THE REV. BOB HILL, pastor emeritus, Community Christian Church: If “easier” means completely comfortable, without difficulty, continuously experiencing a laid-back existence, the answer is no.
If “easier” means deeply content, more purposeful and less anxious, the answer can certainly be yes.
When Jesus declared “my yoke is easy and my burden is light,” he wasn’t offering an easygoing gospel, but rather a reassurance about grace and overcoming perfectionism.
Authentic faith — according to every commendable religious tradition — is fraught with toil, tears and breathtaking opportunities for transformation.
For example, forgiveness is in some instances exceedingly difficult, but when realized, offers precious release and peaceableness.
For another example, fulfilling the greatest commandments bequeathed by Jesus — loving God, others and oneself — is sometimes an excruciatingly hard challenge. But no one I know has found a better manner by which to order their steps and live well.
The book of Hebrews daringly defines faith as “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Living in such hope and abiding by such conviction are never easy tasks but definitely worth giving one’s life for.
Can following your faith lead to wisdom, stature, and favor with God and humanity? Undoubtedly. But such fidelity may also entail painful confusion along the way.
Living out one’s faith is a worthy struggle that always includes good measures of holy agitation.
Any promise of guaranteed prosperity, luxury and leisure for those following their faith is an unmitigated sham.
CHUCK STANFORD, lama emeritus, Rime Buddhist Center: The religion you were raised in, the one your friends and family follow, will no doubt be the easiest because it is something you already know and are familiar with.
It is as comfortable as wearing an old pair of shoes. Switching to a new and different religion is always a challenge, because it is different and unfamiliar.
Your question, however, was not asking which faith is easiest to follow, but rather if my faith would make your life easier — and that is a very difficult question to answer.
As the Buddha observed 2,500 years ago, “There are different religions, for different minds.” This means some minds respond more positively to one particular religion than to others.
One of the things that attracted me to Buddhism is its very practical teaching on how to end suffering in ourselves and others. The Buddha observed that all life is characterized by impermanence — that nothing remains the same.
Our loved ones die, our job may come to an end, our car breaks down, etc. We falsely blame our unhappiness on these circumstances, but the Buddha taught that our suffering is not the result of these things, but rather due to the clinging and grasping of our mind — of not accepting the impermanent nature of life.
It is through the meditation process that we begin to learn to accept the world as it is, rather than how we would like it to be. It is through this realization that we can begin to end our suffering, and this makes our life easier.
Voices of Faith is edited by The Kansas City Star. To comment or ask a question, email firstname.lastname@example.org.