Friday, February 16, 2007

Karma: The greatest religious evil ever perpetuated?

Maybe it is. (In saying this, I’m referring to the traditional Hindu-Buddhist metaphysical doctrine, not the metaphorical “what goes around, comes around” phrase — unless that phrase reflect a person’s underlying metaphysical belief.)

And I hold this belief whether the believer in karma believes in the reincarnation of a personal soul or an impersonal life force.

First of all, I find it as intellectually incomprehensible as any Western doctrine, including the traditional Christian one of original sin plus hellfired damnation.

Second, from a philosophically-based psychological standpoint, i.e., the problem of evil, I find it as psychologically disturbing as any “Western” belief.

Finally, from an emotional and highly personal standpoint:

I find karma far more emotionally offensive and abhorrent than any Western belief, including original sin plus hellfired damnation.

I say this as a survivor of various events of sexual and physical abuse.

Neither I, nor millions of other boys and girls at home, nor any Catholic altar boys, fucked up so badly in a previous life as to literally … in a pre-adult stage of this life. Period. End of story.

So, let’s remember that Eastern religions aren’t necessarily “good” in comparison to Western ones.

And as for sane, Western-raised adults who eventually buy into some belief in karma, and still want to hold it after thinking about something like this, especially while claiming to be “enlightened,” they can go fuck themselves in this life.


The Ridger, FCD said...

I completely agree with you. Not only your point, but also that the doctrine is often used to justify the most abhorrent acts and abstentions from actions imaginable, all on the basis of "they deserved it/asked for it/need it/will have to go through it again if you stop it".

It's repugnant.

Anonymous said...

There are "modern" buddhist scholars and practitioners - Stephen Batchelor, for example - who reject karma as an ancient, culturally-contextual concept not necessary for the understanding or practice of buddhism. Buddhism Without Beliefs is an interesting book on the topic.

Gadfly said...

Anonymous, I also know some "older" Buddhists, such as Amida, don't believe in reincarnation, but rather, a single-time "resurrection" type afterlife.

At the same time, plenty of American New Agers believe in reincarnation (while soft-pedaling karma so that their previous lives are always about being kings and never about the person shoveling the king's shit in the royal stable.)