HOME   People do good because they are human, not because they are religious! 

Do not give God any credit for the good they do, they did it!

 

KARMA, RETRIBUTIVE JUSTICE

Reincarnation is the view that when you die, you may return in another body. It supposes that each person has had many lives.

 

It suggests that life is a punishment.  After all if you are here and bad karma is waiting for you and you are put in the situation where you will add more bad karma then that is hardly a great life!  You were either an angel who went astray and got bad karma or you have lived for all eternity and have had karma forever and always will. 
 
Karma is the notion that the good or bad you send out of you will come back on you. Most people believe the evil you do haunts you in this life. Buddhists and Hindus hold that it may not but you will pay for it in a future life.

Karma says that what we send out of us will come back on us.  But it does not follow that if you murder you will be murdered.  It could come back in another way that adds up to being as bad as being murdered.  However the doctrine can lead to a formulation that in fact sees  your murderer not as a murderer but as an avenger and that you are killed for you murdered somebody in this life or a previous one.  A doctrine is to be judged by what it permits more than by what it teaches.

Many reject the popular understanding of karma that says that a baby that dies of a heart deficiency was a person who perhaps stabbed someone in the heart in a previous life. So the death of the baby is not punishment. If you reject this punishment idea you might still say the death is a bad act committed in the previous life coming back on the baby. You might say it is not a punishment but a reaction. But nobody can accuse a baby of having murdered in a past life not even on faith or religious grounds. That is callously putting faith before a person.

Karma is hard-hearted and makes it impossible for those who really believe in it to exercise true compassion or to be opposed to the death of a baby. If its just punishment then it cannot be opposed. The trend is to imagine that the baby somehow loved us so much that he or she preferred to come to us for a while. How wonderful it is to think that if our child will die, “they loved us so much they had to be with us despite the risks” instead of, “They deserved it”, or, “It is God’s will and so the child is better off away from us”. But the baby is still blamed for the death. It is not right to accuse without proof - period.

Most people alive have a vindictive version of karma that they believe in. It is usually believed that if reincarnation is true then how you lived in this or your past life determines what your next life or the rest of your future life will be like.  They think that if you do bad it comes back on you to make you suffer for doing it as in vengeance or revenge. Even good that is not done just for the sake of helping another comes back on you for it is a refusal to be properly good. Few care for the Buddhist doctrine that karma is not retribution but merely getting back what you send out of you. It’s a reaction.  The doctrine may not be vengeful but if it is close enough or perceived as close enough then it is still to blame.  A doctrine can be condemned for its abuse when too many of its followers use it in a bad way.  A good doctrine that has a bad effect on human nature is still to be condemned even if only for the way human nature unavoidably reacts to it.

 

 If you murder, you will be murdered and the law of karma will see to that. Others would say you might not be murdered but will suffer in other ways for your crime. What you suffer will amount to being murdered.  The doctrine is bad simply because too many interpret it that way and are drawn by that vile interpretation.
 
Some allege that karma can’t be reconciled with free will because it determines (programs) a person to do harm to a person because that person has done harm in this life or another life. That allegation is seriously mistaken. A free agent can be manipulated not to choose certain things through thoughts and feelings. If you can’t think of something you can’t choose it. Programming is unnecessary. Though there are versions of karma that teach programming not all do.

Suppose the following is right. If A murdered a person in a past life then A has to be murdered or tormented by B. How could B have sinned when he or she is only giving A her or his due? B has done her or him a favour by getting the worst over. If B sins it is only because B does not have the sense to know that he or she did not do wrong.

Some say that the doctrine that babies deserve the suffering they get when they get sick or abused is not as cruel as it sounds. They say it is crueller to say they don’t deserve what evil comes upon them for that implies there is nothing you or they can do about at least some of the terrible things that may be on their way to them. But it is less cruel to see evil as a harsh reality of life that is undeserved than to suggest we bring it on ourselves by our sins.
 
If karma is untrue, it is crueller to have people trying hard with good works and penance to avoid the price of some sin for then they will be disappointed. There is a lot to be said for repudiating karma to face life with courage and knowing that injustices will happen and expecting them. They hurt more when you don’t expect them. Even when you do accept the karma doctrine you don’t know how much evil you have done in a previous life so all the good you can do in this one might not be enough to avoid the rest of this life and the next ten from being unbearable. There is no excuse for saying people deserve the sicknesses and rapes and murders that befall them.
 
