Misleading Christian videos about Buddhism

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Misleading Christian videos about Buddhism

Postby Luke » Fri May 03, 2013 12:08 am

There are many videos in which people promoting other faiths say misleading and incorrect things about Buddhism, so I thought I would create a thread where people could post these videos and where we could show that the views expressed about Buddhism in these misleading videos are not correct.

Here's one such video.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zd18JvvK5QA

This video is factually flawed just about from beginning to end, but I think its main flaws are these two ridiculous statements:
1) "Buddhism is only about the physical"
2) "Buddhism is only about one's present life"

1) Ridiculous! Buddhism is primarily about the MIND! The Buddha's method of achieving liberation from suffering is the Eightfold Path, and more than half of it consists of mental factors: right view, right intention, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration.
http://www.thebigview.com/buddhism/eightfoldpath.html

It is nice that the Christians in the video appreciate that Buddhists are ethical people (because they see that we strive to practice right action, right speech, and right livelihood), but they really should learn more about the mental side of Buddhism. Many Christians might benefit from doing some types of Buddhist meditation because, if done correctly, they can improve one's mind and one's body.

Furthermore, Buddhists believe in many types of non-physical realms:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dham ... /loka.html

2) Ridiculous! Buddhism is always concerned about the future effects of one's actions (which could happen in future lives).
"...So, householders, it is by reason of conduct not in accordance with the Dhamma, by reason of unrighteous conduct, that some beings here, on the dissolution of the body, after death, reappear in states of deprivation, in an unhappy destination, in perdition, even in hell."
"...So, householders, it is by reason of conduct in accordance with the Dhamma, by reason of righteous conduct, that some beings here, on the dissolution of the body, after death, reappear in a happy destination, even in the heavenly world."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nymo.html
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Re: Misleading Christian videos about Buddhism

Postby Wayfarer » Fri May 03, 2013 2:33 am

I would advise you not to spend too much time arguing against such groundless views. People believe all kinds of things. If they are going to make outlandish statements, the chance of changing their viewpoint through argument is not very good. 'People can't be reasoned out of things they weren't reasoned into'. So unless they are personally accosting you or disturbing you, I think it is better just to move along.
Learn to do good, refrain from evil, purify the mind ~ this is the teaching of the Buddhas
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Re: Misleading Christian videos about Buddhism

Postby Hickersonia » Fri May 03, 2013 2:42 am

jeeprs wrote:I would advise you not to spend too much time arguing against such groundless views. People believe all kinds of things. If they are going to make outlandish statements, the chance of changing their viewpoint through argument is not very good. 'People can't be reasoned out of things they weren't reasoned into'. So unless they are personally accosting you or disturbing you, I think it is better just to move along.

Even between myself and my wife, we have an understanding that she can think whatever she wants without me trying to make it into an issue as long as she respects that if our children ask questions about Buddhism she should send them to talk to me before trying to explain things that she hasn't bothered to even ask me (or a qualified Buddhist teacher) about.

It might be interesting to see some of the crazy ideas that people come up with, especially if they start from the perspective of disliking the Buddha's teaching... but it is probably not productive to get too worked up about it.
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Re: Misleading Christian videos about Buddhism

Postby Wayfarer » Fri May 03, 2013 2:59 am

I find 'dealing with views' very vexing in this day and age. There are social issues about which I have passionate (and often quite unpopular) views. I have to resist the urge to get involved in arguments about them. I debate on a few philosophy forums too, so I seem to have an urge to engage in debates. But I have learned from hard experience, you simply can't debate fundamentalists. It is their ability to block out reason that *makes* them fundamentalist. So you can reason, show step by step, they will even agree with the logic, but then they will just turn around and say 'Doesn't matter. We believe X'.

At that point, all you can do is walk away.
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Re: Misleading Christian videos about Buddhism

Postby oushi » Fri May 03, 2013 7:44 am

jeeprs wrote: So you can reason, show step by step, they will even agree with the logic, but then they will just turn around and say 'Doesn't matter. We believe X'.

