The crux of the Christian matter

I was just having a discussion with my elder brother the other day… I was making my usual comment about how Christians condemn all other religions to an eternal hell, how inherently intolerant the religion is and how such insistence of Abrahamic religions lie at the heart of all religious conflict. He counter-questioned me whether Buddhism also likewise condemns the Christian path to non-liberation and an eternity in Samsara.
 
The answer is, as usual, quite clear.
 
The Christian path of practise, if taken well, promotes love and generosity to others through God and Jesus as their vehicle. This is meritious! However, their Archilles’ heel lies in their refusal to face the problem of Impermanence of God, and the problem of taking refuge in something that is always wobbling on faith whose ultimate defence is the ultimate unsurmisable nature of God. In Buddhist words, they lack the ability to perfect the Right View of the Eightfold path.
 
Their moral rules and precepts are comparable to that of Buddhists… They avoid unwholesome deeds… They practise giving to the poor, helping the weak, loving one another… These are wholesome deeds… Catholics even practise a limited form of meditation… Mindful priests and pastors may live a life of simplicity and serenity… However, they eventually remain attached to the concept of God, whom their entire foundation of wholesomeness and morality is builty on. As such, they remain in a conditioned kind of wholesomeness. When God comes crumbling down, so will love, generosity, peace, and all the merits that they have accumulated.
 
So, back to my brother’s question. Doesn’t that mean that they are similarly condemned by Buddhists just as they condemn us?
 
No.
 
In impermanence lies the key. No one remains condemned forever.
 
Wholesome begets wholesome. Practising Generosity and Love brings fruits that are joyous, are creates the conditions for the practice of Wisdom… Those Christians who reach the mindfulness stage are cultivating conditions for their spiritual development to be open to the Dharma of the Unconditioned in future lives. If practised well, from life to life, all religions are like a spiral, bringing the spirit higher and higher upwards to the door of liberation. It is just that the final step through the door must necessarily involve insight into the true nature of all phenomena. But a good, loving, practising Christian has nothing to fear: his/her steps lead inexorably to that last realisation, the dropping of God, the abandoning of Heaven. In that manner, Buddhism does not condemn the well-practising Christian. In fact, there is full of praise for them, that they are all Dharmafarers on the same Odyssey.
 
The catch: what makes a well-practising Christian in the Buddhist view?
 
The one who clings desperately to God, the ark that he had made to cross the medium sized river, and drags it all the way heading for the sea, yelling at all fellow travellers to get out of the way, will never reach the Sea, much less cross it. The one who clings too hard will cultivate too much of the root poison of delusion and cause too many obstacles to the cultivation of insight. When the merits from Love and Generosity run out, he will drop to the realms of disillusionment, anarchy, nihilism and Godlessness. Therein he will start from scratch.
 
My calling to all Christian friends: practise open-mindedness, practise consideration for other religions. Accept that there are many paths to salvation, not just yours. Accept friends and spouses and children who choose a different spiritual path from yours. Stop covert and unconscious efforts to dominate the religious and societal scene. If you choose not to question God, let it be. Let others do so. Practise your own path and we will meet at the door of Salvation together one day.
 
I am not beseeching you to be Buddhist. But I am warning you that clinging too hard will always lead to downfall. That is an eternal law.
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