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CHAPTER THREE

THE SOCIAL ASSAULT ON CHRIST

It Confusing Christ with Another
is Like Confusing a Credit Balance
with a Dead, Red Debt

June 8, 2011

 

A SPURIOUS CLAIM

Recently a flagrant letter appeared in an Adelaide newspaper, in which the writer despised the contribution of Christianity in this, that he felt Buddha, centuries before Christ, had said much the same thing as is to be found in the Sermon on the Mount. As to this assertion, the date is right, the rest is staggeringly wrong. It is confusion confounded and culture sitting as sovereign over truth.

In fact, Buddha showed no belief in the Creator, or clear understanding of God Almighty. It is difficult, operationally, to distinguish his own work from atheism. It concerns suffering, cause of suffering, way to reduce and finally extinguish suffering, and things to do in the meantime. In extinguishing suffering, however, he extinguishes the capacity for suffering on the part of the devotee, the disciple, who having followed all his life a vision without rational confirmation, governing by appeal of some kind, is to be rewarded by an indistinct and nebulously defined operational end as an individual. In the interim, there is to be degree of passion, desire, singularity of grasp, whether in some form into which man does not fit, some other sort of creation, and even this abortive lowering, if so be, is rather like Romanist purgatory, a place of sorrow.

It is like getting ready for a holiday, firstly from some degree of wanting anything, then from some other degree, and having your spirit, which conveniently is given all necessary adjustments so that it retains some kind of identity before being ready for reincarnation of something quite different from man, so that personality in abeyance, in the highroad to individual nothingness as a reward, it finds itself re-created as the case requires, by no one. For this enormous technical work has to be done, to make suitable adjustments, in fact, like using a Ford chassis, salon, for a Boeing 737, only much more difficult in this, that the liberty of man in thought and comprehension and understanding has to be lost in the format of what lacks these things, and yet be the same, although entirely other.

The rationally testable evidence for this is as absent as is the meaningfulness of the transformation without a transformer. It is one more instance of a result without a specifically adequate cause. Transmigration is a term used, but it is an illusion. If you migrate to Germany from England, then you are you, identity retained, luggage and transport needed, and authorisation to enable the change of citizenship, an adjustment of acceptance, not of intrinsic nature. If however you migrate into the life of a beast, your existence itself is altered, so that the essentials of personality are absorbed into the instinctive and coerced, the debased and unrecognisable, so that all that remains is the fact that you are living, and the entirety of your power to evaluate, remember, be what you were, is lost in a confused muddle of 'life', which being shared with worms, is a mere generality without receptive significance. There is no place to put the reality of man, so man ceases, and with it any sense of continuity that is moral or essential. It is a mirage that transmigrates.

When it gets to Nirvana, it is lost in the infinite, which being precisely what man is NOT, means by this very face the loss of human life, individual life, and the end of man as an operative unit. To say that the self is not regarded as permanent is the same as saying that what we are talking about, a personality, a specifiable human being with power of memory of individual guilt, grace, involvements, actions, no more exists. The system of karma, reward for good and bad deeds in the processes of transmigratory illusion, becomes doubly meaningless when what does the actions, is no more there to experience their results, and in many cases, is insusceptible to the power to know.

Thus morality becomes without base, and discontinuity becomes a withering dynamic making of the most precise and powerful moral dramas, a kaleidoscopic morass of indigestible fragments, failing at last even to be. Seeking always for what is not even to be understood, with the reward of not even being able to understand is a self-contradictory moral constraint. It propels outside continuity of understanding of what is involved, ending in lack of continuity altogether of the being who has so acted. Hence the system is divorced from its (current) meaning in any individual case, and since it is AS an individual, like it or leave it, that ALL of this in the known and attestable world is done, with nothing beyond to act, except the call for the transformations of spirit required to have continuity of vast and organised proportions, which is met with NOTHING DOING. Yet it is done, for otherwise the change could not be achieved.

The error of change and ignoring of criteria and characteristics of individuality resembles the error of David Hume. Like his approach, it ignores reality. For Hume, there is nothing enduring, things follow and series of king. However what envisages series is not series, but comprehending and static, or source of comprehension in unity that has a platform for arresting thought, connecting it, giving to it a setting and substance, functionality and place, so that it might BE thought and the person who uses it has to be there, to HAVE thought. Thus in ignoring himself, the operator, he engages in the most trite and trivial reductionism, solving what lacks the data, with ephemeral ease and irrelevance.

Such is the case with Buddhism. Weary apparently of the gods and agencies proliferating in Hinduism, the teacher of this religion appears  to have decided that instead of one being all, he would have something different. Could he however graft onto this underlying sense of ONE which is to BE all that is, what would remove its futility and dysfunction, or so change it that some one or other, would remain to talk about so that there could be some religion or other ?

