Do non-Christians really try to reduce the Christian faith?

After a discussion about Buddhism it occurred to me why would a non-Christian want to try to convert a Christian away from God? First and foremost I have to start with the point that as Christians we believe that God is love. So, for anyone to try to convert a Christian away from God would essentially be trying to convert them away from love. To further my point, consider someone who believed there was a god of love and god of water. It seems noteworthy that all you really would need is to believe in the god of love. Because it would only be love that would protect a person from water or create water for people to survive.

Back to the Buddhist, now here is a religion that does not believe in God so to deconvert a Christian would he try to reduce our faith into lack of faith…would he try to convince the Christian that God is not real and that love is not of God but something mortal and derived from flesh? It seems inconsiderate to reduce another person’s faith especially if the Buddhist doesn’t believe in God then it is of no consequence to him whether another person believes in God or not as long as they do good.

Let us pray that we may not reduce each other’s faith in God. God Bless!

Does Buddhism have a history of evangelizing Christians to convert to Buddhism? It seems to me the faith that has done most of the evangelizing has been Christianity, and also Islam, rather than Buddhism.

I wouldn’t really be so quick to judge non-christians like that. For the most part we are the ones trying to do the converting. I can’t tell the last time I saw a Buddhist or Hindu trying to convert anyone. Not saying it never happens…but it is rare.

When did he say that Buddhism has history of evangelizing Christians to convert to Buddhism?

Buddhists can believe in God or not, as they wish. It is not a religion in that sense, but rather a philosophy.

Not exactly Christians to Buddhism, but at least speaking from the perspective of Japanese Buddhism, some Buddhist schools here do have a history of proselytizing. Nichiren Buddhism in particular is very big on this, because the main tenet of this school is that it is the only correct form of Buddhism; it has traditionally seen all the other Buddhist schools as teaching false or outdated teachings.

(If you’ve ever heard of Soka Gakkai (SG), it’s actually an offshoot of Nichiren Buddhism - though the group has been excommunicated from its parent school Nichiren Shōshū since 1991 and so technically, it’s no longer affiliated with official Nichiren Buddhism.)

P.S. When Buddhism is described as being ‘atheistic’, it doesn’t mean that it is atheistic in the Western sense. Buddhism does believe in the existence of ‘gods’, but it doesn’t hold any of them as omnipotent or omniscient (or any other omni-), nor consider any one of them as having created or sustaining the world. They are worthy of veneration and respect (since they are, after all superior to humans), but not worship. These gods themselves are part of the same cycle of death and rebirth that enslaves all sentient beings; that’s whya buddha, an enlightened being who has broken free of this cycle, is superior even to these ‘gods’.

Now where it gets confusing is, while Buddhism doesn’t profess a belief in a single, omnipotent God, in Mahayana Buddhism - the form of Buddhism that was transmitted to East Asia - there is this idea of the ‘eternal Buddha’: a Buddha who from the human perspective, seems to be immortal and preexistent (with no beginning and no end), who incarnates itself from age to age (the historical Buddha is held to be just one of the various incarnations that this ‘eternal Buddha’ has taken), who is even considered to be the eternal Dharma itself personified.

Besides the evil one and his demons, the ones who really try to reduce the Christian Faith are so called “non-practicing Christians” who are “spiritual but not religious.”

Also, atheists who were born into a religion and fell like they were lied to and that religion does no good.

NOTE: not all atheists - as there are atheists who believe that religion acts as society’s conscience.

You seem to assume that the non-Christian knows or believes that Christianity is true, and that he (the non-Christian) is actively trying to remove the Christian from God’s love. This strikes me as an unjustified assumption concerning the non-Christian’s intent.

There are non-Christians who have very bad opinion of Christians. A good example is the famous quote by Mahatma Ghandi, “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

It is just like the proverbial tree that is recognized by its fruit. At least Ghandi liked Jesus but even then when his followers are nothing to be proud of, non-Christians would think that Christianity does not work. This may be one of the reason why they seem to be trying to reduce the Christian faith.

