About Karma

Should Catholics believe in Karma. Isn’t that like reincarnation and I know we don’t believe in that. Thanks.

Check out the Wikipedia page on karma.

While there is of course some truth to the idea that the actions of our life impact us, karma takes this further and says that our actions (either in this life or previously, which by itself is not compatible with Catholic teaching) make us deserving of the good or bad things that happen to us. Catholics reject this idea. Suffering exists as a result of a fallen world, and should not be taken as a sign that the person who is suffering deserves to suffer any more than people who do not. We also accept that the blessings we are given are gifts and are not earned.

“While there is of course some truth…” I would venture to say that there is more than some truth to the idea that the actions of our lives impact us. Every thought, word and action that we think, say, and do impact us in some way even if we don’t experience it immediately.
It is my understanding that karma means action and that it has nothing to do with what is deserved either good or bad. I’ve read that it can be expressed as someone putting their hand on a hot stovetop burner-they get burned. This is not the brightest action but it also isn’t a punishment for being bad. It simply is what happens when we put our hand on a hot burner. Imagine going out into a hail storm-get konked on the noggin- not a punishment or something deserved for being good or bad-just karma moving along.
Live by the sword, die by the sword-a biblical way of saying karma moving along? I don’t know. Karma is simply cause and effect-no judgement involved.

Karma, as such, is incompatible with the Christian faith.

It implies a “karmic debt” that must be amortized over successive reincarnations, and can only be paid by a negative subsequent incarnation. Reincarnation is, in itself, incompatible with the faith.

The negative juju accruing within one human life does not equate to a karmic debt.


If it weren’t for bad karma, I’d have no karma at all! :):):slight_smile:

Do not question the will of God my friend.

No, karma is not compatable with the Christian faith. Consequences for actions are, but not some “force” in the universe righting wrongs and exacting justice. Karma is disproved daily by those who are privileged. It’s an infantile version of the health and wealth gospel. It’s an attempt to figure out why good or bad things happen without the concept of Christianity and redemptive suffering.

I have known quite a few people who have personality disorders and one thing they love to state opinions about are what they think of karma and from listening to them I couldn’t help but notice that* it seemed like a pretty good excuse to enjoy the misery of others *and seperate themselves from it as opposed to suffering with the sufferer.

Be compassionate as your Father is compassionate. Do not judge, and you will not be judged yourselves; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned yourselves; grant pardon, and you will be pardoned. Give, and there will be gifts for you; a full measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, will be poured into your lap; because the amount you measure out is the amount you will be given back.

I think that the “true” definition of Karma is a religious construct against to Christian faith.

However, the common use of the term is in most cases unrelated to the religious ideal… I have used the term to specifically mean doing something right in the eyes of God. So in that case it is a stealing of the term for other purposes.

(ie: “The vending machine gave me extra stuff so I gave them to others to get some good Karma with God”… using a single term to encompass “to do something pleasing to God and grant charity upon others”)

I think few people actually process the word Karma in its original form here in the US


Hi,I am a former Buddhist and studied Hinduism and Buddhism in comparative religion, and the answer is NO!!!
It involves reincarnation of the will (Buddhism) or of the soul (Hinduism) Christians should NOT**** believe in reincarnation

jeffrey Erwin #9
Be compassionate as your Father is compassionate. Do not judge, and you will not be judged yourselves; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned yourselves;

Wrong quotation for Karma.
That does not apply to false ideas but only to people’s guilt before God.

So, we can’t judge according to truth by being mesmerized by others and giving them adulation, but according to the teaching of Christ’s Church, Her Tradition and Her Scriptures. It is very important not to judge a person’s guilt before God as commanded (Mt 7:1-5). We are commanded not to judge others regarding their motives, intentions, and guilt before God (a judgment reserved to God).

But it is vital to follow the command to judge all actions, speech, writing against truth and in this way we can help others by offering truth. Christ and His Church’s Scriptures tell us:
“Stop judging by appearances, but judge justly.” (Jn 7:24).

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves. By their fruits you will know them” (Mt 7:15, 16).

“Every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. So by their fruits you will know them.” (Mt 7:19-20).

“Test everything: retain what is good.” (1Thess 5:21).

“The spiritual person, however, can judge everything but is not subject to judgement by anyone.” (1 Cor 2:15).

“I, for my part, although absent in body but present in spirit, have already, as if present, pronounced judgement on the one who has committed this deed…” (1 Cor 5:3; read 1-13).

“I am speaking as to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I am saying.” (1 Cor 10:15).

“Beloved, do not trust every spirit but test the spirits to see whether they belong to God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” (1 Jn 4:1).

“I know your works; I know that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of my mouth.” (Rev 3:16).

The correction should be with the intention of helping others to see right from wrong and truth from falsehood and so assisting in the path to virtue.

I don’t believe in reincarnation or Kama. I agree so far with the above answers and yours. I think that when wrong is done to some of us it is a hope that that person will suffer for it, and that is not the Christian way. Forgive your enemies as you would want for them to forgive you. Who of us is perfect. Thank you for your insight. I have no desire for others to suffer. The reason I asked this question was because lately I here people use the term a great deal of the time and I was not certain of it’s meaning. I thought they were saying you reap what you sow. Now isn’t that kind of the same thing? I’m trying to learn, so don’t be impatient with me please, or annoyed by my questions. God bless you!

I love what you say here. I agree. Will you be ever so kind as to answer the quote beneath you that I posted. Is it kind of saying you reap what you sow.(that is Karma I a referring to. Thanks.

“It is mine to avenge; I will repay. In due time their foot will slip; their day of disaster is near and their doom rushes upon them.” - Deuteronomy 32:35

There are three things that, when combined, basically act like what most think of as being karma.

  1. Temporal Punishment. When we go to confession, the Priest absolves us of our sins and places us in a state of grace. He also assigns to us an act of penitence to preform to ward off temporal punishment. If we don’t do this, then either something bad will happen to us in our lives or when we die we will have to spend time in purgatory before being allowed into Heaven.

  2. God’s Wrath. In the bible, there are several instances where someone behaves wickedly or does something evil and God ruins their lives or kills them as a result. Herod was eaten alive by worms, the Pharaoh drowned in a flood, and so on.

  3. Heaven and Hell. Basically, if you do bad things your whole life than you spend eternity in a bad place. If you do good things and repent for the bad things you did then you spend eternity in a good place.


Karma is not Christian, but we too believe every action has a Divine consequence.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.