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Tibetan Buddhism and the Garden of One Thousand Buddhas

In the Flathead Indian Reservation located in the Rocky Mountains in Montana, in the middle of a considerable amount of farm land, lies a Buddhist sanctuary, known as The Garden of a Thousand Buddhas. The Buddha Garden represents the three vehicles of Buddhism: Hinayana, Mahayana, and Vajrayana. The Garden is Tibetan in culture, and is owned by Ewam International: Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism, which is basically a franchise of Buddhist Dharma centers scattered throughout the world, but are primarily found in the United States and Asia. The Garden takes around either twenty minutes or forty minutes to walk around the entire Garden, depending on which path through the Garden one desires to take.

Buddhism, across the board, holds to what is known as the four noble truths, which are: first, the idea that suffering exists; second, that we suffer because we are attached; third, the way to stop suffering is to release the attachment to things; and finally, we release the attachment by following what is referred to as the noble eight-fold path. This path consists of such things as right speech, and right thinking and right behavior, etc.

Many Buddhists also adhere to other religions as well, and I imply that Buddhism is a religion also because people treat it as such, and though they may not worship the idols in Buddhism, they indeed worship what is inside them as we will discover what that is below. In any event, in Asian cultures, many Buddhists also claim to be Christian, or Daoists/Taoists, or even Hindu, depending often times on where one is geographically located, it seems. With this in mind, it is culture that appears to have the biggest influence on what one believes is true in many parts of the world. Unfortunately, as we will discover, this sad truth reaches even what seems to be the most insignificant parts of the globe.

Tibetan Buddhism

As mentioned above, The Buddha Garden represents the three vehicles of Buddhism: Hinayana (meaning “little raft”), Mahayana (meaning “big raft”), and Vajrayana (meaning “thunderbolt path”). This has pretty high significance, because these three schools of thought came about through disagreement, but the problem is, it also seems that Tibetan Buddhism, particularly in the Garden of a Thousand Buddhas, seeks to unite the three “vehicles” of Buddhism. 

These three vehicles, as far as what the Garden of a Thousand Buddhas teaches, each have a different and particular focus. “The first teachings Buddha Shakyamuni offered in this world over 2,500 years ago, these are practices that culminate liberation from the realms of cyclic existence, and focus on accomplishing one’s own welfare.”[1] This is the root vehicle, or “little raft,” known as Hinayana. Win Corduan discusses the differences that a few of the various schools of thought had and why they divided:

By this time the seeds of division had begun to sprout. Altogether, there would be eighteen or more schools of Buddhism in India prior to the large division that created the larger Hinayana-Mahayana split. The differences had to do both with the philosophical underpinnings of Buddhist thought and the amount of discipline a monk should live under. A large group of representatives argued for less strict discipline and more openness toward the laity. Eventually, another two hundred years later, those who defended stricter discipline split away from those who were less strict. This division led to the two main branches of Buddhism, which are now called Theravada and Mahayana.[2]

One can see that right off the bat, it seems that Tibetan Buddhism (Vajrayana) has some serious foundational issues, since Vajrayana comes from Mahayana (more on this in the following paragraph). One of the major issues here is that Vajrayana seeks to establish the idea that truth is relative. This seem to be the basis that Vajrayana is built upon; relative truth. We will discover more on the way that Vajrayana Buddhists (Tibetan Buddhism) understand relative truth in the interview below.

The third vehicle is what Tibetan Buddhism is essentially. “Vajrayana is a subdivision of the Mahayana, this path takes the result of enlightenment as the path with myriad esoteric techniques passed from teacher to student.”[3]Mahayana, being the path of bodhisattvas (who are people that have reached enlightenment, but choose to stay on earth to help others find the true path), is very altruistic (a major focus), and because of such, it seems to differ because the other paths are very self-focused, since this is what Buddha taught his subjects to ultimately be. In fact, the popular Buddhist author of “Why Buddhism is true” Robert Wright, writes,

The most basic division in Buddhism is between the Theravada school and the Mahayana school. My own meditative tradition, Vipasana, derives from the Theravada lineage. It is within the Mahayana lineage that you find the most radically broad conception of illusion. Some Mahayana Buddhists even subscribe to a “mind-only” doctrine that, in its more extreme incarnations, dismisses the things we “perceive” via consciousness as, pretty literally, figments of our imagination.[4]

Here, even a Buddhist admits that not only is there a division, but that there is also an extreme focus on the self, in order to clean it out, so to speak. The question here becomes, “How can anyone be a servant of others (altruistic) when he is so focused on himself, trying to not focus on himself?” On top of that, how can one be altruistic when reality is a “figment of our imagination?”

