Combining two religions

By focusing on similarities between beliefs, the differences don’t seem so impassable.

You would not guess it from looking at me or even from meeting my family, but my house is adorned with roughly 20 Buddhas, nearly half of them in my living room.

My religious background is thoroughly mixed. For the first five years of my educational career, I attended a non-denominational Christian school. There, I was exposed to all aspects of Christianity and was expected to follow all the rules, word for word. This is a far cry from the spiritual household that I live in today. My mother embraces the idea of karma over religion itself, even though she still believes in a higher power. My father is agnostic, but he has embraced the idea of karma being a part of our everyday life.

Karma, noun: action, seen as bringing upon oneself inevitable results, good or bad, either in this life or in a reincarnation

Within my household, we would not consider ourselves to be Buddhist. We each have a Christian background of some sort. Rather than choosing one religion to represent what we believe, we have chosen to combine the ideas of Christianity with Buddhism. At first glance this seems like an odd combination, but if you take a closer look into religion as a whole, the similarities are more abundant than the differences.

Religion is explaining how life began, the afterlife and how best to live your life. Each religion has the same goal; it’s just expressed in different ways. Pulling the idea of karma from Buddhism has helped me form a clearer picture of how the world works. “What goes around comes around” really does ring true in all aspects of life. Through this I have been able to put my own prejudices aside and focus on other things in life. For example, if I meet someone, I put my judgements aside because I don’t want that to come back on me, which is my belief with karma. Interestingly enough, this relates to Christianity’s “golden rule”, creating a common ground for the two religions. I feel as though I learned more from karma than I ever did in my years of private schooling, but the Christian aspect of my life is by no means gone. I still believe in God and the scripture of the Bible. I still pray, but I don’t attend church. I don’t agree with someone standing at the head of a room, telling me what the Bible says and telling me how I need to live my life by it. By pulling from both religions, I have become a more tolerant person and a better person.

Instead of focusing on the similarities of religions, most people choose to focus on the differences. We’re all familiar with the hatred and violence that result. However, even with the great differences between Buddhism and Christianity, I have been able to combine the beliefs to create the lifestyle I use today. If more people were to do the same then the differences would not seem as insurmountable.

Tessa Miller