Let's talk about reincarnation and karma


Actually, some rabbis at the time believed that a pre-born baby could (somehow) sin. It is this teaching that is referenced in John 9.

But why would anyone want to believe in reincarnation unless they had absolute proof that it is true? Why would anyone even want to reincarnate? I would rather go to Heaven, where the saints rejoice forever in a boundless sea of love (bonus points if you know where that line comes from), than live another life on Earth, where I have to suffer all over again for another lifetime, only to repeat a lifetime of suffering yet again, until I am somehow made sinless through thousands of lifetimes of suffering?

Furthermore, we each commit so many sins that must be repaid. Under the Catholic system, Jesus paid for my sins on the cross, and as long as I repent and persevere in a state of grace to death, I can go to Heaven. Under karma, I have to repay them through suffering in this life or in the next life. Yet, while I suffer to pay for old sins, I keep committing new sins, which must be repaid; by the time I die, I am deeper in karmic debt than when I was born. I would hate to think how deep “in the red” I would be in ten thousand years despite my best efforts. Yet believers in karma just say, “Don’t do these things.” But that’s exactly why Jesus had to pay the penalty for us; we can’t quit sinning–even “the just man shall fall seven times a day.”


Mathematoons, I like your reasoning and I, as a Catholic Christian support it 100%


Let’s pretend your now in heaven. Your walking/flying around and you meet a friend from high school. In high school you were never any good at sports while he was the star athlete. After you swap howdy’s you go back to your mansion and you wonder why you weren’t the star athlete. Would you really be happy in heaven if you couldn’t go back to earth and try again?

  • There are various understandings of how Karma works. My understanding involves both Karma and grace working together so the problem isn’t as dire as you’ve presented it.
    The Catholic system is don’t commit sins. They don’t really present a coherent understanding of why we are here and what we are supposed to be doing while we are here. In my understanding of reincarnation the goal isn’t to be good but to be good for something.


Of course! Why would I care about some stupid sports competition when I’m right there in the infinite love that only God can give?

Please explain.

The Catholic system is, “Repent, and believe in the Gospel!” There is no one who does not commit at least a few semi-deliberate faults each day.

The Baltimore Catechism answers the rest better than I can:

Q. 126. What do we mean by the “end of man”?

A. By the “end of man” we mean the purpose for which he was created: namely, to know, love, and serve God.

Q. 127. How do you know that man was created for God alone?

A. I know that man was created for God alone because everything in the world was created for something more perfect than itself: but there is nothing in the world more perfect than man; therefore, he was created for something outside this world, and since he was not created for the Angels, he must have been created for God.

Q. 150. Why did God make you?

A. God made me to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him forever in the next.

Q. 154. What must we do to save our souls?

A. To save our souls, we must worship God by faith, hope, and charity; that is, we must believe in Him, hope in Him, and love Him with all our heart.




You think the Catholic system doesn’t present a coherent understanding of why we are here and what we’re supposed to be doing while we are here? How much have you studied Christianity and Catholicism specifically?

"I. The Life of Man —To Know and Love God

1 God, infinitely perfect and blessed in himself, in a plan of sheer goodness freely created man to make him share in his own blessed life. For this reason, at every time and in every place, God draws close to man. He calls man to seek him, to know him, to love him with all his strength. He calls together all men, scattered and divided by sin, into the unity of his family, the Church. To accomplish this, when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son as Redeemer and Savior. In his Son and through him, he invites men to become, in the Holy Spirit, his adopted children and thus heirs of his blessed life.

2 So that this call should resound throughout the world, Christ sent forth the apostles he had chosen, commissioning them to proclaim the gospel: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.” Strengthened by this mission, the apostles “went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that attended it.”

3 Those who with God’s help have welcomed Christ’s call and freely responded to it are urged on by love of Christ to proclaim the Good News everywhere in the world. This treasure, received from the apostles, has been faithfully guarded by their successors. All Christ’s faithful are called to hand it on from gen­eration to generation, by professing the faith, by living it in fraternal sharing, and by celebrating it in liturgy and prayer." From the Prologue to the Catechism of the Catholic Church for starters.

