Ask Your Preacher

Ask Your Preacher

BUDDHISM

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Pressure Point

Friday, December 04, 2020
     Is it okay for a Christian to participate in a yoga exercise class or even see or become an acupuncturist?

Sincerely,
Ouch!

Dear Ouch,

It all depends on how you do it.  Yoga, tai-chi, and some forms of holistic medicine can have a religious element to them, but they don’t have to.  If a Christian takes yoga purely for the exercise, they are just fine (1 Tim 4:8), but if a Christian begins delving into the spiritual elements such as karma, Hinduism, etc. – that is wrong.  There is only room for one God and one guide in our lives (2 Cor 6:16).

Lost In India

Tuesday, May 16, 2017
I have reading some articles about lost years of Jesus.  There are some articles that say that Jesus went to India and learned from Buddhists.  Is that really true?

Sincerely,
Ohm?

Dear Ohm,

There aren’t any lost years of Jesus’ life.  During Jesus’ childhood, He studied with the rabbis and Jewish teachers (Lk 2:42-26).  He also learned and remained obedient to His parents (Lk 2:51-52).  We know that Jesus and His parents fled to Egypt at one point (Matt 2:13-14)… but we have no reason to believe they traveled anywhere else.  Furthermore, Jesus makes it clear that He only worshipped the Lord (Matt 4:10)… which would preclude Him learning from Buddhists.

Don't Toast Me, Bro!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017
Basically, the biggest thing I do not understand about Christianity is the concept of being sentenced to eternal damnation.  In all my experience, I have been told that God is wise, loving, and caring towards all.  And without a doubt, He must be if He created this wonderful world.   But wherever I have searched, it seems the one condition for going to hell is not believing in Jesus.  Unless I am wrong, this would mean that the average peaceful, celibate, Buddhist monk who would have spent almost his entire life demonstrating nothing but kindness and love towards others (and perhaps has never even heard of God or any Christian doctrine) would be sentenced to everlasting torture in a pit of fire.  Whereas you could have a normal American man who claims to believe in Jesus and goes to church but is not honest and does not even try to practice things like kindness, love, or compassion towards others go to heaven.  Christianity says this man ends up going to eternal paradise when he dies, while the peaceful monk roasts.

To me, this is not right, and it would make more sense that with all of the different and diverse religions of the world, one’s afterlife would be determined not by his beliefs, but by his thoughts and actions towards himself and others.  And another thing, many if not most, religions (except Buddhism as far as I’m aware) promise torment in the afterlife if you are not a follower of said religion.   What makes Christianity any different?  Because it’s the “right one?”  As far as I’m concerned, I could argue any other major religion’s case as much as Christianity’s.  Others have ancient texts that have documented miracles performed by supposedly divine characters.  I believe in a God, no doubt, but I would think if He was so wise and powerful as to create the universe, He would not sentence a peaceful and loving soul (let alone any soul) to such a thing as eternal damnation just because we weren’t His follower.  It makes more sense that such a God judges by one’s actions.  Beliefs should be irrelevant, mainly because every religion is capable of scaring people into following it.  I’m just as concerned about Islam being correct as I am Christianity.  If I am not one or the other, I burn forever.  This makes no sense.  Please give me your opinion.

Sincerely,
Anti-Torture

Dear Anti-Torture,

A common misconception is that people are saved because they are good.  If making good choices were the standard for going to heaven... no one would make it there.  We go to heaven because we want to be with God and because we commit our lives to faithfully living for Him (Eph 2:8).  Heaven is a perfect place, and no one is perfect... therefore, no one deserves to go to heaven.  If imperfect people go to a perfect place, that place ceases to be perfect.  That is why all sin is deserving of hell (Rom 6:23)... all sin separates us from the perfection of God's existence.  The only way back to God is through the blood of Jesus (Jhn 14:6).  Buddhism (among other religions) may be able to teach you some good morals, but it can't cover your previous sins.  Only Christ can pay that price (1 Jn 4:10).  Only Christianity provides the whole and verifiable truth (read "Who Wrote The Bible?" for proof that the Bible, unlike other books, was written by God).

When God designed mankind, He made us in His image (Gen 1:26).  One result of that design is that all humans have eternal souls.  That is a positive thing.  God intended for Adam and Eve to never die and to always enjoy the blessings of fellowship with God in the garden (Gen 2:8).  Eden was a perfect situation, and it was our sin that destroyed that perfection.  Mankind sinned, and that sin causes us to die (Rom 6:23).  God gives us the freedom to choose life or choose sin; the fact that we all choose to sin is not His fault (Rom 5:12).  Heaven is a perfect place, and if God allowed sinful people into heaven, it would cease to be perfect.  Our actions and choices have condemned us.

