause 4), etc.

Moreover your own statement:

"3. I am very familiar with the scripture passages you cite. Those two passages do not cause me to disagree with the statement above."

*suggests* that you, too, are talking about "meaning" rather than the exact wording of any scriptual document.

As to your comment about my being contentious, I am defending what is, for many people on this forum, an inherently contentious point of view. And I'm doing it regularly rather than posting just one or two messages.
Under those circumstances I'd say the "contentiousness" of my posts is inevitable, no matter what form of words I use.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 23, 2008 2:25:14 AM PST
LG

Thank you for your interesting response.

What strikes me is that Professor Bart Ehrman, who is widely recognized as a textual critic of international standing, plus his teacher at Princeton Seminary, Professor Bruce Metzger (another top rank textual critic) - who HASN'T has a crisis of faith as a result of his decades of work in this field - both overlooked what you present as a very simple and straightforward solution.

It certainly couldn't be because they are unfamiliar with the texts - this is their life's work. Nor have I seen your solution anywhere in third party accounts of how Ehrman discovered and reacted to this problem, even though those accounts are also by Professors of theology and, in most cases, experts in textual criticism.

I frankly don't know whether your solution holds good, but I guess you can understand why I'm not going to accept it without doing some checking.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 23, 2008 2:39:58 AM PST
Tad

I thank you for your explanation, but I wonder whether you considered the implications of what you wrote:

"Here's a clue: One of the reasons why the original Buddha disagreed with Hindus was specifically because the latter overemphasized reincarnation. Gautama's 'eightfold path' was offered as a means to avoid the negative effects of karma in THIS lifetime. Gautama didn't believe in the human soul -- although, it's true, he didn't officially renounce it either. That's because it WASN'T originally meant to be a religion."

1. Whether the Hindu's "overemphasized" reincarnation or not, Buddhism still incorporates reincarnation - and that involves multiple lifetimes. Like it or not, that is a religious concept.

2. Unless you want to claim that Buddhism categorically does NOT include the concept of reincarnation, then karma, in Buddhism, applies in this lifetime and beyond.

3. Both of which, as I said before, flatly contradict the Christian version of how our actions in this life affect what happens next.

In a nutshell, Buddhism is a religion of salvation through works. Christianity is a religion of salvation through faith which expressly rejects salvation through works.

4. And in any case, what does it matter what Gautama Buddha said or believed - unless you believe that he was the sole source of this knowledge - which doesn't sound much like a "philosophy" in the regular sense of Kant, Hume, etc.

Maybe you are using a different definition of "philosophy"?

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 23, 2008 2:48:44 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 23, 2008 3:49:57 AM PST
LG

"There's something about the way you express yourself in writing that causes Buddhist's to think you are contentious (Tad) and perhaps a bit pompous (La Toya), and a fellow Christian (me) to agree with them."

As I said before, when you disagree with someone you are bound to be seen as contentious to some extent.

Tad clearly does not agree with me over my view of what Buddhism is about, LaToya objects to what she (rightly or wrongly) refers to me as showing my intelligence, and you seem to think I'm trying to convert you to some alternative view of scripture.

As someone once said, "You can please all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time. But anyone who thinks they can please all of the people all of the time is a twit."

"A.J., I pray that you will receive this message with the spirit with which it is intended."

Sorry. I haven't the faintest idea how you intended it. So I'll treat it as benign :-)

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 23, 2008 3:35:48 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 23, 2008 3:57:19 AM PST
Tad

"For instance, even A.J. may be right about 'Buddhism' believing in the human soul differently than would a Christian."

"Might be"?
Haven't you just quoted "the Buddhist philosopher Nagsena" saying the process was like lighting one candle with another - implying, as you said, that - in direct contradiction of the relevant Christian belief - there is NO ongoing "soul"?
Yet another reason why you cannot BE both a Christian and a Buddhist/Taoist - as in the original question.

"Maybe moderation, which both Buddhism and Taoism recommend, is a good way in becoming a 'peacemaker,' as Jesus urged for us to do on the Mount."

1. You seem to be implying that Christianity does not itself teach moderation - if we need to learn it from Buddhism/Taoism?

2. Certainly Christ said "blessed are the peacemakers", but he also said, in a passage even some Christians find difficult: "Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law - a man's enemies will be members of his own household." (Matthew 10:34-36).

