Nature of Reality
Buddhists believe the universe always existed. Most Christians believe that God created the universe, either in the recent or distant past. Who or what is in charge of the universe? For Buddhists, everything is governed by karma. For Christians, God is in charge.
Buddha believed that one’s soul is an illusion. Christians believe that each person’s soul is very real and exists eternally, either in heaven or hell after one dies.
Buddhists believe that virtually everything is determined by karma. The only real exception is that one can attain enlightenment and cease existing, whereby karma is no longer in control. To Christians, free will is pervasive. Even though God governs, He does not force His will on human beings, except perhaps in God’s determination of each person’s eternal state (i.e., heaven/hell).
To the Buddhist, nothing exists permanently except the state of Nirvana, or total emptiness. For the Christian, God, heaven and hell, and the souls of every person are permanent.
Both Buddhists and Christians believe in life after death. However, in Buddhism, one reincarnates and returns to earth as either a person or animal. Christians believe in eternal life after just one life on earth, which will be spent either in heaven or hell.
The desired ultimate spiritual state of the Buddhist is enlightenment, enabling entrance into the state of Nirvana. The desired ultimate spiritual state of the Christian is life in heaven, to be experienced by all who have been saved.
|Universe created?||Universe always existed||Universe created by God|
|Who/What is in Charge?||Karma||God (Father, Son, Spirit)|
|Your soul||Is an illusion||Is very real & eternal|
|Free will||Very little||Pervasive|
|What is permanent?||Nothing except Nirvana (a state of total emptiness)||God, heaven/hell & the souls of every person|
|Life after death?||Repeated reincarnation (could return as an animal)||Resurrection|
|Desired ultimate spiritual state||Enlightenment (Nirvana)||Salvation (destined for heaven)|