This is one of the major issues with at least Mahayana Buddhism, which is the foundation of Vajrayana Buddhism (Tibetan Buddhism). The reason that Buddhists focus on themselves and on their mind and emptying their mind, etc., so much is because,

A person’s destiny is in his own hands. The sense in which a person’s destiny is in his own hands is a matter of interpretation. Gautama Buddha’s own search started as a solitary quest motivated only by a desire to know the secret of freedom from the chain of births and rebirths. It ended in the solitude of a quiet grove. He described what occurred there as a struggle, but it was his struggle. The victory also was his and his alone. He sought no help from deities nor did he receive any. He found the answer to his quest within himself.[5]

If my destiny was in my own hands, I would be focusing on it as well! Buddhism is a classic case of pulling one’s self up by his own bootstraps. The idea here is that considering the four noble truths, one must work extra hard (through the noble eight-fold path) and meditate like there is no tomorrow in order to attain enlightenment. Not only this, but everything depends on the Buddhist. What an enormous weight for one to carry: “Salvation in Buddhism is understood as Nirvana. It is achieved by human effort which makes it an autosoteric religion. There is no escape from cause and effect in Buddhism. Human destiny is in human hands alone.”[6] What a depressing and hopeless life to live. Buddhism seems to take away much of the mystery of Japan's Aokigahara suicide forest.

Consider again, the four noble truths… one must desire to rid oneself of all desires. Logically, this is self-refuting. If Buddhism teaches that suffering exists because we are attached to things, then wouldn’t one have to be attached to the principles of Buddhism as well, in order to release all attachments, with an exception of being attached to the principles of Buddhism? In any case, it is common knowledge that Buddhism teaches that people are to rid themselves of all desires, but isn’t this also a desire? Therefore, in more ways than one, Buddhism is fundamentally self-refuting.

Buddhism, from a Christian perspective, at its core, is idolatrous. Not only so much of the self, either. As mentioned, Buddhism from a Buddhist perspective is technically a philosophy, but many, if not most, Buddhists treat it as a religion. I define a religion as a system of that which one seeks to eradicate guilt. I once said this to my doctoral advisor and he said that I am not yet in a position to define words with authority. But, I am not defining this on my own authority, I am defining it by looking at religions juxtaposed, metaphysically speaking, and I see that there are some common themes between them. One is eradicating guilt. Think of Mormonism or Islam, for instance. Both Muhammad and Joseph Smith wanted some sort of permission to do what they wanted to do, so they simply invented this permission. This invented permission eradicated their guilt for what they wanted to do. It became ok to have multiple wives, etc. Buddhism would, in theory (from a Buddhist perspective), help one appease or eradicate guilt by not being attached to anything, and therefore, one would never steal, covet, commit adultery, or murder. But the problem with this is that, just like the Bible says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”[7] In other words, no one can say that they have never fallen short. So then how could a Buddhist possibly eradicate guilt? What do Buddhists do with the moral failures they committed in the past? The best answer I have ever heard was that they tell their victim that they are sorry and vow never to do it again. There are two problems with this, however. One is that this does not take away the wrong act, and secondly, just because someone vows never to do something again almost never means that they will succeed. So Buddhism cannot successfully eradicate guilt from an anthropological point of view, any more than it could appease or eradicate guilt from a philosophical point of view.

As far as Buddhism being a religion that worships idols, in the interview below, the Buddhist leader, when questioned about the statues at the Buddha Garden, she said that there was power in or over the statues themselves. Thus, it seems like there is more going on than simply honoring “the master’s” who have died, or even the Buddha himself.

