Since finishing watching the Blue Exorcist anime series, I have been reading the ongoing manga series (I’m on volume 11, if you’re interested). While reading through the Impure King story arc, I was struck by a single panel where they discuss merging of a Buddhist set of exorcists into the Knights of the True Cross, specifically the Myou Dha.
As noted above, the Myou Dha sect are a Buddhist temple which performs exorcisms. On this page, it discusses how this group is joining into the “Order of the True Cross.” The Order of the True Cross is a Christian exorcist organization which, in the Blue Exorcist universe, is an arm of the Roman Catholic Church. Note the last panel, the character says, “…It may take many forms…but it does not contradict the teachings of Myou Dha…” Really? A Christian organization does not contradict the teachings of Myou Dha Buddhism?
Buddhism does not ascribe to a particular deity; Christianity believes in and worship one God who is Christ (John 10:30, Philippians 2:5-7). Buddhists believe in cycles of reincarnation; Christianity believes in a single death with the spirit returning to the Lord for judgement (Ecclesiastes 12:7, Hebrews 9:27). Buddhism does not ascribe to the concept of a permanent Heaven or Hell, Christianity does (Matthew 25:46). Buddhism teaches that you can save yourself, Christianity teaches that Christ is the one who saves us from sin and ourselves (Ephesians 2:1-10). Buddhism is a very self-reliant faith, Christianity is a very God reliant faith. Different denominations have different ideas on the extent to which your works in the faith matter to your overall salvation, but we all agree that the method through which God saved us from our sins is through Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross.
These are not minor issues. This is not the difference between people who believe in post-millennial and pre-millennial rapture, a disagreement which creates minor differences of opinion within a church. This is not the difference between how we baptize people, which divides us into denominations. These are fundamental differences which contradict each other. If the teachings of the Order of the True Cross do not contradict Buddhism, then their teachings are not Christian. Period.
Different religions should contradict each other and no other faith is like Christianity. Yes, various faiths are peaceful, desire you to be kind to others, desire persons to love their neighbors, and include sacrificial love. Those truths extend from the Lord and we see them embraced by many faiths. But, no other faith worships a man who lived, died, and rose again. No other faith believes in a God in three persons. No other faith believes that the atoning death of the Word of God made flesh is the source of their salvation. No other faith believes these things which we, as Christians, hold true. If the Order of the True Cross does not believe these things, they’re not a Christian organization and the fact that in this world setting of Blue Exorcist they are tied to the Pope and Roman Catholic church leads to a Catholic Church which, in this world setting, is not Christian. In many ways it shows the authors lack of understanding of Christian teachings, but it also serves as an important reminder.
Christianity does not exist to make you feel good about yourself, Christ calls us to be humble. Christianity does not exist to give you a better life now, Christ promises there will be suffering. Christianity does not promise you will be liked by everyone, Christ promises the world will hate us. Christianity is not some generic religion which is malleable and mergeable into other faiths. The moment you try to do it, you are blaspheming God and no longer practicing Christianity (Deuteronomy 4:2, Revelation 22:19).
Christ did not come to make you feel better about yourself, He came to save us from ourselves, sin, Satan, and the evils in this world. He came to offer us eternal life through His self-sacrifice on the cross. He did not come to say all religions are the same. When you consider all religions to be valid, you are basically invalidating all of them. When you believe in everything, you basically believe in nothing. That’s the case with the Order of the True Cross who’s true religion is so nebulous as to basically be meaningless.