There was a problem to solve. There was in Hinduism the call for just ONE, nor respite from the manifest, absurd futility and irrelevance of trying to marry stark opposites in one being, good and evil, pain and grace, lying and truth, callowness and wisdom, self-contradictions in the very being itself, which is to BE all, and this at whatever mode of distancing. Thus, as one put it, there is a roaring silence, or another, there is an inclusive spirit sitting in some sense over all this, merciful and somehow known, while it is also in part constitutive in this ONE, and so in its very being, of a chaos of clangour, contradiction and composition that varies, as to its knowability.  That is small wonder, since it incorporates all and neither removes what is contrary to any concept given to it, nor asserts with any power what it is alleged to be. It just is and absorbs all contradictories so making mere muddle, and continues with this within it, with some kind of unity despite the explosion of self-contradiction which it harbours in itself. You cannot avoid it: IF it is one, then it explodes.

If it is not one, then it is necessary to cease declaring that it is. Make the spirit of all as THE ONE, and the rest NOT the one, and you avoid the folly. Then the rest is something else. You move to Creator and creation, what is the basis and what is the result. Have it ALL just there, AND self-contradiction PART of it,  AS SUCH, and it can have no meaning, for self-contradiction produces nullity. You have and do not have a million dollars; ARE a cogitative fool and a brilliant thinker. You deny what you affirm and hence have mere verbal muddle. To assert that beyond all this, and yet not a different being from it, is something of this or that moral character, is to confuse the ONE with two. IF it is a comprehensive containing body, then it is self-contradictory, conceptually meaningless, unknowable and an association of what is by nature incapable of unity. It does not matter if something IN or OF the one is looked to, for as long as it IS as one, then these features are inescapable.

IF the confusion is to be removed, then you need a One and an other, and a relationship between them, just to start rationality. If reason is to apply (and if not it is merely an irrational declaration), then to give any understanding. If the new One is to have any character, then it is not in any way the same as the many, itself a characterless confusion. So we would have one of some nature or other, and one of no definable nature, in confusion. Either the One creates the other, or they both always were. If so, then there wholly divergent natures reside in a system containing both, and enabling their communication and inter-action. How did this come if not from what is greater than both! If you abandon reason, then there is no argument. If you use it, this is so.

 

GUESSING IS NOT GOD

Guessing is not God. When you come to the one greater than both, then you find that you have merely been guilty of bifurcation, trying to wed the logically self-contradictory with what is not of this kind. The One created both then ? However, subsidiary ones, these have no point. There is the basis and the result; there is the cause and the consequence; and as soon as you divorce your thought from an impossible conflation of opposites, in whatever mode you may choose to have it, you have what is eternal and NOT therefore self-contradictory, being actual and not a film of clashing thought, and what is not eternal, as much shows itself to be.

The eternal is before the non-eternal in logic and chronology. A source for the non-eternal is logically missing, and since this non-eternal has to have its ground and commencement, if reason applies, it is created by the Eternal One. It cannot BE it so it has to be FROM it. Of necessity as we have seen earlier, there is the ETERNAL being, and of necessity the contradictions cannot BE it in any sense without meaninglessness. Indeed, they cannot even be one at all.

As the eternal one is beyond time, itself a constraining and delimiting composition, then it has to be the source of everything else; and since this involves choices as well as contradictions, at once you have the Lord of liberty and the results of it. The creation is not self-contradictory, for it has no self. It is various, diverse, and in measure enabled to opt for contrary things, and so these arise. There is one source, one basis, one creation, utterly diverse, with one plan for its operation, enabling to the uttermost, total opposites with no cohesion problem. They do not cohere because they are enabled to go in different directions, exhibiting the cause and effect simultaneously of their being in one overall system, and yet producing utterly contrary results.

Buddha was born into this. It had  many symbolisms given goddish standards, bred from the impossible base, with no cohesion, just as the base lacked this, and seeking purgation of the rituals and rules and unruliness, apparently he swept aside the ALL IS ONE, in favour of ONE IS ALL.  What however would be the nature of this new sort of ONE ? It would not have one. It would be becoming (like Heracleitus), so that individuality itself would be a temporary thing, and nirvana the end of right this and that, an undefined bliss with no apparent linkage to individuals as all, so that in effect, it had to enjoy its enlightenment, without actually being there, the stuff of myth.

