Weighing the Grail Message: Fate and Karma

In this piece, Grail teachings about karma will be examined in the light of the Bible, history and logic. Since fate and karma were bracketed together, it would be necessary to first define both words:

Karma: The belief that good and bad experiences in this life are the sum result of deeds done in both the current and previous lives. The word “karma” is a Sanskrit word that primarily means “action” (Ancient History Encyclopedia).

Fate: The view that we are powerless to do anything other than what we actually do. Hence, fatalism can refer to an attitude of resignation in the face of some future events which are thought to be inevitable (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy).

My quotes are taken from Vol. 2, chapter 2 of In the Light of Truth: The Grail Message by Oskar Ernst Bernhardt.

A Law which lies in the entire Creation from its earliest beginning, which has been inseparably interwoven with the great, never-ceasing evolution as an essential part of creating itself, and of development … it supports and animates the mighty Universe, and promotes continual movement, an eternal giving and taking!

On the one hand, Oskar asserts that the law of karma is “eternal” (i.e. has no beginning) yet on the other, he says it has been from creation’s “earliest beginning.”

According to Ancient History Encyclopedia, the idea of karma first appears in the oldest Hindu text the Rigveda (c. 1500 BC).

Centuries later, some Hindu scholars attached a deal of meaning to it in the Upanishads text (c. 800-300 BC). They devised the concept of karma to resolve the conflict between the righteousness of God and the suffering and evil in the world, and justify their belief in transmigration or reincarnation.

They envisaged life on earth as a “balance sheet” where unforeseen calamities and rewards can be blamed on demerits and merits of past lives respectively.

But here is its fatal flaw: we were created by God. We neither have a past life nor are we coming back to this world after death. This is a hard brick of reality: “It is appointed to man to die once” (Heb. 9:27). There’s no “eternal giving and taking.”

The so-called law of karma neither alleviates evil nor fosters development. One only needs to measure the collective progress of nations that have held to this belief for centuries to confirm this.

Plainly and simply, and yet so aptly, the Great Bringer of Truth Jesus Christ has already expressed it: “What a man sows that shall he reap.”

Here, Abdrushin appeals to the Bible, but this is a fallacious appeal. This needs to be properly distinguished because even Christians can unknowingly conflate karma with the biblical concept of sowing and reaping.

Here is the full context of the Bible verse:

Do not be deceived: God is not mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not be weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:7-9).

a) There is a difference in meaning. Karma is from the Sanskrit word meaning “deeds, works or actions.” This term has evolved in its meaning; 100 years ago, it was understood to simply mean “making.”

It teaches that the quality of a person’s successive lifetime is dependent on his accrued karma, whether good or bad.

On the other hand, to “sow” (Strong #2232) means to “bear, conceive seed, set with or yield” and to “reap” (Strong #7114b) simply means “to harvest.”

Sowing and reaping is a law that shows that our choices can affect our lives on earth and eternal destination.

b) Karma originated from Hinduism – a false religion that has no connection to the God of the Bible.

In most Asian religions, karma is used to rationalize the concept of death and rebirth. It’s based on the illusion that whatever we experience on earth is based on what we did in our previous lives, so we have to keep returning to earth to work it off until man is released from the endless cycle of reincarnation.

In the Bible, however, sowing and reaping is never predicated on the myth of reincarnation or transmigration. When a person lives by his sinful nature he will reap the harvest of destruction and when lives by the Spirit of God, he will gain eternal life.

A promiscuous lifestyle may lead to sexually transmitted diseases, unwanted pregnancies and emotional distress.

A lazy, carefree and wasteful living can result in poverty, failure and debt. This is not “karma”; it’s the result of sinful and wrong actions.

c) Karma obfuscates or denies the reality of sin; hence its definition of good and bad is skewed. For example, the Grail message encourages sexual gratification as a path to increased (occult) power.

But the Bible shows that it’s folly to talk about reaping eternal life when one sows to the flesh (Rom. 1:29-32; 1 Cor. 5:9-11).

Christians are commanded to yield to the Holy Spirit and exhibit His fruit (love, joy, kindness etc.). It is the Spirit of God who empowers Christians from within to walk in victory over sin.

d) In karma, there is no mercy or forgiveness; each person must suffer the consequences of all his thoughts, words and deeds. His/her current life is the result of what weighed most heavily from his/her karmic past.

But in biblical sowing and reaping, there is forgiveness, mercy and restoration. This is rooted in the love of God. He causes the sun to shine on both good and evil people (Matt. 5:45).

