The Dalai Lama's visit to the U.S. last Spring was evidently perceived as just such a threat. According to a media advisory on Christian Newswire dated January 22, 2007, Christians needed to be prepared to "defend and share Christianity with Buddhists" and those who might find Buddhism appealing.
It seems that some Christians are threatened simply by the knowledge that other religious traditions exist. And we wonder why attitudes toward atheists are so hostile!
Referring to the Dalai Lama’s visit, David Housholder, a Christian missionary with Interserve USA, said,
It will be a perfect time to defend and share the Christian faith with recent immigrants, high school and college students strongly influenced by Buddhism, and everyday Americans who have woven the Eastern religion into their personal philosophy and world view. But to do that, Christians need an understanding of Buddhism and its Western variations, and how to best present the Gospel to followers and adherents.But why? These same Christians expect others to respect their particular set of beliefs, but they seem unwilling to extend the same courtesy to others. This is pure hypocrisy.
Interserve USA was so terrified at the possibility of losing converts to Buddhism that they actually planned advance seminars at locations the Dalai Lama was expected to visit in order to inoculate people against his message. So much for free choice.
Interserve USA's director, Rev. Douglas Van Bronkhorst, went so far as to say, "...Tibetan Buddhists and Americans influenced by the religion need Jesus!" I would hope that all Christians would be embarrassed to hear something like this and would be quick to condemn it. But since this seems to be a futile wish on my part, I'm happy to do it for them.
Christianity is no better than Buddhism, Judaism, Islam, or even Scientology. There is not a shred of evidence to support any of these faiths. Fear by the adherents of any of them that their followers might be exposed to the others simply highlights their fragile absurdity.
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