Now I think Jesus was referring to a metaphorical "sword" in this context, but he clearly wasn't being metaphorical in the rest.

Christianity upholds peace at the physical level - "love your enemy," "turn the other cheek," "love your neighbour as yourself" and, most amazingly when you think of the recent claims that Christianity causes wars and bloodshed: "Whoever loses his life for my sake shall find it." But it seems to me that it claims exactly the opposite at a mental/spiritual level.
Unlike the Eastern idea of setting aside the self and blending into some vast, vague homogenous whole to find permanent peace through unawareness, Christianity urges that we make meaningful decisions - even if that involves setting ourselves apart. It calls on us to act as responsible individuals who EACH have a one-to-one relationship with God, and that we will remain individuals for ever and ever.

And you can't get much different than that.

"Interestingly, there are historical accounts of how Jesus himself may have studied these ancient texts while he was living among the Essenes and being taught by John the Baptist."

Do you have the faintest idea how abhorrent this idea would have been to Jews in Christ's day?
Having said which, I'd certainly be interested to know which "historical accounts" you have in mind?

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 23, 2008 4:17:36 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 23, 2008 5:33:24 AM PST
Tad Nastic says:
A.J.

Thanks for your response.

I agree with your number 4. If you're going to judge Buddhist thought from its original source, it's a man-made philosophy, even if the man (Gautama) claims to be divine inspired. Lao Tzu, on the other hand, didn't even claim to be divinely inspired. Thus, they're philosophies.

As I said, Gautama supposedly didn't believe in reincarnation, thus what he offers is advice on how to better get along in this lifetime. He doesn't dogmatically oppose reincarnation or faith in a deity. So his teachings don't claim to be mutually exclusive from any other belief.

A teacher doesn't necessarily make a master. So by following the teachings of Buddha isn't following "two masters." The Buddha offers advice. Nowhere in the Bible does it reject the idea of getting advice elsewhere if its consistent with Christ's teachings.

Also: I wasn't saying Jesus didn't preach moderation. I don't recall this teaching of his, but if it's true what you say it doesn't discount the fact that moderation is pretty much ALL of what Buddhism and Taoism teaches. So you can say, as I do, these may be good supplements to the Bible for their thoroughness of approch. Especially Taoism, of which I'm more partial to. It's true, the name Lao Tzu when translated means "Old Master," but this is only because Lao Tzu -- if such an individual really existed and isn't just a name for a collective source -- cared not to have his real name divulged, and is better understood as Old Teacher. As I said, the Tao te ching was supposedly composed as a political treatise, given a metaphysical cast due to the heavy conflicts at the time between China's warring states.

Yes, time is considered more circular than linear in Eastern thought. But this difference of opinion isn't central to either the teachings of Lao Tzu or Gautama.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 23, 2008 4:37:17 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 23, 2008 5:47:50 AM PST
Tad Nastic says:
Continuing on, as to your last point:

"Do you have the faintest idea how abhorrent this idea would have been to Jews in Christ's day?
Having said which, I'd certainly be interested to know which "historical accounts" you have in mind?"

As you probably already know, much of Jesus' conduct was abhorrent to the Jews in Christ's day. As for the historical accounts, it's well known Jerusalem of the day was a city of foreign trade. Also: the Essenes, not surprisingly, were known to have in their possession foreign texts. As both Guatama's teachings and Lao Tzu's were by this time approx. 400 years old (and taoism already had much influence in China, which referred to itself as the "Middle Kingdom" due to its being in the center of trade), it shouldn't be surprising that the Essenes may have possessed these texts.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 23, 2008 4:56:35 AM PST
Tad Nastic says:
"OK. So what sort of thing does Jeremy have to say?"

Jeremy Rutter does give a good account, but that doesn't mean I agree with everything he said. That's why I say "Yes" to the original question, and he says "no."

Here's why: Sure, Taoism says the yin and yang balances out opposition of opposites. According to Taoism, rightly or wrongly, this is done via natural forces. It doesn't rule out, however, what an all-powerful supreme being may do, if such is the case: even if it's understood that the supreme being may ultimately, and supernaturally, destroy these natural forces. "Good" and "evil" may naturally balance themselves out, but a supreme judge may still determine who more influenced one over the other. As you said, however, Christianity has it that God doesn't ultimately judge a person due to their works, but due to their faith. Have you ever considered that God may overlook a person's works chiefly because "good" and "evil" forces ultimately do naturally balance themselves out?

