Comparative Analysis of 2 Faith Philosophies


Brian Sullivan

Grand Canyon Spirituality in Healthcare

Randall T. Weisberg, D. Min

June 19, 2016


It is important for a healthcare worker to be conversant withdifferent religious beliefs in order to exercise tolerance.Christians and Buddhists have a different opinion of the relationshipbetween healing and religion. The two religions also show a bigdisparity in their view of the worldview. For instance, the externalreality in Christianity is a world that was created by God. On theother hand, Buddhism does not specify when the world came into being.The common notion in both philosophies is that sickness is not theintent of the creator. It is necessary for caregivers to take intoconsideration the faith of their clients because of the greatimportance that patients attach healing to their faith.

In the healthcare profession, workers come into close contact withpeople of different religious faiths. Assuming that people from allfaiths hold similar principles and values will be setting up oneselffor failure in healthcare service delivery. In this regard, it isimportant to understand different philosophies that mark thedifferences among various religions. This paper seeks to comparebetween the faith philosophies of Christianity and those of Buddhism.The paper also draws conclusions on the relevance of religion innursing and the spiritual perspective of healing.

It is important for a healthcare worker to be conversant with thefaith of others in order to exercise tolerance. For instance, in theUSA alone there are over 50 different faiths including subdivisionsof major religions such as Islam. Working in the healthcare sectorexposes an employee to clients from the entire spectrum of faiths inthe USA. It is therefore necessary for nurses and other healthcareprofessionals to learn about other faiths in order to find out theirbeliefs, practices, taboos, and virtues.

According to the Christian view of worldview, God is the primereality. God is everywhere to take care of His children on earth. Heis real and his works are evident. God is omnipresent and omnipotent.Christianity believes that God is all-powerful hence capable of manythings that are beyond the comprehension of humanity, includinghealing (Pearcey, 2005). As a religion, Buddhism does not believe ina personal connection between God and human beings. Buddhism pridesitself as being a way of life that seeks to end the suffering ofhuman beings rather than it being just a religion (Conze, 2013).Among the types of suffering, which Buddhism seeks to rid of itsfollowers, is sickness. According to Conze (2013), the religionbelieves that sickness is a result of going against the Buddhist wayof life. Buddhism draws its faith and practices from the teachings ofBuddha who was able to attain the status of asceticism through longperiods of meditation.

The external reality in Christianity is a world that was created byGod. According to Christianity, God created the world and all thelife in it in a span of six days. The world is concrete rather thanjust a spiritual body. Everything was created for a reason becausethe world needs all the creatures to function as God intended. Thisconcept of the external reality is what drives Christians to conservethe environment and speak against such destructive acts asdeforestation, climate change, and pollution. On the other hand,Buddhism does not specify when the world came into existence (Murti,2013). Unlike Christianity, Buddhism does not begin with anexplanation of how the world came into being. Instead, it starts bygiving the story of Buddha who was born to a life of comfort andplenty but decided to live a life of poverty.

A human being is God’s creation. On the sixth day of creation, Godmade man and named him Adam. Few days later, He used Adam’s rib tocreate a woman who was to be a companion for him. According to thebiblical story, He named her eve (Goheen, 2008). The two procreatedto give rise to the entire human population. Buddhism holds adifferent perspective of what constitutes a human being. The humanbody has unimaginable power if used in accordance with Buddha’sdirections. It can also be a source of sickness and suffering if notused well. The human brain can be a source of power or suffering itall depends on how the individual decides to approach life. In orderto achieve asceticism-a state of no human suffering-the human beingshould be living a life of purity that includes meditation.

After death, Christians believe that the soul of the person goes toheaven or hell depending on their deeds on earth. Christians alsobelieve that on the judgment day God shall awaken the dead, then takein the righteous and condemn the evil to eternal fire. Buddhistsbelieve that when a person dies, he is relieved of his consciousnessand he attains the state of nirvana. After losing consciousness, thedead person becomes eligible for incarnation. Incarnation is therebirth of a dead person into another form of life. The rebirth cantake the form of a newborn child or animal, but never inanimateobjects. Buddhists do not believe in the judgment day but ratherbelieve in the concept of Karma (Puri, 2009). In addition, thereligion does not explain the existence of a supernatural being thatwill keep track of all the deeds of humankind in order to determinetheir reward.

According to Christianity, it is possible to know anything at allbecause human beings were created in the image of God, who isall-knowing. Since God transferred His knowledge to humankind when hecreated him in His image, human beings have knowledge too (Moreland &ampCraig, 2003). This concept explains why Christians believe that theBible provides all the answers to life questions. All majorscientific discoveries and breakthroughs in healthcare are creditedto God because he is the source of all knowledge.

Buddhists elude all their knowledge to the teachings of Buddha. Afterattaining asceticism, Buddha reached a state of mind where he kneweverything. It is through asceticism that he was able to write thescripts (Conze, 2003). Since all his followers read and align theiractions in accordance with the scripts, then they stand a position ofknowing everything. According to Conze (2013), some of his teachings,which his followers look up to as their source of knowledge, includethe four truths- Dukkah, Karma, Nirvana, and Theravada.

