A few days ago, I returned home from a week’s hospital stay for a light stroke I suffered the Saturday before last. A couple of days before I was released, I went to the hospital coffee room to write and to get out of my room for a while. For a hospital coffee room, especially in a ward supposedly full of stroke patients, who need peace and quiet to make a good recovery, it was as crowded and noisy as Starbucks on a Saturday night. This, however, is very common in my experience. After about a half hour, the crowd had dwindled to a group of women seated at a corner table by the window. I decided to go witness to these women.
As I approached them, I gathered that this may have been a family, as there was a young girl, probably about sixteen or seventeen years old, a women in her twenties, and an older woman of middle age. The teenager wore pajamas, so I gathered she was a patient in the hospital.
I walked up to the women, and, after giving the greeting of the day, asked them if they were Roman Catholics. When all three answered that they were not, I asked them what religion they were. The women replied that they had no religion, while the young girl said that she was a Buddhist.
Now, I’ve been living in Munich since 1998, and I can tell you that if there is one thing that every single person has in this town, it is a religion. Munich is about two-thirds Roman Catholic and one-third Muslim. And Roman Catholics and Muslims are nothing if not religious. In Munich religion is everything.
Notwithstanding, I told the ladies that it was great that they had no religion, because I could then tell them about Jesus, who, I told them, was coming soon. At that, the young girl interjected, saying that she was a Buddhist, and that there was no Jesus. I told her that whether she believed in Jesus or not, He was coming, and she should get ready for that. I added that as a young person, it was always a good practice to listen to as many varying opinions as you can. The worst that can happen, I said, was that she would walk away more confident in what she believed than before. She insisted that she didn’t want to know what anyone else believed, so, before she could further protest, I handed each of the ladies a gospel tract, thanked them for their time, and went back to my seat.
From my chair, however, I asked the young lady what Buddhism taught. At this question, her attitude completely changed, and she rather enthusiastically began to explain to me what Buddhists believe. The gist of her explanation was that Buddhists believe they are on a journey towards perfection, and that this journey involved being reincarnated into this world and, in the course of successive lifetimes, balancing one’s karma, or evil deeds (what Christians call sin), with good deeds. When one’s good deeds outweigh one’s evil deeds, she said, the individual reaches a state of perfection called Nirvana. I asked the girl how long it took for the average Buddhist to balance out his karma, and she said that no one knows. I next asked her when the Buddhist would know he had reached Nirvana, and when she said she didn’t know that either, I asked her what constitutes a good deed. She replied that there was no rule for what is good and that “it depends on the person.”
Amazed, I told her that according to Buddhism, the murder of over six million Jews under Hitler could be considered a good thing, because Hitler personally thought that by killing the Jews, he was doing a good thing.* The countenances of all three women dropped perceptively at this revelation (especially that of the mother), as they no doubt realized that this was absolutely true.
I then asked her how one could know what bad is, if one doesn’t even know what good is? In other words, how does one know how to counterbalance one’s evil deeds with good deeds, when there is no standard for good and evil? Visibly perturbed at this point, the young lady said that she was recuperating from a stroke and didn’t feel like talking anymore.
This was one of the most enlightening encounters I have ever had in my evangelistic travels. And It made my whole hospital stay totally worth the time. This girl, without even knowing it, strengthened my confidence in the Bible. She made me realize how blessed we are that the Lord Jesus Christ has paid the price for sin at Calvary, and that there is nothing that the Christian need do to overcome sin except trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as his Savior.
Think about it. The Buddhist is taught, through the doctrine of reincarnation, that he is on a perpetual wheel of life, being constantly recycled into this sinful world for the purpose of working off his evil karma (what Christians call sin) by doing good deeds. Only, if this girl can be believed, there is no standard for what constitutes good and, conversely, what constitutes evil. Good and evil, therefore, for the Buddhist, are subjective, and “depend on the person.” The problem with this is that though the Buddhist can determine for himself what is good and what is evil, he cannot determine for himself when he has done enough good to have compensated for all the evil he has done. Without an objective standard for what is good and what is evil, the Buddhist will continue to be recycled into this evil world, but will be no more moral in the next life than he was in the previous. The wheel of life, therefore, is actually a perpetual wheel of death.
When I thought about it, I realized that Buddhism is a great deal like Roman Catholicism, which also stresses good deeds (which the Bible calls works). Though Roman Catholicism professes to acknowledge Jesus’ death and resurrection for the sins of mankind, what Roman Catholics practice suggests that Jesus’ death and the shedding of His blood on the cross at Calvary was not enough for one to obtain complete forgiveness of sins.
