The Problem of Buddhism, Karma And Reincarnation And its solution: Christianity – Poya Shahsavari


Introduction:
My name is Poya Shahsavari.
Seeing much injustice in throughout my childhood, I was determined to find justice, something I would come to seek for over eight years. From the age eleven to 18 I went through Buddhism, Islam, and other philosophies like new age.

But nothing would fill the deep void that I felt within me, and I would find no answers, but rather more questions.
At the age of 16, I came to the conclusion, that God was not the answer, but money was, and criminality, money, violence and drugs became my escape from reality.

One night, after leaving money at a party to another drug dealer, a friend showed up and showed a documentary about islam, and started to preach about Jesus and shared the gospel. After a long search, I was more critical than ever, but he answered all my questions. And my reply was that, I would trust in no human, but if Jesus existed, I would pray and he would answer me. My friend encouraged me with a promise from the bible “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” -Matthew 7:7

As I started praying, this God, Jesus answered me. I was set free from drug addiction, depression and everything that I used drugs to somehow try to escape. Within a week, I was so radically changed by meeting Jesus that my own parents, my friends, no one could recognise me.

I felt and experienced a freedom that I couldn’t have imagined in my wildest dreams. And now, 3 years later, I see Gods promises come to pass daily in my life. Not only in mine, but I have seen hundreds of people experience the fulfillment of the promises of God. And today, I having perfect peace, I have found the meaning of my life, to love God with everything that I am, and to love my neighbour as myself.  

    “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. “
                                                    -Matthew 11:28

 

Intention: 

The purpose of writing this, is not to put down on any buddhist or anyone who believes in karma or reincarnation. My intention is to, by sharing my thoughts, what I have found, help you to see some fallacies that I see, and to come to a conclusion.

I would love nothing more than for you to experience that precious gift I received from God three years ago, forgiveness, eternal life.  
And therefore I want to make it clear in the very beginning that I am not writing this to put any type of condemnation on you, but out of a great love.

Real love according to my point of view is self-less, and by being so, the person that truly loves, wishes the best for the person that is being loved.
And the best I have to offer, the best thing in my life, and the best experience I have had, is truth.

Truth does not break apart, neither can it be by mans wisdom. Truth is by definition absolute and does not change based on circumstance or condition.
Truth does not hold in bondage, but sets free from that which is contrary to truth.

And what I came to realise is that truth is not an idea, nor a philosophy, but a person. And my intention of writing this, is to introduce you to that person. Jesus said: “ Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” – John 14:6

      “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
                                                     – John 8:32

Buddhism, karma, and reincarnation

The law of noncontradiction

There is a law within philosophy called “The law of noncontradiction” with which you can test philosophical statements to see if they are true or false.


Let me demonstrate this:

-If Martin asks Simon: Are you going to have children?

-Simon says: Yes, two of them,

-Martin then asks: What are you going to name them?

-Simon replies: I’m not going to have any children.

You would automatically react to this, for it is so easy to see the contradiction, the fallacy, and the lie. In the same way, a philosophical statement or worldview that contradicts itself includes a lie. In other words, it is a worldview based on a lie.

We need to test philosophical statements with the laws within philosophy, or else we can end in the situation that a philosopher so perfectly described:

A student went up to his professor in philosophy and asked a question in front of the whole class: “How do I know that I exist?”

The professor answered: “If you don’t exist, who then should I answer?”

The noble truths and non-contradiction

There are four “noble truths” within Buddhism, 1) to live is to suffer (Dukha), 2) suffering is caused by desire (Tanha, or “attachment”), 3) to be free from suffering you need to eliminate all desires, 4) these three are achieved by the 8-fold path.

We won’t cover number 4 here, but simply look at the philosophical fallacy within Buddhism just from the first three, as applying the law of noncontradiction to just these, we will see a lie within the worldview of Buddhism.