Notice the putty line on the knee.
What is interesting is when they were building this garden and all of the Buddha statues, when they were shipped to the site, there was apparently a very difficult time with them because they kept breaking, and some of them literally in half. The majority of the statues are only about 18 inches tall, and when one is walking through the Garden, he will notice all of the putty on several of the statues that are holding them together. They literally had to glue their gods back together! Even though Buddhists frequently use the word “logic,” formal logic is absent, it seems, in the minds of the meditators.[8]


An Interview with a Tibetan Buddhist

This interview took about 25 minutes. The interviewee shall remain anonymous, so I will refer to her as Mae. It was cold outside, which is where the interview took place. I began the interview by asking Mae, “Do you have any other affiliations, such as with another religion or worldview?” She confirmed that she is first and foremost a Tibetan Buddhist.

I asked, “How did you learn about the four noble truths; what got you into Buddhism?” Mae replied, “So, I… the first kind of real introduction I had was this little book of Zen Koans. You know, they are little, short, Zen Poems. I just picked it up because it seemed really interesting and it seemed really cool and interesting and I was on a backpacking trip and I just started meditating on my own with no real instruction. Then when I was done with the backpacking trip, I said to myself that I needed to find myself a teacher or something like that because I need some guidance. I was living in CA at the time and found a Tibetan Dharma Center and started taking some retreats with them and gelled with the teacher immediately and started learning more and more, and this center was also under Ewam.

At this point I asked Mae if Ewam is the overall name of a bunch of places, and then I said to clarify, “Like almost a franchise or something along those lines?” She said, “Yes, sort of…” after a slight wince. She said that the Ewam (monk) walking around (in the background) has different Dharma centers all over the world: He has a few in Asia, Nepal, Tibet, India, a few in America, Taiwan, etc. Basically all of his centers that he goes to, and are run by other monks, we call them Ewam centers. This is just the name that he has chosen for his centers.

She clarified after some thought: “I wouldn’t really say it’s like a sect or a franchise, but that they are just the centers that are under his instructions.”

I asked her, “How do you understand these statues? Is there some kind of force in them or over them or are they just purely to honor…?” Mae said, “Both… When all the statues are made, they actually have a little chamber inside them that are filled with relics, like, you know, soil from caves where people have attained enlightenment; hair from enlightened masters who have passed away; water from all the oceans in the world; crystals and precious gems. So there are those kind of precious objects physically inside them which I believe has some power. I feel like, of course, it is really beautiful and peaceful here (She is referring to the mountainous landscape of the Rocky Mountains) but like, people come here with no connection, no idea, but they feel something on the inside. I think the physical environment has something to do with that but it can’t be the only thing. There are other beautiful places in the world that don’t make you feel like that (I could have asked her, “Like where?” at this point, but I mainly wanted to focus on gathering information). Also, of course, it is to honor and pay respect to the teachings.”

I asked Mae another question about truth, because I know that on the boulders around the garden, there are several places where there are carved in the boulders, quotes from the Buddha about such things concerning mind and truth. It seems that these all reflect the noble eight-fold path.

“What do you believe about truth? Can it be known? Can it change? Is it relative or absolute?” She said, “Well, in the study of Buddhism we do have was is known as the two truths. They are both the relative truth and the ultimate truth. Relative truth is that truth can be individual for each person. Fish see water as a house, we see water as something to drink. Those are two truths that are very true for each being. Just like you might find something that is very pleasant, but somebody else might find it revolting, and both of those things are true for each person. So I think the relative truth can be mutable and change based on how you experience your own truth. Of course there is some shared truths like grass is grass.

At this point I asked her, “Do you mean like absolute truth?” Mae said, “That would actually still be relative truth. Absolute/relative truth is like the nature of your mind.”

Then I said, “So the fact that the grass is green is not absolutely true.” She confirmed, “Right, because we only see it that way and we have that shared perception but other beings with different color spectrums would see things differently.” I clarified what she was referring to and mentioned that some animals see only black and white and she got excited and said “Yes! Exactly…”

Then I asked her, “But is the truth in the object, for instance the grass? Or is the truth in the subject, like the animal or the person?” She answered that the relative truth is in the “seer.” The one who sees.