You cannot BOTH have individuals with coherence and hence endurance and continued meaningfulness AS individuals, and NOT have them, because losing all desire and passion, they are blessedly resting while not there. It is one or the other. Confusion is no cover for contradiction. Hence this virtual atheism has as its purge, the removal of the impossible all-inclusive One, a portmanteau with no grounds, basis or coherence; but it also has its own lust. That is, the removal of all coherence, cohesion and continuity, by stages wrought by nothing, so that thought ABOUT this can have no basis, being lost in mere all-change succession as with Hume. Hence the system does not allow for the creation of the system, its sustenance or its meaning, let alone all the categories of being involved; and hence it is another form of reductionism, this time not the mere cohesion of the self-contradictory, but the lack of basis even for the cohesion of thought. If mind is the continuity.

SMR pp. 1012 puts it like this.

 

As Baron F. von Hugel declares of Buddhism, p. 9 of his work, Eternal Life, "It knows no Brahma, no Atman, as the World-Spirit, - no Being that consists in itself and through which other things exist." He cites Professor Oldenberg: " The speculation of the Brahmans finds Being in all Becoming; the speculation of the Buddhists finds, in all apparent Being, nothing but Becoming." Thus, for the latter, all is one; for the former, one is all.

Each approach however, is not merely gross over-simplification and crass reductionism, but irrational ignoring of the requirements both of order and of reason, as we have shown and will now consider on site with these religions.

Neither is one all, nor is all one. There is process and power to process, principle and eventuation, law and conformity, design and its outworking, pattern and relationship, quality and defilement of quality, purity and spoliation, gravity and humour, language structure and use, logic and breach of it, rationality and irrationality, rationalism and empiricism, spirit and surrender, overview and interview, participation and explanation, guilt and expiation

There is also, indeed, theory and practice, true theory and false theory ... the 'one' is cleaved, broken, divided! If there were not, this Buddhistic concept of one as all could not even be maintained, for it would then be simultaneously true and false, sound and unsound, in principle, and hence constitute a divorce from thought, defilement of language, an entire absurdity, conceptually incoherent, equal in value to the ramblings of a drunkard, though more systematically absurd than that.

Inconsistent collations of qualities and contents, explosive diversities, by no means solve the problem: they simply ignore it. There is no solution in that way.

 

ONE is not all, in any all-inclusive sense, as in Hinduism; nor is all one, as in Buddhist approach, since its very diversity makes the concept of 'one' merely inaccurate; and what it does have in common, in the visible world, is not only event, but principle, not only change, but laws enabling its understanding, rationality permitting argument and presentation, cause and effect, which cannot without mere obfuscation, be reduced to change: it is a particular sort of change involving not only the event, but the basis for it, the conditions for it and the rules to be followed, or the sustaining criteria necessary for it.

Trying to reduce it to one is not only inaccurate, but a simple cutting off of one aspect, that underlying the possibility of events, and this has not only if we are to use reason, the entire sphere of logic, on which language and argument, presentation and characterisation is partly based, to be added, but what has enabled this to be applicable in a changing world, granting to it continuing penetrability by reason, oversight by mind and assessment by spirit.

Moreover, it is no more feasible or rational to have One all with what all the total mutual collisions making nonsense of the 'one' concept (as if all the pictures of an artist were 'one', when manifestly they were different phases of creation, each from one source, indeed, perhaps with some comparable but many diverse and perhaps even grossly divergent art forms), then to have the ALL to be one. It is not one, but consists even on this model, of a multitude, a vast assemblage of things lawful and unlawful, beautiful and ugly, rational and irrational, destructive and constructive, hateful, hate filled, loving, lovely, love directed, mathematical and wrong-headed, with different laws, applicable in different ways to different elements and on different features,  programmatic necessitations and liberty to create programs, scrambling and organisation, mistakes and purposes, till the concept of these being one becomes a mere error.

What pervades them ? a process ? which one ? a law ? there are hundreds. Logic ? they are often illogical. Truth ? process does not know truth. It is ONE that this ALL is, the term being vastly inapplicable; and this is just as true of the ALL that is to be called ONE. Neither is true, and vain attempts to get around this simple fact are romancing mysticism, not only devoid of logic, but an offence to it: even to what is necessary even for the Statement of Model, or the religion concerned.

If then,

bullet the time-space-logic-law-assessment-assessor base is to be ignored,
in the interest of events with change the criterion,
so that such entities as evaluating-analysing-deciding persons
are seen as transient happenings or bundles of events with no basis,
and with a desired dissociative end in some ill-defined nirvana;
 
bullet while the implicit use of logic by persons is found, 
as a rational alternative to gibberish,
in order to develop and state the religious model/case
 
bullet and everythingness is to be united in mere verbal incohesion
and a veritable rhapsody of feeling breaking all bounds,
as an ALL, for which changeable process within it is to determine the nature,
which however it does not have:
 

then this model has an impasse of its own.

