Showing posts from July, 2016

When Emptying Out Isn't Enough

According to the Four Noble Truths, the goal of Buddhism is to reach enlightenment by emptying yourself of the things that cause desire and that thereby lead to suffering. In other words, you must detach or empty yourself in order to reach Nirvana. And what is Nirvana? It is emptiness, "nothingness" or ceasing to exist. That is the goal of Buddhism—to totally empty oneself out into the universe.
Perhaps that sounds attractive to you. In all honesty, there are days when emptying yourself out into nothingness might be a nice alternative to the feelings of stress, exhaustion & pessimism that you might go through. For folks who feel constant pain and who sense the pain of others, there’s likely to be a recurring desire to shake free from these feelings.
The Christian faith also teaches the importance of emptying. But there are significant differences in this regard between Christianity and Buddhism. Emptying oneself is not the goal of being a Christian. The objective of the …

Do You Understand God's Forgiveness?

How we view forgiveness shapes our understanding of everything in the Christian faith. To be more specific, our view of God's forgiveness impacts the way we forgive.
For a long time, many folks believed that God only forgave sin if he could punish before offering his act of forgiveness. This is a punitive or transactional view of forgiveness.
The standard storyline went something like this: God can't stand sin. Even though God loves you, God can't stand to be with you if you sin. God wants to forgive you but has to take out his disgust with sin by punishing you somehow until you get it right.
Since we're all sinners & repeat offenders, this creates quite a problem. According to the traditional story, Jesus came along and lived without ever sinning. Finally, here was someone God didn't have to punish. But in order to forgive you of your sins, God punished Jesus instead of you.
This standard version of the story of forgiveness is mostly rubbish in my book—and not…