I asked her at this point, “So the grass could actually be blue and we are just wrong?” She said with a smile on her face, “Yeah, could be...” Mae continued, “So the relative truth really deals with everything that appears in the common plane this shared world all of the appearances. Ultimate truth deals with a little bit more about the true nature of reality and the true nature of your mind and the true nature of what is your mind. Ultimate truth is extremely difficult to pinpoint, and talk about and fully realize. This is a lot of what Buddhist practice is about, which is coming to understand the difference and the connection and the union of relative and ultimate truth.”

My next question dealt with the beginning of the universe, “What do you believe started the universe… like, all of it? Do you believe there is a beginning to the universe?” Mae said, “I totally believe in the Big Bang which, kind of, created this physical universe with all of the stars and planets and whatnot.”

I clarified, “So the Big Bang shows that there is an ultimate beginning.” She replied, “To this universe, but who is to say that this didn’t happen before or that there will be another Big Bang.” I explained to her that this idea in cosmology is referred to as the oscillating model of universe that it goes in and out of existence, but I left it at that. I wanted to continue to get information from her without any bias against me.

Mae continued, “I don’t know too much about this but they do talk about what’s called a kalpa (which is basically an aeon), which is like an era, you could say, and they have conferences with scientists and Buddhists who just try and talk about science and such and a lot of them feel like the Big Bang was the beginning of this kalpa, this era, this formation. Kalpas are like millions and millions and millions of years, and there are many kalpas, there are many eras. The Big Bang is the beginning of this era, and it hasn’t ended yet (laugh).” I am not super learned on that. There is a whole study of Tibetan astrology and study of space and universe but I don’t know much about that.” She confirmed that it would take a lifetime to learn.

I then moved to another question concerning morality. “Do you believe that some actions are always and only evil/bad/wrong? In every culture and in every era/kalpa. Are there things that are absolutely wrong?” She answered, “It all depends on the motivation, right? …The mind. Because you can do a really good action, and have a bad intention or whatever. Like say, you give money to someone who is homeless or something. Your intention could be to look good to somebody and to brag about it. That’s not really a good deed. You may have done a good deed indirectly, but that wasn’t your intention. In the same way, say you, punch someone or hurt someone trying to protect other people. Was that a, you know, bad intention? Your intention was to protect those people by doing that.”

I asked her, “What about like pedophilia? Or something really dirty or ugly?” She said “I think most people with those actions don’t have good intentions. But I can’t say that because I don’t know their intentions. I can only assume…” (“Wow,” I thought).

I clarified, “So you think that intentions make what is right or wrong?” Mae responded, “Yeah I think that the motivation and the mind makes it what is right or wrong. I mean obviously you should refrain from you know, killing people, there are the ten misdeeds (in Buddhism) like sexual misconduct, killing, stealing, there are those things in Buddhism that they talk about. But later on, in study, this is kind of entry level things but later you learn that what we really want to practice is that your focus is not really on abstaining from those things but acting with compassion. And if you act with compassion, naturally you will probably abstain from those things. But, if you absolutely have to steal something, to benefit, and you are acting out of compassion, you don’t accumulate negative karma for that actually. I answered, “Ah, because of intention.” She confirmed.

This was around the fifteen minute mark where we were standing in the middle of a field in the Garden, and so I figured at this point, before her eyes glazed over and she became numb, I figured that I would change the direction of the conversation a little bit and tell her a little of where I am coming from: “I am personally a Christian. What do you understand about Christianity? What do you know about it and would you have any questions for me about Christianity?