Buddhism makes the statement that to live is to suffer, but then it goes into the reason of suffering which is desire. From there it gives you the promise, that you can be free from suffering by being free from desire. This begs the question: why do you desire to be free from suffering? If you desire to be free from suffering, you cannot be free from suffering, for suffering is caused by the desire!

Therefore, the noble truths are not only contradictions and not only a lie, but it is a system that collapses based on its own standards.

Questions like this that examines the worldview is usually something Buddhists does not attempt to try to answer. I think it was Dr. Ravi Zacharias who asked a female Buddhist monk this question: “Why does Dalai Lama desire to help his people?” In tears, she recognized that she could not answer that question and admitted that it is question like these Buddhists do not ask themselves.

Karma and reincarnation

Let’s go deeper into the subject, and now focus on morality in regards to karma and reincarnation.

First, what are karma and reincarnation? Karma is a theological concept found in the Buddhist and Hindu religions. It is the idea that how you live your life now will determine the quality of life you will have in the next life. If you are unselfish, kind, and holy during this lifetime, you will be rewarded by being reincarnated (reborn into a new earthly body) into a pleasant life. However, if you live a life of selfishness and evil, you will be reincarnated into a less-than-pleasant lifestyle.

In other words, you reap in the next life what you sow in this one. Karma is based on the theological belief in reincarnation.

There are a lot of problems with holding a worldview like this. So let us go through this step by step, and see if this system that relates to morality is logical, consistent, or if it self-destructs with these following questions.

Three points on the question of evil

When it comes to the question of “evil” it is not a simple question to answer for any person, of any religion. I do firmly stand in the belief that Christianity is the only religion that can answer this question without destroying itself in the process.

In a discussion with a Buddhist, I raised the question of evil, “why are there people who are suffering?” The reply I got, was that “They have committed evil and therefore, they have been re-payed for their action”

That led me to my next question, which is one of the main points:

“What has the newborn that was raped and killed done wrong that it had to suffer so much?” (I raised this question in such an extreme way since a newborn has not yet had the time to commit evil.)

Shocked and confused the Buddhist replied: “The newborn has done evil in its past life.”

And this reply leads us to a bigger problem with reincarnation and karma and it actually will lead us to the conclusion.

Point 1: There is no proof at all for reincarnation. It is just a theory that has nothing supporting it.

Point 2: This concept may sound good at first, but is actually taking away the value of a human being, and will ultimately connect the value of the human being with the current life situation.

Point 3: This concept will ultimately make you blind to morality, and right and wrong will be lost on the way.

Explanation of point 2 and justice

If you see someone suffering, it is only just that they are suffering based on this worldview, because according to this worldview, you cannot live a good life if you have lived a “holy” life before, and you cannot “suffer” if you have lived a good life before.

If someone is suffering from sickness, poverty, or persecution, there is one reason for it other than they have lived a life of “evil” in their past life. So what is happening to them is technically the justice of “karma”.

It can be a child getting raped, or someone starving to death. According to this worldview getting re-payed of their actions in their past- life.

So anything that happens is actually justice being served.

That means, if your life situation is good, you deserve it, and if your life situation is bad, you deserve it. It completely attaches our life situations with our value and therefore actually justifies looking down on the “lower-class” of people or those who are suffering, for they, are according to this worldview, only getting what they deserve.

Explanation of point 3 and morality

If someone suffers in this life it is justice being served, and the suffering is their sentence, so to speak.

But if that is true, are you then obligated to help out those in need?

Here is the problem: If you help anyone in need, e.g. if you give a poor man food to eat or give medicine to a sick person, you are actually reducing their sentence! And by reducing a criminal of his sentence you are actually committing something that would be morally wrong. It is like helping a rapist flee from jail!


Now, if a person is being raped, and the person is being raped because of his/hers actions in his/hers past life and the suffering of the rape is justice being served, is it then a good deed morally of the rapist that rapes? Since the rapist is just a tool of justice being served, isn’t what the rapist is doing morally good? And if the rapist is a tool for justice being served by this concept of “karma”, will the rapist then face hardship in his next life because of his actions?