Unless, these very things, these functions, these entities, have continuity, validity, and reality, descriptive precision, nothing involving them can do better. Unless these things are valid, their products are invalid. If however they are valid, so enabling expression and coherent reasoning, survey and intelligible words and referents, then all is not change or one, and what speaks against individuality in terms of illusion, which nevertheless deploys such things, describes and declares them,  is excluded as irrational at the outset.

Whey then listen to it, self-outlawed!

This is the fundamental result of seeking to remove all basis, background and reason for the things that are, by just having them ... happen, and then trying to force them in some kind of philosophic fidget, to be one, or some variably stated One, to be all. Creation and Creator are in this merely irrationally merged, the diversities of the one, so well known to our own creative powers, and the immutability of the other, so clearly attested by reason (cf. SMR, TMR), being crushed in the maw of arrested thought and the very essence of reductionism. NOT facing reality, ironically, thus increases suffering, since collision between what is and what is falsely imagined to be, has vast traumas, this being the most adverse of all collisions. Solving a situation is no way to invent a world, and talking about some aspect of the creation, is no more ground for this one, than for any other.

Since

1) logic must for validity have what makes any use of it,
to present itself as truth, and

2) truth must exist for any attempt to state it to be rational, in any case:

 then logically prior to the world of events, must be such qualities as these, and included are not only the ground for this validity, but for truth so much as to exist, since it is, in this very religion,  claimed to be what is being spoken! 

That, truth concerning the nature of all things,  requires One who knows without being subjected to circumstance, continues to know and is not the butt of an intrusive or even containing nexus, so that not reaction but reality is what is brought to MIND. The wisdom of this Being, capable of such assessment and knowledge in order to provide it, must not only exist, but if truth is to be known, must also be available, the PROVISION of  truth so being a matter of a discretionary judgment. If it were susceptible to the intrusions of man, then it would not be the necessary function and knowledge for the point at issue.

Since it to be the truth which is told, therefore it must be available in fact, and in decision. This is not a series of mutative events, nor immersed and conditioned by them, since then their reality would not be outside the interactive and changing events, the nature of which, amongst other things, is in view. Nor then, on such a basis,  could there by any validity in anyone's work in attempting to disclose the truth of things, without the knowledge of God, at His will.

 

GETTING BACK TO REALITY

The name used to refer to this Being, One apart from the surge and conditioning power of events, is not far from popular words and thought. It is God, who invented the constraints for creation,  which He does not have, being thus able to tell the truth. That He is willing to do so, is attested by the verified and validated Bible, unique in all religious literature in this respect (cf. SMR, TMR ). Let us peer back again for a little before proceeding to what is found in terms of His willingness to tell the truth to man.

He invented therefore the constraints which He does not have, being their source, ground and basis of power and operation, the one which not only make law and give it power to control,  law verbalisable by our intellects just as emplaced by His mind. In order for us to be, on the one hand, and to know truth, on the other, He is not subservient to or delimited by process, or time, which has its own constraints. Thus for cause to be operative and truth to be available, and hence the order we find to be followed, He is contradistinct from what merely poroceeds accorind to law, and mutually susceptible events. These occur; but they are not He.

He has to be there, free to know, and wililng to transmit that knowledge for truth to be found by man, as distinct from notation of events. Only then can it be said what must be, about the nature of events and their place in the realms of reality. Without that, the truth, as alleged by Buddhism, the, or anyone else, cannot exist and it cannot be know or conveyed. You cannot convey by will or otherwise, a fortune that is not there.

Thus Buddha's teachings run into metaphysical mayhem and ontological disaster. He has purged not only gods aptly form Hinduism, but the basis fore truth and events alike. Reductionist, he is a pragmatist, suffering his G-strong for his violin, which is turn has no case.

Thus the Creator and cause (inherent in all logic that is coherent cf. Cause, SMR Ch. 5) of all that is controlled and participating in events of change, with undergirding principles making of events a tissue and giving to them an issue, is identifiable in a unique manual, the Bible,  as by Jesus Christ, who took the trouble to take the form of a man, without sin, so making a definitive declaration, fulfilling the testable criteria for this, long set in the Bible in.

In  so doing, He came to earth to show the way personally. In this way, the propositional was enhanced by this more direct communication; but also He came to deal with the CAUSE of suffering (John 1:29); and thus, He removed it, not by prudent works such as Buddha was so keen on, making the best of things in progressive detachment from what God made. No, He did it by MEETING head-on this cause, and removing its power.

The cause is seen in high-profile :

bullet 1)  in violation of what God made, its principles, logic, truth, peace, law
and the word of God,
 
bullet 2) in not knowing God; and
 
bullet 3)  in worshipping not God,
but elements of this world, people in it, ideas within it,
with or without visible expression,
what is not testable as God,
mere empty words given a name,
phraseological foolishness, endowed with imaginary power.

