Back in 2007, I received an email from a young woman whose life was a mess. It wasn’t as bad a mess as Tiger Woods’ life. But she was miserable. And the source of her misery was similar to Tiger’s. She had been sleeping around for a number of years and simply couldn’t find peace and happiness. Apparently, something she read in one of my columns convinced her she could no longer continue to have sex outside of marriage and expect happiness.
So she stopped sleeping with her boyfriend. He was pretty irritated because he was the one who recommended my columns to her in the first place. He thought the columns would affect her but really didn’t expect them to affect him – at least not in that particular way!
The column the young woman referenced was about the concept of “testing the fleece” to determine what God wants for your life. It also included an assertion that no matter what one’s past has been there is someone out there for everyone. If one makes a choice to walk with God he (or she) will not be punished with a lifetime of loneliness. God will provide someone for them regardless of their past. In other words, Christianity offers a promise of hope and redemption for even the worst of sinners.
About six months after this young woman told me she was splitting up with her boyfriend she wrote back to tell me she had met someone new. She met him at church and together they were learning to walk with God in ways they never had before. I was pleased to hear it. But I didn’t hear anything about the relationship for about two more years.
That changed in November when the woman wrote to ask me whether I was an ordained minister. I laughed before responding that I was not. Then I realized what she meant. The two were getting married. This woman who had thought she did not deserve a husband (and thought she had blown her chances of redemption) was wrong. She turned to Christianity and found a better life. She found redemption and she has now found happiness.
I shared this woman’s story in December when I was in a Karaoke bar Los Angeles. I was talking to a former cocaine addict who had turned his life around about a decade ago. He had given up drugs and alcohol and sex outside marriage since his conversion to Christianity. This was a decision he made after sleeping with over 100 different women.
This man was full of energy and enthusiasm as he talked about his new life. He felt lucky to be alive after all he had done. And he pledged to live a life of celibacy until the Lord gave him someone with whom he could share the rest of his life. He told me emphatically: “I am doing it God’s way or no way at all.”
I shared the story of the newly engaged woman with that former addict because I believe he will write to me one day with news of an engagement to another Christian. I see these happy endings all the time with people who decide to turn to Christianity for redemption.
The contrast between those who seek happiness in Christianity and those who seek happiness in Buddhism could not be more marked. I simply have no good stories to tell concerning those who turn to the latter as opposed to the former.
I think of one of my Buddhist friends – I only know two – who, since divorcing, has been involved in a number of sexual liaisons. He enjoys group sex, sex with married women, and seems to have no real boundaries in matters sexual. But he meditates daily in order to free himself from worldly desires on a supposed path towards greater enlightenment.
My only other Buddhist acquaintance – a gay man now living out West – lives a similar lifestyle. By night, he frequents gay bars. But every day he meditates for three hours – again, in an effort to free himself from worldly desires on a supposed path towards greater enlightenment.
Every religion has its abusers. And anecdotal evidence alone cannot establish the truth or falsity of any religion. But there comes a point when we being to see patterns and must admit that a religion simply does not “work” when it comes to providing recovery or redemption. The fact that followers of all forms of Buddhism combined only account for about 6% of the world’s population speaks volumes.
There are good reasons why Buddhism seems to work for so few people. Among them are the following:
1) Because some Buddhists are atheists, some are polytheists, and some are pantheists, Buddhists have a hard time agreeing on an objective basis for good an evil.
2) Since Buddhists believe that evil is an illusion there is no basis for condemning the actions of a Tiger Woods anyway. And there is little sense seeking a cure for something that does not really exist.
3) The Buddhist seeks to eliminate all desire through, among other things, persistent meditation. But the Buddhist’s desire to eliminate desire is both contradictory and self-defeating. Maybe logical consistency, like evil, is merely an illusion.
4) Finally, the tendency to look within to find enlightenment is nothing more than a poorly-disguised desire to become one’s own personal god. Such a desire is more than just a contradiction of the supposed effort to thwart desire. It is a vain attempt to inflate one’s ego in an effort to cure problems that stem from an inflated ego. It seeks in vain to make a cure out of a disease.
Brit Hume was right about the prospect of Christianity offering redemption for Tiger Woods. He was right because Christianity offers truth and Buddhism offers an illusion. And that is why we must steer clear of Buddhism. We simply cannot allow its karma to run over our dogma.