Buddha and Christ

Many scholars of comparative religions have compared Siddhartha Gautama and Jesus, pointing out the following similarities:

• Both were born into the dominant religions (Hinduism and Judaism) of the regions in which they lived.
• Both are said to be incarnations of gods (this is true for Buddha only in the Mahayana version of the religion).
• Both are said to have come into the world through miraculous births.
• Both suffered temptations by the Evil One before beginning their ministries.
• Both challenged the religious authorities (Brahmins and Pharisees) of their day.
• Both gathered a select group of disciples around them.
• Both lived the lives of itinerant teachers.
• Both challenged their followers to leave all and follow them.
• Both sent out their disciples to spread their teachings.
• Neither wrote down their ideas, which were recorded by their followers after their deaths.
• Both are worshiped as gods by their followers (again, this is only true of Mahayana Buddhism).

The differences, however, are far greater than the similarities, and illustrate key differences between Buddhism and Christianity.

• Jesus declared Himself to be God, while Buddha explicitly rejected such an identification.
• Jesus taught that He deserved worship while Buddha repudiated it.
• Jesus proclaimed His message to all who would hear, while Buddha restricted his to the select few who were able to follow the ascetic lifestyle he promoted.
• Jesus died a sacrificial death to save His followers, while Buddha died from poisonous mushrooms.
• Buddha claimed to show his followers the path to Nirvana by his example and teachings, while Jesus claimed to be the way of salvation, paying for the sins of all who believe in Him.
• Buddha taught a way of salvation by doing, while Jesus taught that salvation comes only by faith in Him.

[Excerpt from my Defending Your Shield]