Buddhism’s 3 Marks of Reality and 4 Noble Truths!

A Buddhist channel on Youtube, LamaKungaChoedak, commented on this video and said,”Not bad.”  I take that as a compliment.  Here is an overview video I made to teach the core teachings of the Buddha.  When you see Buddhism practiced in temples, you likely won’t recognize many signs of these teachings.  This is why many people say that Buddhism, as it was initially taught, is not a religion, but a philosophy.  As Buddhism spread, its philosophy mingled with the folk religions of the regions it encountered, and thus what we see now is largely not a faithful adherence to the Buddha’s teachings.  I’ll make a video in the near future that will illustrates the different branches of Buddhism.

Throughout this video I suggest some talking points with Buddhist for beginning to interject the teachings of the Bible in relationship to Buddhism.    It’d be great to read your thoughts on those discussion questions in the comment sections of this post.

If you want to be sure to see future videos, subscribe to my Youtube channel, this blog, and the Contradict – They Can’t All Be True Facebook page.

What do all religions have in common?

Building off the last post, after hearing the difficulty of defining the word religion, how do you define what is a religion so that everything that we generally call a religion is included, yet everything we generally consider to be secular is excluded?

Reading Michael Molloy’s Experiencing the World’s Religions I learned that the etymology of the word religion is two words, “re” and “lig”.  “Re” means again; makes sense, reply, rebound, repeat, etc.  “Lig” means “to connect” or “to join,” as in ligament.  Together, religion means “to connect again.”

This concept is easily found in most religions.  They offer ways or processes of returning to some sort of original state of mankind that has been lost or severed from some problem.  For Christianity, the problem is sin that separated Adam and Eve from God and thrust them out of the Garden of Eden.  Their sin then was passed on to all men and the ultimate effect of our sin is eternal death and separation from God.  The way to “reconnect” with God and that original state of humanity before the “Fall” is through faith in the saving work of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.  Other religions offer a different problem, a different separation, and a different way or path of reconnecting with that original state of being.

Moving beyond the etymology of religion, Molloy says that instead of making a set definition that can encompass all religions it is best to simply list common characteristics of religions.  He lists 8 common characteristics and I address them in the following video:

After watching the video, post a comment giving examples of how the 8 elements are found within Christianity.  Also, ask yourself, does Atheism have these 8 elements?  If it does, then should it be considered a religion?  If it doesn’t, should it not be considered a religion?

What is religion?

Have you ever tried to define what religion is?  This video gives a hint at the immense difficulty of defining what should considered religion?

BTW, this video was extremely easy to make.  I already had the PowerPoint created from a class I teach. The PowerPoint is simply used as a conversation starter on the first day of class to get students thinking about what is religion.  Played out in class, this can make a very interactive lecture.  Students often times debate intensely if some of the “secular” examples I gave are religious or non-religious.  I asked once if they could think of any other celebrities whose fans followed them, “worshiped” them, in a religious way, and someone pointed to a female student in the class and shouted, “Justin Bieber!”  And I saw that her laptop had several Bieber stickers on it and I made that comment, and the person sitting next to her said, “You think that’s religious, look at her wallpaper.”  The student shrugged and said, “Yea, I admit it; I’m a Bielieber.”

I hope you liked the video and I’d love to read how you would define the word, “religion”.

Daoism – What is it, who believes it, who practices it, and how does it compare to Christianity?

My goal is to create group discussion guides for each religious symbol within the Contradict logo.  So far, I have one made for Hinduism and one made for Daoism.  I create a leader’s guide that gives suggested answers and Bible verses to be read for each question.  My goal however is to have participant’s be able to provide great answers on their own because all the questions are compare and contrast questions between Daoism and Christianity.  All the questions are very open ended and could go anywhere.  I hope that after such a small group discussion all the participants will be able to recognize Daoism’s influence in Western culture and to be able to share the Gospel and the truth of God’s Word in connection to themes and practices of Daoism whenever they arise in day to day life.

Here are the links to the Daoism guides:

Leader’s Guide

Participant’s Guide

I’d love to hear feedback on these guides, especially if you use them to guide a small group discussion.

To close here is a Daoism video that can be used to introduce the discussion:

What is Wicca?

A blog called CA Psychics wrote about Wicca.  The opening line of their blog says, “In 1990, the American Religious Survey found 8,000 people who identified themselves as Wiccans. In 2001, that number was 134,000, an incredible growth!” http://blog.californiapsychics.com/blog/2011/01/the-growth-of-wicca.html/

I first met a Wiccan when I was in high school.  I forget how it came about, but I met him sitting around a campfire.  I knew nothing of the religion, besides what was mentioned about Wicca in the show Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  The guy referred to himself as a warlock and said that he did practice magic.  He also was a palm-reader.  He explained to me that he believed everything in the world was connected through a divine energy, and that it was the harnessing and directing of this energy that was the practice of magic.  I asked him if it was like the Force in Star Wars.  He said that was a good description.  So I asked him if I and the fire were connected if I could magically extinguish it, or if I wanted another drink, I could just open the cooler and have one float to me like Luke Skywalker.  He laughed and told me no.

At the Christian university I went to, I met two Wiccans living on campus.  I had some very interesting conversations with them.  Maybe they knew more about Wicca than the guy I spoke with in high school, or maybe I just knew more because I had studied it a little bit and knew better questions to ask.  The one shared that she did practice magic, and that the black magic comes back on you three-fold, so she doesn’t practice that anymore.  She only does white magic, and she claims it works.

Basically, Wicca seems to be a lot like Hinduism.  They believe in reincarnation.  There is a divine essence in all things.  They believe in a moral law of cause and effect that is similar to Karma.  Rituals can be practiced as the individual practitioner desires and sees most beneficial.

And I do believe there are connections with the growth of Wicca, the New Age Movement, and the many Psychic shops I see popping up around America.  It’s disheartening!

Here’s a video that shares a lot more of the Wicca religion that some students of mine created: