13 December 2006

Religious Dialogue

Another attempt at an honest religious dialogue. I have tried to make it the least argumentative and cheeky, but I think it just came out boring. I apologize. Go eat a plum.

Okay, Karmic energy. I was listening to the podcast again, and Dr. Martin Verhoeven was talking about Karmic energy, basically the thought that good deeds have good results, and bad deeds have bad results: cause and effect. According to the argument, these causes and effects are sometimes observable. Sometimes they are not: a good deed or bad deed may be repaid in a later life. This is very soft argument because, of course, bad things happen to good people and vise versa. The Buddhist only needs to say, well, you look back far enough or into the future, and you'll see it all worked out. No one can look forward or back, but in theory… It's not provable or disprovable.

The argument also went that good deeds yield a proportional amount of good karma. That is to say, if you do something small, you yield a small amount of good karma. If you do something really bad, you yield a lot of bad karma. What you do and what you get is related.

In Christianity, this isn't true at all. Every the smallest sin in the purest life yields eternal death. On the other side, you can cause a great deal of pain to a lot of people all your life, but believe in Jesus at some point, and you get eternal life (admittedly, people argue about this). You can live a great life, believe and also yield eternal life. The point is, if God is perfect, any imperfection yields death. But, because Christ is perfect, any bit of good (in belief) can yield life.

Buddhism says that you get what you pay for. Christianity says you get what you inherit or you get what Christ paid for. This got me thinking about propitiation (which is a big word for  God being appeased). The Israelites were all about this: sacrifice a pure sheep for your sins. And this became, for Christians, a symbol of Christ being punished for the sins of peoplekind. As long as something sinless is punished, the sin is negated.

If one sins, one has committed a wrong. If someone innocent is punished, this is wrong. But if you put those two together, you get forgiveness. Why? I mean, other than that God is perfect. Or is that all there is? Is there another scenario where this works? Did I already ask all these questions?