Karma? Part 2 of 3

karma 1

(Continued from yesterday)

Yesterday we concluded that there is no second chance after death for karma to work, and even if there are millions of chances it would be futile to achieve perfection on your own because the standard is beyond human capability. Today we continue with some fundamental questions that I found karma to be unsatisfactory:

* Buddhism is atheistic in that it does not believe in a personal God who is righteous and punishes the wicked to enforce justice. Instead, it believes in impersonal karma. An impersonal force, by definition, does not have a moral standard. How is it that karma evaluates everyone’s good and evil deeds and metes out rewards and punishment accordingly? Where does morality come from?
* The law of karma claims, without proof, a person’s karma determines which of 6 domains or realms he is reborn into: god, demigod, human, animal, hungry ghost, and hell. Who sets the criteria? What good can someone in a lower domain, say hell, possibly do to merit rebirth into a higher domain?
* For a person to improve, he needs to remember the lessons learned from his mistakes. Yet people do not remember what good or bad they have done in alleged previous lives. Most people don’t have past life recalls at all. Even the few who do have only a vague notion that somehow they have lived as another person before. No evidence has ever been presented that an individual had existed in a previous non-human domain. All these point to myths and legends, not fact.
* Karma claims that the previous life’s actions determine this life’s quality. Let’s regress to the first life. How did karma operate then, since there is no prior life? This is a question on the origin of evil. Buddhism believes in dualism. How did karma get out of balance? One cannot argue that the universe is eternal and has no beginning, because science had established that the universe has a beginning and also an end.
* Karma is anti-compassion and selfish. A person suffers in this life because he has done something bad in the previous life’s to deserve it. He has to pay off his bad karma. If you help him, his karmic debt does not get paid off and he has to be reborn again to suffer some more. It may increase your own good karma, but should you build yourself up at the expense of the sufferer? This all sounds very anti-social to me, and contradicts Buddhism’s teaching of compassion.

I have other questions, but I just find karma to be lacking in evidence and inadequate philosophically. So back to yesterday’s premise #2 – You reap what you sow – that should be biblical, right? The answer is both yes and no. The devil is in the details. Yes, a man reaps what he sows (Ga 6:7), that’s simple cause and effect, but both the sowing (trouble or righteousness) and the reaping refer to this life, not the next. The Bible is very clear that “people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment” (Heb 9:27). The afterlife is either eternal blessing in heaven, or eternal suffering in hell. There is no repeated cycle to refine you until you are good enough to enter nirvana. So much for man’s vain attempt to save himself without needing to face his Creator to hold him accountable.

(To be continued)

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