Some believers in karma may say that those who murder and rape are doing wrong even though the victim deserves it but that makes no sense. Deserves means entitled to or having the right to. If wrong at all it is not very wrong. And raping, if you believe the person deserves it, cannot be by any means as bad as raping when you believe the person does not so the karma doctrine clears the evil conscience a bit.
 
Glen Hoddle got into trouble for saying disabled people are paying for past life sins and that is the way it should be. Statements like that are terrible. If he were disabled himself he would not be so convinced. We conclude that it is best and decent to see evil as something that should be entirely hated and despised and which we do not deserve or cause. See it as something to be fought and don’t condone it in anyway way or even slightly.
 
Karma and sincerity don’t get along well. If you believe that one good work atones for all your sins for a good work would please an infinitely good God infinitely then you should find you get infinitely good karma - meaning you get permanent happiness that very instant.
 
A good infinitely valuable work and a bad infinitely valuable work cancel. That shows that you can get around karma. If karma cancels out, then the evil that befalls you is just unplanned bad luck and no god or power intended it.
 
If you sincerely believe Jesus Christ did all the good necessary to cancel out and make up for your sin you will still be subject to harmful karma. Evil things will still happen to you.
 
You cannot wilfully do evil unless you believe that you have free will. Free will seems absurd so disbelieve in it and karma shouldn’t touch you.
 
Some will conclude that since you still suffer no matter what you believe, karma can’t be cancelled out by beliefs and intentions. But that makes karma unjust for when you act sincerely what more can you do? You are doing your best. Karma cannot touch the person who sincerely thinks he or she sins no more or that a good work cancels out all his or her sins.

Karma depends on your motives not on your actual actions. When you do evil, you think it is right which means you will that an infinity of people should do the same if they existed. Sin then is infinitely bad. If karma were true, you would be in everlasting torment right now for willing infinite evil. When you will such evil, you repent all the good you have done and are embracing evil for to approve evil is to forbid all good. The fact that we don’t all fall into eternal torment when we do wrong proves that karma is a false doctrine. If people believe in sin that deserves infinite torture and commit it they would immediately go to eternal torment.
 
How can anyone have good karma when the impulse or inclination to sin remains? Good karma that lets that happen is really bad karma. We will good alone so suffering disproves karma. In other words, you do evil because you are attracted by the good in it not the evil. You imagine that the evil is really good.

Nobody ever does all they can to help others in the best way. You must have unrepented faults because if you did not you could and would be put in a state in which you cannot do any more wrong but just make atonement. If God won't put you in the perfect environment for your spiritual perfection, then the reason is because you don't really want him to. If you think you do, then there must be unrepented sins blocking him from helping. From this, it follows that the good works you currently do are really evil because they are made in a state of impenitence or attachment to sin. It is like you do them because it suits you and not because it is good. To sit down and meditate or to do good works to win liberation is sinful for you should do all you can first for others. It would be physically easier to do that if you lived forever but you don’t and that suggests that karma is untrue for it gives you an almost irresistible temptation to put yourself first.

Some religions say that you can get rid of your bad karma by meditating. Meditating saves you by drawing you to a mental state that is supposed to be getting the mystical or magical knowledge that you are free and eternal and since it is the experience that saves you from earthly existence it is real and when you die you will enter it permanently. Buddhism believes that. But then salvation or liberation from it is impossible. When we have all deceived people in religious matters either by act or omission it follows that we will be deceived ourselves and so could be getting a false experience of liberation. So, it is a sin to claim to be liberated for you cannot be sure and it is self-righteous pride – a source of bad karma! – to believe that you are. Yet liberation is called enlightenment.

Only suffering or punishment could deliver you from what you deserve for how could meditation or good works do it when they are more pleasant and the easy way? Remember, you don’t deserve the easy way and to be fine when you could pay for your sin without being fine would be as good as trying to reward your sins. So, to be liberated you have to inflict penitential pain on others and yourself. Nobody can manage to hurt the whole world terribly therefore if karma is true there is no freedom from it. The experience of liberation from karma must be delusional.

