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Comparison of Buddhism with Christianity:

Since about 75% of American adults identify themselves as Christian and only 0.5% view themselves as Buddhist, it may be useful to compare Buddhism with the U.S.'s dominant religion.

We define as "Christian" any person or group who thoughtfully, sincerely, prayerfully regard themselves as Christian. This is the definition that pollsters use. However, it includes the full range of faith groups who consider themselves to be Christians, including Assemblies of God members, Presbyterians, Roman Catholics, Southern Baptists, United Church members, Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, etc. Many Christians have a much less inclusive definition of the term "Christian."

bullet Beliefs not shared: Buddhists do not share most of the core beliefs of historical Christianity. These include:
bullet An original golden era in the Garden of Eden, and a subsequent fall of humanity.
bullet Original sin shared by all present-day humans, derived from Adam and Eve.
bullet A world-wide flood in the time of Adam, causing the greatest human genocide in history.
bullet A transcendent or immanent or any other type of God, Gods, Goddess, and/or Goddesses.
bullet The need for a personal savior whose death enabled individual salvation.
bullet A god-man savior who was born of a virgin, executed, resurrected and ascended to heaven.
bullet Salvation achieved through good works, specific beliefs and/or sacraments.
bullet The power of prayer.
bullet Eternal life spent in either a heaven or hell after death.
bullet Return of the savior to earth at some time in the future.
bullet An end of the world as we know it in the near future.
bullet Some shared beliefs: Buddhism and Christianity share some features:
bullet Ethic of Reciprocity: Buddhism, Christianity and all of the other major world religions share a basic rule of behavior which governs how they are to treat others. Two quotations from Buddhist texts which reflect this Ethic are:
bullet "...a state that is not pleasing or delightful to me, how could I inflict that upon another?" Samyutta NIkaya v. 353.
bullet Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful." Udana-Varga 5:18.
This compares closely to Christianity's Golden Rule, which is seen in:
bullet "Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them." Matthew 7:12.
bullet "...and don't do what you hate...", Gospel of Thomas 6.
bullet Life after death: Almost all religions teach that a person's personality continues after death. In fact, many religious historians believe that this belief was the prime reason that motivated people to originally create religions. Christianity and Buddhism are no exception. However, they conceive of life after death in very different forms:
bullet Buddhism teaches that humans are trapped in a repetitive cycle of birth, life, death and rebirth. One's goal is to escape from this cycle and reach Nirvana. The mind experiences complete freedom, liberation and non-attachment. Suffering ends because desire and craving -- the causes of suffering -- are no more.
bullet Christianity has historically taught that everyone has only a single life on earth. After death, an eternal life awaits everyone: either in Heaven or Hell. There is no suffering in Heaven; only joy. Suffering is eternal without any hope of cessation for the inhabitants of Hell.
bullet Themes of morality, justice, love: These themes are found through both the Buddha's teaching and the Hebrew and Christian Bible.

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