Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Living Buddha, Living Christ: Ch 4b

Continuing in Chapter 4...

Hahn says, "I think it is important to look deeply into every act and every teaching of Jesus during His lifetime, and to use this as a model for our own practice." I agree wholeheartedly, but how is Hahn "looking deeply" into the life of Jesus? He must be examining a written account of Christ's life, but if he is doing this, what account is he using? If he is using any of the Biblical accounts, he should not downplay the significance of Christ's death and resurrection, because those are central themes in the accounts. Hahn says, "...studying the life of Jesus is crucial to understanding His teaching. For me, the life of Jesus is His most basic teaching, more important than even faith in the resurrection or faith in eternity." I agree that studying the life of Jesus is crucial to understanding his teaching, but if we are using the Biblical accounts as our means of learning about the life of Jesus we cannot downplay the fact that Jesus laid down his life as a ransom for sinners. Hahn's tendency to downplay Christ's death and resurrection is troubling to me.

Hahn says that Jesus, "was in touch with the reality of life, the source of mindfulness, wisdom, and understanding within Him, and this made Him different from other human beings." Jesus, he believes, was special - but not in a way any of us are incapable of being. What, I wonder, is Hahn basing this conception of Jesus on? Again, if his source for looking deeply into the life of Jesus is the Biblical accounts, I don't know how he can come to this conclusion. In the Biblical accounts, Jesus identifies himself as the source of life. He makes enormous claims about his own authority and receives worship from people. He is depicted as human, yes, but he is also portrayed as different from any person who ever has (or ever will) exist. As the historic church doctrines have said, Christ is 100% man and 100% God. Perhaps Hahn would claim to agree with this doctrine, but if so I'm afraid his claim would be rooted upon a re-definition of God that fails to respect the intended meaning of the doctrine.

Hahn acknowledges that Jesus describes himself as "the door of salvation and everlasting life." He goes on to say, though, that there are many doors that allow us to "enter the realm of mindfulness, loving-kindness, peace, and joy." According to Buddhist teaching, there are over 84,000 such doors. What Hahn fails to mention, though, is that Jesus didn't just claim to be one of many doors. He specifically claimed to be THE door, and he told his followers to make every effort to enter through the narrow way. If Hahn is looking deeply into the life of Jesus, why does he disregard Jesus' claims about being the only door to eternal life? Does he think Jesus didn't actually say (or mean) those things? If so, on what basis is he declaring what Jesus did say?

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