If karmic retribution is true then the world and life are unreal. Evil breeds evil so if karma is really fair it will put each person in a world that is not real but which he or she thinks is real to keep her or him from bad influences and to get bad karma repaired faster. When I am able to question if the world I am in is real that proves that the doctrine of a just karmic reincarnation is false for it leads me to believe the world is an illusion and do as I please. I can’t think of everything anyway so karma could stop me thinking of that.

The doctrine of karma is harmful for why try to catch murderers and crooks if their bad karma will catch up on them? Better to save the expense for yourself. You can’t give it to the poor for they supposedly deserve to be poor. You cannot understand another person’s degree of responsibility fully so it would be fairer to let karma take care of the criminals for you might punish them too little or too much.
 
We know that the doctrine that we should not do what is best for the world unless we really want to is false. It repudiates morality. It is putting intention before results. If a person goes to Africa to work day and night for the dying and the motive is to earn Heaven who cares as long as people are helped? It is those of us who are not in Africa doing that, that have something to worry about if karma is true. That proves that salvation or freedom from bad karma can’t be possible for you will always neglect to do what is right. Each one of us causes the starving of the millions. There is a complete contradiction between the notion of karma and the promise of salvation.
 
People sin and suffer after the alleged enlightenment which frees one from karma suggesting that they are not free from it at all. If they can be enlightened then everybody should be especially when they experience is supposed to provide freedom from sin and evil at death. The experience is a delusion.

If karma were true then when you forgive all who have ever done wrong surely you should be forgiven by the law yourself? Or if you prefer you would deserve to be forgiven. You have earned your pardon and should instantly enter Nirvana or salvation for all your bad karma is cancelled.

Karma is cruel when it wipes the memory at death. If we remembered our previous lives we would not accumulate as much karma for we would be wiser.
 
It is said that karma is not about retribution but about us learning to love. I charge this version with hypocrisy for that can’t be the reason for karma because lessons can be miraculously implanted and lessons are no good unless we have the right kind of feelings to make us good and feelings can be implanted as well. The lessons are just an excuse for hurting us. The doctrine means that karma for retribution is supposed to be immoral and still it happens meaning that it is really for revenge. Bad retribution is revenge for it is done not to uphold justice but with bad intent.
 
We need not fear karma. We just need to worry about belief in it!

 

BOOKS CONSULTED

AFTER DEATH – WHAT? Fred Pearce, Christadelphian Publishing Office, Birmingham
ETERNAL LIFE, Hans Kung, Collins, London, 1984
GOD AND THE NEW PHYSICS, Paul Davies, Penguin Books, London, 1990
HANDBOOK OF CHRISTIAN APOLOGETICS, Peter Kreeft and Ronald Tacelli, Monarch, East Sussex, 1995
JEHOVAH OF THE WATCHTOWER, Walter Martin and Norman Klann, Bethany House Publishers, Minnesota, 1974
IS THERE LIFE AFTER DEATH? Paul Kroll, Worldwide Church of God, Pasadena, California, 1988
MIND OUT OF TIME, Ian Wilson, Gollanez, London, 1981
OCR Philosophy of Religion for AS and A2, Matthew Taylor, Editor Jon Mayled, Routledge, Oxon, New York, 2007 
LIFE AFTER DEATH THE WONDERFUL FACTS, Alan Hayward, Christadelphian, ALS, Birmingham
REASONS FOR HOPE, Ed Jeffrey A Mirus, Christendom College Press, Virginia, 1982
TEACH YOURSELF PHILOSOPHY OF MIND, Mel Thompson, Teach Yourself Books, London, 2003
THE AFTER DEATH EXPERIENCE, Ian Wilson, Corgi, London, 1987
THE DEVIL HIDES OUT, David Marshall, Autumn House, Grantham, 1991
THE LIFE OF ALL LIVING, Fulton J Sheen, Image Books, New York, 1979
THE INCREDIBLE CREED OF JEHOVAH WITNESSES, Frs Rumble & Carty, TAN, Illinois, 1977
WHATEVER HAPPENED TO HEAVEN? Dave Hunt, Harvest House, Publishers, Oregon, 1988

The Web
 
www.csicop.org/sb/9803/reincarnation.html
Case of Reincarnation Re-examined by Joe Nickell. This refutes the reincarnation claims of Jenny Cockell.