Karma

If there’s one piece of “religious” fabric which is most woven into general non-religious life it’s that of Karma.  Or at least what people believe to be Karma.  Getting what one deserves, the cosmic justice from the impersonal punishing people for one’s selfishness, thievery, etc.  As with many New-Agey Eastern mystical beliefs, the popular conception of Karma isn’t interjected with much deep thought.  To be fair, I realize that more often than not, the person is just hoping out loud that a wrong-doer gets his comeuppance… but still.

I just think people don’t seem to take into consideration that there are real philosophical problems when they hope Karma gets a hold of the wrong-doer, even if it’s merely a passing sentiment (this shallow thinking is a problem in and of itself, but I digress).  Karma is supposed to be this impersonal force, right?  Impersonal forces don’t possess rational thought, how can we be sure it will be employed justly, applying rewards and punishments with proper degrees to the right people?  How does Karma “know” right from wrong in order to make a moral a judgement on behaviors and impose a penalty or reward in the first place?  With all the different people — themselves of varying degrees of morality — seeking Karma’s justice, how can they be so confident Karma will come through, on the right person, with the right action?

To reiterate, I understand that the majority of people who would wish Karma’s crafty hand of justice on the non-handicapped person parking in the handicapped parking space, aren’t thinking deeply about it at all. They simply want someone who has done wrong to not get away with it.  I get it and I’m really only nitpicking.  However, I what I find the most troubling about the institution of Karma is the lack of room for forgiveness or mercy.  From a mindless mechanical system meting out justice as a calculator adds figures, there’s no room (presumably) for leniency.  I hope Karma gets Karma for that.

Comments

  1. Great logical debunking of Karma to support the Bible. Karma isn’t part of the truth(Christianity) because we don’t get what we do deserve (mercy) and do get what we don’t deserve (grace). And God does this to whomever he wants because he says he will have mercy on whom he wants to have mercy and he lets the sun come on the good and evil(Romans 9, Ex 33:19, Matt 5:45) . In Buddhism Karma is logical because classic Budhism is non-theistic with the Buddha not believing in a deity or the depravity of man. But through discipline and observation of nature one could reach nirvana. But we see that no one is good(Mark 10:18) and we need some supernatural help(Ps 121:2).

    • I think we even instinctively know everyone has done moral wrong, even ourselves if we’re honest. We tend to justify our own short comings by comparing ourselves with those we consider to be worse than us.

      However, I think we also instinctively long for forgiveness from our peers (at a minimum, and God ultimately). A mindless process like Karma provides us with nothing to fulfill our consciences

  2. John's wife says:

    If I am wishing Karma on someone it has gone beyond the level of even considering forgiveness. And if I am going to hell for it, so be it.

    • I don’t think wishing Karma (or wanting someone who has done wrong to get the justice they deserve) is wrong per se. Even David, one of God’s chosen figures wrote many Psalms imploring God to punish the wicked. I can understand that — petitioning God for justice — and have done it many times. But God is a person, a mind who can think and assess a person’s worthiness for punishment or reward. I’m questioning the impersonal nature of the religious institution of “Karma” specifically, which is a mindless mechanism of the cosmic universe.

  3. John's wife says:

    It’s just another saying for what goes around comes around and it tends to be true 9 out of 10 times…and no, there may be individuals who long for forgiveness but i think there are more that choose not to give it and are fine with that.

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