Summary: I read about a recent survey titled, The top 10 most seductive, unbiblical ideas embraced by American adults. Karma was one of them. It said 33% of those with a biblical worldview embraced this concept. That's a problem.
THE PROBLEM WITH KARMA
I read an article about a recent survey authored by George Barna, conducted by the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University titled, The top 10 most seductive, unbiblical ideas embraced by American adults. Included in this list are some things I've seen before like all religious faiths are of equal value, there is no absolute truth and the idea that people are 'basically good'.
But one of the things that made the top ten was the belief in karma. It went on to say that nearly six out of ten adults believe in karma and 33% of people with a biblical worldview also embrace this concept.
"My Name is Earl". Earl Hickey was not a very nice person. One day at a Quickie mart, he stole $5.00 from someone and bought a lottery ticket with it. It ended up being a winning ticket worth $100,000. Elated, Earl ran out into the street and was promptly hit by a car. He woke up in the hospital, without the $100,000 dollars, and in a lot of pain with only his brother Randy and a hotel maid to care for him.
After getting out of the hospital, Earl has an epiphany. His life flashes before his eyes and he believes he knows why the car hit him-“karma”. Earl decides that since he’s been such a horrible guy in the past, that’s why he’s cursed with bad luck in the present. Earl makes a list of all the things he has done wrong, and in order to get Karma to smile on him he has to undo all the bad he has done. There's the premise of the show.
Technically “karma” is a bigger concept, but to most people, including Earl, it basically means “what goes around, comes around.” Karma seems like a sensible concept. If you do bad, bad will come back on you and vice versa. Karma seems to be a good concept for those who look like they're getting away with something. "That's okay, karma will catch up to them and then they'll get what's coming to them." But there's more to karma than meets the eye.
1) What is karma?
Karma is a Sanskrit word meaning action. Wikipedia states Karma is a concept of Hinduism which explains through a system where beneficial effects are derived from past beneficial actions and harmful effects from past harmful actions, creating a system of actions and reactions throughout a soul's reincarnated lives forming a cycle of rebirth. Karma is a concept also found in other Eastern religions like Buddhism.
This is from a writing on Reincarnation and the Transmigration of Souls: The teaching of karma indicates that karma is something negative, the acting is wrong. Karma is something you must be released from. Karma is the reason for the poverty of the beggar; the illness of the sick, and the hopeless situation of the oppressed. They reap what they have sown in past lives.
Karma is the reason for the prosperity of the rich, the good health of the robust, and the fortunate position of the oppressor. They are well off because they sowed well in the past. Thus everyone is well off or bad off as he or she deserves.
According to the Indian scriptures, their philosophy is that the good karma is a result of the fact that man avoids polluting himself, that he avoids desecrating objects and associating with people without caste. Good karma is a result of what you have avoided, rather than what you have actually done."
So, if I'm sick or poor it's because of karma. If I'm rich or in good health it's because of karma. But we have this cycle of reincarnation that introduces the concept of having to come back and live another life to see if I will get it right this time. What I come back as in the next life would be determined on how I lived the previous one. If I was good I will come back at a higher level. But if I wasn't so good, I may come back as an animal or something.
But God's word counters the concept of reincarnation. Heb. 9:27, "Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment." No reincarnation, no coming back and trying again; we have one life to live-one chance to get it right-after that we will face God's judgment.
Hindus believe in 21 hells-which are temporary abodes where their bad karma (the evil one commits during a lifetime) is burned away.
Jainism (an offshoot of Hinduism) believes in 8.4 million hells where humans are punished for their sins. Those guilty of unpardonable sins are kept in a bottomless abyss forever. Jains reject belief in a creator god and seek release from endless reincarnation through a life of strict self-denial.