At a recent family gathering, I was asked what my views were concerning Karma. It seemed a little strange as an opening gambit from a relative who I only tend to see at family occasions. However, I’ve often posted about my spiritual journey which has taken me from being a Christian church minister to flirting with Atheism. So I guess, it wasn’t that strange a question after all. I had certainly been reflecting on my own beliefs and the origins of personal belief. My initial response was to say that “it’s probably easier to say what I don’t believe, rather than what I do believe.”
I don’t believe in the concepts of eternal/everlasting or indeed previous lives now. The only thing we know with any certainty is that we are living this life now. There is no factual evidence for anything before or after. I know that some people claim to have had near-death experiences that equate to their own particular belief of what happens next, and there are those who under a form of hypnosis called past-life regression. My own take on these ‘experiences’ is that the person’s own belief system has already influenced that person’s mind, so your sub conscious tells you what you want to hear.
Similarly, well-meaning Christians have tried to convince me of the errors of my ways in turning my back on their faith by employing Pascal’s Wager. Pascal's Wager is an argument in philosophy which was devised by the seventeenth-century French philosopher, mathematician, and physicist Blaise Pascal (1623–1662). It posits that humans all bet with their lives either that God exists or not. Given the possibility that God actually does exist and assuming an infinite gain or loss associated with belief or unbelief in said God (as represented by an eternity in heaven or hell), a rational person should live as though God exists and seek to believe in God. If God does not actually exist, such a person will have only a finite loss. In other words, you have nothing to infinite loss, but everything to gain by believing in a God. If the Judeo-Christian God doesn’t exist, you lose nothing. It’s a hedge your bets argument. Strange when most Christians/church teaching is opposed to Gambling, they ask you to ‘bet on the existence of god.’
As for Karma I can’t hold the view that my existence in a previous life, affects my current position now. I have made conscious decisions and then had to live with the consequences of those decisions, many positive and some negative. Nothing from an unknown past has influenced those decisions.
However, there is a different type of Karma that we all often refer too. Phrase like “What goes round comes round,” and “they’ll get what coming to them” has entered our vocabulary. When someone hurts us or commits an injustice against us and isn’t punished, we use the afore-mentioned statements hoping that everything balances out, that the pain we have felt will soon be inflicted on the person that hurt us. Does it happen? It would be nice and rather comforting to think that it does, but in all reality it probably doesn’t. My abuser has never accepted any responsibility for her actions and has failed to grasp the impact and consequences of her violent actions have had on me or our children. While I hoped that natural karma would happen, so far it hasn’t. She carried on living her live oblivious to the destruction she’s caused. For me, I had to let go of wanting such karma to happen and move on with my life. While I was anxious for my abuser to receive retribution for her crimes against me, the angst it caused me was a way of still allowing her to abuse me. I guess I don’t believe in any form of Karma either.
All that matters to me is the here and now and what I make of it.