THAT is what the Old Testament focussed on exceedingly, vanities or emptinesses being a set term to refer to false gods of phrasing but no confirmation, who are "not God" as Deuteronomy 32 puts it.

In removing the sovereignty, the creation and the logic of it all, there is gross offence. Nothings become somethings, and somethings grow in grandeur to vast levels of distinct and distinctive dynamism, based in rationally investigable systems; for no reason!

Such is not this world, nor the way of logic. It is flimsy phantasm of thought, fantasia of imagination, magical manipulation of operational reality.

 

 A SORROWFUL CAPTIVATION WITH SUFFERING

 THAT IS INSUFFERABLE TO TRUTH

In this category is what is called "vain philosophy" (Colossians 2:8), which presents ideas without rationality or reason, ground or confirmation, demonstration or basis that may be sustained, such as having worlds of laws and logic, truth and understanding, without God, just arising from nothing, or being around without cause or basis, results minus cause, systems without origin, commands without any to utter, brilliance without mind, even able to generate it, and berate misuse of the same, in miracles so prodigious that the fairy tale romance of it is almost attractive in this, that nothing matters, anything does anything, and it is a fantasia of escapism (cf. Ch. 1, *3 above, SMR Ch. 3, Ch. 10).

 Suppression is the word used for what this implies in the attitude to God (Romans 1:17ff.). For Buddha, events are all, and attitudes to them are important, and these with their sufferings have to be controlled and 'managed' to use a medical terms concerning sickness. The cause of their laws and organisation and underlying principles ? Don't worry about it, think of nirvana and the best route to the relinquishing of being an individual in due time, and try to minimise suffering on the way. There are good routes to do this.

The prayerfully pragmatic, the mulishly reductionist, the philosophically pre-occupied,  this becomes a sad message of final conclusion without the individual composition of abilities, symphony of spiritual involvements, without persons sunk in a mire of feelings without the feeler, at the end, and attitudes without the one to have them. It is loss with dignity; but not with dynamic, triumph or victory, in having the key to life, rather than the potassium cyanide to what you have been given. Sin is cast out as the criterion for suffering; a cynosure of suffering modes and avoidance systems becomes the substitute, making man the master by being the victim, a sad lapse from life, into an impersonal serenity with no person left to experience it, just floating this and that, disembodied, passing through phases of dis-involvement to departure.

It is a sad pillorying of God, with absent-minded omission, instead of sin, with presence of mind for its solution; of throwing away the car, and solving automobile transport in that way; which indeed some do, and one did, putting a car on the lawn of some Company estate, with the attached word, lemon. True, this is not the desired end; but equally, there is no solution found for the imaginary life which Buddha forges in reductionism, so that if the end is sweet, it cloys because of the cost, the loss of what tastes, and finds, and knows. It is victory by defragmentation and disaster by careful living, rejection of the life given in favour of getting out of a suffering state into another, which leaving suffering, moves into an unintelligible, inexpressible, undefined contentment without content.

What then ? Leaving such inadequacy, we find God Himself as eternal as often presented, is necessary instead of nothing, from the start; for there to be a start with what it takes for such a finish with all its features both superficial and underlying, as we have been seeing. Nothing won't do anything, so to start with it is not to end with us.

You have to have one of two things: nothing and irrationalism with the results discussed: this the starting point; or else something that never was not there, that is eternal, so that you do not have to import from nothing, a contradiction in terms. As to this something, that logically has to have been there eternally, it has to have the power to invent mind, matter and spirit, or else these would not have come; but they are in fact,  operationally apparent (cf. SMR). For this there are minimal requirements.

This sufficiency has to be there from the first, rather than nothing, but it has altogether to be there, since to become and find itself in stages merely puts it in a system, which is not nothing, and then THAT system has its cause, and this goes to the point where all systems, any system, has to be the object of view, and its cause the requirement. Elements of God do not come from nothing, which has not even power to make a dust particle, entirely non- and in particular non-operational. What is required is thus totally and eternally present, and being sufficient, and with these results, so acts. We ARE results. Products is a better word, in view of our constrictions, constraints and personal nature.

What is eternal, then, coming from nothing in stages, is mere self-contradiction. It cannot do so as nothing is defined to have meaning and this is not within its bounds. Coming at all merely duplicates the situation, and requires the same treatment: source, conditions of coming, necessary minimal requirements in the source. To avoid stultified repetition, it is necessary to go at once to the necessity: Eternal Sufficiency for all that is.

