It’s important to understand the reasoning processes of the Eastern mind; [and ask] why has there been such a tremendous penetration of American college campuses [and] of the so-called intellectual values that have so far—through the last fifty years—been raised against historic Christianity. What has made these values fall down, so to speak, before imports from Asia. And I think that the reason that many of these things have taken place, and the reason why people are responding, is because there is a deep awareness of a need for spiritual reality. And a great many churches are not presenting Jesus Christ’s Gospel with a compelling relevancy.

They are not attempting to really come to grips with the problems and issues of the day. And because of this people are, quite literally, leaving the church in droves. Young people particularly—if may use the phrase—[are] turning off to the Gospel. Why; because they’ve never really heard the Gospel. And so when some organization comes along and says, “Now, if you meditate you can reach Reality [i.e. God],” or, “If you concentrate on this particular type of thing, you can go on a type of spiritual trip—an experience that’s going to transform your reasoning processes, and your spiritual life.” And then you take all of this Oriental mysticism and this paradoxical philosophy, and you lightly spray it with Christian terminology.

And say, “Oh yes, we recognize Jesus. We recognize He is the great Yoga,” or, “The great Guru,” or, “The great Prophet,” or, “A great manifestation or incarnation of Divinity.” And then you are very careful to cloak, in Western terminology, your Eastern philosophy, or religion, then young people—who have no background whatsoever in historic Christianity—are quite literally sucked into this like [as into] a huge vacuum cleaner; because, they’re mistaking the terms and they’re looking for reality; a quest for [truth], for spiritual reality. And they go after these things en masse. I think this is not an oversimplification; I think it is a fact today [circa 1975].

I think people are going after all of these Eastern-type religions in the United States because they’ve been dressed up to meet our cultural needs. But if we really want to deal with the problems of the East, we ought to go there and see what these religions have produced. If you really want to understand Zen; if you really want to understand Hinduism, and Buddhism, if you really want to understand all of these sects and cults—which have been imported into the United States—then go and look at what they have created over thousands of years in their own countries. They have kept the people enslaved in poverty.

They have not taught values that enable individuals to help one another in their own societies. They do not reach out to minister to the needs of others. In fact, you see the imitation of Christianity in non-Christian religions because it was Christianity that pioneered [social care] in the context of the parable of the Good Samaritan: “Who is my neighbor?” Why, he that needs me. Islam never, ever cared about its aged; never, ever cared about many of the social problems of the day. And yet today the Red Cross is being imitated by the Red Cresent. Why; because Christianity established a principle, and, Islam has followed it.

If you go to Japan you can hear a song being sung that’s familiar to most Christian ears. it sounds like, “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.” But if you know anything about Japanese [religion], it’s “Buddha loves me, this I know.” And there’s an imitation of the methodology of Christianity; not the content, but the methodology. In other words, pragmatically something in Christianity works. The religions of the world, and the cultic structures of the world, recognize that. And what they’re trying to do is to get hold of Christian terminology and [then] pour their theology into the mold of our terminology. And then to sell this terminology to the Western world. And they’ve been enormously successful in this particular sales approach.[1]

Dr. Walter Martin


[1] Zen Buddhism, CD Rom, available from Walter Martin Religious InfoNet.