For one to take refuge,
there must be respect.
For one to have respect,
there need not be refuge.
— Stonepeace | Get Books
Since faith and respect are different, respect for other religions does not mean we must have faith in their doctrines. For example. I have met with some Christians who take interest in certain Buddhist practices, study them, and even practice them. They take particular interest in Buddhist methods for achieving one-pointed meditative concentration as well as how to increase love, compassion and patience. Since these practices are common* to Christianity and Buddhism, I express my admiration for what they are doing. [*Ed: The commonalities are to some extent only. E.g. Buddhist teachings of perfect compassion encompass all sentient beings, including animals, hungry ghosts and hell-beings, while Christianity sees animals to be ‘created’ for consumption, spirits to all be demonic, and hell-beings to deserve condemnation for eternal suffering.]
To Christians, however, who become interested in the view of emptiness, I lightheartedly respond that this is distinctly Buddhist and has little connection with Christian doctrine. Why? Probing emptiness requires looking into dependent-rising, and if its implications are understood, it becomes difficult to accept a single, permanent, unchangeable God as the creator of the world. If one tried to have faith in Christianity and in Buddhism, one would be asserting the existence of a Creator God and at the same time the nonexistence of a creator God. That s impossible. Therefore, while respect is both feasible and beneficial, faith is another matter…
Indeed, from the viewpoint of religions that assert a creator God, Buddhism has a philosophy of deprecation, seen in its denial of a creator God, as well as a philosophy of exaggeration, seen in its assertion of former and future lives. Conversely, from a Buddhist viewpoint religions asserting a creator God have a philosophy of exaggeration, as well as a philosophy of deprecation in their denial of the cause and effect of karma over the course of countless lifetimes.
His Holiness The Dalai Lama