I don’t know what has been in the water the last year or two, but it seems like more and more people are beginning to believe in karma. What is karma? It is the belief that a deed we do will directly affect our future. In other words, if I do something bad, then bad things will happen to me, if I do something good, then good things will happen to me. For example, a person told the story about her friend who decided to help a blind man cross the street. Later that day the friend bought a lottery ticket and won a nice chunk of cash. The claim is that this lady brought “good karma” on herself by helping the blind man.
For whatever reason, people are buying into this mindset. There are thousands of testimonies online of people telling about karma in their lives. It’s even been seen in the sports world lately as well. The question is, does the Bible support the idea of karma?
There certainly are similarities to the karma mindset in Scripture. Here are just a few:
- “…Those who plow iniquity and those who sow trouble harvest it” (Job 4:8).
- “…Whatever a man sows, this he will also reap” (Galatians 6:7).
- “…Treat people the same way you want them to treat you…” (Matthew 7:12).
Clearly Scripture has similar concepts to karma, but by no means does this show that Scripture supports karma. First of all, there are tons of passages about bad things happening to good people and vise-versa (Job 21:6-7; Psalm 73; Jeremiah 12:1-4; Habakkuk 1:13; etc). This is a direct contradiction of karma. Secondly, we can look at men like Abraham, Joseph, Moses, and the Apostles and see the difficulties they had to endure even though they were righteous. Not to mention the most righteous and holy person, Jesus Christ, endured more suffering and pain than we can fathom. Third, karma is directly associated with Buddhism, Hinduism, and Sikhism. These aren’t biblical teachings. People who support the idea of karma, knowingly or unknowingly, are supporting these religious philosophies. Fourth, karma is similar to our culture’s mindset. Our society is very accepting and tolerant. Karma goes along with our flawed culture’s mindset of, “if I’m a good person, I will go to heaven.” This isn’t what Scripture teaches (Matthew 7:21).
Karma is really just a “feel-good” philosophy that only works in a perfect, “cookie-cutter” type world. We do not live in such a world. This life is much more than “being a good person” or “doing good deeds,” as karma and our culture suggest. In some ways karma is just the newest excuse for people to live according to their own standards. While we should strive to be a good person and do good things, above everything else we must strive to be obedient to God and live by His standards (1 John 2:3-6).