Book Review: Buddhism

Buddhism: A Christian Exploration and Appraisal

by Keith Yandell and Harold Netland

I recently received a copy of  Buddhism: A Christian Exploration and Appraisal.  One of the reasons that I wanted to read it was because I know so little about Buddhism. To be perfectly I don’t know many, in any, Buddhists.  So I am not able to learn about Buddhism from friends.  So I did the next best thing, I found a book on it.  I was not disappointed with this book either.  Yandell and Netland do a superb job of overviewing Buddhism.  I have read several other shorter works on the topic of Buddhism, and this blows them all out of the water!

Yanhdell and Netland help the reader better understand Buddhism by overviewing the history of Buddhism, explaining the development of Buddhism  (including the different branches of Buddhism), detailing the doctrines of Buddhism, and finally comparing the differences between Christianity and Buddhism.

The final section, which compares Christianity and Buddhism, was the most helpful to me for two reasons.  First, I know Christian doctrine so when the authors compared Buddhism to Christianity it gave me some categories that I could use to better understand Buddhism.  Second, the authors provide some very helpful information with respect to evangelism. As the authors put it,

The Buddha or the Christ?  The dharma or the gospel? These are not simply variations on a common theme, or different ways of expressing the same spiritual insight. The choice here is between two radically different perspectives on reality, on the nature of the human predicament, and the way to overcome it.

For anyone looking to learn more about Buddhism, and the differences between buddhism and Christianity this is a very helpful book.  I would highly suggest it.