Written by: Arvic O. Baldoza, SHS-TIII
I am humbled. Nearly at the end of this second semester, when my senior high school students and I were learning the ways of other world religions, particularly that of Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism and Shintoism that I realized the need to change the course of my thoughts and emphasis of making Christianity as a superior religion more than anything else. Having studied philosophy, theology and religion for years now, I have felt the sense of amazement to Catholic Theology as superior in reasoning, vast and wide with its doctrines, and firmly founded of scholarly ideas in dogmas. With these, I thought, through the inferiority of the other religions, the superiority of Christianity will be emphasized. Such was my mission in mind at the beginning of the second semester.
However, when I revisited the ways of the Buddha in addressing the reality of suffering (dukkha), the principle of reciprocity or the Golden Rule of Confucianism, the subtle effectiveness of the “Tao” and the irrationality and imperfections of Shintoism, I am humbled enough to accept the fact that, in view of history, these wisdoms are far more ancient than Christianity. That, unlike Christianity that is very much affected by Western rationalization, these oriental religions give much emphasis on the emotional and spiritual aspect of the human person. Do not get me wrong, I do not say Christianity is less emotional and less spiritual, but what I say is that it is highly rationalized. This can easily be noticed to the hundreds of Christian sects being born every year because of the differences of interpretation of the Bible. The typical question “What is the biblical basis of your beliefs or practices?” has been the cause of divisions and discriminations among Christian denominations.
Whereas, these oriental religions/philosophies have valued coexistence with other religions. In fact, it is coexistence with the world. Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism simultaneously existed in China and other Asian territories. Shintoism did not have any problems as well when Taoist and Buddhist monks became present in Japan. Interestingly, these religions do not believe in the presence of paradise or the world after this life which made them so careful to the environment they are living in. One Buddhist monk said “We are part of nature. Nature is part of us. When we get hurt, nature gets hurt and vice versa. However, most of us Christians do not feel nature is hurting because we do not seem to care for the world we have today thinking that we have a spare of a next world. Our Christianity is poisoned too much by Greek Dualism which sees material world evil and the ideal is spiritual and divine.
Before I expound further and turn this into a novel, let me now drive out my point and end my discussion here. That, as a teacher of Introduction to the World Religions and Belief Systems, and as a Christian, it is my duty to explain my faith in the light of other world religions and belief systems, yet not to make mine superior so as to dim others as inferiors, but to respect these faiths and learn much from them to become a better follower and faithful person. After all, there is nothing wrong being Christian in our beliefs and Buddhist, Confucianist, Taoist, and even Shintoist in our ways.
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