Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Karma, Really?

If you are a Christian or Materialist Atheist who references karma, you are bearing witness that you are inconsistent in your worldview.

Karma is the concept of an immaterial force in the universe which exacts justice and vindicates wrongs. The idea is if you are mean to people, karma is going to get you back. If you are nice to people, karma will reward you. Karma is a tenet of Hindu and Buddhist religious belief. These Eastern religions teach of this impersonal force that governs people's actions and regulates the affairs of the world with the scales of justice.

What is most disturbing about this idea is that many professing Christians talk about and reference it. Karma is not a Christian belief. We do not believe in karma. We do not believe in an impersonal force operating in the universe to right wrongs and reward good. We believe in a God who rules and reigns over the universe. Galatians 6:7 teaches that we reap what we sow. This means that if we sow sinful actions and behaviors, we will reap the consequences such actions bring. Likewise if we sow godly actions, we will likely experience the blessing of such actions. This is a far cry from karma. Galatians 6:7 supports the idea of cause and effect. If I train extremely hard to run a marathon, eat right, and prepare myself, I will reap the benefits of a solid race. If I sow the habits of laziness, eating unhealthy, and fail to train, I will reap the consequences of a miserable day if I attempt to run 26.2 miles. However, life doesn't always work that way. Sometimes the guy who trains for months for the marathon gets hurt as soon as the race starts and is unable to finish. That is life. 

Christians who talk about karma are demonstrating they do not read their Bible's very often. At a minimum, they demonstrate they have been seduced by unbiblical thinking and ideas. For Christians to speak of karma is to syncretize unbiblical beliefs into a Christian belief system, which is creating an entirely separate system - a melting pot of contradictory ideas. 

For the non-Christian, particularly the Materialist Atheist, speaking of karma is also inconsistent with their worldview. The Materialist Atheist believes the world consists of matter. All that exists is physical in nature. For this same person to speak and reference karma, which is an invisible and impersonal force in the universe which brings about justice, is a contradiction. The Materialist Atheist cannot account for such a belief within the framework of his/her belief system. He is borrowing from Eastern religions and incorporating it into his worldview. 

Karma does not exist. Sometimes good people suffer much in this world. Sometimes bad people have it made. Great parents can have unhealthy children and negligent parents can have healthy children. The guy who gets drunk every night and cheats on his wife may catch a lot of business breaks and strike it rich. The guy who is faithful to his wife and family may get fired by the previous guy. 

There is no impersonal force in the world governing the universe. There is a God, Triune in nature, who is personal, who rules the universe. Wrongs will be made right one day, He promises so. But on this side of heaven, sometimes good guys lose, and bad guys win (read Asaph's psalm - Psalm 78). Karma is a joke. Do yourself a favor and eliminate it from your vocabulary and way of expressing the happenings in the world. It is simply not a reality.


  1. Thank you thank you thank you! Just had a conversation about this the other day. I really don't like it when people talk about Karma. Couldn't get the other person, who is a Christian, to understand God is good and doesn't desire to hurt His people. Stephanie Todd

  2. very well stated. Brian Gentry

  3. Also, the word "mantra." We can so easily fall into using this word, as in "His mantra is _____." The word "motto" is perfectly adequate to convey the same meaning.

  4. Let's examine what you have said : "There is no impersonal force in the world governing the universe. " To a physicist, or a mathematician, or indeed anyone who has had exposure to the ideas of Physics and Mathematics, it DOES appear very much as if there are impersonal forces that operate on the world (they're called the laws of physics). Granted, there is no seemingly moral aspect to physical laws (the laws of gravitation, chemistry, biology or electromagnetism for instance can be used to kill and maim or cure and heal) - however, notions of morality have evolved in all societies (and, for the most part, atheists follow laws) and may be considered as intertwined with the human condition as the physical laws that caused the human race to evolve in the first place. Notions of Theistic Evolution argue that God designed the laws of physics to create moral beings BUT a hardline atheist would not believe in such attempts to marry science with morality or religion.
    IF you conceive of karma as being 'action' (whether that action is 'willed' or not depends upon whether you believe in 'free will'), then it is obvious that human actions exist and are endemic to the world (as long as there are humans, there shall be human actions). Thus, in this sense, karma DOES exist. Also, the laws of physics (of which we are a part) can be thought of as an "impersonal force in the world governing the universe", hence Abraham Lincoln's phrase "I believe in one uniform, unbroken, primordial law". The question then naturally arises, which direction is the sequence of actions/causality going? Ie: is there teleological purpose to the universe? Humanistically, there is. It is to reduce human suffering, in all its forms and guises so that people can attain 'Nirvana' or the cessation of suffering. There is much more to say, but I'll leave it at that.