Comparative Analysis of Christianity and Buddhism
In the globalized world, the knowledge about different faiths in providing professional medical treatment is very required. A good health care provider has to know that physiological well-being of a patient leads to quick and full recovery. The healing process takes place best when the patient feels comfortable in his/ her surroundings and if the medical worker can contribute to this by satisfying the patients physical and spiritual needs rather than just by providing hospital experience.
This paper compares Christianity and Buddhism in terms of their role in health care. Moreover, this paper pays attention to the peculiarities of these religions and important factors that to be taken into consideration during treatment of people of different faiths.
In todays modernized society there is a wide range of things that people must adapt to. The health care system workers faced the issue of diversity when treating their patients. Health care providers are required to learn certain interpersonal skills in order to be able to treat their patients in the best possible way. The difference in culture, religion and language between patients may often affect the process of treatment and the healing options a health care provider offers a particular patient. Since all patients and health care providers come from various cultures and demographics, it is now required for medical workers to obtain knowledge about different faiths. In order for health care workers to provide the proper healing process to the patients, they have to know about their cultural background. Even if the patients beliefs are in contradiction with their own, they must help the patients get ready for the medical procedure by praying with them. Therefore, it is important to know the basics of different religions in order to make the patients experience more pleasant. The differences between Christianity and Buddhism in the process of attending for patients will be further examined in detail.
Christians believe that God is the supreme power. Also, they believe in the Holy Trinity. People depend on Gods will because God created the first people, Adam and Eve. Christians are convinced that they have to obey Gods law and behave well. After death, everybody will face fair judgment.
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On the contrary, Buddhists believe in impersonal cosmos that always reincarnates. Death is not the end of human existence, and spirit is always reborn into a new being (flower, animal, ocean, etc). Buddhists do not believe in God. In addition, they pay attention to suffering of the spirit. Moreover, Buddhists think that if a person goes far from the cosmos, he/ she will have a bad karma and, as a result, a Karmic cycle will last forever. In Buddhism, everything has a direction; thus, a person can have either good or bad karma. The main task is to follow the direction. Lefebvre (2011) points out that Buddhism is based on the four noble truths, namely:
- Reason for suffering
- End of suffering
- Leading Way to the end of suffering.
Seven Basic Worldview Questions
What is Prime Reality?
Christians believe that prime reality is unparalleled and omniscient. It is infinite. They believe in the Holy Trinity (Matthew 28:19). God is recognized as the unique and supreme power. God is good and triune. No other Holy Scriptures have as much power as God. Everyone and everything depend on God. If a person looks into the sky, he/ she will not see God there; but only special people who have strong belief may see God. According to the Bible (1988), revelation shows people the truth of the Holy Trinity.
In Buddhism, a transcended truth is defined as omniscient and absolutely perfect. Prime reality is samsara, and it is a temporary state of a being. Buddhists believe that some spiritual dwelling exists for millenniums (oceans), whereas others last for a short time (flower). The truth of the universe is the circulation of spirits places (Ratanakul, 2008).
What is the Nature of the World?
Christians believe that God created the universe. Everything and everybody begins and ends with God will. God brings meaning to human life. The Latin term ex nihilo, which means out of nothing, tightly correlates with Gods creation of the universe. God created the Earth and heaven ex nihilo. Moreover, God created the nature, human, floral and animal creatures. In Christianity, it is believed that God is the supreme source of everything. It has to be mentioned that God created everything with uniformity. Gods creation is clear and unquestionable. Christian worldview starts from God because he is the Creator. It is stated in the Bible (1988) that strong belief in God as the supreme power influenced Christian views about mortality, the role of human beings and science. If one asks why do I live, he/ she will get an immediate answer: it is because God created you and gave you life.
In Buddhism, it is believed that a human being is not separated from nature. Everything is connected and circulated. Human body is a part of the spirits circulation. Moreover, consciousness also circulates and is reborn. Buddhists believe that humans do not understand the world around them.
What is a Human Being?
In Christianity, it is believed that humans possess the same traits and qualities as God has. A human being is seen through the image of God. It assures people that they originate from God but not from an animal. Christian worldview is based on the image of God, which gives them strength and power to feel important and worthy. Humans are intelligent because they do not belong to the animal kingdom. A human being is a higher creature on the sinful Earth. Human life matters; thus, nobody can kill another person because only God is an ultimate power that controls life and death of a human being (Andersen, & Freedman, 1980).
In Buddhism, a human being is not a divine creation. A person decides his/ her destiny and future lives. A person has to fulfill his/ her own free will in a responsible manner. Buddhists believe that nirvana can be achieved by a human being, not by praying to gods (Ratanakul, 2008).
What Happens to a Person at Death?
