From a meme: "Buddha was not Buddhist. Jesus was not Christian. Muhammed was not Muslim. They were teachers who taught love. Love was their religion."
I apologize to those who like this sort of thing, but it drives me rather nuts. (As do those inane “coexist” bumper stickers.) The problem with things like this is that they reflect a lack of understanding of history as well as theology.
Buddhism is a philosophy concerned with the attainment of “enlightenment” for individuals though meditation and a prescribed way of living. If you study the texts of Buddhism, you will not find discourses on the topic of “love.” Buddha is regarded by practitioners of Buddhism as a great teacher. He is not worshipped as a deity.
Muhammad is the greatest prophet of Islam. The words of the Koran are said to have come from his mouth through the angel Gabriel as he seized Muhammad by the throat. Muhammad was a warrior who spread Islam by military conquest. He is regarded by Muslims as a great man and prophet. He is not worshipped as a deity.
Jesus Christ is understood by Christians to be God Incarnate. We believe that, at a particular point in human history, God took on human flesh and became one of us. During his roughly three years of preaching, Jesus taught a message of love that is inextricably bound to a message of repentance. But even beyond what Jesus said, Christianity is about what Jesus did, namely, to offer himself as a sacrifice for the atonement of the sins of man, thereby demonstrating the sacrificial nature of love.
To lump the names of Buddha, Muhammad, and Jesus together, or to regard all the world religions as if they are basically the same, is disingenuous and intellectually dishonest. Buddha and Muhammad are regarded by their respective followers as men. Jesus Christ is worshipped by his followers as God. That’s a fundamental difference that cannot be dismissed with vague platitudes such as, “Love was their religion.”