She said, “I have a difficult time really believing that there is some omniscient creator. I don’t understand how that could be possible at all. It just doesn’t seem logical or feasible to me. Another thing I’ve noticed in Abrahamic religions in general is the inherent sin thing, you know? That you are born needing to be saved and that you need to accept Christ, you know, the Messiah, in order to be accepted into the Kingdom of God. To me, Buddhism is the exact opposite. You have inherent enlightenment that is in all beings already. We just need to realize that and make that manifest. You could say that we are in the kingdom of God already. We just don’t see that we are in that enlightened state already. That is just a lot more encouraging to me and feels like something that I can, like, work with. Whereas, this is the concept of like, you know, I just popped out of (into) this world by the hand of some god that made me have the need to accept something. It is just like confusing and is like depressing and leaves me nothing to work with.

I said “For some clarity, I am a Christian and I believe in the Big Bang theory (because I know that many Christians do not believe in the Big Bang theory, let alone an old earth). The Big bang theory tells us that the universe had an ultimate beginning. The way we know about the Big Bang theory is because Albert Einstein went to Edwin Hubble’s telescope and he saw what is called the Red Shift which is the Doppler Effect of the light spectrum (she had knowledge of the Red Shift). So technically, if you travel back in time, the universe would be shrinking because the Red Shift in actual time shows that the universe is expanding. So that is why we know there is an ultimate beginning, and anything beyond that, like the oscillating model or the theory of the multiverse are only theory which we will never be able to test because we will never be able to leave this universe.” She agreed.

I continued, “So your second issue there is all about morals. Christianity is all about morals… It is all about Jesus, don’t get me wrong, but from this perspective it is all about a moral issue. The Bible teaches us to be holy, like God. But you know that this is hard for us. The Bible talks about the Ten Commandments, for instance. The questions is have you ever told a lie?” I asked her three questions, “Have you ever told a lie; have you ever stolen anything; and have you ever looked with lust at the opposite sex?” She affirmed that she has done all three. I said “Who hasn’t, right?” She was like “Yeah, sure.” I said “those are such things that go against what God requires. God requires holiness. We can’t fulfill the perfection because God gave us freewill to do either good or evil. When we come to the crossroads of telling a lie or stealing and we choose to steal, that just goes to show that we have free will that God gave us, which is more loving for Him to do: to create us with free will. What would be more loving, for Him to make us be robots or for Him to give us our own options and choices?”

She said, “Yeah, I can see where you are coming from. …like, if there was a creator.” I continued, “Because we cannot live up to the standard that God is, God is perfection, He is holy… Because we can’t live up to that, if you read the Bible the Old Testament, it shows where people failed over and over and over and in the New Testament, Jesus came (I used this language because she definitely had some knowledge of Christianity). In other words, God became man and came to earth in order to take our place so that we might have a free gift, and that free gift being eternal life. That’s what Jesus is. God in the flesh. So it is a substitutionary atonement. Which means being at one with God. He forgives us for our sins. A sin is a moral failure. Does this make sense?” She confirmed that it does. I said, “It is hard to deny that we do wrong things” and she agreed. This was the end of our conversation/interview. I then thanked her for her time.

Questions About the Discussion

I have several questions for Mae. First, when she says that the grass being green is not absolutely true, I simply wonder how any communication is even at all possible in her mind. She talks about shared perception, which seems to be the in the guise of absolute truth, but I just think of someone going to a turf and lawn care shop, with all of the different colors of the rainbow of grass on display for people to purchase for their home. What I mean is that I question how one could help another understand that absolute truth is all that exists, especially if they only see truth as subjective truth is all that exists. Mae only understood truth as relative to the subject. It seems that the best way to help someone like this to see beyond herself would be to discuss the principle of livability. If we lived like this, then how could we possibly communicate with one another? Similarly, what is the meaning of the shared perception? Why does it exist? It seems that shared perception is literally just another way of acknowledging absolute truth. In order for anything to be livable, the truth must be in the object, otherwise, we would never be able to communicate if everyone had his own truth.

This is the most basic of the three laws of logic, it seems. The Law of identity. Whatever something is, that is what it is. A = A. Grass is grass, and green grass is green grass. If we were to argue over the color over the grass, both of us could not be correct. This is the Law of non-contradiction. A claim is not both true and false. If I claim that the grass is green and she says that it is not, because these contradict one another, one of us is simply wrong. In fact, the claim is either true or false, and there are no other alternatives. This is called the Law of excluded middle.

