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Sharing the Christian gospel

There are several practical steps that could be taken to build a relationship with a friend that holds a Secular Humanism Worldview. Sharing is caring! I always work Christ into the conversation on a personal level within the first hour of meeting someone (Matthew 24:44). I share about my day and what I had been praying about and how the Lord answered my prayer (Psalm 116:1). In the break room at work with my co-workers, I ask them to join me in prayer before eating. I compliment them about a new haircut, a new makeup style or I ask about their children or pets. I get to know them on a personal level.

There can be many barriers and hindrances that exist with presenting the Christian gospel to a person with a Secular Humanism Worldview. Pride. Often, the conversation turns to an intellectual battle (Proverbs 11:2) instead of focusing on Jesus Christ. Evolution is brought up and the earth being older then what the Bible says is brought up. Other barriers are worldly political levels that creep in. “Never compromise truth for the sake of the audience” (Consider, 158). Such as the person’s view on abortion, same sex marriages, and feminism. History sometimes places a factor in hindering the Christian gospel when a person who holds a Secular Humanistic worldview.

In the past week I have come across a personal challenge when presenting the Christian gospel. A news article about Pope Francis was circling on the Internet proclaiming, “The Pope says no Hell exists; Adam and Eve are a fable”. I immediately did research and uncovered the hoax and shared. I was counteracted by, “what if he did say that?” and “who cares about facts when we are rushing to judgment?” I responded with, rushing to pray (Luke 21:36). We as Christians must remember to state that there is a difference between the church and Christianity. As the debate went on, I opened my Consider book and located the chapter on fallacies. As my debater used the Red Herring fallacy I knew the debate was over (Consider, 51).

(Source: americagold)

A Buddhism Worldview VS A Christian/Biblical Worldview

I. Buddhism

The Question of Origin- The Buddhist Worldview of how life began is a complicated one for me to understand. To the Theravada Buddhist, humanity comes from Nirvana, an abstract Void. For Buddha, Nirvana was the end of suffering (Buddhism, A Religious Profile from International Students, Inc.). Therefor, in Buddha’s terms then the question of origin would be the beginning of suffering.

The Question of Identity- The Buddhist Worldview of what it means to be human and how we are to treat others is based upon an ethical conduct or what the Buddhist call the sila. One of the sila principles commands that you refrain from the taking of any life form, not just human (Buddhism, A Religion Profile from International Students, Inc.).

The Question of Meaning/Purpose- The purpose of the life of a Buddhist is to end all suffering, which is caused by desire and can be overcome through self-discipline. The Mahayana Buddhist describes this as, “becoming aware of the Buddha-nature within” while the Theravada Buddhist believes we must, “realize the nonexistence of the self, thus finding permanence and ceasing all desire” (Buddhism, A Religion Profile from International Students, Inc.).

The Question of Morality- The Buddhist Worldview of morality or Samadhi (mental discipline) can be found in the Eightfold Path that includes, Right Effort, Right Awareness and Right Meditation. The Samadhi, is defined as: a deep state of consciousness “on which all sense of personal identity ceases” (Rice, p. 310). In essence, with enough mental self-control you can reach goodness within yourself. In the sila or ethical conduct, it also commands to refrain from stealing, immoral sexual behavior, lying or taking intoxicants (Buddhism, A Religion Profile from International Students, Inc.).

The Question of Destiny- The Theravada Buddhist Worldview does not teach that a continuous life essence exists after death. According to Buddha, there is no samsara (reincarnation) cycle. Instead, a person if a combination of five aggregates or combinations, called shandhas, which include the physical body, emotions, perception, volition, and consciousness (Ch’en, p. 44). When you die, these five parts that make up a human break off, “much like a car, it ceases to be a cohesive unit when it is taken apart piece by piece” (Buddhism, A Religion Profile from International Students, Inc.). This is called, nirvana. The Mahayana Buddhist Worldview believes you have a choice to enter nirvana or out of your own compassion you may return to guide others as a god or, bodhisattvas (Buddhism, A Religion Profile from International Students, Inc.).

II. Biblical/Christian Worldview

The Question of Origin- The Buddhism Worldview is completely opposite of the Christian Worldview. The Buddhist believes their existence is from nothing or a Void. The Christian Worldview of how life began is based upon what is written in the bible, which is the inspired word of a loving God (2 Timothy 3:16). In the beginning God existed (John 1:1) therefore before the world came to be, God existed (Proverbs 8:23). God spoke life into the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1) and every living thing on the earth including the plants and the animals. He then created man and from man he created woman (Genesis 2:22).

