Comparing Christianity and Eastern Religions


I’d like to explain my view of Christianity (and Jesus Christ) by comparing it with other religions.

In this post I will compare Christianity with three major eastern religions. I’ll make the comparison by using a famous eastern painting called “The Vinegar Tasters“.

The Vinegar Tasters is a traditional subject in Chinese religious painting.

The allegorical composition depicts the three founders of China’s major religious and philosophical traditions: ConfucianismBuddhism, and Taoism. The theme in the painting has been interpreted as favoring Taoism and critical of the others.

The three men are dipping their fingers in a vat of vinegar and tasting it; one man reacts with a sour expression, one reacts with a bitter expression, and one reacts with a sweet expression.

The three men are Confucius, Buddha, and Laozi, respectively. Each man’s expression represents the predominant attitude of his religion:

  • Confucianism saw life as sour, in need of rules to correct the degeneration of people;
  • Buddhism saw life as bitter, dominated by pain and suffering; and
  • Taoism saw life as fundamentally good in its natural state.

Three Vinegar Tasters

I agree with Confucianism and Buddhism that life – as most people currently experience it – is bitter and sour.

Taoism says that everything is fundamentally good… but this appears to deny the reality of life for most people alive today. Countless people experience wars, sickness, rape, poverty, abuse, divorce etc. In South Africa alone the rape statistics are startling: a woman is raped every 26 seconds. How can any of that be considered “fundamentally good”?

Jesus Christ as a 4th person?

When I first saw this vinegar tasters image, I wondered… what would Jesus say or do if He was in this picture as a 4th person? What would His expression be?

Now… years later I have come to a decision… Jesus Christ changes the vinegar!

Where the other three religions teaches ways to handle the reality of sour and bitter vinegar, Jesus Christ actually dealt with the vinegar itself.

That for me is the most profound difference between most religions and Christianity.

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2 responses to “Comparing Christianity and Eastern Religions

  1. Pingback: False beliefs « Minkyweasel World·

  2. Pingback: Comparing Christianity and Buddhism « Faith + Hope + Love·

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