Former Roman Catholic, Monica Farrell, in the book, From Rome to Christ, writes:
“I knew the Lord Jesus died on Calvary, and had He not died nobody could get to heaven. What I did not know was that because He died anybody could go to heaven.
We were told that the death of Christ opened the gate to heaven, but that you had to work your own way in…” (“From Rome to Christ,” p. 24).
To “work his way in,” the Roman Catholic, like the Buddhist, must perform good works. Unfortunately, like the Buddhist, a Roman Catholic can never know when he has done enough good deeds.
A few years back, while witnessing to a Roman Catholic, I asked her if she was confident that she would go to heaven if she were to die at that moment. She told me that she didn’t know if she would, because she didn’t know if she had been “good enough.” The fact is that the Roman Catholic is taught that he can never be good enough. Purgatory, therefore, is inevitable.
Additionally, the Roman Catholic is taught that in order to receive the grace of God, he must do it by keeping what they call the “seven sacraments,” or the “seven channels of grace.”
The seven sacraments are:
1. The Sacrament of Baptism (which happens when the Roman Catholic is a baby).
2. The Sacrament of Penance (confession, where the Roman Catholic confesses his sins to a priest).
3. The Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist (the “unbloody” sacrifice of the Mass, where Roman Catholics eat a wafer they believe contains the body, blood, soul, and divinity of the Lord Jesus).
4.The Sacrament of Confirmation (when the Roman Catholic is made a citizen of Rome).
5. The Sacrament of Matrimony.
6. The Sacrament of Holy Orders (reserved for priests, nuns, and monks)
7. The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick (formerly called Extreme Unction, given when the Roman Catholic is on his deathbed).
If he doesn’t receive enough grace through the sacraments, the Roman Catholic is taught that he will have to get the rest in Purgatory. Purgatory is a mythical place of torment, where the Roman Catholic goes to have his sins burned off. Once his sins are purged, he is taught, he may enter into heaven: or so he thinks.
Now get this: the Roman Catholic is taught that he can only receive God’s grace through keeping all seven sacraments. If he misses one, then he will have to go to Purgatory. But here is the kicker: the average Roman Catholic cannot receive the sacrament of holy orders, as it is reserved for the clergy. And, because of the un-Scriptural doctrine of celibacy, priests, nuns, and monks cannot receive the sacrament of matrimony. Furthermore, even if, by some miracle, the Roman Catholic receives all the sacraments, he is still taught that he is sinful and can therefore never be “good enough.” All Catholics, therefore, have to go to Purgatory.
And like the Buddhist, who doesn’t know how long he will be on the Ferris wheel of reincarnation, the Roman Catholic has no idea how long he will be in Purgatory. According to former Jesuit priest Alberto Rivera, there are popes that have been in Purgatory for over a thousand years, and priests are still saying prayers for their souls.
The fact that Buddhists determine for themselves what is good and what is evil also made me realize that Buddhism is a satanic religion. In the garden of Eden, Satan told Eve that if she ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, then she “would be as gods, knowing good and evil.” In other words, Eve would be able to determine for herself what was good and what was evil. In saying this, Satan actually told a half truth (which is the only kind of “truth” he is capable of telling).
You see, only God knows what is good and what is evil, because, as sinful humans, we could never make that determination. The Bible says that “the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9). We could never determine for ourselves what is good, because we are inherently evil. It takes someone inherently good to determine what is good, and God only is good. To try to determine for ourselves what is good, therefore, is to attempt to usurp the authority of God. We could never be as God, however, because we are created beings, while God is the Creator. Satan knows this, which is why instead of saying that Adam and Eve would be as God (big G), he said that they would be “as gods” (little G). Slick, ain’t he?
Which brings me to another point. Because Buddhism teaches that man can perfect himself: that is, solve the problem of sin without going through Jesus, then Buddhism essentially exalts man into the place of God: man becomes his own Savior. Roman Catholicism, if you think about it, does the same thing. With it’s mass, emphasis on good works, and unbiblical Purgatory, Roman Catholicism declares the sacrifice of Jesus to be of none effect. The Roman Catholic must therefore save himself. This is the false promise of Satan to Eve.
I don’t like getting sick. And I certainly don’t like going to the hospital. But, on this occasion, I’m glad I was in the hospital on Friday, November 13th, 2015. (?)
Be encouraged and look up, for your redemption draweth nigh.
The Still Man
*”As for the Jews, I am just carrying on with the same policy the Catholic Church has adopted for fifteen hundred years…and perhaps I am doing Christianity a great service.” –The Nazi Persecution of the Churches, by J.S. Conway, p. 25, 26, 162.