The Question of Identity- The Buddhist Worldview has a select set of man made ethics termed sila that deciphers no difference between human, animal or plant life. That being said the sila also commands to “refrain from taking life from any form, human or animal” (Buddhism, A Religious Profile by International Students, Inc.). In contrast, the Christian Worldview of what it means to be human and how we are to treat the living things on the earth is shown in (Genesis 1:26) when God said let us make man in our image and have him rule over all the animals of the earth. God created man in likeness with Himself making man able to do what plants and animals can not, which is have communion with Him.

The Question of Meaning/Purpose- The Buddhist Worldview believes that the purpose of life is to end all suffering. (Buddhism, A Religious Profile by International Students, Inc.). The Christian Worldview of the purpose of man is found in the Bible, John 17:3 “that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (Consider, 70). A personal relationship with Jesus Christ is the Christian Worldview of the meaning of life.

The Question of Morality- The Buddhist Worldview states that through the power of self-guidance one can come to a state in which one no longer desires and then no longer suffers. Through the Eightfold Path, the Buddhist will develop, “such a literally selfless perspective, he or she finds the power to speak well of others” and will not “break the moral precepts of Buddhism” (Buddhism, A Religious Profile by International Students, Inc.). Contrasting, the Christian Worldview of morality is laid out not only in scripture given by God but is written on our hearts (Romans 2:15). The compass that guides our heart to know what is right and wrong is our conscience, which is distinct from the animal kingdom (Consider, 81).

The Question of Destiny- In the Buddhist Worldview, when one arrives at “death” one is simply reaching complete Nirvana, an abstract Void of nothingness (Theravada) or an undifferentiated Buddha essence (Mahayana) (Buddhism, A Religious Profile by International Students, Inc.). The Christian Worldview of death is not an ending but a beginning, Death precedes into two infinite states: Heaven or Hell. The Bible says God so loved the world (John 3:16) that He has restored our salvation through the redemption of His one and only Son Jesus Christ whom He sent to suffer and die on a cross so that we may be spiritually born again and live forever with God in Heaven for eternity.

(Source: americagold)

A whole new meaning of, “Do onto others”.

This statement may be common sense to some or seemingly obvious to others. To me, it is something I had never thought about, specifically in the light of this text. It is also something going forward I will continue to apply and analyze in my life. Thankful for my studies that enhance this type of awareness.

"Jesus Christ made the assertion that there is a direct correlation between the way humans revere and respect humans who are created in the image of God and the way humans revere and respect God (1 Peter 3:7; 1 John 4:7-8, 19, 21)." (The Popular Encyclopedia of Apologetics, 200)

(Source: americagold)

Our Culture and The Gospel Message

I believe the Christian gospel is perceived by our culture as a straight-laced, uptight, self-righteous, and judgmental way to live. Our culture views the Christian gospel as a “cookie-cutter” way to live, a polite way to live, which if you know anything about the gospel it is anything but that. I believe that our culture has much pride (The Gospel Message) to open their narrow minds to accept something greater than themselves.

The moral reasons people reject God is mostly pulled from sexual orientation or feminist movements. “God hates gays” or “Women are second.” People pick and choose specific parts of the gospel to plead their case without considering The Word as a whole. Others believe the gospel has nothing to do with morality at all.

Emotional reasons I have encountered for rejecting the Christian gospel are, “Why does God let good things happen to good people?” Questions like, “Why did this happen to me? Why can’t I have a baby when the ones that do abuse them?” I suppose these emotional reactions are their reasons for blaming God for the evil that has happen to them personally. Instead of taking up the cross with Jesus (Matthew 16:24) they carry their own cross of self-pity.

Intellectual reasons I have come across when sharing the Christian gospel is the misconception of information. For example, many intellects say that the world is older then 6,000 years old. Many people believe in Evolution instead of Creationism and therefor reject the Christian gospel on that basis alone. Others seem to accept Jesus in their hearts yet reject the Christian gospel publically with their rigid, worldly, political stance. The Bible states, “But whoever disowns me before people, I also will disown before my Father in heaven.” (Matthew 10:33)

This is the amazing part! What we can do as Christians to help settle these different beliefs is to share our story. Share the trouble you had when you lost your father; share the New Testament when people begin to say, “God hates gays.” Grab your Bible, Bible dictionary, or research online with the people who believe in Evolution. Pray with and for those people who are at least questioning about the gospel. For the Bible says, “Behold, I am coming quickly.” (Revelation 22:2)

(Source: americagold)

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