Why Christians Need Buddhism—and Islam

We’re the love monkeys we’re the hate monkeys, we’re the f*ck monkeys we’re the abstention monkeys, we’re the drunk monkeys we’re the sober monkeys, we’re the selfish monkeys we’re the caring monkeys, we’re the active monkeys we’re the passive monkeys, we’re the hot monkeys we’re the cool monkeys, we’re the species that desperately needs some law and order to make sense of it all—or maybe just some Buddhist wisdom or some Muslim discipline.

There are just too many contradictions to being human to leave it all to chance. We need some direction. We Westerners, Americans in particular, love to feel superior about our upbringing and traditions, but what works for us—or not—doesn’t necessarily work for anyone else. We hold up democracy, capitalism, and Christianity like the great trinity that all should follow, or else, lest they should suffer the consequences of their own ignorance. This is unfortunate. This is chaos.

There are limits to love, even Christian love. Christianity elevates the reproductive act to the paradigm for life, as if everything should match that intensity and bliss, Protestants favoring the foreplay, while Catholics just settle for more babies. Our passion should rule our lives, so goes the theory, no need for wisdom, little need for discipline. Welcome to the 21st century. Welcome to the Apocalypse. I hope it’s not too late.

Live in the moment” is the great mantra of the age, sounding all Buddhist and enlightened, but coming off and being carried out more like carpe diem—seize the day—in Roman fashion, drunk and in love, giving no thought to the morrow. This is not Buddhist mindfulness—i.e. awareness. This is Western recklessness—wreckfulness. Christian pop culture seconds the emotion by elevating Roman romantic love above Greek agape—brotherly love—which is closer to the true Christian meaning.

The Church’s founding fathers quickly realized the limits of love, and Saint Augustine mixed in as much of Plato as any epistle to any apostle would allow, just like St. Thomas later did with Aristotle, trying to match content with form, rationality with emotion. That’s a nice try, but still not enough. The Age of Reason was no match for the Age of Capitalism and the doctrine of democracy and their Christian handmaidens, and the resulting chaos which would follow, which has brought us to the brink of catastrophe. We’re not facing extinction because of anything Buddhists or Muslims have done wrong.

This is why the world needs Buddhism. This is why we need Islam. God takes over where Science leaves off, just as intuition takes over where logic fails. We don’t need more doctrines and dogmas. We need cool heads and warm hearts, common sense and discipline. Our love of money is leading us to a no-man’s-land of self-imposed doom, an air-conditioned nightmare as we drive over the cliff, pedal to the metal, and the seat-belts unfastened. May God’s love be with us—if He exists. May Buddhist wisdom and Islamic discipline be with us regardless.