Saturday, January 14, 2017

Life is Not Fair

Another insidious COG doctrine: "Life is fair."

Karma - in the oft-tossed-around contemporary sense - is not unlike the Biblical doctrine of "you reap what you sow." It seems to come from the idea that the universe (or God) holds the scales of justice in his almighty arms and pours out retribution according to the wrongs one has done. Or conversely, he pours blessings, health, and prosperity upon the righteous.

What if this were true?

Let's say you are rich. Born into a rich family, or perhaps you "pulled yourself up by your own bootstraps" and are now successful. If you embrace the idea of reaping what you sowed, then you can pat yourself on the back for being so good to have reaped such fortune. You "deserved it," after all.

But what if you are in a difficult situation? Some unexpected tragedy occurred. Your life took a turn and you feel at wit's end. Did you reap what you sowed? Did you deserve it? If you believe in this concept of a just world, that what goes around comes around, then you have no one to blame but yourself. Your misdeeds somehow brought this evil upon your house. Woe is you. (And for a cult member, this meant prayer sessions and introspection to discover what lesson "the Lord was trying to teach you.")

But the truth is, shit happens. Bad things happen to good people. Good things happen to bad people. A large part of life is simply determined by random and uncontrollable events.

If people in a good situation believe they have gotten there by their own "goodness," wouldn't they tend towards a smug condescension of those who are having hard times? "They got what was coming to them."

Might these fortunate folks even turn their backs on friends who struggle, because they want to "get rid of the negatives" in their lives? "I don't need that kind of negative energy." Sounds scriptural, "Keep yourselves unspotted from the world." 

"Holier than thou," more like.

Since we cannot walk a mile in another's shoes, and we do not have control of the random events of life, the only rational way to treat others is with kindness. 

"Always be a little kinder than necessary." (James M. Barrie)

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