Ecclesiasticism Is Intolerant of All Other Faiths and Religious Systems; This Attitude Towards Buddhism Is Suicidal to Christianity

“Now one of the most deplorable features of Ecclesiasticism is its habitual intolerance of all other faiths and religious systems, despite their antiquity, authenticity, fundamental similarity, and standing.

It regards them not as friends, but as rivals and foes; not to be understood, appreciated, and – in part at least – assimilated, but to be ignored, depreciated, or controverted.

This attitude Ecclesiasticism credits to itself as zeal for its own particular tenets, while it is in fact nothing but the intolerance born of ignorance. But it is an attitude fatal in the long run to the existence of Ecclesiasticism itself, having in it an element of self-destruction.

This precise attitude towards that particular system of religion, Buddhism, which preceded the advent of Christianity by some five or six centuries has been little short of suicidal to the real success of the latter, having proved disastrous to its hold on all save the ignorant or elementary, the prejudiced, and the conventional classes still dominated by Ecclesiasticism.

For the fact is that the doctrine of the Buddha, with its Four Great Truths and its Noble Eightfold Path, its boundless compassion towards all sentient life, its reasonable ethical teaching of development through self-conquest and self-culture, its simple yet profound analysis of suffering and sorrow with the method of escape therefrom open to all, its entire regeneration of the mind, its exalted code of morality and standard of tolerance, peace, and charity – that doctrine is the indispensable forerunner and interpreter of the doctrine of the Christ. In brief, they are not two gospels but two aspects, the without and the within, of one Gospel. For Buddhism finds its translation and completion in Christianity, and Christianity its inception and foundation in Buddhism.

Thus regarded, Christianity, as religion, takes up the work of perfecting man in heart at that degree of partial regeneration to which Buddhism, as philosophy, has already brought him in mind; and so the former depicts and deals with but the closing stages of the whole great work.

Were this recognised the serious foundational deficiencies, those rational, intellectual, and moral ellipses which confront the thoughtful and impartial student of the Christian system, would be largely accounted for, and a step taken towards rehabilitating as a living whole that most mutilated faith.

How little they know Christianity who only an historical Jesus know, and leave out of account the way of the Buddha as the ladder that must be climbed to reach the state of Jesus!” (Bertram McCrie. The Living Truth in Christianity, pp. 26-27; emphasis added)