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Father Son and Zen Buddhism

Some time ago, a visitor to truthforsaints.com wrote a kind email and had a very practical question about allowing his son to “explore” various world religions. I hesitate to reply dogmatically to such a question so answered the best I could in the vein of “here is how I will handle that question

Some time ago, a visitor to truthforsaints.com wrote a kind email and had a very practical question about allowing his son to “explore” various world religions. I hesitate to reply dogmatically to such a question so answered the best I could in the vein of “here is how I will handle that question (as I’m sure it will arise!) My response is directly after his question - John Writes:

I just wanted to say how valuable your site has been in answering some of the more difficult questions that my son Tyler has been asking me. Some of his friends at school are muslim and buddhist and his teachers are pushing evolution into his mind and your site was a great summary of some of the key points separating science from God as well as between Christianity and the other beliefs. So thank you for creating such a helpful resource, it's been really helpful.

Also, my son wants me to take him to a Zen temple because he wants to "check it out." He heard that Michael Jordan uses Zen techniques to concentrate and became interested. I'm very hesitant to allow this... what do you think I should do?

Thank you for your encouraging email. I'm glad my site was able to provide a couple answers for you.
We hope to update it soon with an audio series called "Answering Islam" a 6 part series based on the Norman Geisler book of the same name. So, hopefully you'll check back! Or you can access our
Information about Islam page as well.

Regarding your son, its a difficult situation I realize, my son is 3 years old and I'm sure, as we begin to enter a more "spiritual pluralist” society, he will be exposed to more and more belief systems that are erroneous (and outright dangerous). To answer your question, I guess I would have to know a little bit more about your background spiritually. Are you coming from a Biblical Christian worldview, or no? This is significant in determining the best course of action going forward.

I think the critical thing here is that, as his father, you are the one guiding him, and not simply 'turning him loose' for obvious reasons. A knee-jerk reaction might be to put your foot down and 'demand' that he abandon this 'Zen' idea and then proceed to bash Buddhism etc. Sadly, this is how much of these curious and insightful questions of childhood are handled by many well meaning Christians (sadly, behavior that is most often seen in
cults).

How I intend to deal with this situation when (not if) it arises with my boy is, to follow the example that the Apostle Paul gave when he saw the statue to the "unknown god". He didn't squelch, suppress, or bash the beliefs of the Athenians but rather, he took something that the enemy meant for harm and turned their 'interest' in spiritual things into an opportunity to believe!

I believe this can work for you. Obviously, I'm assuming that you've been born again (don't let that expression scare you) which means that at whatever Christian church that you attend, you've asked Jesus of the Bible into your heart to forgive your sins by his payment on the cross, and you've asked Him to be your Lord and Savior - this has nothing whatsoever to do with
what church or denomination we belong to but rather everything to do with which God we have given ourselves to. If you click the hotlink I’ve just referenced here it will take you to a page which discusses whether “all gods are the same God, or not?”

That being said, a good 'brush up' on Zen Buddhism would be of enormous value to you prior to your visit.
That puts you in the position of 'guide' and not 'co-learner'. Also a good brush up on what Christians believe
and why we believe will be your "Athenian" moment.

Ultimately, Zen Buddhism is a mixture of Buddhism and Taoism. Both faiths are really ideologies and are not,
in their foundations, religious beliefs! Buddha told his followers NEVER to worship him, however, within a few
hundred years of his death, a Chinese emperor burned incense to his tomb and the rest is history, enormous statues,
Dalai Lamas, Orange robes, the whole bit.
Buddhism revolves around the 4 jewels:

1. The existence of pain
2. The cause of pain
3. The cessation of pain
4. The path to cessation of pain

Odd, but Buddhism really revolves around “self” and “pain”.

And Taoism is really, mystical learning, whereby the "way of the Tao" pronounced 'DOW', is a learning path
that one can never really achieve. There is a creedo among Taoists,
"The way of the Tao cannot be told, if one
tells it, he does not know it, if one knows it, he does not tell it"

So its the combination of two 'ethical' systems that appeals to men and women who have not been born again.
Jesus made it clear that He, being God incarnate, is the only way into heaven, and that anyone who comes in (or claims to 'come in') by any other path, is a thief and a robber.

He goes on to say in John ch10 "All who come before me are thieves and robbers." and Siddharta Guatama and Lao Tzu both came before Jesus and both claimed that the belief in an afterlife was 'futile' and that one should be focused on self and self alone, whether it is ridding self of pain (Buddhism) or ridding one's self of desire (Taoism) they are contrary to Jesus' teaching of being "other" focused, meeting "others" needs, pains, hurts, fixing our desire on Him that He might give us the desires of our heart. Quite a contrast to Zen Buddhism.

Do you have a question for our staff here at truthforsaints.com? Please go to our contact page and send it in. We will be happy to give an answer to those who ask. Please note that your question may be utilized as a blog entry for the education of others regarding World Religions, Cults, Christian Denominations, or various World Views.

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