Living in Sri Lanka, I have seem many of friends and relatives who are mostly Hindus telling me of the Karmic law. In RZIM Connect also I have seen questions related to that. So, I feel it is a good idea to share with you a little bit about this misleading doctrine that cannot stand a philosophical scrutiny. So I expect from your perspectives and questions.
The doctrine of reincarnation says that one has to pay for his bad deeds in his next birth that is to say when a person suffers though he is innocent, it means he has sinned in his previous birth so that now he pays for it. Some believe that this is the only explanation for the problem of suffering since many today are suffering because of someone else despite being innocent. People in my country area amongst whom many are Hindus, some believe that a soul has to take many bodies including animals. When I was in primary school my friends warned me that I am going to be born as a dog in my next birth when I chased stray dogs, throwing stones.
Moreover, some believe that there is actually a first birth for a soul, some don’t. But, don’t worry both are philosophically inconsistent. Let’s delve into each one.
If a soul does have a first birth, then it follows that every person suffers is not now living in his first incarnation. So, when the first entities were created (when the first birth for the first souls occurred) there mustn’t have been no suffering for the soul had not had a previous birth to their first birth. And now, we know suffering exists. From this we can conclude that at some point, soul or souls must have suffered because of the mistake of another soul. So, in conclusion we can safely say in case reincarnation and the first birth of every soul are true, then the doctrine of incarnation fails to explain the problem of suffering.
If the cycle of births does not have a beginning, it also has its own problems.
I) in case the soul does not have a beginning, it has to be uncaused and eternal in other words god or a part of god. But, that implies that since the cycle of the births are eternal, then the bad deeds (sins) of the persons are also eternal. If sin is eternal, what is there as an absolute to define good and evil? moreover, it also implies that since soul is sinful, then god also is.
What a terrible end to which this doctrine brings us!!!
In addition to these, this makes day to day life impossible. Because according to some, killing animals is a sin. Some in India also don’t prepare vegetarian food but get from others’ the remaining food. This makes the designer the worst one who makes it impossible for us not to kill if to live.
After series of conversations that continued for weeks, my friend became convinced that he has been wrong about this.