The idea of "good" and "evil" balancing themselves out is similar to the idea often given in understanding the problem of evil: that our world basically provides "the best of all possible worlds," given all the dynamics that only God ultimately comprehends. Interestingly, the author of this theory, Gottlieb Leibniz, supposedly came up with a binary language (0-1), which led to the development of digital computers, through his exposure to the yin-yang of the i-ching. Likewise his exposure to Eastern teachings may have influenced the former "best of all possible worlds" theory as well, which many Christians accept to this day.

So, given this fact, in replying to me on your computer, you may relate to how Eastern teachings may very well supplement our own.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 23, 2008 5:21:38 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 23, 2008 5:37:59 AM PST
Tad Nastic says:
LG,

I understand that you accept the Bible as the literal world of God. I admit this is a unique case from my own understanding of Christianity, which accepts the Bible mainly as a divinely inspired metaphorical work (which, to me, explains why Jesus often resorts to aphorisms).

But, bear in mind, nowhere in the Bible does the all-knowing God (as I understand God to be) flatly state that one shouldn't accept teachings that don't contradict Christ's own. As I implied with A.J., being taught in a public school, for instance, isn't necessarily following two masters for those who accept the more divine teachings of Christ. As I recall with school, only a few teachers thought they were masters of the class, rather than instructors (i.e, guides). ;)

Also, needless to say, does the Bible, including the New Testament -- which was written hundreds of years after the Eastern ideas we're considering here, and well-known to half the civilized world at the time -- oppose the teachings of Gautama or Lao Tzu (as it does with the Stoics and Epicureans, I believe). If these ideas ultimately diminish belief in God, I would assume He would have made us aware of this in his divinely inspired words.

And, no, I'm not being facetious or sarcastic here. I believe an all-knowing God -- if the Bible is indeed meant to be literal truth -- would have specifically warned against any teachings that He would've deemed counterproductive to faith, even if they didn't profess to any false idols. For instance, polytheistic Hinduism isn't singled out in the Bible, as it should've been, probably because it would fall under the domain warning of the 2nd commandment. But, since Gautama and Lao Tzu, as mentioned, don't mention any false idols, these two would necessarily have to have been singled out, if it's true (which I reject) that these teachings contradict Christ's own.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 23, 2008 9:40:46 AM PST
LaToya T says:
AJ: It doesnt matter regardless.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 23, 2008 11:26:38 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 23, 2008 11:27:06 AM PST
LG says:
A.J. : My intent is to speak the truth to you in love. The truth is, whether it is your intention or not, the manner in which you have replied to various posters has caused them to feel alienated towards you. As a fellow believer, I brought it up to you because I think it draws attention away from the message. I believe in fighting the good fight, but not simply fighting just to prove I can win.

1 Corinthians 10: 31-33

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God - even as I try to please everybody in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many so that they may be saved.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 24, 2008 6:00:53 PM PST
Bob Roberts says:
Taoism can be both 'mere philosophy' and it is 'a fully structured religion', depending upon how deep into the rabbit hole Alice wants to go. Taoism is a pantheistic religion, meaning that people, the universe, objects (animate/inanimate), spirits, souls and everything else together comes together as One to form the deity referred to as God or Godhead, but not an almighty, separate God or Creator. While Christianity is a monotheistic religion, clearly referring to a Creator. With Taoism, you are a part of God, not separate.

Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu wrote much of what Taoism is based on, but they died long before Taoism or even the word 'Tao' came into being. The religion known as Taoism was created, like Christianity, by scholars who intrepreted what the religion means to them.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 24, 2008 6:06:36 PM PST
Bob Roberts says:
Taoism can be both 'mere philosophy' and it is 'a fully structured religion', depending upon how deep into the rabbit hole Alice wants to go. Taoism is a pantheistic religion, meaning that people, the universe, objects (animate/inanimate), spirits, souls and everything else together comes together as One to form the deity referred to as God or Godhead, but not an almighty, separate God or Creator. While Christianity is a monotheistic religion, clearly referring to a Creator. With Taoism, you are a part of God, not separate.

Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu wrote much of what Taoism is based on, but they died long before Taoism or even the word 'Tao' came into being. The religion known as Taoism was created, like Christianity, by scholars who intrepreted what the religion means to them.

The way of thinking isn't the same, however its not uncommon for a follower of any religion to read/study the sacred texts of other religions.
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