Benjamin - Hot Springs, Arkansas
Entered on October 13, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

I turn on the news, and I see a church preaching hate. I go to school, and I see kids who follow Christ persecute others. I know racists ministers, and adulterous Christians. It seems that everyone is a hypocrite. I discovered a more fulfilling, peaceful, Christian way of life through an unlikely source, Buddhism.

I grew up a Methodist Christian, but I always had my doubts. I am a very probing person, and like most everyone I was not satisfied with biblical answers. Throughout my entire life, I thought I was going to hell because I did not believe the tiny details of the Old and New Testament. I thought I was the only one. Slowly, it dawned on me that I must not be alone, and then, as I met new people and read more books, western philosophies and eastern philosophies, I realized that it did not matter.

If you take out the “rules” of most religions, you end up with the same basic concept. This concept is a path to everlasting happiness, however you would like to describe it. Jesus said that you could reach it through his teachings, as did Buddha. What is interesting is that they both said many of the same things.

Buddhism is not so much a religion as a way of life, as was Christianity.

I believe Buddhism’s format is the theological format that Jesus’ followers originally used. It is not so much the end, but a means to the end. It is a path to happiness, not happiness directly. It has no metaphysical attachments to it, but it also does not condemn or condone metaphysical beliefs. It is tolerant.

I believe that the bible has been tainted by many political pressures over the years, and I think that many details in the bible are there to govern, not enlighten. I also believe that it is perfectly okay if you do not believe as I do. That is the most important lesson from the bible: tolerance. It is also the least followed.

Today we have so many extremes in religious thought, that it is almost comical what we criticize each other for. We all need to relax, and realize that all anybody ever said to do was to love your neighbor as yourself. Not just your Christian neighbors, white, black, Muslim, Agnostic, Jewish, hetero neighbors. Everyone.

That is all Jesus was saying. That was all Buddha was saying.

How have we lost that?