Thursday, August 16, 2012

what are Christians to do with karma?

It's a pretty commonly used word, isn't it? Karma. But to be honest, when I hear the word, it makes my skin crawl. I cannot understand how anyone, outside of a religion that teaches and practices it, can actually, honestly believe it to be real.

kar-ma: the force generated by a person's actions held in Hinduism and Buddhism to perpetuate transmigration and in its ethical consequences to determine the nature of the person's next existence. source

There's the definition, although I don't think it does a very good job of defining how karma is used in our modern day lingo. So I looked it up on urban dictionary, and it said this:

karma: The Buddhist belief that whatever you do comes back to you. source

Make a little more sense now? I thought so too.

I could go on and on about what I think about karma and how dumb I think the concept is, but the title of this post is "what are Christians to do with it" so let's stick to that. To begin with, notice in both definitions that karma is a Buddhist or Hindu belief (there are actually a couple other religions that subscribe to it as well, but for our purpose today, we'll just talk about the most known)? It comes from Eastern religion. There is absolutely nothing about karma in the Bible. Nothing, Nada, Zip.

The idea of karma in our culture is pretty simple:. You do something and based on whether that action is good or bad, the same kind of something is supposed to come back around to you: Hit someone's dog with a car and drive off? Look out because you'll get your's. Pay for someone's meal who is hungry? Something good will eventually make it's way around to you.

But the truth is that true karma isn't quite that simple. We have simplified it in Western culture. And the problem with that is that people have begun to use it loosely and now believe it to be true in a form that is 1. different from it's actual meaning and 2. something that is entirely different than what scripture teaches.

What I think most people forget about karma is that it isn't just the idea of justice and reward. It's actually tied directly to reincarnation. Now, I could just stop here and say that as Christians, because we don't believe in reincarnation, we therefore cannot accept karma. But that would be boring. So let's dive in a little deeper:

Karma is a like a bank account of your actions over the course of your life. At death, you cash in that account. If you have more good than bad, you'll move up in the next life. If you have more bad than good, you'll move down. If you do something extremely terrible, than you might even come back as a different species, like a worm. It you are close enough to the top and do enough good, then you'll reach nirvana. Either way, it's a long process that occurs over the course of many lives and with alot of personal effort.

I have to jump in here and say: there isn't much hope in that type of system. I mean, I'm not a terrible person, but I'm also certainly no saint. And I don't think that even given an unlimited number of lives that I would be able to achieve perfection on my own. But I digress...

The question comes down to this: Is there any possible way that we can reconcile how karma works with what Christianity teaches? Nope.

The scriptures teach that this is our one and only life. We are created [that means we are not pre-existant in any form] in the womb. When we die and move on from this world, we go to 1 of 2 places: the presence of God for eternity or eternal separation from Him. There's no in between (which means there is no such thing as ghosts), there's no second, third, fourth, fifth or sixth chance at life, there's no pergatory, there's no "next life". There is only eternity.

We cannot claim to place our faith in Jesus Christ as a Christian and also believe in karma.

Karma is relying on your own strength to acheive perfection. Christianity is Jesus' perfection on your behalf.

Karma says that a supernatural force determines consequences. Christianity says the consequence of sin is death.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23

Karma teaches that what happens to you in the next life is based on a sum of your actions in this one. Christianity teaches that God's grace through Jesus means your sin is washed away.

If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin~ 1 John 1:7

Karma says, do your best. Christianity says, Jesus is the best and did the best on your behalf; just rest in Him.

Karma is a rigorous, long process to nirvana. Christianity is a taking on Jesus' easy yoke and spending eternity in relationship with Him.

"For my yoke is easy and my burden is light"~ Jesus, Matthew 11: 30

But why does it even matter? This is not something to take lightly because the idea of karma itself implies the belief in reincarnation. If we claim Christ, we need to believe in truth. We need to claim scripture as truth. And we know that scripture teaches something far different from reincarnation.

When it comes down to it, we are called to stand firm on truth and call out lies. Karma is a lie. It doesn't exist. And it certainly cannot be reconciled with our faith in Christ, His redeeming work on the cross and our eternal life with the Lord.


  1. I love this post! I think it's one of your best ever!!!! I hate that stupid saying that some bloggers have on their pages about borrowing and not stealing content because "karma is real." Uh... no its not. And these are CHRISTIAN bloggers!

  2. High five, girl! This is AWESOME. So glad you posted this. Karma doesn't belong anywhere NEAR Christianity. It's purely works based, and Christianity is not. Jesus wiped away our sins, therefore they can't come back to haunt us later in life or in another life.

  3. Thanks for sharing :)

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