Is there a God, Hell, or Afterlife? What is the meaning of life? A response to Jim Paredes

 Jim Paredes wrote an article in Philippine Star: Is there a God? An afterlife? A hell? Why are we here?  From this article, we can see that Jim Paredes conception of God is an immanence, a Modernist heresy; his afterlife is Buddhist; he does not believe in Hell but in the restoration of all things as in Origen’s apocatastasis; and his meaning of life is too vague compared to the definite statements of St. Ignatius of Loyola in the Principle and Foundation of his Spiritual Exercises.

Read more at Monk’s Hobbit: Is there a God, Hell, or Afterlife? What is the meaning of life? A response to Jim Paredes

Is Buddha the same as Jesus Christ?

Here is question posted in Pinoy Catholic and to which I shall reply here:

Question:

TPC that I know, in a way its wrong if that was said anyone would be upset.

But think about it openly if you put it on another view point its just giving respect to the other religion or belief.

In a sense its just right because the catholic church we love and cherish is also open for all. Just think about it Our Lord Jesus Christ as a universal church and one True God. In this world we have different religions and beliefs but all of them came from one and same origin pointing to Jesus Christ.

Its Jesus Christ represented differently among races just because of the traditions, beliefs, distance and those sort of differences like liberal, conservative or modernize that we know.

You mentioned the bishop called Buddha as equal to Jesus Christ but its because they are just one and the same interpreted differently, just like other God who is also Jesus Christ with a different name and teachings. The bishop might be right or wrong and even I might also but just think about it. He was just pointing out that they are the same one Lord Jesus Christ to us.

Why don’t we just pray and let God judge then decide who is right and wrong and it will turn out to be the best for all of us. I don’t mind whatever the outcome will be. Just don’t put to much into this one. You got many good articles here but of all the pointing out mistakes on certain people, priest or a religious head is one that am against. We are just humans after all we comment but never judge because the one that can is our Lord Jesus Christ.

Reply:

1.  Not all teachings of other religions point toward Christ

In this world, we have different religions and beliefs, but not all of them point towards Jesus Christ.  There are seeds of truth found in other religions which point to Christ Who is Truth, but the Evil One also sowed his seeds of falsehood:

The Church’s bond with non-Christian religions is in the first place the common origin and end of the human race:

All nations form but one community. This is so because all stem from the one stock which God created to people the entire earth, and also because all share a common destiny, namely God. His providence, evident goodness, and saving designs extend to all against the day when the elect are gathered together in the holy city. . .331

843 The Catholic Church recognizes in other religions that search, among shadows and images, for the God who is unknown yet near since he gives life and breath and all things and wants all men to be saved. Thus, the Church considers all goodness and truth found in these religions as “a preparation for the Gospel and given by him who enlightens all men that they may at length have life.”332

844 In their religious behavior, however, men also display the limits and errors that disfigure the image of God in them:

Very often, deceived by the Evil One, men have become vain in their reasonings, and have exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and served the creature rather than the Creator. Or else, living and dying in this world without God, they are exposed to ultimate despair.333

845 To reunite all his children, scattered and led astray by sin, the Father willed to call the whole of humanity together into his Son’s Church. The Church is the place where humanity must rediscover its unity and salvation. The Church is “the world reconciled.” She is that bark which “in the full sail of the Lord’s cross, by the breath of the Holy Spirit, navigates safely in this world.” According to another image dear to the Church Fathers, she is prefigured by Noah’s ark, which alone saves from the flood.334

2.  Buddha is not Jesus Christ

Jesus is unique.  Jesus is not one of the reincarnations of Buddha.  The Holy Name of Jesus is not equal to Buddha:

Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name* that is above every name,g10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend,*of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth,h11and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,* to the glory of God the Father. (Phil 2:9-11)

Buddha teaches reincarnation.  Reincarnation teaches that there is one soul which is reborn again and again until it reaches perfection.  On the other hand, Jesus teaches that we have only one life here on earth, and after Death is judgement: Heaven, Hell, or Purgatory.  We have only one chance in this world before Judgement Day:

f “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne,32g and all the nations* will be assembled before him. And he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.33He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left…Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.42k For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,43a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’44* Then they will answer and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?’45He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.’46l And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” (Mt 25:41-46)

There is only one Truth and Jesus is Truth.  If He does not teach reincarnation, then reincarnation is wrong, and Filipino-Chinese Catholics should not believe on reincarnation, Astrology, Feng Shui, and other things that were part of Chinese Culture but are incompatible with the Catholic Faith.  The Catholic Faith purges cultures as gold is tested in fire, so that what remains of that culture can be offered for the glory of God.

3.  On judging others.

I can’t say against priests and bishops, because they are my superiors.  And St. Ignatius recommends that things should be brought to higher authorities.  If the bishop appears to be in error, he can be reported to a higher authority like the CDF (Congregation for the Doctrine and of the Faith), which is under the Pope.  Christ is a Just Judge.  But the Pope and the Bishops united with him were given by Christ  the authority to judge individuals and nations:

Amen, I say to you that you who have followed me, in the new age, when the Son of Man is seated on his throne of glory, will yourselves sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. (Mt 19:28)

Christ said to his apostles:

““Receive the holy Spirit. 23*n Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained” (Jn 20:22-23).

And to Peter, in particular, Christ said:

Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood 12 has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.18And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, 13 and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.19I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. 14 Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Mt 16:17-19)

Fr. Aristotle C. Dy, S.J.: “Is it possible to be a Buddhist Christian?”

