The Bible teaches us you reap what you sow, eastern religions share a similar teaching called karma. The lesson behind these teachings is if you do good, then good things will come. If you do badly, then bad things will be returned. These lessons are wonderful because it promotes followers to be good. I can not think of many people who desire bad things to come upon them. If we step outside of our belief systems, and examine this question on a theological basis; will we find it to be true? Is there some sort of universal law in play, or is it a product of the law of averages?

 I believe in karma, or reaping what we have sown, however I do not believe a higher power governs such things. I also do not believe it is a result of universal order. I think this teaching holds true because of a law of averages. If we live our lives doing good for others we are creating a positive environment for those around us. In return for our good deeds, the people in our lives will do good things for us. This type of behavior keeps us from obtaining any enemies who will wish us harm. If we live a life of crime, or one of selfishness we hurt those around us; making it unlikely they will be there in our times of need. We will burn all our bridges and in the process creating many enemies.   

 My dad was in town a few weekends ago. We were at a gas station getting some coffee. The employee who was on duty, was flying solo, and was clearly flustered with her work load. She was in the process of moving one of those huge coolers they put on display. In the process of moving this cooler the contents spilt all over the floor. I would guess this cooler had fifty plus pounds of ice inside, a few gallons of water and twenty sodas. The clerk had customers waiting in line, and had no choice but to leave it. The spill happened in front of the entrance to the store so there was a law suit risk since she did not have time to put out a warning sign.

 My father without a thought started to clean up the mess. He picked up every soda; swept the ice outside and dry mopped the remaining water. The clerk was so appreciative she did not charge him for his coffee and cigarettes. My dad and I debate religion all the time, and when we got to the car he used this immediate example as proof he was right in his beliefs. The religious teachings are therefore proven to be true; they see this as supportive evidence. I can not deny the evidence, I just question the involvement of forces beyond ourselves are at work.

 What do you think?

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Comments
  1. Nicole says:

    You get what you give…. but if you keep count of what you get, but not what you give, then your intentions are selfish only looking to give to be able to get….if you give without the expectation of getting, that is when you will actually get…. get it??

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  3. I think we can FOSTER the type of environment we live in, but that’s not the same thing as controlling it. If you create a positive vibe, positivity will move toward you. If you create a negative vibe, negativity will cling to you.

    Yet, regardless of the vibe we each create, life itself is in total control. Bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people.

    That said, people with a positive outlook are more able to deal with the good AND the bad.

    • Tim Lundmark says:

      When you say life itself is in total control, does that mean we have a charted destiney or fate? Or are you saying life is random and what happens happens?

      • Neither. There’s some sort of order to the way things work. We don’t understand it because we can’t see all the variables involved. If we were infinite beings, we could pull back to see all the various ripples (actions) that each being and entity causes and then we would comprehend the results wrought.

        But we’re finite beings with limited capacities. We can only make sense of a very limited field of vision and we often don’t even understand the variables that stand before us.

        Consequently, a good person can undertake an action that appears positive, yet, when it mixes with the actions of a multitude of entities, it can have a negative result.

      • Tim Lundmark says:

        Like the butterfly effect? Speaking in terms of religion then there is so many things going on spirtually which we could never understand. Speaking as a realist then you must admit there is order in chaos. There is nothing but random events. A great person who has done nothing but gives, and should be rewarded may get murdered or get cancer. It is all random, it is chaos.

  4. For starters, even great people do things besides giving. The entirety of life is about give and take. Each time we breath, we take in air. Each time we eat, we’re taking the life of some other life form. Each time we move, we are taking space occupied by some other being (like stepping on an ant) or taking a space so they can’t occupy it.

    I guess what it comes down to is how one wishes to look at life. If a person decides it’s nothing more than random chaos, I would think that such a person wants to be let off the hook. If everything happens by chance, then why even try to live harmoniously or be a good person?

    The way I approach life is that things happen for a reason. I am often incapable of understanding those reasons because they exceed the finiteness of my feeble brain. Still, what I have observed is that good vibes more often than not reap good results. While this is not always the case, it seems to be a good general rule to follow.

  5. rottenjuju says:

    Tim, I don’t think we can isolate the concept of reaping and sowing down to a single verse of scripture from the Bible. It is noteworthy that Jesus told his followers that their lives would be difficult, and many of them were killed for their beliefs. On the surface this does not make sense, since true followers of Christ would have been doing good things. Also, King David cried out to God in anger because he saw the wealth and the power that the wicked held in the world. Hardly a bad deal in this life to be rich and influential, is it? Ultimately, the only way that the law of sowing and reaping could be true, then, is if a deity made things right and/or just later on. So, perhaps not in this life (as Jesus and David noted) but maybe things balance out in eternity.

    As for doing the right thing, like your dad’s great example, to do it for the benefits of a return of good things (in other words using or manipulating this law to one’s benefit) well then…I have to ask…is the action really good at its root?

    Wouldn’t true goodness be defined as deeds done with no expectation for a reward?

    • Tim Lundmark says:

      Rotten,

      Very nice points, Jesus said “They shall lay their hands on you and persecute you; for my names sake”
      Luke 21:12

      I also think the book of Job is a good example of reaping what you sow. My father cleaned up not for the reward, but because it was the right thing to do. I admire philosophical Christianity and the lessons they teach.

      If you are only doing good deeds to try and abuse karma, or reaping what you sow, then it is not a good deed, because it is made in self interest. It is kind alike the rich giving to the needy, most are not doing it because they want to; they are doing it for tax breaks, I think this is why Jesus spoke on how the rich have a hard time entering the kingdom of heaven.

      Lao-tzu teaches us to do without seeking any approval, or reward. He says when the work is done it is done.

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