Compare and Contrast Buddhism and Christianity Essay

Religion is one of the oldest and most sacred traditions of the human species. Religion started off as a basic belief in an afterlife, and then further developed into tribal religions, which evolved into ancestral worship, then to polytheism, and lastly into monotheism. Monotheism in the form of Christianity is the largest religion of the modern world, and it has similar beliefs to other world religions such as Buddhism. Christianity and Buddhism are similar because both religions teach about the equality of people and that making good choices reflects the positive teachings of that religion.

They are also similar in how they formed, as both broke off from another religion that was exclusive, and both became popular and spread easily because they were inclusive to all people. These religions are different because of the locations in which they developed, beliefs in a different afterlife, and the different lives of Jesus and Buddha. Christianity and Buddhism have similar beliefs in that all people are created equal, and that each religion teaches people how to make good decisions that honor their God or Gods.

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Both of the religions have basic tenants that set forth their beliefs. In Buddhism there are the Four Noble Truths and the 8-Fold Path, and in Christianity there are the 10 Commandments. Each of these beliefs is a set of laws that tell followers of the religion about the equality of people and how to make the choices to live a pure life. Both religions broke off from already powerful and widely accepted exclusive religions in order to provide salvation to everyone. Siddhartha Gautama (Buddha) founded Buddhism from Hinduism because he was unhappy with the exclusivity of Hindus.

In Buddhism, one can still believe in the same Gods but doesn’t have to be in the top class to be saved as was the case with Hinduism. Likewise in Christianity, Jesus was born into a Jewish family, who God said were the chosen people, but he left because he said he was the son of God, and was sent to save everybody who follows him. Christianity and Buddhism were widely accepted and easily spread religions because they both offer salvation to all of their followers.

The Bible says that anyone who accepts Jesus as the messiah and God as their father is eligible for salvation, and Buddhism says that anyone who believes in the four noble truths and follows the eight fold path can reach enlightenment. These concepts were both very popular in the places they spread to, and many people converted from older, more exclusive religions. Christianity and Buddhism saying that anyone can be saved is the main reason they spread. Many exclusive religions didn’t even offer a chance for people to convert, and ones that did, such as Hinduism, made people start off in a low class.

Therefore, these religions were not popular with people and could not spread very far. The promise of followers being saved is what made Christianity and Buddhism popular, so they were able to spread far and reached many people around the world. These similarities are why Christianity and Buddhism have developed into the major world religions of today. Christianity and Buddhism are both major religions, but developed in different parts of the world. Christianity developed in the Middle East by the disciples of Jesus, and it spread westward first becoming popular with Emperor Constantine, who was in charge of the eastern Roman Empire.

At first Christianity wasn’t accepted vary widely in the rest of Europe because they thought it would interfere with the government, but then when governments decided it would be more powerful to use Christianity many civilizations converted and it continued to spread westward. Contrasting to that, Buddhism developed in eastern India and spread east. Buddhism wasn’t very popular in India because the main religion Hinduism was tied with the cast system, and outside invaders converted to Buddhism. Instead of becoming popular in India, it spread to the Far East and became very popular with China, Japan and surrounding countries.

The afterlife beliefs of Buddhism and Christianity are one of the main differences in the religions. Buddhist believes in Nirvana, while Christians believe in heaven. Nirvana means extinguishing or unbinding and for Buddhism that means freedom from earthly things that bind you and freedom from the reincarnation cycle, but you don’t have to be dead to reach Nirvana. You can achieve Nirvana by giving up all worldly things and meditating. While Heaven in Christianity is a place of eternal rest with God and Jesus, and you can reach Heaven by being good in life. Heaven and Nirvana however are both rewards for good people.

If you are a bad person in Buddhism you keep going through the reincarnation cycle, and are never really at peace until you stop, but in Christianity you go to hell, which is a place where you are tortured for eternity by the devil. Jesus’ life and Buddha’s life were very different. Jesus is said to be the Son of God, and was born from the Virgin Mary. He was also born a Jew, who were the people already saved by God. His father was a carpenter, and so before he left home he was a carpenter. For most of his later life Jesus traveled around teaching people about God, and how he could save everybody who believed.

He was later arrested for disobeying the Roman government, and was crucified but then rose from the dead. The many miracles Jesus preformed and also being born from a Virgin and rising from the dead is why many people say he was the son of God. The life of Buddha was much different that of Jesus. Buddha, born Siddhartha Gautama, was a Hindu prince who lived a lavish lifestyle but was still unhappy. He wandered the later part of his life trying to find the reason for suffering. Before he died he mediated under a tree for 40 days, and then rose into Nirvana.

The lives of Buddha and Jesus are similar they also have many unique differences because of the time and place of where they lived. Jesus wasn’t born into royalty so his disciples were normal working class people, and these people converted because they wanted to not because the government forced them. Siddhartha, who was born a prince, left his home was because he was unhappy with the lavish lifestyles of the upper class Hindus. If he wasn’t born a prince then he wouldn’t have left to find a new religion, and because of the caste system in India no one would have followed the religion without it being ordered by a royal.

The things that were different in their lives are the exact things that shaped the religions and are why the religions spread. Christianity and Buddhism are major religions that have both been very influential to the history of the world. They both have shaped people’s lives around the world and have made many contributions to literature, artwork and have even been the reason for debate throughout history. Without any of the world’s religions, especially these two major ones, the history of the world and the people who live in it would be very different.

With the two religions being so big there are many similarities, but also many unique differences. Some of the similarities are the religions teach about the equality of people and that making good choices reflects the positive teachings of that religion, they are also similar in how they formed, as both broke off from another religion that was exclusive, and both became widely popular and spread easily because they were inclusive to all people. These religions are different because of the different parts of the world in which they developed and spread the belief in a different afterlife, and the different lives of Jesus and Buddha.