Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Are Buddhists Going to Hell

Q: I was born and raised Catholic and I enjoy my religious responsibilities for the most part. I was also raised on the principle that all religions deserve respect. In a way, I grew to appreciate other views from a theological point of view. However, I feel pressure from some of the Catholic families I commune with to sever ties with my non-Catholic friends because their religious principle conflict with my own. I understand that worshiping idols and false gods is a sin, but are my Buddhist friends really going to hell? Is it really wrong for me to be friends with them?

A: Well, first off, as Catholics we believe that anyone has the chance to be 'saved' and go to heaven. We honestly can't say someone is for certain going to hell or not. That is solely up to God. BUT, we do know God clearly says in His ten commandments: "You shall have no other gods before me," and we all struggle with that in our own way. Buddhism in particular, I'd say, goes against that rather significant law of God. He wants us to love and appreciate Him as our creator, father, savior, and lord. Not idolize a mere man, just another creation of God.

Secondly, as far as being friends with non-Catholics, I think it's a perfect opportunity not only to teach others about your own faith, but also to learn things about others' faiths. Be fair in trading off/sharing traditions, but don't get involved in something you know would go against your faith and your God. Just be prepared to answer some tough questions. Pray constantly for them and yourself. And above all, stay strong in your own faith.

The people that you feel are pressuring you to sever ties are probably just worried about you. You could probably tell them to pray for you, for you to stay strong in your faith, and let them know that they don't have to worry. If you feel that God is supporting your friendship with these non-Catholics, then He is surely going to watch over you.

One last thing... take heed of warnings, and keep your ears open for God's voice in the people around you. Keep praying for God's will in your life, that's the most important thing.

My prayers are with you, good luck!