From the outside looking in, there are many similarities between Wayism and Christianity but these are mainly on the surface. On the surface can be seen that Wayist iconography makes use of eastern styled iconography as symbols of heavenly beings and principles. Then of course, Wayists believe in concepts like Karma that Christians consider to be exclusively of an eastern origin. Those are mere surface differences and they change depending on who is making the comparison.
The main difference, however rests in what theologians call Soteriology – the study of what it means to be “saved” and “how the Savior saves devotees”.
At the core of Christianity sits the belief that Christ’s saving actions for humankind lies in confessing Him as one’s Saviour. It is a matter of faith, and faith alone. The purpose of life of a Christian can be said to be to love the Lord with all of one’s mind, heart and soul. The act of saving took place in the 1st century because the Christian God would have condemned all humans to eternal death (hell) had it not been for the appeasing blood and sacrificial suffering on the cross of a perfect man, Jesus. That sacrifice is what was needed to appease the wrath of the Christian God to spare all humans who believe in Jesus as the Christ. The Christian, therefore does not have to do anything to be saved from eternal death, and to go to heaven, besides confessing that Jesus Christ is Lord. Christians believe that Jesus will come again, not within that generation as He promised in Scripture, but thousands of years later than what was anticipated.
The Christian Saviour will come to judge all humans whether they loved Him faithfully. He will awake all those who died, to judge them. Those who do not make the cut will be cast into hell. There will be a bloody war against the unbelievers and demons, a worldwide slaughter of all who rejected Him will ensue and blood will run like rivers on earth. After that, faithful Christians will reign the world in peace for a thousand years. Moslems and Jews have similar beliefs regarding the end times.
Wayists do not have it as easy as all that, to get just one human life. For us, life on earth is a school. We will attend here for as long as it takes to graduate. Each lifetime is but one more year at school. Our salvation (graduation) is ultimately in our own hands but we believe that the Lord, our Savior walks the Way with us and helps us change whenever we make ourselves accessible. The purpose of life for the Wayist is to change how we think, live and love in our soul-minds so that we can become as perfect as spiritual beings.
We believe that the Lord’s saving actions started when He worked on earth during the 1st century to bring about reformation in the religions of the day. After that, he came again as He had promised, within that generation, in about 78AD. He came as the glorified Savior of humankind, known to Buddhists and Daoists in the East by His Sanskrit title, Avalokitesvara, known in the West by His title, Christ. The Lord and His helper spiritual beings (angels) are present among us here on the earth plane. They are available to our consciousness in prayer and meditation. They act as guides on the Way and they may even remove the odd obstacle in the path. But, our fate and our progress to evolve our human souls into spiritual beings lie in our own hands. In our school (the world), the law of Karma determines what our next human birth will be like. The Law of Karma determines the curriculum, our future lesson plan. Depending on how we live this life, we may have to be born in the Congo, or the Mid East, or in the Sahara Desert, Afghanistan, China or New York for several lifetimes to learn particular lessons — it all depends on our actions and thoughts in this life. Over time, all human beings will learn the required Wisdom to live full and active lives in Humility, Simplicity and Compassion with all beings. The Wayist cannot go sit on a mountain, cut off from society and become holy. We HAVE to experience life in community; we have to be tested in all aspects of the human condition in order to become perfected. When that happens, we will be ready to undergo metamorphosis and our souls will change into spiritual beings—we will be reborn in Heaven and the eternal cycle of rebirth and suffering will have come to an end. As spiritual beings we cannot look forward to a “retirement” basking in the sun, singing hymns. No, Wayists have very active careers ahead of them. The Heaven we are destined to go, serves as a sort-of headquarters of Intergalactic Social Services (to put a bit of a sci-fi spin on it). In the future, as spiritual beings we will exist there, and serve the cause to help soul beings on different planets.
The Saviour has two primary concerns that affect our salvation. First, He guards the Truth so it will never again be removed from human consciousness and be buried beneath many layers of religious doctrine. Secondly, the Lord and His helpers are available to our soul-minds for counselling, teaching and training. The rest is up to you but it is made much easier now with the Lord at the helm of the school of life.
Many religions have a “contemplative” or mystical tradition that is not mainstream but on the fringes of their communities. In this, we have a lot in common. We adore some Christian and Sufi sages like Origen, Theresa of Avila and St. Francis, Rumi, Tijani, etc.
Mysticism and contemplation is not optional in Wayism. It is at the core of our spirituality. We cannot relegate it, or reserve it for the fringes, it is central to our way. However, we simply have to work out our spirituality in a normative community. We are parents, husbands, wives, lovers, entrepreneurs and white and blue collar workers. There was a rumour once that we even had a politician but that could not be verified.
Wayists who enjoy the serenity of life in a Wayist Center (monastery/sangha/satsang/ashram) work in community soup kitchens, charities, eco-causes, etc. Now, that is no different than what Mother Theresa of Calcutta did, or how certain Sufi traditions organized themselves, so we have that in common.