Another question I have for her is “Do you really believe that there are some instances depending on one’s intentions that pedophilia could be ok?” I think if asked this question, it would stare her square in the face. No one in their right mind wants to be associated with pedophilia, and confirming that there could be instances of it being morally acceptable or even condoned is absolute association with pedophilia.

I was impressed that she said that she “totally” believed in the Big Bang model of cosmology, but when she suggested the oscillating model, I felt like we were back at square one. One of my main questions about the cosmology of Buddhism, at least according to Mae, is what is it that causes the universe to start up again, and die, and start up again? Why does it do that? We know the law of gravity for instance, makes a lot of sense, but in no world does the oscillating model of the universe make any sense. It is the same principle in my argument against Mormonism, in that Mormons believe that everyone can become Gods, but why? Not how, but why?!

Why is it that a man becomes a god in the first place? Why did this man who became a God (supposedly as we know him), become a god? Because his god set this order? What about that god? When the god of the man (who Mormons call their god) was a man, what was it that made him a god? How far back can we go with this? What is it that makes this a thing? Why, in Mormonism, does a man become a god?[9]

I have asked Mormons about this and they cannot even answer it. It seems that Buddhists would have to have the same amount of blind faith for such things.


Having a Discussion with a Buddhist

Here, I want to help Christians reach the Tibetan Buddhists in the Garden of a Thousand Buddhas, and essentially all Buddhists, with the love and truth of Christ through three detailed outlines. 

Outline One

                        I.         When you enter the Garden of a Thousand Buddhas, or any Dharma center, make sure you read the signs. Do not bring your dog or walk counter clockwise around the Garden or put pebbles on the statues. This could hinder your witness. What you want to do is be courteous, and interested in what the place is all about. Be curious. 

A.   Remember this is ministry. Be prepared to give a defense of the hope that you have within you, but do this with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15). 

1.The thing is, this is not like the old days where you could simply tell someone about Jesus and they became a Christian right on the spot (if there ever were days like that). 

2.World systems (and sin; see Romans 1:18) have broken a bunch of intellects, and because of such, people need help understanding certain things. 

B.    In your ministry, remember what Paul taught in 1 Corinthians 9:20-22.

                      II.         Remember that you are an ambassador for Christ (See 2 Corinthians 5:20). When you talk with someone, be friendly, smile, and be interested in what someone is saying. Do not merely look interested or act interested. Pay close attention to what they say to you. 

                    III.         When you engage in a conversation with someone, think of it like planting a seed. It is likely that you will not have a Christian convert after one conversation, so be patient, learn his or her name, and make a friend. 

                   IV.         Most importantly, when you leave the Garden, pray for your new friend.

A.   Pray that they come to know Jesus.

B.    Pray that they have a softened heart for the gospel.

C.    Pray that they become curious about Christ. 

D.   Pray that they find the thought of Jesus peaceful

E.    Pray that they have discernment and wisdom


Outline Two:

                        I.         Be prepared to discuss relative truth versus absolute truth. The Buddhist will most likely believe in relative truth, which is the idea that all truth is different for everyone because the truth is in the person (subject) not in the object. 

A.   For instance, the fact that an orange is orange is in the object of the orange, and it does not matter if an animal sees only in grayscale, it is still an orange, with the color orange. 

B.    Similarly, just because a fish sees water as his house and we see water as a drink does not change the nature of the water. The water is still water, whether it has fish in it or we drink it. The obvious thing here is that fish also drink water.

                      II.         The Laws of logic will prove helpful here.

A.   The Law of Identity is that whatever something is, that is just what it is. This is so simple, we usually do not even think about it.

1.Bob is Bob. Bob is not Kathy. 

2.A trout is a trout. A trout is not a sea urchin.

B.    The Law of Non-contradiction is that when someone makes a claim, that claim cannot be both true and false at the same time and in the same sense. 

1.For instance, the statement “Jan is pregnant” cannot be both true and false at the same time. 

C.    The Law of excluded middle is when someone makes a claim, that claim is either true or false, and there are no other alternatives. 