Hence there is always an adequacy, cover for all and basis and background for anything; and it has to have all to create mind, matter and spirit, and put them in what, if not a unison, is a matrix for operation, in turn, physical, mental and spiritual. As time with its constraints and limitations is a product, it is not integumental to the Eternal who decides to make truth available. Hence knowing beyond this area for development, and lacking nothing, and needing nothing, and psychically without any room for obtaining what lacks, which would merely again be a contradiction in terms, He declares what He determines to divulge (as in Amos 3:7,Jeremiah 23, I Corinthians 2, I Peter 1, II Peter 1), and into His sentient and conscious creation in His image, He publishes this (cf. Isaiah 52:7). It is so important because of sin and the understanding of reality by His magnificently created product, man, that even the feet of those carrying its message of sin, righteousness, redemption and pardon, are deemed beautiful.

Such is this Eternal Being.

NOTHING visible is of this kind. NOTHING visible institutes this kind of creation. It is not seen. It does not show itself. What matter and mind are in our universe, show themselves to be, are not self-inventive; for only programs proceed in this creative way, inventing children on a set programmatic basis, enabling un-inventible things, in terms of any visible power. The work is past; the results are present.

Putting therefore the created world as it is, as if it were all, the basis and containment of shat is,  ignores the reason for it, the restraints, constraints, laws, principles, persons and their logical applications, whether in atheism, theism, agnosticism or adventurism. In such modes as Buddhism, there is a specialisation, and an elision of the domains outside it, in the intensification of thought, cursory glances beyond its meaning, solution and reduction modes, being inadequate. It is like having reading glasses, fine for one tiny page in front, but lacking any ability to see the entirety in its imperturbable preoccupation with what is under its nose. It fails in its grasp, lacks ability to meet the requirements of the whole;  and this is reductionism, not only in terms of cause and laws, but creation and institution.

Let us however look beyond the systematic failure*1 (see SMR on Buddhism), to the results of it. Let us consider the allegation further, that the Sermon on the Mount is really just the same sort of thing as Buddha's teaching.

 

THE COMPARISON

OF THE QUALITY AND TENOR OF TEACHING

IN BUDDHA AND THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT IN PARTICULAR

The aim is extinction of the desire, passion of life, with the end absorption into some nirvana, which while some  may vary on what it is meant to be, appears to mean the loss of individual identity in a soup of Being, or blessedness of end to all that makes for suffering in living effort.

This is, in its OVERVIEW, entirely negative. Life is to GO (not to HAVE go), and move into the dissolution at last, which while it may seem the solution, has no identifiable difference from non-being, and certainly from non-individual being.

Christ's sermon on the Mount, which the letter writer so inaccurately demeaned vis vis this view of Buddha, the one in point, is wholly different in KIND. It indicates, underlying its many applications, that God is,  is identifiable as in the Old Testament (in the main, written  centuries before Buddha), and His ethics is there characterised basically, in terms of love for one's neighbour as oneself, and love for deity with all the heart and soul and mind and  strength: He is presented as a God of justice and lovingkindness (Leviticus 19:18, Deuteronomy 6:5). That is just the way He is, that He wants to be, who has NOTHING to combine with, for any type of synthesis, unlike Hinduism and Buddhism, and is personal because this is His eternal nature, on whom all else depends, amid its multitudinous and eminently diversified natures.

In Leviticus 19, there are many detailed particulars about just and due righteous and fair-minded treatment of one's neighbour, with concern for the afflicted. You see the last named at length in Amos 3:10-15, while in Joel 3:3 the scorn is high for the one who 'has given a boy for a harlot', while in Isaiah 3:15, the divine detestation that some 'grind the face of the poor' is manifest. Indeed, in Isaiah 3:13-15 more on the lack of justice and compassion, concern and regard for others is branded like a hot iron on the national conscience. The passionate delight in love, loveliness, mercy (cf. Micah 7:18-19), justice, righteousness, peace of heart  (Isaiah 26) seizes the world like a whirlwind, and so far from backing off with hope of reducing suffering, and having a nullified thrust, it is endorsed with vitality, required with vigour and attested with direness. Living is not a cute way to avoid suffering and to deny its very self, in the instance of man, but to affirm God and His power and presence, and to live in His vitality and grace, and to show it!

God has spoken, brought life, and man must live it to the full (John 10:10). These are its ways, and the Lord Himself is THE way, not only explicitly correction distortion and misinformation, but showing in Himself the place for worship of God, in this, that as man He is formed to manifest God in purity and truth, from heaven sent, to heaven returning, and for His own people, coming once more to lose nothing loosed (John 8, 25). Thus Christ is worshipped as God for the very simple reason that this is He (cf.  Matthew 7:15-21ff.). His eyes see, and He presents, and His heart speaks, and He shows the sheer beauty of holiness, living that is not hollow but happy, not self-centred but expressive of the God of truth and judgment, kindness and consideration.

