From Buddha to Jesus: An Insider’s View of Buddhism and Christianity

From Buddha to Jesus: An Insider’s View of Buddhism and Christianity

Steve Cioccolanti, Monarch Books

When reviewers write for Amazon.com, they’re invited to give a book one to five stars.

Forgive me for being contrary, but sometimes I can’t give just one grade to a book. This one gets perhaps three stars for its easy-to-read unpacking of some unsatisfactory elements in Asian (especially Thai) folk-Buddhism but it deserves only one star for scholarship — both about Buddhism and Christianity.

The aim of Cioccolanti’s book is laudable. He was brought up in Buddhist Thailand and writes with some authority about how ordinary people practise their Buddhist religion.

I found these sorts of insights the most interesting aspect of the book.

The least satisfactory aspect of our author’s approach is his fundamentalism. There are plenty of references in the book to end-time prophecies, heaven and hell, the error of believing in evolution, Abraham Lincoln being a born-again Bible-believing Christian and so on.

So is the book valuable? Perhaps for pre-college youth from a conservative background. Once they start getting a better education, they’ll be challenging a lot of the theology here.

Two better books from a Christian perspective are The Spirit of Buddhism: a Christian Perspective on Buddhist Thought, by Burnett, and Buddhism: A Christian Exploration and Appraisal, by Yandell and Netland.

Rowland Croucher

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