COMMENT AND DISCUSSION Arvind Sharma Faculty of Religious Studies, McGill University The recent debate in the pages of Philosophy East and West has acquired a sharp focus with the following comment by Whitley Kaufman toward the end of his response to Monima Chadha and Nick Trakakis: Let me summarize my main concern about the karma/rebirth system this way. The great attraction of the karma system is its reassurance that we are completely in control of our own fate, that whatever happens to us is a predictable consequence of our own choices. While it means we are prisoners of our past, it also means that the future is entirely within our control. No doubt, this feature of karma is a source of its great appeal. But this promise comes at a great price. It entails that there is no such thing as innocent suffering, that everyone gets just what he deserves. But then there can be no moral obligation to help others in distress, to protect, to rescue, perform acts of charity, or even to feel compassion for a sufferer. Most other theodices begin with the acceptance that there is such a thing as innocent suffering, that as humans
Philosophy East and West – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: Nov 12, 2008
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