That is basic to the Sermon on the Mount. It is to TRUST in this living God who KNOWS ALL about His people, and so find not pain-free passage, but sufficiency for  life in the manifest beauty of divine holiness, the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:3-10), a life now available as one serves God amid a fallen world,  as well as in consummate form, in a world to come (Luke 17:21). So distinct is the trust-truth and knowledge basis, from God personally, that if one does not come to the living God as He is, on the basis of His explicit word, one has no standing whatsoever (Matthew 7:21ff.);  and only from God Himself, in His express word and presence in power and peace, can ANY good thing be wrought. So  good is this that it is continued in eternal, individual life in the presence of this same God.

Free of works, is the ENTRY  (Romans 3:23ff., Titus 3:3ff., Ephesians 2). Filled with works is the very nature of the new creation, covering those who find and follow this transformative God, born anew at the outset, with hearts naturally now loving God, and growing in grace and knowledge afterwards. Life abounds; the Lord astounds: power and pity, strength and direction, creative thrust and divine goodness work together.

In the one case, that from Buddha, you try to avoid suffering and do what it seems to take. You end in a spiritless nothingness, or indefinable somethingness, most blessed, but by whom and for whom, it is difficult to know.

In the other, you face suffering  manfully, to achieve the good things that God shows and knows, in love trusting that God who made you, and directs you, is the One to serve, and not oneself. Thus, one's needs or one's canny avoidance of difficulties (Matthew 6:24,33) are not to pre-occupy. Courage, truth and faith are the coin of this realm, and mercy for its notes, is its water-mark. Difficulties and travails, these are to be surmounted, not seen as dangerous suffering-adjuncts (Matthew 6:6, 6:10,5:17-20).

Immanent, eminent, outspoken, directive,  protective, granting mercy to those who trust Him according to His word, the Creator who is God, it is He who is the focus, consummation and payor for life,  covering sin,  granting salvation, inviting all, knowing His own. Moreover, God is exhibited, in truth defined in clarity and illustrated profusely, with His own blood in dying for man (Acts 20:28, I John 2:1-2),  to cover as many as received Him in spirit and reality (John 1:12, Matthew 6:12,15,24,7:11,21).

Thus life is so entrancing from such a source with such a blessing, that to have it in an individual body, like the One raised for Christ, and in the presence of all His people, freely living and loving Him, and to have it eternally is a love story, an adventure of romance and a wonder for time to come. It is not for the perfect, whose self-admiration is readily seen. It is for fallen man, so splendidly made, so servilely sinning, and so freely given entrance, but only by faith with repentance, to life (cf. Zephaniah 3:12-17,MIcah 7:18-19). ALL are invited (Matthew 22), even vigorously sought, but no salvation is wrought or taught which merely seduces, or induces: for with God, all things are manifest (Hebrews 4).

 

THE SERMON, THAT ON THE MOUNT, 

THAT HAD VAST WORKS AS ITS WITNESS

The depiction of Buddha and the Sermon on the Mount ? Thus the MOTIVES are different, the BASIS of life is different, the END of life is different, the approach to SUFFERING is utterly different, the basis is not only distinct, explicit and continually shown, but the source, means and end of life, which is to be in Christ affirmed, used with diligence, sought with passion, entered into with altruistic delight, not in order to inherit less suffering, but out of love, looking and living in this sphere for its consummation in the highly personal (Revelation 1-3) fulfilment of the early promise and potential of life. Wonderful it is, far more wonderful will it be to those who are NOT told to depart from Him (Matthew 7:21), since they are built on the rock of His word, and thus His ransoming pardon and peace (Titus 3:7ff., Romans 5:1-12, Ephesians 1:11, I Peter 1:5ff.).

There is nothing in Buddha's teaching to resemble this, and where something concerning good works appears, these are emphatically NOT to save you (Romans 3, Ephesians 2, Titus 3), but to express love of God and of those whom He has made (cf. Colossians 1:23). Comparing Buddha's teaching with that of Christ: it is rather like comparing the lid of a box of chocolates with the contents. The lid has  some meaning, but the contents are positively delicious,  aspired to as remarkable,  reflective of artful work.

Not a tittle of the Old Testament does God intend to  discard, but rather to fulfil all (Matthew 5:17ff.), a giant contribution carved out and put into history some 800 years before Buddha's difficult to decipher conundrums, and negative thrusts towards loss of life. On the contrary, the biblical revelation is the offering of God, not as unknowable truth but the only basis for it and the declaration source for it, constantly affirmed throughout millenia, and made known from the first (Genesis 3:15), set in ways testable, sometimes in blessing on faith, at others in judgments on insincere servitude to pretence.