At that point, all you can do is walk away.

You can listen, be compassionate and honest. You walk away only when you think you know best, and nobody is buying it.
This is why the world looks like it looks today. The popular crap is winning by demagogy, and wisdom is walking away driven by pride.
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Re: Misleading Christian videos about Buddhism

Postby Simon E. » Fri May 03, 2013 8:15 am

I am not clear Luke why you feel the need to tell Buddhists why a particular Christian interpretation of Buddhism might be inaccurate. :smile:
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Re: Misleading Christian videos about Buddhism

Postby Luke » Fri May 03, 2013 11:50 am

Simon E. wrote:I am not clear Luke why you feel the need to tell Buddhists why a particular Christian interpretation of Buddhism might be inaccurate. :smile:

I didn't post this for the regular members here. I know very well that most of you are very intelligent and know a lot about Buddhism.

I posted this for the thousands of guests who browse this forum who may very well be Christians who know next to nothing about Buddhism. Although perhaps it would be more effective if I just left comments about the videos on the sites where they are posted.

jeeprs wrote:I would advise you not to spend too much time arguing against such groundless views.

True, but occasionally it's good to correct misconceptions. I don't expect to change the views of fanatics. I only expect to influence the uncertain truth-seekers who watch such videos and who lack knowledge.
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Re: Misleading Christian videos about Buddhism

Postby Wayfarer » Fri May 03, 2013 11:59 am

Fair enough, I see what you mean. Buddhists have always been very good at putting their case by reason for those with the ears to hear. So it might be worthwhile to point out such misconceptions, but only to a point.
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Re: Misleading Christian videos about Buddhism

Postby Luke » Fri May 03, 2013 12:01 pm

I also find it interesting from a sociological point of view to see how we Buddhists are perceived by people of other faiths. If I understand them a little bit more, then I can explain Buddhism to them a little bit better, or at the very least, be able to interact with them slightly more harmoniously.

It's also important to remember that even annoying fanatics have buddha-nature.
Last edited by Luke on Fri May 03, 2013 12:13 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Misleading Christian videos about Buddhism

Postby dharmagoat » Fri May 03, 2013 12:02 pm

jeeprs wrote:Fair enough, I see what you mean. Buddhists have always been very good at putting their case by reason for those with the ears to hear. So it might be worthwhile to point out such misconceptions, but only to a point.

If done in a friendly, helpful way, it might even be welcomed.
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Re: Misleading Christian videos about Buddhism

Postby dyanaprajna2011 » Fri May 03, 2013 1:02 pm

Christians, particularly of the conservative variety, are set in their views that anything that's not Christian is evil. Convincing them of their errant views is a debate I grew tired of long ago.
"If you want to travel the Way of Buddhas and Zen masters, then expect nothing, seek nothing, and grasp nothing." -Dogen
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Re: Misleading Christian videos about Buddhism

Postby Wayfarer » Fri May 03, 2013 1:19 pm

My thoughts exactly. Having said what I said, I went back and watched the first five minutes of the 'Wesley Anderson' video. They pretend to be respectful and knowledgeable, but the only motivation is to show that every other religion is false. It is a pathetic misinterpretaion of their own teaching in my view. When Jesus Christ (in whom I believe, by the way) says 'I am the Way', he is not talking about 'Christianity versus Buddhism'. He's talking about the reality of life itself, the reality beyond any religious dogma which at best is only a signpost or a ladder. But, don't waste any time trying to debate it with the likes of them. Life's too short.
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Re: Misleading Christian videos about Buddhism

Postby dharmagoat » Fri May 03, 2013 1:28 pm

jeeprs wrote:My thoughts exactly. Having said what I said, I went back and watched the first five minutes of the 'Wesley Anderson' video. They pretend to be respectful and knowledgeable, but the only motivation is to show that every other religion is false. It is a pathetic misinterpretaion of their own teaching in my view. When Jesus Christ (in whom I believe, by the way) says 'I am the Way', he is not talking about 'Christianity versus Buddhism'. He's talking about the reality of life itself, the reality beyond any religious dogma which at best is only a signpost or a ladder. But, don't waste any time trying to debate it with the likes of them. Life's too short.

