Tag Archives: Buddhism

#2 Post of 2015 – Will We Have Desires in Heaven?

Buddhism teaches that the human problem is that we have desires. All desires are bad and Buddhist “heaven” consists of a state where we stop desiring anything. This understanding of the human condition is completely at odds with Christianity. Christianity teaches that there are good desires and bad desires. Our problem is the bad desires. So what will Christian Heaven be like?

Let’s see what Randy Alcorn has to say about this in his book Heaven.

We’ll have many desires in Heaven, but they won’t be unholy desires. Everything we want will be good. Our desires will please God. All will be right with the world, nothing forbidden. When a father cooks steaks on the barbecue grill, he wants his family to listen to them sizzle and eagerly desire to eat them. God created our desires and every object we desire. He loves it when our mouths water for what he’s prepared for us. When we enjoy it, we’ll be enjoying him.

One of the greatest things about Heaven is that we’ll no longer have to battle our desires. They’ll always be pure, attending to their proper objects. We’ll enjoy food without gluttony and eating disorders. We’ll express admiration and affection without lust, fornication, or betrayal. Those simply won’t exist.

Alcorn continues:

Christianity is unique in its perspective of our desires, teaching that they will be sanctified and fulfilled on the New Earth. . . . Christianity teaches that Jesus takes our sins away while redeeming our desires. Desire is an essential part of humanity, a part that God built into people before sin cast its dark shadow on earth . I’m looking forward to having my desires redeemed. (Even now, as redeemed children of God, we get tastes of that, don’t we?)

Won’t it be wonderful to be free from uncertainty about our desires? We often wonder, Is it good or bad for me to want this thing or that award or his approval or her appreciation? Sometimes I don’t know which desires are right and which aren’t. I long to be released from the uncertainty and the doubt. I long to be capable of always wanting what’s good and right.

He concludes:

God placed just one restriction on Adam and Eve in Eden, and when they disregarded it, the universe unraveled. On the New Earth, that test will no longer be before us. God’s law, the expression of his attributes, will be written on our hearts (Hebrews 8:10). No rules will be needed, for our hearts will be given over to God. David said, “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37: 4 ). Why? Because when we delight in God and abide in him, whatever we want will be exactly what he wants for us.  What we should do will at last be identical with what we want to do. There will be no difference between duty and joy.

In Heaven we will be completely free to always desire what is good and right. Our freedom will no longer be tainted with the ability to choose what is evil.

Steve Jobs and the Problem of Evil

In Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs biography, we get a few paragraphs explaining Jobs’ thoughts about Christianity. Isaacson explains:

Even though they were not fervent about their faith, Jobs’s parents wanted him to have a religious upbringing, so they took him to the Lutheran church most Sundays. That came to an end when he was thirteen.

In July 1968 Life magazine published a shocking cover showing a pair of starving children in Biafra. Jobs took it to Sunday school and confronted the church’s pastor. “If I raise my finger, will God know which one I’m going to raise even before I do it?” The pastor answered, “Yes, God knows everything.” Jobs then pulled out the Life cover and asked, “Well, does God know about this and what’s going to happen to those children?” “Steve, I know you don’t understand, but yes, God knows about that.”

Jobs announced that he didn’t want to have anything to do with worshipping such a God, and he never went back to church. He did, however, spend years studying and trying to practice the tenets of Zen Buddhism. Reflecting years later on his spiritual feelings, he said that religion was at its best when it emphasized spiritual experiences rather than received dogma. “The juice goes out of Christianity when it becomes too based on faith rather than on living like Jesus or seeing the world as Jesus saw it,” he told me. “I think different religions are different doors to the same house. Sometimes I think the house exists, and sometimes I don’t. It’s the great mystery.”

From this brief report, it appears that Jobs was flummoxed by the problem of evil at the age of thirteen. He wanted to know how God could know that children were starving to death and not do anything about it.

Anyone who has read this blog or other Christian blogs knows that not only do Christians have reasonable solutions to the problem of evil, but that every other worldview fares much worse when dealing with this problem.

Buddhism, Jobs’ chosen religion, lays evil at the feet of human desire. If humans wouldn’t desire anything, then there would be no suffering. The goal of Buddhism is to teach its adherents to suppress all of their desires. That is what the Buddha attempted to do.

Jobs, like most Buddhists, doesn’t really get this. You could hardly imagine a person who had more desires than Jobs. His desires to change the world through technology, to perfect computer and phone designs, to control the user experience, are all what he’s known for.

It seems that for Jobs, Buddhism was a way for him to justify dropping acid and pursuing spiritual experiences. All of the more fundamental teachings of Buddhism were ignored by Jobs, as far as I can tell, and he certainly never came to grips with Buddhism’s answer to the problem of evil.

Sadly, it seems clear that Jobs never really gave Christianity a chance. That’s unfortunate.

Do Eckhart Tolle’s Teachings Contradict Christianity?

Post Author: Bill Pratt

Recently I learned that a local church was hosting “Bible studies” based on Eckhart Tolle’s teachings.  So, does Tolle agree with the teachings of Christianity?  Is it appropriate to promote his beliefs in a Christian church?

First, let me admit that I have not read his books personally, but I have certainly read about them (if anyone would like to correct any errors I make in the following analysis, please do so by commenting).  According to Dr. James A. Beverley, in  a 2008 article written for Christianity Today, Tolle definitely does not adhere to the essential beliefs of Christianity.

Here is a brief list of anti-Christian beliefs promoted by Tolle:

1.  God and man are one (pantheism).  Christianity teaches that God is distinct from man, that He created man.

2.  The human self is an illusion (Buddhism).  Christianity affirms the existence of the human self, but laments its corruption by sin.

3.  Death and the human body are illusions (Buddhism).  Christianity affirms that both are real.

4.  Jesus is not uniquely God, since everyone is God. Christianity denies that everyone is God, and claims that Jesus is the unique human manifestation of God.

All of these teachings directly contradict Christian beliefs.  I’m sure Tolle’s teachings contain some wisdom, but his overall worldview is obviously not Christian in any meaningful way.  The fact that we have a local church promoting Tolle’s beliefs is another clear indication that Christian education is woefully inadequate (I’m assuming that the persons leading these studies are ignorant, not purposefully trying to undermine Christianity).

If you know of any other links that discuss Tolle’s beliefs in comparison to Christianity, feel free to post them in the comments section of this post.

Brit Hume, Christianity, and Tiger Woods

Post Author: Bill Pratt

By now I’m sure most of you have heard about Brit Hume’s comments regarding Tiger Woods.  After listening to what he said, I had a hard time understanding the hysteria.

One person told me that Christians ought not be putting down other religions in order to gain converts (Hume mentions that Buddhism does not offer what Woods needs).  We should just emphasize our own strengths.  I can see his point, but at the same time Christians do need to contrast our beliefs with others.  If our views on God, sin, salvation, and the afterlife are correct, and they contradict what other religions teach, we have to talk about those differences.  After all, eternal destiny is at stake.

It seems that Americans have become very uncomfortable talking about religious differences, scared a fist fight will break out if the topic comes up.  We have to get over this fear of discussing religion and learn how to have these conversations without personally attacking each other.  That’s one of the goals we have for this blog; we strive to avoid personally attacking anybody, although we could always do better.

In any case, you can see Hume’s comments below.  Also be sure to check out this article written by Carl Cannon, defending Hume.  It’s well done.  After seeing the video for yourself, what do you think?  Did Hume cross a line?