A term coined by Buddhist author A.L. de Silva in his book Beyond Belief: a Buddhist Critique of Christianity.

He says that Fundamentalist Christianity poses a threat to Buddhism, and it can only be countered by familiarizing oneself with its teachings and fallacies.

A Westerner may be surprised by the idea of the threat to Buddhism. After all, in America many people turn away from Christianity to embrace Buddhism.

But the author published his book in Sri Lanka. The fundamentalists are actively proselytizing in many traditionally Buddhist countries, where many Buddhists are Buddhists simply because Buddhism was passed on to them by their ancestors, not because they necessarily even know the basic tenets of Buddhism.

At any rate, according to the author taking up the challenge can be only beneficial: If one studies both Christianity and Buddhism in depth and objectively, the challenge poses no threat.

Obviously, many Westerners, not necessarily Buddhists, feel the threat, as can be seen by the sheer number of write-ups about Christianity here on E2.

My personal advice to them is:

Well, buddhists aren't exactly all a bunch of benevolent mantra-chanters either you know. Buddhism has its share of skeletons in the closet, and is burdened with just as much hypocrisy as Christianity. There are many different branches of Buddhism, Theravada, Mahayana, Zen, etc. Not all buddhists believe in the same thing, every time I hear some Free Tibet kiddie talk about the unity of Buddhism and the fracturing of Christianity I have to laugh.

Dirty secrets? Oh there's plenty of that. War monks in China wrecked havoc upon each other and the countryside for the prestige of their temple for eons before the dynastic emperor put a stop to the whole deal. Same thing in Japan. If Buddhism is all about peace and loving, here lies a little bit of hypocritism. War monks constituted as some of the most savage people in China at one time, combining religious craze with martial arts do act as puppets to the bidding of their leaders. They killed for fun and without remorse.

Tibet, the big treasure ground for killing in the name of Buddhism. For eons, the theocratic dictatorships of Tibet assaulted, tortured and murdered the peasants of Tibet for their own personal gain, while putting the facade of religious leadership and spirituality as a set of "Lamas". Are they peaceful? No. Are they benevolent? Heck no. They were greedy despots who stole from their peons to build glorious temples plated with gold to entertain their own perverted sense of enlightenment.

Sri Lanka doesn't exactly have a peaceful history. Atrocities abound, and the Sri Lankan Civil War between the government and the Tamil Tigers is still raging on. For a country so devoutly buddhist, they are killing each other with gusto and a smile on their faces. I doubt any of them have any remorse for their actions. Buddhism is supposed to be peaceful, but its practitioners rarely follow its guidelines.

Thailand. It's long history of violence and vice does not speak well for Buddhism. Not to mention all those other countries such as India that has had a buddhist regime some time in its past. None of them followed peace and loving. Buddhism has just as many flaws and hypocritical believers as any other religion. Don't let the Dalai Lama and his nonsense trick you. Remember, his predecessors gleefully ripped open the guts of countless peasants in the name of Buddhism.

Well, by this logic, then Buddhism poses a threat to Christianity in America, where countless people call themselves Christian because they celebrate Christmas and might show up to church on Christmas Eve and Easter Sunday. By the logic the original writeup was describing, these people are ripe for conversion and need to be defended from such, except that Buddhism doesn't appear (at least to me -- I'll admit I don't know as much about it as I should) to have an incentive toward proselytizing.

I guess the question here is whether the author feels threatened when people who only have a religion-by-default, without knowledge of what they think they believe, are taught about another belief system, and find it more attractive than the empty shell of a religion they claim. Note that this argument can just as easily be applied in the United States or another majority-Christian country to Christianity as the "empty shell," and another religion with proselytizing beliefs (say, Islam) as the teaching base.

But yet, as a Christian, I don't feel threatened by Buddhism, Islam, Jainism, Judaism, Hinduism, Mormonism, agnosticism, atheism or any of the other beliefs I've encountered among my friends or acquaintances (my high school academic team my senior year consisted of a Jainist, a Muslim, a Jew, and little old United Methodist me). But maybe that's because (a) I've been exposed to all these different beliefs and have done at least a passing amount of research into most of them, and (b) I know what I believe and am confident I can defend it to my satisfaction when others attack.

I can't compel people to believe something, or even to educate themselves about something before they discount it. I can try to provide such education, but people have the right not to listen (and believe me, a hell of a lot of people exercise that right). And that's fine by me.

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