Lajos Erőss’ and Karl Barth’s approach to comparative theology

Subtitle
Two attempts to reflect on the relationship between Buddhism and Christianity especially in regard to salvation
Contributor

This work presents concisely the theological statements of a Swiss and a Hungarian theologian, Karl Barth and Lajos Erőss, regarding Buddhism. Both theologians belonged to the trend of orthodoxy in their respective countries. While they lived and worked in different contexts of space and time, nonetheless both strongly opposed the view of liberal theology that Christianity was merely one of the many world religions. Erőss and Barth dealt with comparative theology of religions within the framework of systematic theology, but they never accepted the conclusions of liberal theology. In this study, first I introduce Erőss’ life and work and briefly examine his opinion about Buddhism. Then I analyse Barth’ view about Japanese Zen Buddhism, especially with regard to the objectivity of his standards of comparative religion. The study critically reflects on how Christian dogmatic approach was applied by the theologians while they investigated other religions’ relation to Christianity, especially when the tenants about salvation was studied in those respective religions. The paper argues that Barth was able to transcend his theological mind up to a certain point yet bent his conclusion always towards his strong theological predetermined opinion which made him famous.