The value of human life
Suddenly we lose track of human value and it justifies looking down on those who are in a bad life situation. Even if they are born into it this system actually justifies people in better life situations to look down on those who are having it worse.

We lose sight of morality for if you help someone that is under a sentence based on his/her actions in his/her past life, it is logically morally wrong for you to help and thereby reduce their sentence.

Since all evil that happens in this life is based on the past life, it would logically justify a human hurting or make another human’s life harder, since hardship or evil cannot happen if you have not done something wrong in your past life.

Then what is actually right? And what is actually wrong? And will the rapist or killer face consequences for their deed or a salute? Will the one who loves his neighbour face consequences of that in their next life or a salute?

What is right, what is wrong?



Conclusion of testing Buddhism, karma and reincarnation:
The worldview of Buddhism might seem peaceful and loving, but is everything else. It is a justification of evil that goes on in the lives of men. It is is a dangerous worldview that if held will have devastating consequences on your life, and on the life of those around you. For if evil is justice being served, then the evil-doer is the tool of justice, then why suffer for evil deeds done in the past life?

Testing this world-view with just one of the laws of philosophy, “the law of noncontradiction”, we can see that it is a worldview that collapses.



The Christian point of view regarding the problem of evil

If Buddhism is not able to answer the problem of evil, how does Christianity deal with evil and morality or questions like  “how can there be a good God since there is so much evil in the world”?

Does evil prove God’s existence or disqualify the existence of God?

I would say that evil actually proves the existence of God rather than disqualifying it.

Let me explain.

1. If there is evil
2. There must be good, since evil is evil in comparison to good.
3. If you can make a difference between these two, it proves the existence of a moral law.
4. And a moral law, requires a moral law giver, which I claim is God.

And the argument goes like this:
4. If there is no God, that is no moral law giver
3. Then there is no moral law.
2. If there is no moral law, then there is nothing that is called good
1. Nor evil, and if good and evil does not exist, then what was the question?


Why does the moral law giver have to be God?

I would like to go through the answer to this question in two steps.

1. An absolute moral law

Many have tried to propose the idea that the moral law giver could be a human, which means that the person in turn is his own moral law giver, the claim is basically that he is his own god.

The problem with a claim like this, with a subjective moral law are many that I would like to go through.

If a person is his own god, and he decides what’s right and what’s wrong, it leads us to the same issue that Buddhism leads to, and that is breaking the law of noncontradiction.

Who’s right and who’s wrong?

If I would decide based on this principle that killing innocent people is right, and a person is claiming that it is wrong, then who’s right and who’s wrong?

What do you base your judgement upon?

Many would probably answer that the killer is wrong, but based on what? Since the worldview that is being proposed says that every man decides right and wrong for himself (since he is his own moral law giver). It leads us to the question, what do you base your judgement upon when you say that the killer is wrong? Is it your subjective ideas? What you have decided is right and wrong? But what is it that would make your subjective decision to be worth more than the killers subjective decision?

No one is right, no one is wrong.

To avoid breaking the law of noncontradiction, one has to say that no one is right and no one is wrong. That right and wrong does not exist in reality but is a bunch of subjective feelings.

The reason holding this worldview leads to the conclusion that no one is right and no one is wrong, is that everyone base their moral law on their own subjective experiences. Since this is the standard set by this world view, you have no right at all to make the claim that a killer is wrong for killing, a rapist wrong for raping, or a robber wrong for robbing.

Why? Because he bases his moral law on his own subjective ideas which is the standard that is set by this worldview, and your subjective ideas, feelings and ideas are by no means more valuable than his. You can refer to your subjective feeling to try to make the claim that he is wrong for killing, but he can likewise refer to his subjective feelings to claim that he is right. So either you face a contradiction and the whole worldview collapses or you have to make a claim that does not fit in with reality, that is that no one is right and no one is wrong.
And I would propose that this is not a world neither one of us would want to live in.