In Him is the gracious restoration to the blessed nature of man's origin, of the source of that, in spirit and in truth. In Him is the advance to the consummation in this, body resurrected, life engraced with His grace (Ephesians 1:6: and it is then like the life of a child, before adulthood, at last reaching this. Yet it is far greater than this; for that comes and passes; but this comes to pass and never is ceased or surpassed.

From the suffering and sentence and curse, not an endemic feature of life, but an additive because of sin, does  Christ's blood of sacrifice startle the air, the service of deity in the restoration of man!

Again, in the Sermon on the Mount, the emphasis is on light, not dissolution into darkness; on zeal, not dispassionate departure; on pursuit of righteousness with zest in life, not help toward the virtually meaningless, with even difficulty of definition, as the Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge attests, concerning Buddhistic approaches to 'nirvana'. In the Bible, the light is intense, the categories distinct, as befits the God of all wisdom and knowledge.

One is to seek righteousness (Matthew 6:33), not only in any basic sympathetic hope of allaying suffering,  but because it IS right, according to our design and the Lord's image: and zest for it is best, hungering and thirsting. This is because this amplifies life, not because it reduces suffering; it gives freer course to what is the wonder of God's gift of life, not because it stuffs up holes in the roof of this world's difficulties. It is not essentially a matter of minimising problems, but maximising life, with the vision of what it is, sustained from Him who accompanies one with power and wisdom, if one has become His! This moreover is a vision of true God, who by His Spirit (Matthew 7:11, Luke 11:13) brings immediate nearness to God, aid to prayers and enablement with strength to His people (cf. Luke 21:13-15).

One is to mourn (Matthew 5:4), not because simply there is a lot of pain such as death, but because there is a better way, available, pressed upon one with wisdom and knowledge, clearly statable, with motivation correctly inscribed. Indeed,  there is comfort in this mourning, for the kingdom of heaven is present, will be consummated, and we work as in it with Him who made us, till He comes to restore our bodies after death, to take the helm once more, and to dispense with the SIN, revolt, rebellion against the God of all vitality (John 10), which is the cause not merely of suffering, but of confusion, of hatred of others, of vindictiveness, jealousy and divorce from the God of all grace and comfort.

Again, blessed are those who are persecuted (Matthew 5:12). Why ? Because it increases suffering ? Not at all, but because it is for righteousness' sake. It is not minimisation of suffering which matters, any more than minimising the soreness of your feet on a journey is paramount. It is getting where you have to go with grace in the heart and light in the mind, which matters. There are things to be achieved, in love,  news of the Gospel to be given, hope for the world and goodness for the desire. Thus, those heeding this essentialising and sharpening of Old Testament teaching, centred in the Messiah, will be those on a rock, unshakeable because HE is unshaken (Matthew 7:24ff., cf. Psalm 18, 62), suffering an evil event,  borne for His sake (I Peter 4:14ff.), with a relished joy of spiritual blessing,  living a treasure.

Life resounds; its development is bugled, its delightful destiny in the Redeemer, where purity of heart has led, shimmers and love  leads. This is as near to the teaching of Buddha as a beach is to a desert, or at least, a wonder is to a wilderness.

It is this unificatory passion which also haunts, in its own way,  the 21st century where men are just as painfully passionate about making all things one, all gods one, all ideals one, so that preferably they will be cast in such morally neutral terms as to admit of any desired behaviour,  so long as they serve spiritual death with tweaked minds and nimble feet. They are setting about making creation from nothing, and intemperately contrived imaginary nothings to become authors of dedicated laws susceptible to tight mathematical precision,  discoverable in multitudes, governing in much the entire universe. This is government by nothing, for nothing, from nothing; and there is nothing to it; but to man there is much both given and of which account is to be made.

It is that trampling on truth for the sake of the cultural craze, philosophic haze, confused ways,  which has made strong nations subside, like England and the US, in their governmental posturing, and the reliance they put on their own thoughts, ways and morals. Weakness has led to more wars, threats, abeyance, abatement, and division of the nations. It was the elevation of truth which saw their rise; for the human being is not made for temporising but truth, for autonomy but for obedience, for canniness but for courage, to be valiant for the truth: not squandering it, but spiritually applying it. The fact that we have, each one,  a magnificent heritage from the donation of creation from our God, does not alter because of thankless hearts, confused minds or feckless spirits.

His word rules; His work awaits. His pardon with peace needs to be found, or life is confounded, not with very intoxications of decrease, but with judgment explicit, deserved and not to be denied. Truth has many sides: it inspires, it calls, it invigorates, it resolves, it implies, it implicates, and with God, where its heart is to be found, it breathes pardon in peace, where faith and acceptance of the revelation of God in proposition in the Bible, and in Person in the Messiah, Jesus Christ, received.