God, however, wishes to save us from ourselves.  He sent His only begotten Son to die for our sins (Jhn 3:16).  He provided us with the Bible, which shows us the path to receive salvation (Rom 10:17, Rom 1:16).  We should not blame God for those who go to hell any more than we should blame a doctor when his patient refuses to take their medication.  It is true that many people will go to hell (Matt 7:13), but God doesn’t desire that any should perish (Ezek 18:23).  God sent us a Savior in Jesus Christ, even though we didn’t deserve Him (1 Jn 4:14).

Finding The Narrow Gate

Tuesday, February 28, 2017
I am a committed christian, and I accept Christ as my Savior, but I don't understand some of the things God does to people who do not believe, and I believe this is holding me back from truly feeling Him in my heart.  These are some of the things I do not understand: there are truly great people out there who do not know Christ or do not believe.  Those who are brought up believing something else are innocent, for they have no choice. To them, it is like someone trying to convert you to Buddhism; you would not convert because you were brought up believing something else, and the consequence is to burn in hell for all eternity.  The human mind can’t even conceive of eternity; that’s the most horrifying thing I can imagine. God is like our father, but could you send your son to burn in hell, even if you could do something about it?  Please help me understand this; my faith most likely depends on this.  Thank you.

Sincerely,
Voice For The Lost

Dear Voice For The Lost,

There are several things to consider when wrestling with the issue of the lost going to hell.  The first thing to remember is that God doesn’t send people to hell – we choose to go there.  Sin is a choice made by responsible adults (see the story of the first sin in Gen 3:1-7).  When we sin, we die (Rom 6:23).  God didn’t make us spiritually dead; He created us with spiritual life (Gen 2:7).  God originally wanted all mankind to live eternally with Him in the Garden of Eden (Gen 2:8)… we are the ones who chose to break that perfect pattern.

God says that everyone has the opportunity and freedom to choose Him – regardless of what background we come from.  The very universe screams of the nature of God, so all are without excuse (Rom 1:20).  We all have a responsibility to seek out God, and He promises that all those who seek Him will find Him (Matt 7:7, Matt 5:6).  God never condemned us to hell; we did it to ourselves.  God has offered a payment for our souls through His Son Jesus Christ’s blood (Jhn 3:16).  Jesus is the road back to God (Jhn 14:6), the road we don’t deserve (Rom 5:8).  All of us have rebelled against God (Rom 3:23), and God in His infinite mercy gives us a second chance.

When we start thinking in terms of “God opening the way to heaven through His love” instead of “God condemning almost everyone to hell”, then we begin to get a proper picture of the way God views eternity.

Finding The Narrow Gate

Monday, January 30, 2017
I am a committed christian, and I accept Christ as my Savior, but I don't understand some of the things God does to people who do not believe, and I believe this is holding me back from truly feeling Him in my heart.  These are some of the things I do not understand: there are truly great people out there who do not know Christ or do not believe.  Those who are brought up believing something else are innocent, for they have no choice. To them, it is like someone trying to convert you to Buddhism; you would not convert because you were brought up believing something else, and the consequence is to burn in hell for all eternity.  The human mind can’t even conceive of eternity; that’s the most horrifying thing I can imagine. God is like our father, but could you send your son to burn in hell, even if you could do something about it?  Please help me understand this; my faith most likely depends on this.  Thank you.

Sincerely,
Voice For The Lost

Dear Voice For The Lost,

There are several things to consider when wrestling with the issue of the lost going to hell.  The first thing to remember is that God doesn’t send people to hell – we choose to go there.  Sin is a choice made by responsible adults (see the story of the first sin in Gen 3:1-7).  When we sin, we die (Rom 6:23).  God didn’t make us spiritually dead; He created us with spiritual life (Gen 2:7).  God originally wanted all mankind to live eternally with Him in the Garden of Eden (Gen 2:8)… we are the ones who chose to break that perfect pattern.

God says that everyone has the opportunity and freedom to choose Him – regardless of what background we come from.  The very universe screams of the nature of God, so all are without excuse (Rom 1:20).  We all have a responsibility to seek out God, and He promises that all those who seek Him will find Him (Matt 7:7, Matt 5:6).  God never condemned us to hell; we did it to ourselves.  God has offered a payment for our souls through His Son Jesus Christ’s blood (Jhn 3:16).  Jesus is a road back to God (Jhn 14:6), a road we don’t deserve (Rom 5:8).  All of us have rebelled against God (Rom 3:23), and God in His infinite mercy gives us a second chance.

When we start thinking in terms of “God opening the way to heaven through His love” instead of “God condemning almost everyone to hell”, then we begin to get a proper picture of the way God views eternity.

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