– A subjective moral law vs. an absolute moral law

The definition of something absolute is that it is free from limitation or restrictions based on conditions or circumstances. It does not change, it was, is, and will be.

The only way you can make the claim, that it is absolutely wrong to rape in any circumstance, is to refer to an absolute moral law.  
That is, a moral law, that exists and does not change based on people’s opinions and ideas since it is not restricted or limited to human ideas and opinions.

But why can’t there be an absolute moral law without God? Or why can’t a human being refer to an absolute moral law and avoid the existence of God?

Because an absolute moral law, requires an absolute moral law giver, and a human being is not absolute.
A human being is restricted, to prove this I one to state some facts:
1. You did not chose to be born.
2. You did not chose your gender.
3. You did not chose when to be born.
4. You did not chose where to be born, your nationality, nor did you chose you parents.

You are not absolute. But who, or what is absolute?

For an absolute moral law giver to give a moral law, the moral law giver has to be personal, Unchanging, free from any condition or any limitation. And this is a perfect description of the supreme being that is called God.


2. Value

-The presupposed intrinsic value
When we discuss the question that we call the problem of evil, intrinsic value is always presupposed. That is, it is already assumed that the human being in himself has a value.

-Without the assumption of intrinsic value
Without assuming intrinsic value of a human being, the question of evil once again falls apart, since it can only be wrong for a human being to be killed if that human being in fact has a value.
If he does not have a value, then the claim that it is wrong for him to be killed leads to a question, and that is, “why?”.

We person who eats flesh does not think it is wrong to eat flesh, since the flesh does not have that amount of value. And we wouldn’t let someone go to prison for stepping on an ant, for an ant does not have that intrinsic value.

-Denying God and its devastating effect on the value of mankind
But what is it, that gives mankind that intrinsic value?
If it is subjective, we face the same problem as in point 1, a person can decide that another person is worthless, would that be true then? Obviously not.
If we claim that God does not exist, it does mean that we came from the same chemical soup as animals like rats and pigs came from. And by denying God, we take on the value of rats and pigs, since there is nothing at all that actually gives us an intrinsic value higher than that of pigs and rats, maggots and bugs.

In case of murder, intrinsic value is always presupposed, since it is wrong to kill another human being, for his life is assumed to be valuable. But evolution can not give him that value, and I would propose that no religion can in a flawless way give him that value but the God of Christianity.

An absolute value, that does not change, based on the opinions or restrictions of people, since the the giver of that value is an absolute supreme being, God.

– The reason of the intrinsic value of mankind
Let me illustrate how God gave us this intrinsic value and why we have it:
– The value of something is usually determined by what someone is willing to pay for it. And it is the core belief of Christendom that God himself became flesh two thousand years ago, and paid his life as a ransom for mankind, a gift that can be received through faith.
It leads to the conclusion that the complete value of human beings are beyond our understanding.

– One more point would be that another core belief of Christianity is that man was created in the image of God, in the image of the most valuable and most supreme, which in itself gives mankind value, both because of God. and since the value of mankind is because of an absolute supreme being we call God, so the value of mankind itself is absolute.

Conclusion:

It is interesting that many have tried throughout the years to disprove the existence of God by raising the question of evil. But the question of evil itself requires that God exists since it presupposes and requires intrinsic value and an absolute moral law. So the argument against God actually contradicts its own purpose and therefore does not hold as a correct philosophical question.

An absolute supreme being gave us intrinsic value, accompanied by an absolute law that makes the distinction between right and wrong. Through this we can come to a worldview without contradictions, a worldview that does not collapse, the conclusion, that there is a God, and a worldview without God, is a worldview that does not hold.   

We can come to the conclusion, that we are valuable, because of God, and therefore it is wrong to hurt or abuse another human being, and that also because of God, the God of Christendom, Jesus Christ.

May God Bless you!

“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who  believes in him will not perish but have eternal life”
                                                                 -John 3:16

 

More teaching with Poya Shahsavari

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