Conclusions From an Apologetics Perspective
Buddhism, like Hinduism, is not a historical religion like Christianity. Its writings and teachings are philosophical and spiritual; neither requires, nor allows, any corroboration from archaeology or other historical sources. There is no doctrinal statement of faith to verify historically.
According to tradition, some of Buddha’s teaching material was assembled by his own disciples at the first Buddhist council in the early fifth century BC. Thus, it would likely be somewhat faithful to what Buddha himself taught. Over the centuries, the Tripitaka has welled by constant addition of new material. Some of it is merely rewrites of popular traditions into Buddhist thought forms. The complete canon stems from no earlier than the first century BC. The overarching problem is not textual accuracy—a lost cause—but simply identifying texts that might have been part of the original. Wooden print blocks in Chinese and Korean exist from roughly the thirteenth century, so from that point on translations into those languages are stable. Nevertheless, there is a sizeable gap between the thirteenth century and the time of the Buddha.
As for its teachings, as a pantheistic religion, it makes no statement about origins or even God. The claims of reincarnation and rebirth suggest that Buddhists believe in an eternal universe. Scientific evidence has shown, beyond dispute, that the universe had a beginning and will also have an end. Therefore, the scientific observations conflict with the Buddhist beliefs.
As with Hinduism, the Buddhist teachings concerning reincarnation and rebirth are interesting and, to many, appealing. However, there is no evidence for reincarnation; the principle goes against logic as there are more people alive today than have lived in the entire history of mankind.
The documentary evidences for the Buddhist scriptures show that they were first written down 150-250 years after the teachings of Buddha. Without even analyzing the accuracy of these texts copied again and again through the subsequent years, the multi-generational gap between the original teaching and the written record raises many questions about what was actually taught by Buddha as opposed to what was added later by his followers.
Table 31- 2 : Comparing Buddhism to Christianity
Jump to 5. Islam
 Dr. Winfried Corduan in Why I Am a Christian: Leading Thinkers Explain Why They Believe (2001), page 197.
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