Reuben

To be fair, I’m a Christian, but I have a very bad opinion of Christians myself (including me). :wink: So, I guess if we all went around becoming more Christlike … it might make some difference as to how non-Christians see Christian folks? :shrug:

:thumbsup::wink:

Absolutely. It is not easy to be a Christian. With much, there is much that is expected of us. When we fall short, the world, unlike God, is quite unforgiving. Carrying Christ on our shoulder is of course tough but we cannot complain much, we have been given the Holy Spirit.

Have a blessed Easter season.

Reuben

When I was a non-Christian I did not feel it was my business to try to reduce other people’s faith…It was not a matter of whether God was real but that their faith was real…I felt like I had no proof that their God was false so who am I to demean another person’s faith. I actually found Christian faith quite admirable even though I did not believe. So, I am not making an assumption that non-Christians believe Christianity is true. I also did not say that all non-Christians actively try to take our faith. However, some do try to demean our faith. Your comments seem to be more “unjustified assumptions concerning” my “intent”.

It is better to ask the right questions than to assume the wrong answer…let’s pray about that : )

Anyways, for those who seem to think that this question is based on assumptions…this started because I was having a private message with a Buddhist on this forum and he said that he was here as a missionary and then told me that Buddhist don’t believe in God. He then asked me to start the conversation in a thread because he seemed uninterested in private messaging.

God bless!

As much as I admire Ghandi that is an unfortunate statement…he might say the same for himself… I have witnessed more Christ like Christians in my life than Ghandi like Hindu. No offense. Surely Ghandi did not really say that. Where is your source? That said we do need more Christ like Christians…praying.

I understand the line has been attributed to Gandhi but it is questionable as to whether he really said it.

Bara Dada (Dwijendranath Tagore): “Jesus is ideal and wonderful, but you Christians – you are not like him.” (quoted by Stanley Jones)

That was an authentic Ghandi’s quote but probably a translation.

I studied a bit on his biography though I see it more from a Christian’s viewpoint that may merit referring to in Christian’s talk and teaching.

Actually I am thankful for that Ghandi’s observation on Christians. If anything it is an honest feedback though we may not like to hear it. For me it is a kind of reality check and it is always good to listen to some personal assessment of what we are though of course that comment was not for me personally.

Ghandi did not have good experience with Christians whom he interacted with; the fact that they were his colonial masters, notwithstanding. His early experience with them was in apartheid South Africa. One time he was left in the cold after not being admitted into a train.

There was this incident when he wanted to go into a church. Seeing that he was coloured, he was chased out of the church and disallowed to worship there. Probably that episode ended whatever his interest in Christianity.

It is true that many times we do not make good examples of being Christians. One of the most effective forms of evangelization is of course our own lives and characters. We can do our own self-examination but comments from non-Christians would probably be more relevant as to where we stand, at least superficially.

God bless.

Reuben

People who try to reduce the faith of another, or convert another have some sort of agenda. The nature of the agenda can vary wildly.

Some see the other person suffering, or lost and they offer something they feel will help the person, because it helped them.

Others feel compelled to share their faith because doing so is a tenant of the faith itself. Or the faith may even teach that others must either convert or die, and they prefer the other person convert.

Others only feel secure in their own beliefs, or their own self esteem if they can make people change their minds to agree with them. Or they just get a kick out of manipulating others and causing them to question their belief system.

Others are angry at a belief system and want to turn others against it.

People who are struggling are often the target of such discussions because others sense their vulnerability and perhaps increased openess to suggestion.

Most religions don’t support or command their followers to convert others, so I think most of the times that a non Christian trys to turn a Christian from their faith, it’s because they have a personal axe to grind, or they see that person suffering and they offer a different set of beliefs as possible relief.

There are several reasons why non-Christians seek to pull people away from Christianity. Here are three;

[LIST=1]
*]Satan is at work undermining the truth.
*]Many people blame religion (and Christianity above all others) for the strife we see around the world. (This conveniently overlooks the fact that most of the killing in this past century or so have been non-Christians: Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Pol Pot, etc.)
*]People who do not live according to the virtues taught by Christianity resent the fact that their lifestyles are looked upon with disdain by those who do.
[/LIST]

For myself it is not about converting “away from God” but converting from a mostly good religion to a better one. Buddhism has always been a missionary religion. After the Buddha converted his first five followers he sent them out to preach what he had just taught them.