In Christianity, death is seen as a transition from physical to spiritual life. Christians believe that they spend only a small part of their existence on the Earth and the most important part of their life is the life after death. Death is not seen as a bad ending of human existence; on the contrary, it is recognized as a vital devotion to God. Christians have an opinion that death is the gate that leads either to heaven, the kingdom of God, or to hell. The question where the spirit will exist after life depends on human behavior on the sinful Earth. After death, people will face judgment. Christians believe in the resurrection of Jesus; thus, death is not seen as an enemy.
According to Buddhism, life does not end with death. The book Mah?khandhako 1-4 (2014) points out that after death, human spirit is trying to find a place (a dwelling) to reborn. Thus, life and death always circulate. Human spirit may reincarnate into an animal, a pant, etc. The process of reincarnation highly depends on karma.
Why is It Possible to Know Anything at All?
In the Christianity, it is believed that God created a person as a clever and intelligent being. People are made of the image of God, who is the highest intelligence and the source of meaning. God is the prime reality that is unparalleled and omniscient. Christians believe that everything that surrounds them was created by God. Human intelligence, which is manifested in the ability to know, think and understand, comes from God because He is an agency of intelligence.
Buddhists believe that the cosmos is unique and perfect. According to the book Mah?khandhako 1-4 (2014), everything that surrounds people does not look as it is in reality. Everything what a person sees is a total misconception. People do not understand reality. They are not intelligent as they think. The universe is too complex for human understanding.
How Do People Know What Is Right and Wrong?
In Christianity, it is believed that God made people kind and generous. All Christians have to obey Gods laws and treat everybody with respect and dignity. God is the prime source of morality. Moral is understood as an objective concept. For example, people accept homosexuality but it does not mean that it is good. Homosexuality is not good because moral is objective. The concept of evil is seen as a sin. Everyone who behaves against Gods teaching is recognized as evil.
In Buddhism, the distinction between good and evil is not completely understood. If a person leads a right life, talk in the right manner and behaves well, it means that he/ she has a good karma. Also, the principle of laity has to be followed. Laity will help the spirit to reincarnate. A person who follows the direction has a good karma. Those who act outside the cosmos have a bad karma (Bhikkhu, 2009).
What Is the Meaning of Human History?
Christians believe that everything and everyone that was created has a reason for existence. History has always existed. It reminds people who they are and where they are going to. History is sequential and linear. Everything that is happening with the people leads them to God. People have to obey Gods rule and wait for the second coming of Christ (the final point of human history) (Mays, 2000).
In Buddhism, history is understood as hallucination. The world itself is continuously altering: birth, death and rebirth of people. The world is a totally material concept (Garofalo, 2009).
In Buddhism disease is seen as a period when life meets fear. Sickness is understood as the disturbed harmony. Healing of a disease is not a unique measure that helps the body to overcome the disease; medical treatment includes taking efforts to restore the harmony of mind and body in order to help a person to struggle for health. Healing is a means to establish harmony between a person and nature. Also, Buddhists believe that health care providers contribute to the process of healing (Bhikkhu, 2009).
In Christian belief, healing helps a person to feel better and have a healthy lifestyle. God is kind to everyone; thus, healing gives glory to God. Christians pray to God when they feel bad or unhealthy. They believe that God knows better what measures should be taken to treat a sick person (Mays, 2000).
Important Factors That Affect Treatment of People of Different Faiths
Undoubtedly, patients as well as health care providers may feel uncomfortable due to differences in their religious beliefs. However, in the globalized world it is almost impossible to find a nurse who will have the same faith or religious belief. In this case, a health care provider has to respect and provide needed treatment regardless of patients religious beliefs. Indisputably, a professional medical worker has to pay attention to patients religious and cultural beliefs because it can facilitate his/ her recovery. Physical and mental live has to be in total harmony it is a key to success. A health care provider does not have to judge patients faith; on the contrary, he/ she has to allow patients to pray or meditate. However, the medical staff is not supposed to ask patients about their religion; he/ she has to guess it by patients appearance and behavior or to look at the patients history.
The Importance of Research
This paper helps to understand different believes in regards to providing and receiving health care. Therefore, the medical personnel needs to know the differences between religions and cultures in order to provide patients with effective medical care. The comparison between Christianity and Buddhism shed light to the similarities and differences in providing health care to the patients of each religion. The healing process takes place best when a patient feels comfortable in his/ her surroundings. Medical workers can contribute to patients healing by providing what he/ she needs physically and spiritually, thus inmproving hospital experience for a patient.
The best healing process is when there is a balance and connection between the body, the mind and the spirit of the patient. If a health care provider understands physical and spiritual needs of a patient, hospital experience will have the best possible outcoome for a patient. Furthermore, the health care provider must not demand the patient to follow his/her beliefs, and conversely, the patient must be given a chance to express his/ her needs in order the make the healing process easier.