It’s superstitious, right?

Yup. And/or a part of other religions, like Hinduism or Buddhism. It was originally connected to reincarnation (bad Karma and you get a bad next life, good karma and you move closer to being freed from the circle of samsara), but in the west it’s been separated from that and is just another superstitious belief that people will pull out as an excuse of sorts for why they do good things instead of bad.

I would hope that we don’t need an excuse. :slight_smile:

Ok. Thanks. I told someone it was and they said that, “the bible basically says it, but uses different words.” I just laughed, but I wanted to be 100% sure. :slight_smile:

It’s a Hindu theodicy, linked to the doctrines of reincarnation and liberation.

Thus, if I develop cancer or am born as a sweeper, that is punishment for sins in my past existence.

If my child is born deformed, or dies in utero, it’s because she sinned in her past life.

This provides an extraordinarily simple (I would say simplistic) solution to the problem of evil. The trouble with it is this: is God so comprehensible that we can conceive of a complete solution to the problem of evil in human terms? Somehow, I don’t think so. God’s ways are not our ways. :slight_smile:


They might be loosely referring to Galatians 6:7-9, basically saying that you reap what you sow.

I think that the basic idea of karma is that what goes around comes around, you reap what you sow, the Golden Rule ect. There are other components to Buddhist/Hindu idea of karma, but it seems the basic idea is the same.

The Psalmist refers to people paying for the evils they had intended for another:

Ps.7[15] He makes a pit, digging it out,
and falls into the hole which he has made.

Ps.915] The nations have sunk in the pit which they made;
in the net which they hid has their own foot been caught.

Ps.57[6] They set a net for my steps;
my soul was bowed down.
They dug a pit in my way,
but they have fallen into it themselves. [Selah]

The sense is similar to Karma but not based on the same theology, of course. We must remember that there is truth in non-Christian religions because God has given us all natural law within our hearts. So, we all know that doing something bad/plotting evil against another is a violation of natural law. Therefore, it is bound to show up in the ethics of peoples everywhere.

In the case of the Psalms it is a double reference, both to himself, Kind David, and to Jesus who was betrayed by his own people whose leaders plotted his demise but ended up paying the price for it with the downfall of Jerusalem.

If you do bad things and turn you back on god then people scatter and bad things happen. Evil follows Evil. If you turn to god and follow Jesus people come together. The light always overcomes the dark!!!

Well, I don’t have anything to worry about. She told me Karma was going to get me because I don’t believe in having children out of wedlock. After that she called me a Catholic Saint who will “fall off of that shiny pedestal and Karma was going to bite me.” :rolleyes: I wasn’t sowing anything bad. lol

Apparently she doesn’t know the meaning of Karma if she invoked it by wishing something bad happen to you for believing in the truth. She had better be on her guard for making such a statement if she truly believes in Karma, since she is the one demonstrating ill-will :tsktsk: , not you.

Karma is in the East tied often to reincarnation.

The whole problem with Oriental religions is that they are clearly man made and do not profess to be anything but man discovered and self revealed. These then are all feverish products of human imagination. Only in the Abrahamic religions do we have assurance from God that our religion is God made. You either believe that or you don’t, but it makes more sense than to believe in a religion that never pretends to be God given and even teaches that gods can live and die and can be ignored with impunity.

We Catholics certainly agree. However, we are focusing on the similarities between our beliefs about payback for sins and that of Karma. There are some because it is a universal truth that if you sin against God and/or neighbor you will have to answer for it in this life or in the next.

The popular use of the word “karma” by those not in the eastern religions that invented the word generally has no notion of reincarnation. So when you are talking to somebody who uses the word “karma” in the popular western sense, the true origins of the word are not that relevant. What these people generally mean is a sense that you will be punished or rewarded in this life for what you do - sort of a mixture of justice and fate. This notion does not outright deny any Catholic teaching, nor is it strictly part of Catholic teaching. It is just a way of saying there is a justice that transcends man-made justice. Exactly what that justice is, they don’t usually say.

Correct. All actions have consequences:

Mind precedes all conditions,
mind is their chief, they are mind-made.
If you speak or act with an evil mind then suffering will follow you,
as the wheel follows the draught ox.

Mind precedes all conditions,
mind is their chief, they are mind-made.
If you speak or act with a pure mind then happiness will follow you,
as a shadow that never leaves.

– Dhammapada 1:1-2

That is from a Buddhist text, but the Hindu and Jain ideas of Karma are similar.


Bad things happen to good people all the time and good things happen to bad people all the time and of course vice versa.
Those are just feel good ideas that are simply not true.
There is Matthew 5:45 which says :
He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
Unless you want to take it literally.

The one idea, that God’s rewards the good and pays the wicked for their offenses in this life and the next and the truth that good/bad things can happen to good and bad alike are not opposed to each other. They are both true. By saying that good/bad happen to both the good and the bad it means that we are not to judge people as good or bad by what happens to them, and that whatever bad comes into the lives of good people is known by God and can work for their ultimate good. Even the bad can benefit from bad things happening to them if it turns them to God. Still, God does bring good things into the lives of good people that the bad do not share only because the bad deprive themselves of the good things they could have if they would turn to God. It may sound complicated, but then life is full of complications. There is no simplistic answer to why bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people. We can only be certain that God sees and knows what is happening and he will reward each according to his deeds.

Eastern Karma is incompatible with Original Sin. In Christian theology, when a person sins, it has an effect on all creation. The sons suffer for the misdeeds of the father, and the grandson, and the great grandson. This is not taken as personal sin, because as the prophet Ezekiel prophesied “The soul that sins shall die”, but sin is not something that is isolated on each man’s island. This is in fact one of the theological reasons for why Reconciliation, like all sacraments, is a non-personal sacrament that must be celebrated with a representative of the Church, because when we sin, we not only sin against God, but we also sin against the Church, and indeed, the entire world. The priest and Christ are there to provide absolution on behalf of the Church.

Often times karma is used in a more secular context to say that there are consequences for your actions. This is “as you reap, so shall you sow”, and this is something that usually applies in this life, and always applies in the next, but Christian theology expands infinitely beyond this proverb to say that the entire world suffers according to sin, and the entire world is aided according to righteousness, because impenitent sinners can also enjoy the benefits of the righteousness of others, and a lack of response from these benefits will heap burning coals upon his head in the life to come.

Yes and is very dangerous.

Superstitious nonsense. The Bible says “You reap what you sow” it is not the same thing. Bad things happen to good people all the time and good things happen to bad people. What supernatural force would be enforcing the rule of “Karma” if it was real? The universe? It is ridiculous for a non-Hindu or non-Buddhist to believe in Karma. If another Christian told me “Karma is going to get so-and-so” I would gladly tell them that it is superstitious non-sense. If someone subscribed to The Karma Theory because of religious beliefs and told me that, I would simply say I do not believe in Karma.

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