1.For instance, the claim, “Jan is pregnant” is either true or false. It must be one or the other.


Outline Three

                        I.         Be prepared to discuss morality on a level you may have never heard before. Several Buddhists believe that morality is also relative and so the three fundamental laws of logic as discussed above will help with this as well. 

A.   The hard part can be to argue that moral absolutes exist. The way to do this is through personal experience. When someone says to you, Buddhist or not, that moral absolutes do not exist, just get to know them a little better. Ask them what they are passionate about and why. Usually this passion boils down to something that happened to them or someone they loved in the past. 

1. For instance, when someone says that they are passionate about kids, perhaps it is because they saw kids being mistreated, or they their self was mistreated. If this is the case, then ask them if mistreating kids is an absolute moral wrong.

a.     Sometimes people will say things that blow your mind, but just examine what is said. For instance, I once asked a Buddhist if she thought pedophilia could ever be ok, and she said that it could be based on someone’s intentions. In other words, intentions were the standard for her. If I asked her, “Do you really believe that there are some instances depending on one’s intentions that pedophilia could be ok?” I think if asked this question, it would stare her square in the face. No one in their right mind wants to be associated with pedophilia, and confirming that there could be instances of it being morally acceptable or even condoned is absolute association with pedophilia.

2.Similarly if someone says that he or she is passionate about truth, then perhaps it is because they have been lied to. If you dig deep and find this to have some merit to it, then ask them if it is sometimes wrong to tell lies. 

3.If someone is passionate about anything that sounds like it could have come from a negative experience, investigate it and find out what it is that personally bothers the person and proceed to ask them if such things are absolutely morally wrong. Chances are, their own conscious will not let them say that it is not a moral absolute. This will cause disequilibrium in the person and ultimately encourage them to seek the truth or change his or her beliefs. 

                      II.         Remember to pray not only for the person, but also for yourself.

A.   Pray that you have the right words to say to the person before your encounter.

B.    Pray that you are filled with the Spirit.

C.    Pray that you are filled with wisdom and quick wit.

D.   Pray that God uses you for His honor and glory. 

E.    Pray that in the moment you are honest when something comes up that you do not know the answer to.

F.    Pray that you have courage and boldness!

G.   Pray that you and your new friend have a hedge of protection around the both of you.

H.   Pray in Jesus’ name! (see John 16:24).






  © Nace Howell, 2022 



Sources Cited

Ewam International: Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism, Symbolism of the Buddha Garden (October 2019):

Corduan, Winfried. Neighboring Faiths: a Christian introduction to World Religions. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2012.

Wright, Robert. Why Buddhism is True; the science and philosophy of meditation and enlightenment. New York: Simon & Schuster Paperbacks, 2017.

Hasselgrave, David. Communicating Christ Cross-Culturally: an introduction to missionary communication. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1991.

Detzler, Wayne and Douglas Potter, Cross-Cultural Apologetics: Bridging culture to defend the faith. Coppell: Detzler and Potter, 2011.

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016.

Apologetics and Evidence, Mormonism Impossible (Part two): The Law of the Gods. August, 2020.


[1] Ewam International: Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism, Symbolism of the Buddha Garden (October 2019):

[2] Winfried Corduan, Neighboring Faiths: a Christian introduction to World Religions (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press. 2012), 321; emphasis mine.

[3] Ewam International, Symbolism.

[4]   Robert Wright, Why Buddhism is True; the science and philosophy of meditation and enlightenment (New York: Simon & Schuster Paperbacks. 2017), 24; emphasis mine.

[5] David Hasselgrave, Communicating Christ Cross-Culturally: an introduction to missionary communication (Grand Rapids: Zondervan. 1991), 243.

[6] Wayne Detzler and Douglas Potter, Cross-Cultural Apologetics: Bridging culture to defend the faith (Coppell: Detzler and Potter. 2011), 240.

[7] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Ro 3:23.

[8] Isaiah 44:9-20 has a lot to say about such things.

[9] Apologetics and Evidence, Mormonism Impossible (Part two): The Law of the Gods. August, 2020.


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