the myth of religious karma


The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: ‘I thank you, God, that I am not like other people—cheaters, sinners, adulterers. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.’ [Luke 18:9-14:]

This religious dude seems to have embraced the idea of religious karma.

By that, I mean the idea that our lives are rewarded because we do religious stuff.

His words would be hilarious if not for the idea that this guy should know better.

I sometimes hear religious folks saying things like: 'I don't need luck. I am blessed'. 

It seems to reflect the way that these folks see their lives.

These rarely attribute their misfortunes to being cursed.

Yet the same folks will credit being blessed when things go their way.

In reality, bragging about our blessings often reflects self righteous thinking.

Consider about the saying 'There but for the grace of God, go I'.

Another quazi-self-righteous sentiment.

Life so often resembles luck and has little to do with some arbitrary grace.

Jesus saw it a bit differently when he called poor people blessed.

In the beatitudes Christ obliterates religious ideas of what it means to be blessed.

He really subverts the prevailing idea of what it means to be blessed.

In my view luck seems to be a better description of life.

Some are lucky and born into loving families while some are not.

Many lead healthy lives while others suffer from diseases.

In the end, life has nothing to do with karma.

Some people work hard and are lucky enough to see good results from it.

Some work just as hard and do not see good results at all.

In the end, life is more about luck than it is about religious karma.


... this devotion is part of the Red Letters series. Click here to read more.

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