Christian Daughter v.s. Buddhist Mother: How The Two Stayed in Peace and Love

CCD File Photo
CCD File Photo
By Qian XunMarch 29th, 2017

Editor's notes: This article reveals a practical issue facing many Chinese Christians: what if the family members have different religions? What should a Christian do? For the author, we appreciate the author's respect for her Buddhist mother; but, we do not agree with her negative attitude in helping family members to believe in Jesus. The article also raises a question deserving Chinese Christians' reflection: what is a Christian's view on the non-Christian faith of other family members?

Below is the narration of Christian Sister Qian

Before I believed in Jesus, my mom had been a Buddhist for years.

There was a small temple near our home, and my mom would burn incense there, asking for blessings for our family every temple fair, which is usually held on March 15 every year.

Sometimes, when she foresee that she could not go, she would pray in advance in silence and hoped that Buddha could help her to make it.

There was one year I remembered deeply when Buddha answered my mom's prayer. That year marked my entrance exam into college and my brother happened to have an important exam at the same time. My mom went to the temple and prayed that Buddha allow us to pass the exam. She promised that if it came true, she would repay Buddha with a troupe to perform for a whole afternoon.

After we both passed our exam, mom was happy and thankful. She invited the best troupe in our place, who sang for Buddha for an afternoon.

I also remember one winter which was so cold because of the heavy snow. After my parents swept away the snow at our door, they rushed to the temple early in the morning when there were no people in the street. My mom feared that several grandmas, one of which was lame, could not sweep the snow as usual.

My parents even managed to drain the tap water into the temple's kitchen where there is no tap water. They also took time for the grandmas and cooked for them, especially in winter for they had to do labor to get water in the front yard.

When I went with my mom to the temple in my second year of college, one grandma told me many times that that my mom was kind.

Afterwards, my mom went to my brother's home to help take care of their kids. She met several women of her age in the community and they often accompanied each other to go shopping, exercising and enjoying the sun. For sure, they would also go to a nearby temple together to burn incense. When I went to stay in my brother's home after becoming pregnant, I could always hear laughter from my mom's happy chatting with her friends in the pavilion.

In our hometown, people believed that if family members believe in different gods, disaster would come upon the family. However, my mom did not oppose my faith in Jesus, saying that she was happy to see that I became happier after believing in Jesus and she was not worried.

Her idea could not stand with other's opinions about our differing faiths. When I was about to go home once, my mom told me in advance on the phone not to read the Bible, nor sing praise songs at home. I obeyed her. In my memory, that was the first and last time she had opposed my faith. Later on, she did not mention anything forbidden for me to do.

She comes to help me nowadays; because, my kid needs care. My mom has never opposed me as I taked my kid to the church. She did not interfere with me reading the Bible to write articles. When my kid teared off one page of the Bible, she sighed and told the kid that the book was one of mom's favorite books and not to do it again.

At the end of 2016 when I was going shopping, my mom asked me to search for a temple near the community for she wanted to burn incense.

Though I am a Christian, I did it for my mom and found the bus lines she should take. After I told my mom that I wanted to bring the kid to go with her, she was surprised and asked "Can you, a Christian, go to a temple?" I answered smiling "I will just accompany you." 

"Not good, not good." My mom shaked her head.

Then I assured her, "Christians can go to the temple. I will not worship gods there; but, just bring the kid to have fun there." Thinking about it again, she suggested that I should not go for it was hard to bring kid outside and it was not good for the little kid to go to temple too.

Because I wanted to let my mom go to temple to burn incense in peace, I agreed not to go with her.

My father, a senior Communist, talked about the Communist party all his life. Regardless of the topics he was talking about with my mom or me or even guests in our home, he could bring up the topic to the Communist party, believing that "There has never been a savior, we have to rely on ourselves."

But he would accompany my mom each time my mom went to temple, apart from the time when they were not together. In cold winters, he would still accompany my mother to go to the temple to sweep snow.

When my mom grew older and not suitable to go out, my father bought an altar and made a space at home for my mom's convenience to burn incense.

After becoming a Christian, I had persuaded my mom to stop believing in Buddha in the beginning, telling her that only Jesus was the savior. My mom said, "You believe in Jesus and I believe in Buddha. Let us not interfere with each other." 

I had prayed in tears for my father, mother and brother and his wife, hoping that they would come to believe in Jesus. I had envied the Christian families who follow one faith.

Gradually I stopped persuading my family members, especially my mom, because I no longer believed that it is only Jesus who was savior nor the fact only a Christian family was happy and blessed.

Though my mom's faith was not real faith and only counted as a religion, I saw her goodness, thankfulness, joy, her respect and love for me and her deep love with my father because of her faith in Buddha.

Enough! Why should I stop her?

If she comes to the Lord, I will be comforted. But if she does not, it has nothing to do with me; but, with God.

What I need to do is to respect her as she respects me. What I need to do is to understand her heart in her shoes instead of judging her to have a hardened heart. What I need to do is to love and help her to meet her needs after finding it in her perspective, instead of forcing her to believe in Jesus in the name of love.

Having written to this place, I think there are many people who will scold me. But, I still want to say that adults are independent and we need to be responsible for our own lives.

When you plead with or force your family members to believe in Jesus in the name of love, remember that they are created by God as we are, who have free will and their own emotions. Respect and accept their choices in life. 

About the Author: Qian Xun, a Christian sister in Shaan Xi. She holds a Master's degree in Law. She can be contacted at As a full-time mother, she welcomes e-mails and communication to broaden her horizons and inspire her writing interest.

Translated by: Alvin Zhou

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