The basic principle of “karma” is that each person inevitably (ie they cannot avoid or prevent it happening) receives back a “payment” for what they themselves what they have done — good for good, evil for evil.
This “principle” is widely believed but, as this article attempts to show, it is an irrational idea that leads to a lack of love, unnecessary fear and a denial of personal responsibility.
Because each individual must suffer for each bad action that they commit, there is no room in karmic philosophy for forgiveness, redemption, mercy or atonement.
It is often claimed that the karma principle is expressed in the bible with the phrase “a man reaps what he sows”. While this statement is true in general terms and is a good thought to keep in mind when deciding how to live, it is not true under all circumstances. As is often the case in life, the exceptions are important.
The bible teaches that a person's sins can be forgiven and atoned for by the blood of Jesus and that “Mercy triumphs over judgement”. In any case the biblical man is sowing intent, not actions. A man may sow to please God but sow imperfectly; in a karmic system that man could at best receive an imperfect reward. Fortunately God is able, through the spirit and the death of Jesus, to save sinners. It is precisely because we could not, and cannot, and never will, be able to always do right that Jesus had to fulfil the law's demands on our behalf and then offer himself as the perfect sacrifice.
Now if sin can be forgiven then the inevitable repayments of Karmic power are shown to be not inevitable and the grip of Karma is broken. In fact, if sin can be forgiven then Karma is an irrelevent, useless principle that keeps people away from God unnecessarily.
Karma denies the need for vicarious sacrifice
If, as Karmic principle implies, atonement and redemption are ineffective or impossible then Jesus died for no reason.
Karma denies the need for compassion
In a karmic system a person suffers for they wrong they did previously. It follows therefore that a person who is suffering greatly must have been very evil in the past and is now only receiving back that evil. From this it follows that it would be wrong, or at least pointless, to alleviate their suffering because such respite would only delay the fulfilment of their punishment. Compassion is therefore redundant. There is no reason to care for, or care about, anybody who is sick, lonely, starving, cold, naked, abused or unwanted, since in a karmic system these bad things are all deserved and must be left to happen for karma to be fulfilled. In fact if we follow this reasoning to its logical conclusion then to ameliorate the person's suffering would prevent them satisfying their karmic debt and would therefore prevent them from going forward and this implies that helping somebody therefore becomes a bad thing to do; damaging to one's own karma! Notice how starkly this contrasts with the Christian position where love is supreme and its practical application encouraged at all times: “entertain strangers, defend the widows and orphans, give to those who ask, do not turn away those who want to borrow, be salt and light to the earth, share with those in need, ...” In a karmic system nobody is responsible for anybody except themselves; the only people who matter in a karmic world are the selfish three: me, myself and I.
Karma offers no hope
If we have to become perfect through our own efforts then we will never be perfect. Only Jesus offers a way out — we need to be saved because we cannot save ourselves. “... and you will name him Jesus because he will save his people from their sins.” Jesus Jesus did not walk the earth merely as a good teacher and a spiritual guide. He came to rescue people from sin; to rescue everyone who will see their need and who will cast themselves on his mercy. Jesus has the authority to forgive sin. Jesus has the authority to give new life. Jesus: creator not created. Jesus, the only name given under heaven by which men may be saved.
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