Ask a Priest

Christianity with other philosophies and religions like Buddhism

Feb 03, 2016

Good day!

The reason I ask this question is not because I lack wisdom, but because I value and respect opinions of Brothers and Sisters.

Is it wrong to practice other philosophies and religions like Buddhism while being a Christian reading Bible 24/7?

I follow Christ with all my Heart, Mind and Spirit. But I thrive to undestand people and their cultures in general. So I learn all about their religious practices and I’d like to join them in order to show respect to their beliefs. Not because I feel like my own religion is wrong or lacks anything, but simply to connect to all the other believers. They are all our Brothers and Sisters, and no matter what their religion is, we still talk about The Most High and One and Only, Lord Father and a Creator of All.

Thank you for your time and God bless you with love, peace and joy above all!

PS I am a philosopher, artist, writer, apostle (spiritual teacher) and a humble servant of The Most High and His Authority.

Asked at 12:26 pm on February 03rd 2016

Hi Apostle Ben, Jesus prayed for us ‘that all may be one’ and ‘as you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.’ It’s interesting that he didn’t command us to be one – as if that’s too divine a reality for us ever to be able to achieve on our own. He prayed his Father that the Unity of the Trinity would become a divine gift to us. But so that we’d be ready to receive this gift he prayed for, he did command something of us. In chapters 13 and 15 in St John Jesus revealed what he called ‘his’ commandment and the ‘new’ commandment: that we love one another as he has loved us. The ‘as’ is important, since his love for his cost him his life, so our love for one another should mean that we’re ready to die for each other. Now for any Christian, for any Catholic, to achieve that kind of mutual love, we just have to receive the Eucharist very often, ideally every day, as it’s only in Jesus that we can reach out to love the Jesus in the other person.

So while the God of Christians is surely the same God that Jewish and Muslim people worship, there’s a huge difference in our experience of the Trinity and the Jewish experience of Yahweh or the Muslim experience of Allah – a discussion I can’t fit into an answer to your question. But from what you write -and I say this with deep respect for you and your question – you may not fully understand the Catholic approach to dialogue with the other religions, or those other great Eastern religions like Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism, none of which has an experience of God in a way that can be found in Christianity. So having first got hold of Catholic theology and spirituality, you’d have to carefully study each one of those other religions if you were to be able to carry on the rich dialogue that’s already going on between the Church and them.

I’m saying this, because your question speaks of ‘practicing’ and ‘joining’ these other religions, and I don’t see how a Catholic could do that without watering down their own faith. In fact you find that those who seriously look for dialogue in these other religions with Catholics want the person they’re speaking with to be a fully authentic member of the Church. I’m involved for example with Focolare, a movement that’s been carrying on a close dialogue with people of most of the world religions (our President, Maria Voce is in India at the moment where we have deep contacts with Hindus, Buddhists and Sikhs), but that dialogue is first of all based on the love of Jesus’ new commandment, where we love them and they invariably return that love.

Hope that’s a help, very best, Fr Brendan

Replied at 10:03 pm on February 04th 2016