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Shifting Sands

Tuesday, 3 Jul 2012 Leave a comment

“The Dalai Lama specifically says that whenever science contradicts a Buddhist scripture, the scientific viewpoint should be adopted.”

I have seen this statement above in multiple places, so I believe it is probably true. The first time I read it my mouth almost hit the floor.

Clearly, Buddhism is subject to change. It obviously makes no claim to divine revelation or inspiration. If all it takes is a contradiction with science (which is often initially wrong or woefully incomplete) to change the tenets of Buddhism, how can any claim in Buddhism relating to eternity or spiritual life be wholeheartedly believed? If the claims of Buddhism in the natural realm cannot be relied upon, how can its claims in the spiritual realm be relied upon?

In many ways this is similar to Christians who pick and choose what parts of the Bible they want to believe. If a scripture clashes with current social or political beliefs or is not convenient or goes against fleshly desires (e.g. homosexuality, abortion, salvation in Christ alone, etc.), many Christians today simply discard and ignore those scriptures. But, if those scriptures are not to be believed, what makes any of the other scriptures about salvation, eternal life, or redemption believable? The end result of such an approach can be nothing but a complete logical failure. And, this is NOT how Christians have believed historically.

Both of these scenarios – Buddhism and the selective Christian – can offer but one thing: shifting sands. If your beliefs (or the general beliefs in the Church) change over time and are not rooted in the Word of God, the consequences can only be disastrous…

24Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
25And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
26And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:
27And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it. (Matthew 7:24-27)

Does this mean our beliefs should never change? No. It means they should only change when they are coming into better agreement with the Word of God, not with society, science, or anyone else. “Let God be true, but every man a liar” (Romans 3:4).

So, the difference highlighted here between Buddhism and Christianity is that even though the Bible does explain everything in science, it is not in contradiction with it. Therefore, we are not given reason to doubt its spiritual claims.

– Be loved and blessed to be love and a blessing

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