It is well documented and widely recognized that both Buddhism and Christianity have common themes of nonviolence, pacifism, and peace found throughout their teachings. In the beginning, the adherents of these two faiths consistently held to a strong form of pacifism and nonviolence. Yet as time progressed and the religions continued in their development, nonviolence and pacifism ceased to be normative practices for Christians and Buddhists. Although in our modern context the core teachings have remained consistent, on a practical level, many adherents of both religions do not hold to pacifism and the concepts of nonviolence. This article intends to examine the concepts of nonviolence and pacifism in Buddhism and Christianity, through viewing their respective theological, philosophical, and historical traditions, and then decipher how central and necessary these concepts are to the authentic practice of their faiths. In other words, the paper intends to answer the question, "Are the teachings of nonviolence and pacifism obligatory or supererogatory in Buddhism and Christianity?" After coming to a conclusion about the nature of the ethics of nonviolence and pacifism in both faith traditions, it intends to then ascertain what the implications are for the religions and their followers and to express how the concept of pacifism and nonviolence should create common ground in religious dialogue between the two faiths. The hope is that this dialogue and commonality could promote beneficial societal change.


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 387-401
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.