With due respect, life is too short to be thinking in terms of 'them' and 'us', tarring others with the same brush, and making generalisations based on limited experience.
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Re: Misleading Christian videos about Buddhism

Postby Wayfarer » Fri May 03, 2013 1:35 pm

With all due respect, that is my view regardless. I suppose I could have simply said nothing, but if we all did that, this forum would be a desert.
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Re: Misleading Christian videos about Buddhism

Postby Simon E. » Fri May 03, 2013 1:54 pm

I am ( truly ) not addressing anyone in particular, but I know when I want to convince someone its often my own need for clarity that I am actually aware of.
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Re: Misleading Christian videos about Buddhism

Postby oushi » Fri May 03, 2013 7:05 pm

dyanaprajna2011 wrote:Christians, particularly of the conservative variety, are set in their views that anything that's not Christian is evil.

Goodness is not proven by mere words.
Simon E. wrote:I am ( truly ) not addressing anyone in particular, but I know when I want to convince someone its often my own need for clarity that I am actually aware of.

If we understand others, and they understand us, somehow there is no need for enforcing views. Understanding others is always available, no matter what view they have.
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Re: Misleading Christian videos about Buddhism

Postby Luke » Fri May 03, 2013 9:12 pm

Hmm, I certainly can't force people to do anything, but maybe this thread might be more constructive if we mostly stuck to commenting on the videos posted.

I think the tone of the video I posted was quite civil and polite. It's nice that even largely misinformed people like them appreciate at least a few of Buddha's good qualities. It's only at the end of the video that they slip in the "Accept Jesus. What do you have to lose?" line. I would reply to them with "Try out Buddhist meditation for 2 weeks. What do you have to lose?" lol
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Re: Misleading Christian videos about Buddhism

Postby dharmagoat » Fri May 03, 2013 10:43 pm

Luke wrote:I would reply to them with "Try out Buddhist meditation for 2 weeks. What do you have to lose?"

Their soul... and they would be correct.
Last edited by dharmagoat on Fri May 03, 2013 10:48 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Misleading Christian videos about Buddhism

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sat May 04, 2013 11:00 am

dharmagoat wrote:
Luke wrote:I would reply to them with "Try out Buddhist meditation for 2 weeks. What do you have to lose?"

Their soul... and they would be correct.
:rolling:

The best way to convince anybody of anything is through your actions/behaviour. I always look to stress the commonalities rather than the differences, I find that helps too. For example: comparing the ten commandments (which exist in all Abrahamic religions) to the eightfold noble path. I do not think it is of any use at all to try to explain the intricacies of tantra to a Baptist or Jehovahs Witness (for example).
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Misleading Christian videos about Buddhism

Postby Luke » Sun May 05, 2013 12:12 am

dharmagoat wrote:
Luke wrote:I would reply to them with "Try out Buddhist meditation for 2 weeks. What do you have to lose?"

Their soul... and they would be correct.

Hmm... do they really think like that? I guess some do! lol I've been disconnected from anything but Buddhism for so long that I've forgotten how a lot of mainstream Christians think.

But yet Christians believe that Jesus will forgive them for anything, right? If so, then wouldn't he forgive them for doing Buddhist meditation for 2 weeks? lol

According to Pat Robertson, the Christian "god" will forgive Christians who go into Buddhist temples. So there ya go, Christians! You can come into our temples and check out the pretty paintings and sculptures and not go to hell afterwards! :woohoo:
(Although I would completely understand if intelligent Christians don't trust Pat Robertson's views.)

Robertson also makes the sweeping statement that Buddhism "has no spiritual significance" without giving any proof or justification. It's just an example of a person knowing that if he says a ridiculous statement with enough confidence, then lots of gullible people will believe him.

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