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Best Critiques of Buddhism by Christian

John B. Cobb, Jr., Ph.D. is Professor of Theology Emeritus at the Claremont School of Theology, Claremont, California, and Co-Director of the Center for Process Studies there. His many books currently in print include: Reclaiming the Church (1997); with Herman Daly, For the Common Good; Becoming a Thinking Christian (1993); Sustainability (1992); Can Christ Become Good News Again? (1991); ed. with Christopher Ives, The Emptying God: a Buddhist-Jewish-Christian Conversation (1990); with Charles Birch, The Liberation of Life; and with David Griffin, Process Theology: An Introductory Exposition (1977). He is a retired minister in the United Methodist Church. His email address is This lecture was delivered by Dr. Cobb at the Eastern Buddhist conference at Otani University in Kyoto, May 18, 2002. Used by permission of the author. This material was prepared for Religion Online by Ted and Winnie Brock.

I. Introduction

I have focused this discussion on neo-liberal economics because this is now the dominant form. It is dominant in universities in the United States, and it exercises a dominant influence on the institutions that support the global economy. This includes the government of the United States and the Bretton Woods Institutions - The International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the World Trade Organization.

I have described my critique as Buddhist-Christian. By this I do not mean anything esoteric. Although I am interested in differences between these two great religious traditions, I do not believe these differences are important for the critique of the dominant pattern of economic thinking. It is interesting that an early critic who wrote on "Buddhist Economics" was a conservative Catholic. I refer, of course, to Schumacher.

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Popular Q&A

Is there a natural/logical way to include God (or the concept of God) into Buddhism? What is the best way to explain this inclusion to Christians that only know Buddhists as complete atheists? - Quora

If your personal understanding of God is not a literal one but rather of a more mystical (or perhaps panentheistic) variety, then there really is no conflict.

Only in one way can Buddhism be described as atheistic, namely, in so far as it denies the existence of an eternal, omnipotent God or godhead who is the creator and ordainer of the world. -- Nyanaponika Thera, "Buddhism and the God-idea"

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