Comparing and contrasting Eastern beliefs with Christianity is an excellent way to see the differences and dangers they present by downplaying the foundational theological elements of the Christian faith. The following is an edited excerpt from Dr. Walter Martin’s classic work Kingdom of the Cults. Italics are used to denote additions that I have made for clarification with regards to healing practice differences. I have included the beliefs, practices, and anti-theistic theories that seem to have strong influence on alternative healing in general. It is important for Christians to study this carefully.
There is one Triune God: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
Humankind is made in the image and likeness of God.
God’s Word, the Bible, is the infallible Word.
Salvation is found in no one but Jesus Christ.
Humankind is inherently sinful and in need of redemption, which comes only through Jesus Christ and his Atonement.
Through the divine will of God and the deity of Jesus Christ, who came to earth in human flesh, his death and resurrection is the meritorious atoning work of God.
Freedom from sin is only possible through salvation in Jesus Christ and no other.
True healing is from God (the Great Physician) alone through the work of Jesus Christ and the promise of the Holy Spirit.
Eternal life is the Christian’s reward, where there is banishment of all suffering, sadness, and grief. Life in the everlasting peace and love of God is the Christian’s hope.
There is no single Hindu idea of God.
All souls are eternal and accountable for their own actions.
Karma is the debt of one’s bad actions for which one must atone.
Hinduism denies the Trinity, the deity of Christ, the Atonement, sin, and salvation by grace through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
Hinduism replaces resurrection with reincarnation, and replaces both grace and faith with human works.
Healing depends upon Karma.
Ultimate healing is evident in reincarnation
New Age Movement
Man is inherently divine
All is one and all is God. God is an impersonal conscious and power.
Jesus was an enlightened teacher.
Salvation is accomplished by good works and reincarnation.
There is no absolute truth. All beliefs are valid.
Spiritism, Theosophy, Christian Science, Unity, Baha’ism, and Rosicrucianism are spearheads of New Age teachings and the healing philosophy also found in practices of alternative medicine.
Healing is possible through self-empowerment.
Practices that heal are good and true regardless of their origin.
Buddhism shows a heavy influence of Brahmanism, gods, and goddesses in Buddha’s history and teachings.
At the center of this teaching lies the concept of cosmic consciousness, a nonpersonal essence also called a Void.
Many “buddhas” were followed, but there is one Buddha that enlightened ones follow. Discoveries of the Middle Path, the Four Noble Truths, and Eightfold Path is consistent with traditional Chinese belief, which is evident in the practice of traditional Chinese medicine.
The Pali text is considered the most reliable teachings of Buddha. Other sects of Buddhism often add to this text.
Man suffers because his desires are fixated on the illusion of self, which confines him to non-permanence within the laws of Karma and reincarnation.
Self-salvation is achieved by following the Middle Path, the Four Noble Truths, and the Eightfold Path. The ultimate goal is to reach the state of Nirvana, where self becomes extinguished in the Void.
Buddha heals if Buddha wills.
Ultimate healing occurs in the state of Nirvana.
Theosophy teaches a pantheistic, impersonal Supreme Being.
Theosophy is Gnostic in origin.
Jesus Christ is not unique: Jesus is a reincarnated being separate from “christ.” All men become christs.
Mahatmas or Masters communicate esoteric truths through reincarnated emissaries, of whom Madame Blavatsky and Annie Besant are among the few.
Draws its authoritative teachings from Hindu, Buddhistic, and early Gnostic sources. The Bible is used minimally to proof-text preconceived Theosophical notions.
Embraces Eastern healing cultural practices and transcendental teachings in mind healing.
Embraces Metaphysical healing.
Healing is based upon a pragmatic view that whatever works must be good.
The fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man.
Continuous existence and a path of endless progression.
Communion of spirits and ministry of angels.
Compensation and retribution in the hereafter for good and evil done on Earth.
Healing comes by self-empowerment and positive healing affirmations.
Healing is the ultimate good of God. Sickness is the result of evil and all that suffer with sickness are the result of evil. Good people are not sick.
In short, I am a five point calvinist, amillennial, post-trib rapture, paeudobaptistic (not for salvation), classical cessationism , and covenantal. I embrace Reformed Theology and subscribe to the WCF 1647.
I do not break fellowship with anyone who holds to the essentials of the faith (i.e., the Trinity, the Deity of Christ, Jesus' Physical Resurrection, Virgin Birth, Salvation by Grace through Faith alone, Monotheism, and the Gospel being the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus) but does not affirm Calvinist Theology in the non-essentials. I strongly believe that God's grace and mercy are so extensive that within the Christian community there is a wide range of beliefs and as long as the essentials are not violated, then anyone who holds to those essentials but differs in the non-essentials is my brother or sister in Christ.
"For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To whom be Glory forever. Amen!"