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Religious Syncretism- Buddhist Christianity?

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  • I was wondering if you guys thought a Christian could practice Zen meditation, while still being a fully devoted Christian. The concept of Buddhism as a philosophy has always intrigued me, as has the possibility of said philosophy being fused with other religions.

  • This is an interesting question, especially considering the title that you gave the thread.  Of course, I don't think (and I doubt that you do) that the Christian worldview is the same or even somewhat similar to the Buddhist worldview.  They contradict in many areas.  It would be just as contradictory if I were to say that I was an "atheistic theist", a "Jewish Muslim", etc.

    But the question doesn't quite refer to whether or not they contradict each other, does it?  The question is whether or not a person could be a fully devoted Christian and practice Zen meditation.  If you were only referring to the practice of one sitting on a mat, closing one's eyes, and breathing deeply, then I see no reason to say that this contradicts the Christian worldview.  Personally, it seems to me like a waste of time.  If a Christian desired to be calm, then that is one thing that reliance on Christ offers.

    Referring specifically to Zen meditation, this is a huge part of the Buddhist worldview.  Buddhists believe that they must look inwards into themselves or "rediscover" themselves.  This is a practice that's strictly part of Buddhism.  To the Christian, it would not help to sit for hours, looking into himself to unlock or "rediscover" something.

    Can a Christian be fully devoted while practicing Zen meditation?  I think so.  I don't however, think that this is productive or consistent logically, and I think that it would be better for the Christian to stop, lest he or she face the possibility of mixing religions, which is definitely wrong.

    Referring to your comment on the possibility of Buddhism mixing with other religions, this is something that Christians definitely need to avoid.  Using the United States as an example, there is a huge problem in the churches of America, where these Christians are adopting parts of humanist philosophy.  It can create much confusion when a Christian finds that many of his own ideas, which he thought were Christian, had actually come from atheists.  I've seen this time and time again among Christians, and it is something that I've had to watch for many times.  It is dangerous for a Christian to mix contradictory beliefs from separate worldviews.  One who does faces the possibility of slipping into heresies and into complete incoherency.

    I hope that this has helped to answer your question.  God bless.

    1 Peter 3:15 (NASB): "But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence."

  • Thank you so much! This was really helpful. Have a great day!

  • This is interesting, and I've thought about something like it before, but not quite the same situation. I was looking into yoga, and I noticed there are a lot of Hindu chants people do, and some poses are even for Hindu worship of their gods. I was not into that, but I wanted to do some stretching! I googled and searched a bunch of stuff such as "Christian yoga" or "Should Christians do yoga?". I ultimately came to the conclusion that yoga really is a Hindu tradition, but, because all I wanted out of it was the stretching and exercise, that's what I did: Stretching and exercise. (It's kinda funny, Ray Comfort put out a video on that subject not too long ago)

    So, why do I tell you this? I feel having to put the word Christian in front of something USUALLY (not always) means the  word following it is not inherently Christian, or something a Christian should really be doing. I think Servant of God did a great job describing the relationship of Christianity and Buddhism. Can you meditate? Sure! Meditate on The Lord! Should you be seeking Nirvana (Or, I guess not, because isn't it all about not wanting anything anyway?)? No. I don't know if I would ever say that mixing Christianity with Buddhism or any other religion/philosophy is a good idea.

    Can I ask, what is intriguing you to ask a question like this and what aspects of Buddhism do you see that are beneficial to your walk with God, your health, etc.? I would say if any of those things have other names, just say something like, "I'm a Christian, and I meditate on The Lord." instead of putting the word Christian in front of something that really isn't. If it is potentially damaging to your walk with God or if He directly warns against something, then I would stay away.

    God bless my friend! :)

  • That's what I was kinda getting at. I've been reading a lot of Kerouac lately, and I found the way he put both his buddhism and catholicism into his work was intriguing. That was mostly the reason for my question. God bless!

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