- Religion and Philosophy
Why I Don't Believe In Karma
Not long ago, I had a conversation with a friend where he proclaimed a firm belief in the idea that "if you do good things, good things will happen to you." Further prying revealed that he did indeed have a strong belief in Karma. This is something that I could never buy into. So, I offered a counter-example, "Well, how do you account for an infant's death? A baby is born and after living for no more than a few days, he dies of an illness. Something bad happened to him, yet, he did nothing wrong. How do you explain that?"
Of course, I was fed a completely unsatisfying answer, "I believe in Karma but I don't think it always applies." So, basically, I'm being told that when you do good things, sometimes good things will happen to you and when you do something bad, bad things might happen to you.
Before I continue, there is one thing I should make clear. I think there is a definition of Karma that can be kept completely secular. I'm referring to the concept that by doing good things for others, they are more likely to do good things for you. The same would hold true for negative actions. Nothing supernatural is involved. However, the Karma I'm referring to here is the supernatural definition of Karma. The one that says it is a law of nature that you will be rewarded for good, moral actions and punished for bad ones. This supernatural Karma is what I believe is non-existent.
Let's imagine for a moment, a world without Karma (difficult, isn't it?). In this world, there is no balance between good and bad, meaning that doing good things does not ensure a stream of goodness coming your way. On the same token, you won't necessarily "get what's coming to you" for doing bad things. Therefore, the combination of good and bad that you or anyone experiences is based solely on the nature and actions of what surrounds you. So, sometimes when you do good things, good things will happen to you and sometimes when you do bad things, bad things will happen to you. Sound familiar? It should, because that is the exact same world being described by my friend who supposedly believes in Karma (sometimes).
As if it is necessary, besides the above example, there are plenty more reasons to discount the existence of Karma. For one, it intrinsically necessitates objective morals. If Karma is to apply to everyone, there must be some universal definition of good and bad. I think anyone can realize that morals are subjective. For example, one person may see homosexuality as evil and unethical, while others (me included) see it as a personal choice that does not in anyway present a moral quandary. On top of that, I believe morals can not exist without humans. Karma requires morals and morals were created by people. Therefore, Karma could only have been created by people. Unless someone has magical powers and was able to create an invisible, universal system to punish the "bad" and reward the "good", this is impossible.
Ultimately, as if it's not already clear, I do not believe in Karma. Just based on personal experience it doesn't seem to hold true and I think by its own nature, it is impossible.