Is it possible to be a Buddhist Christian?
A talk by Fr. Aristotle C. Dy, SJ
Thursday, September 3, 4:30-6:00pm
Conference Room 1, Ricardo and Dr. Rosita Leong Hall, Loyola Heights Campus
Organized by the Loyola Schools Chinese Studies Program
For reservations, call Ritch at (63-2) 426-6001 local 5280 or Lally at local 5208

Note: I was not able to attend this talk.  If there is someone who has slides or transcript for Fr. Dy’s talk, I would be happy to get a copy.  But here is a comparison of Buddhism and Christianity from the Catholic Encyclopedia:

Buddhism vs Christianity

The fundamental tenets of Buddhism are marked by grave defects that not only betray its inadequacy to become a religion of enlightened humanity, but also bring into bold relief its inferiority to the religion of Jesus Christ. In the first place, the very foundation on which Buddhism rests—the doctrine of karma with its implied transmigrations—is gratuitous and false. This pretended law of nature, by which the myriads of gods, demons, men, and animals are but the transient forms of rational beings essentially the same, but forced to this diversity in consequence of varying degrees of merit and demerit in former lives, is a huge superstition in flat contradiction to the recognized laws of nature, and hence ignored by men of science. Another basic defect in primitive Buddhism is its failure to recognize man’s dependence on a supreme God. By ignoring God and by making salvation rest solely on personal effort, Buddha substituted for the Brahmin religion a cold and colourless system of philosophy. It is entirely lacking in those powerful motives to right conduct, particularly the motive of love, that spring from the consecration of religious men and women to the dependence on a personal all-loving God. Hence it is that Buddhist morality is in the last analysis a selfish utilitarianism. There is no sense of duty, as in the religion of Christ, prompted by reverence for a supreme Lawgiver, by love for a merciful Father, by personal allegiance to a Redeemer. Karma, the basis of Buddhist morality, is like any other law of nature, the observance of which is prompted by prudential considerations. Not infrequently one meets the assertion that Buddha surpassed Jesus in holding out to struggling humanity an end utterly unselfish. This is a mistake. Not to speak of the popular Swarga, or heaven, with its positive, even sensual delights the fact that Nirvana is a negative ideal of bliss does not make it the less an object of interested desire. Far from being an unselfish end, Nirvana is based wholly on the motive of self-love. It thus stands on a much lower level than the Christian ideal, which, being primarily and essentially a union of friendship with God in heaven, appeals to motives of disinterested as well as interested love.

Another fatal defect of Buddhism is its false pessimism. A strong and healthy mind revolts against the morbid view that life is not worth living, that every form of conscious existence is an evil. Buddhism stands condemned by the voice of nature the dominant tone of which is hope and joy. It is a protest against nature for possessing the perfection of rational life. The highest ambition of Buddhism is to destroy that perfection by bringing all living beings to the unconscious repose of Nirvana. Buddhism is thus guilty of a capital crime against nature, and in consequence does injustice to the individual. All legitimate desires must be repressed. Innocent recreations are condemned. The cultivation of music is forbidden. Researches in natural science are discountenanced. The development of the mind is limited to the memorizing of Buddhist texts and the study of Buddhist metaphysics, only a minimum of which is of any value. The Buddhist ideal on earth is a state of passive indifference to everything. How different is the teaching of Him who came that men might have life and have it more abundantly. Again Buddhist pessimism is unjust to the family. Marriage is held in contempt and even abhorrence as leading to the procreation of life. In thus branding marriage as a state unworthy of man, Buddhism betrays its inferiority to Christianity, which recommends virginity but at the same time teaches that marriage is a sacred union and a source of sanctification. Buddhist pessimism likewise does injustice to society. It has set the seal of approval on the Brahmin prejudice against manual labor. Since life is not worth living, to labour for the comforts and refinements of civilized life is a delusion. The perfect man is to subsist not by the labour of his hands but on the alms of inferior men. In the religion of Christ, “the carpenter’s son”, a healthier view prevails. The dignity of labour is upheld, and every form of industry is encouraged that tends to promote man’s welfare.

Buddhism has accomplished but little for the uplifting of humanity in comparison with Christianity. One of its most attractive features, which, unfortunately, has become wellnigh obsolete, was its practice of benevolence towards the sick and needy. Between Buddhists and Brahmins there was a commendable rivalry in maintaining dispensaries of food and medicine. But this charity did not, like the Christian form, extend to the prolonged nursing of unfortunates stricken with contagious and incurable diseases, to the protection of foundlings, to the bringing up of orphans, to the rescue of fallen women, to the care of the aged and insane. Asylums and hospitals in this sense are unknown to Buddhism. The consecration of religious men and women to the lifelong service of afflicted humanity is foreign to dreamy Buddhist monasticism. Again, the wonderful efficacy displayed by the religion of Christ in purifying the morals of pagan Europe has no parallel in Buddhist annals. Wherever the religion of Buddha has prevailed, it has proved singularly inefficient to lift society to a high standard of morality. It has not weaned the people of Tibet and Mongolia from the custom of abandoning the aged, nor the Chinese from the practice of infanticide. Outside the establishment of the order of nuns, it has done next to nothing to raise woman from her state of degradation in Oriental lands. It has shown itself utterly helpless to cope with the moral plagues of humanity. The consentient testimony of witnesses above the suspicion of prejudice establishes the fact that at the present day Buddhist monks are everywhere strikingly deficient in that moral earnestness and exemplary conduct which distinguished the early followers of Buddha. In short, Buddhism is all but dead. In its huge organism the faint pulsations of life are still discernible, but its power of activity is gone. The spread of European civilization over the East will inevitably bring about its extinction.

Aiken, Charles Francis. Buddhism.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 3. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1908. 7 Sept. 2009 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03028b.htm&gt;.

(Note: The converse may be true: the present spread of Buddhism in Christian West is a symptom of the West’s abandonment of its Christian foundation.)