Thursday 26 March 2020

Thought Picnic: The gospel was never about Karma

Not what I believe
Coronavirus is not God’s judgment on the world. We need to stop preaching Christian Karma. The Cross of Christ destroys all Karma. God wants to save the world, not hurl disaster at it!” Dr Andrew Farley
This was a tweet that appeared to encapsulate ideas I have not been able to articulate for a while. The number of religious people who look for disasters to project of a version of a vengeful and truculent deity who can only gain our attention by visiting calamity and catastrophe on his creatures.
Too many times we have heard, after an earthquake, a tsunami, a hurricane, a plague, or some natural disaster, where hapless lives are lost in stories that never get told except in the sheer spectacle of the horror that leaves us with a sense of the fragility of life and the suddenness that could end it.
In comes a religious figure who in their Jeremiad finds a greatly unmistakable sign from on high, as if we are back to our primordial animist worship practices, the gods are angry and we need to bring sacrifices up to the temples, mountains or grottos to appease the gods to spare us from another disaster.
Come with Noah’s Ark
The Christian variety of the evangelical or charismatic strand are the biggest culprits, from prophets who see the evil to come but are rarely able, willing, or equipped to navigate their flock from the apparent wrath to come, but are ready to gain the fame of having foretold the passing of the disaster. Their revelation never goes as far as to be inspired to build a Noah’s Ark as a sanctuary from the many floods, saving life and more.
Neither do I believe in Christian Karma, I separate the revelation of the God of the Old Testament from the God introduced in the New Testament through the ministry of Jesus Christ. In my view, his only act of mischief would have been when he allowed the evil spirits in a possessed man to enter swine and that drove the swine into the sea, at which point those spirits would have needed to find other hosts. [Bible Gateway - A Demon-Possessed Man Healed]
Our capacity in calamity
Like a friend opined yesterday, he said apart from the fragility of humanity, there is a resilience and strength that cannot be fully understood, the capacity of man to face adversity and come out the stronger and wiser to life and purpose. The spirits could not destroy the man even though they made his life miserable and yet the swine had no capacity to handle those spirits, their entry was an immediate suicide run in the swine.
Anyway, one of the reasons I do not believe in the concept of Christian Karma was in the words of Jesus Christ himself, when you look at the verse after John 3:16, John 3:17 says it all, “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” (NKJV)
Salvation is not for retribution
You don’t save the world, believer or unbeliever, sinner, or saint, Christian, Gentile or any identity you might care to possess by destroying them. Condemnation is not the purpose, even if a natural disaster, plague, or some other adversity comes our way. The prevailing purpose, opportunity, and desire are to save, it is of salvation and triumph. That is not in any way the spirit of Karma.
So, it is with sadness when I could in my basest human instinct lay hold on Schadenfreude that I learnt that a preacher who thought COVID-19 was an exciting bout of mass hysteria had now fallen victim to the Coronavirus and passed away.
It’s a shame, I doubt his religious beliefs would have expected that, yet, we are only human. Things happen to us, but I hope in our story, we can take whatever happens and create a better happening. May his soul rest in peace and may his survivors be comforted and strengthened with fortitude in this time of loss. [RawStory]

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