Typically, Buddhism tends to use a passive method. We don’t go round knocking on people’s doors, like JWs or Mormons, instead we put up a sign and wait for interested people to come to us.

Back to the Buddhist, now here is a religion that does not believe in God so to deconvert a Christian would he try to reduce our faith into lack of faith.

Eastern Buddhists tend to retain beliefs in their local gods. Western Buddhists tend to ignore gods. It is true that many things that the Abrahamic religions attribute to their God are given a different explanation in Buddhism: moral law (karma), the imperfection of the world and the origin of the universe being obvious examples. Most Buddhists see Jesus as a Bodhisattva, and hence higher than any of the gods, so you can retain a devotion to Jesus even after you convert.

Buddhism provides a wide array of techniques, all of which have been found to work. Some of those techniques are compatible with Christianity, such as counting breaths. We hope that people who find one technique useful may become interested and try other techniques from the menu Buddhism offers.

Let us pray that we may not reduce each other’s faith in God. God Bless!

May all living beings avoid greed.
May all living beings avoid hatred.
May all living beings avoid delusion.

May all living beings attain peace.
May all living beings attain happiness.
May all living beings attain nirvana.

rossum

That’s mostly true. I think Nichiren Buddhism (and groups descended from it like Soka Gakkai) is the exception in that it is more active in proselytizing than other forms of Buddhism. (Again I think this stems from Nichiren’s conviction that the Lotus Sutra, and only the Lotus Sutra, contains the essence of the Buddha’s teachings and hence is the highest and ultimate teaching of Buddhism - the only one that could save people in this ‘Latter Day of the Law’, when the Buddha’s teachings will be forgotten and the world will be in disorder. Of course, since Nichiren believed in the primacy/supremacy of the Lotus Sutra, he believed that all the other Buddhist schools who use or follow other scriptures are actually teaching heterodoxy or outmoded doctrines.)

In fact Nichiren monks historically practiced things like some sort of street evangelism and challenging monks of other schools to public debates in an effort to show that their interpretations of Buddhism are wrong (shakubuku ‘to break (and) subdue’). Some lay groups with Nichiren origins like Soka Gakkai are pretty much like Mormons or JWs, in that they are known to practice door-to-door evangelism.

Eastern Buddhists tend to retain beliefs in their local gods. Western Buddhists tend to ignore gods. It is true that many things that the Abrahamic religions attribute to their God are given a different explanation in Buddhism: moral law (karma), the imperfection of the world and the origin of the universe being obvious examples. Most Buddhists see Jesus as a Bodhisattva, and hence higher than any of the gods, so you can retain a devotion to Jesus even after you convert.

Buddhism provides a wide array of techniques, all of which have been found to work. Some of those techniques are compatible with Christianity, such as counting breaths. We hope that people who find one technique useful may become interested and try other techniques from the menu Buddhism offers.

I think this is a distinction Westerners need to realize. In an Eastern parlance, ‘god’ isn’t really a sort of special status. I mean, in the modern West, the Judaeo-Christian idea of an almighty, all-knowing, ever-living God has pretty much colored ideas of what a god is or should be like. But when you look to Asian religions, you still have vestiges of ancient animistic/polytheistic/henotheistic ideas of divinity, similar to the kind you see in Greek mythology. ‘Gods’ are merely human-like entities who live in a certain state of bliss and who happen to be more long-lived or strong than humans are. But other than that, they’re not necessarily all-knowing or immortal or even benevolent, for that matter.

In Buddhist thought, as you know, the ‘gods’ (devas) are still part of the cycle of death and rebirth. A human (or any other lower being) who had accumulated enough good karma could be reborn as a god in his next life; conversely, a god could also fall from grace and be reborn as a being with a lower status.

May all living beings avoid greed.
May all living beings avoid hatred.
May all living beings avoid delusion.

May all living beings attain peace.
May all living beings attain happiness.
May all living beings attain nirvana.

rossum

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