Buddhists know right from wrong because the teachings of Buddhaclearly separate right from wrong. In the words of Buddha, anythingthat leads to Dukkha is wrong (Puri, 2009). According to theirbelief, Dukkah is the desire to have what one cannot achieve.According to the Buddhism religion, Dukkah is the source of allwrongdoing because it leads to stealing, greed, murder, and lying. Inorder to guide his followers into doing right, Buddha devised thenoble eight- fold path, which is supposed to lead to the cessation ofDukkha. Christians are able to know right from wrong because theywere created in the image of God who is righteous. Christians drawtheir inspiration and guidance from the Holy Spirit. In addition, theTen Commandments created by God are supposed to help Christians tomaintain a good relationship with God and their fellow human beings.

In Christianity, Human history is the creation of human beings by Godin order to serve his purpose on earth. God created human beings inorder to take care of all the other creatures. Human beings aresuperior to the other creations of God because they were made in theimage of God and they have the power to think on their own. Buddhismdoes not dwell much on human history. The religion does not explainwhere man originated the earliest mention of human beings inBuddhism was when Buddha was born to a royal family. He decided toleave the life of a prince when he realized how people were sufferingin the outside world. Prior to that, Buddhism does not give adetailed account of human history and how humankind came to exist.

Similarities in Healthcare

From the two religions discussed above, healing comes from a supremebeing. In Christianity, it comes from God while in Buddhism it comesto people who have attained the state of asceticism. Christians canreach out to God for healing through prayer, while the Buddhist canattain asceticism through long durations of meditation. Healing inChristianity is a reward by God to human beings to keep enjoyinglife. According to Conze (2013), Buddhism also believes that Healingis a reward for following the teachings of Buddha that lead to thecessation of Dukkha.

In both religions, believers are under the impression that sicknessis not the intent of the creator but a result of their undoing.According to the Buddhists, Sickness is a call to all believers to goback to their former righteous paths. In Christianity, the sick oughtto keep praying and believing in God. In Buddhism, the sick need tomeditate and stick to the teachings of Buddha.

When a person of another faith cares for a patient, what is importantat that instant is healing. Quite often, the patient does not carethat whoever is providing the care is from another faith as long asthe caregiver does not try to sway their faith. However, it isimportant that the caregivers acknowledge the different faith oftheir patients. For instance, it would be very rude for a Christiannurse to urge a Buddhist patient to keep believing in Jesus Christfor he is the greatest healer of all time. The caregiver would issuesuch a comment with good intentions but it would not go down wellwith the Buddhist patient. It is for this reason that healthcareprofessionals in multi-faith societies should make an effort inlearning the beliefs and practices of people from other faiths.Ignorance of the beliefs of people with different faith andphilosophies is no excuse for inappropriate utterances.

In conclusion, my perspective of spiritual healing is that it comesfrom within. It does not matter the religion, but all that it takesis faith. In my view, faith is the personal believe that one willbecome healed, and not necessarily a religious issue. Medicine isjust an avenue for spiritual healing. All the breakthroughs inmedicine are God’s way of minimizing suffering in his people.Through this assignment, I have learned new concepts that areprecious to Buddhism. I never knew of terms such as Dukkha,Theravada, and nirvana.

The concept that interested me the most was the idea of Dukkha. Irelate to this view because it coincides with my long belief thatgreed is the source of most of the problems in the world today. Iagree with Buddha that desire to have what we cannot afford is thesource of all human suffering. A healthcare provider needs tounderstand the beliefs of others in order to relate to them. Inaddition, the learning experience is important for caregivers so thatthey are aware of which spiritual approach they should use whenencouraging the patients to keep fighting.


Conze, E. (2013). Buddhist thought in India: Three phases ofBuddhist philosophy (Vol. 4). Routledge

Goheen, M. W., &amp Bartholomew, C. G. (2008). Living at thecrossroads: An introduction to Christian worldview. BakerAcademic.

Moreland, J. P., &amp Craig, W. L. (2003). Philosophicalfoundations for a Christian worldview. InterVarsity Press.

Murti, T. R. V. (2013). The central philosophy of Buddhism: Astudy of the Madhyamika system. Routledge.

Pearcey, N. (2005). Total truth: Liberating Christianity from itscultural captivity.

Puri, B. (2009). Engaged Buddhism: The Dalai Lama`s Worldview(p. 264). Oxford University Press

Peer Reviewed Assignment

Brian’s comparisons of the two religions were well put. He did anawesome job providing the foundation and background of the tworeligions. I found very few grammatical errors in this essay. Hesummarized on the healthcare workers position when it comes to caringfor patients of different religions, which in essence concludes tobeing non-biased. Respect others belief and refrain from imposingour beliefs or religion on anyone. His view of the Dukkha idea sitswell with me. I also believe what you put out will reflect what youwill receive and greed is the source of many of the world’sproblems, today.