Perhaps if you spend some time with the Bible and with the Catechism you will see that we indeed have a very coherent understanding of why we are here and what we are supposed to do while we are here. It’s not the knowing that’s hard, it is the doing that is hard. That’s why G K Chesterton said, “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried.” Because most of us professed Christians do such a poor job of living out our faith I can understand how, with a cursory glance at Christians, you might arrive at your opinion, but I would ask you to dig deeper. I think if you do you will find we have the most developed understanding of why we are here and what we are supposed to do while we are here–it’s is just the execution of it that we struggle mightily with.

The peace of Christ,


Hello Mark,
This is a little off topic so hopefully there won’t be thread drift.
What I meant by coherent is a well thought out logical assessment of why we are here, reasoned from the basic beliefs of the organization, and which also conforms to everything observable. The fact that the Catholic Church came up with a purpose for life isn’t at all impressive for me unless they can also provide the logical process used.



Again I respectfully suggest you study the Bible and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. You may find the faith more logical and well reasoned than you think (also the CCC is filled with a ton of additional cites for further study).

Also you have it backwards. Why we are here isn’t, or shouldn’t be, reasoned from the basic beliefs of an organization (though that’s not how I would refer to the Catholic Church). Basic beliefs should be derived from the reason you are here. In our case the beliefs derive from what has been divinely revealed including why we are here.

You don’t really get to draw up a purpose for life based on what you believe to be a logical process (well I guess you can free will and all that)–no our purpose is determined by our creator. Our creator has created us with a purpose and that purpose has been revealed and that revelation regarding our purpose determines how we are supposed to live. Today far too many people determine how they want to live and then look for a creed or set of beliefs to fit their desired life style instead of searching for the truth and then attempting to conform their lives to it. But as you said this is off topic.

The peace of Christ,


This isn’t the Catholic “system” ,as you call it, it is simply your incorrect perception of it. This is one of the reasons I have suggested in another post that you spend some time with the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

You don’t understand what heaven is. Research “Beatific Vision”. In heaven we will behold God face to face and find perfect happiness. Your scenario can’t happen there.

The bolded part is your conjecture, one might say based on your preconceived ideas. I have read in commentaries that some Rabbi’s taught that a baby could sin in it’s mothers womb. (See Raymond Brown’s The Gospel According to John which is part of the Anchor Bible series) So given the setting for the story you are referring to I would say that I would not agree that the second option involves reincarnation and/or karma, rather I think it would be more logical to assume they were familiar with what some Rabbi’s of the time were teaching regarding one being able to sin while in one’s mothers womb.

The peace of Christ,


Hello Mark,
I didn’t know that it was a Jewish teaching that babies could sin in the womb. We still have the incident of a disciple coming up to Jesus and not asking is it possible for the baby to have sinned but rather if he did, could the sin have caused the blindness. Apparently the opinion that the baby could have sinned was already a part of the disciples beliefs. If you were observing a preacher not having any pre conceived knowledge of his views and a disciple asked him was the man blind because he sinned prior to his birth, would you assume that the viewpoint that the man could have sinned prior to birth would be a part of his viewpoints?
PS. Moses never gave any information on life after death, therefore, people believed in all types of scenarios. Reincarnation was widely believed so it is most likely that the disciple’s question involved the man sinning during a previous life.
PS I going away for the weekend until Monday.


I assume you mean part of the teachers viewpoint - No. At this point in time the disciples are trying to learn what Jesus is teaching. Jesus often said “You have heard it said X, but I say to you Y.” Look at Jesus answer to their question, “Neither he nor his parents sinned; it is so the works of God might be made visible through him…” I wouldn’t draw any conclusion from the question asked of the teacher, but I might draw conclusions from the answer the teacher gives. (Remember it was only some Rabbi’s who taught that a baby could sin in it’s mothers womb) I also don’t think that it necessarily follows that because they asked this question it means they believed that a baby could sin in its mothers womb. They could have been familiar with the position and been seeking to find out what did this Rabbi they were following teach on this?

The peace of Christ,


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