Regardless of what we have done, when we accept Christ – who has paid the penalty of sin – into our lives, He cleanses our sins and He gives us a new life (2 Cor. 5:17).

Thus in the mighty machinery of the Universe there are many things which contribute to how man “fares” but there is nothing to which man has not himself first given first cause. He furnishes the threads out of which in the untiring loom of life the cloak he has to wear is made.

In the blind machinery of karma, whatever thing has happened to you is what you deserve. So, if a building collapses and kills many people, it was their karma.

If an entire family is gruesomely assassinated, that’s their karma. If an entire population is infected with Meningitis, it’s their karma.

This line of reasoning ignores the fact that accidents do happen and they can be random. It omits the simple fact that the innocent do suffer. Because we live in a fallen world impacted by sin, good and bad happens to all of us, whether we are believers or non-believers.

While some calamities are man-made and from the devil, in this world, some events happen for which their causes are not readily evident.

A generous man can be deserted by those he helped while a wicked man can have many helpers.

A chaste woman may not conceive whereas one that had aborted several times before readily conceives.

The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong. Why? “Time and chance happen to them all” (Ecclesiastes 9:11).

A building collapse can be due to faulty construction. An entire family can be victim of wrongful murder target. An entire population may lack the necessary vaccines to prevent an infection. They didn’t give a first cause to their tragedy.

Why does Abdrushin’s universe/god enjoy punishing people for what was never their fault? Why does it fashion an evil cloak for people and blame them for furnishing its threads?

What do you call a man who maims his servants and then scourges them for not being good acrobats? I wouldn’t treat even my dog in such a cruel, despicable manner. But in the Grail message, we see a “pulsating universe” that lacks the sense of a good dog keeper.

Many are alarmed at this and afraid of what they still have to expect from the past through the reaction in accordance with these Laws. But such are unnecessary worries for those who are in earnest about the good volition; for in the self-acting laws also lies at the same time the certain guarantee of mercy and forgiveness.

I think the first question one should be asking is who is the author of these laws? Those laws didn’t create themselves.

Every law necessitates a lawgiver and in the case of such an unjust, illogical and unbiblical law as karma, we can easily conclude that it was made up by some people with a very warped perception of reality, justice and ethics.

Mercy and forgiveness don’t exist in a vacuum either. They exist in conjunction with other qualities. One also needs to ask how karma and fate – which confer a fixed script on humanity – guarantee mercy and forgiveness, and on what basis are they offered or received.

You see, karma is a doctrine of self-salvation. It says that by doing acts of good will, charity and offering meritorious service to mankind you can store up goodness for yourself and “atone” for your bad karma. But the truth is: no amount of our good works can purchase God’s forgiveness and mercy.

“Therefore by the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified in [God’s] sight” (Rom. 3:20). When man’s good works and the penalty of sin are placed side by side, man’s eternal doomed is guaranteed.

No man can “work off” the debt of sin and God’s justice necessitates that sin be judged. But God in His love has offered His forgiveness through the substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

God’s love, mercy and justice work together. Man has a choice in his eternal destination: to either accept or reject His offer of forgiveness. That is the ultimate meaning of sowing and reaping.

Through the continuing good volition in every thought and deed, a constant reinforcement also flows retroactively from the homogeneous source of power, so that the good become more firmly established in man himself, emerges from him, and first of all forms accordingly the ethereal surrounding that envelopes him like a protective covering … Now when evil reactions from the past return to this man to be redeemed, they slide off the purity of his surrounding or covering, and are thus deflected from him.

Here the reader is confronted with a whole aggregation of metaphysical concepts. Few paragraphs earlier, Abdrushin wrote that when his disciples put a thought, word or deed into the world, “it has within it power, and therefore life, which continues to develop and work in the desired direction. How it will affect the person for whom it is intended depends entirely on the psychic condition of the one concerned to whom it may thereby bring either much or little harm…”

The occult indoctrination has crawled out completely. These are the concepts that underpin witchcraft rites of raising and directing demonic powers towards someone else. Note that Wiccans also adhere to a karmic 3-fold law when casting their spells.

Initially, they wax philosophical, talking about karma and fate, but once you go a bit deeper, they start to introduce you to powers, vibrations and “ethereal surroundings” and the karmic law that supposedly underlie them. Of course, don’t expect them to disclose the real source of that power or use the ugly “o” word: occult.

He later writes that “the actual inner man to whom the returning radiations [of past bad karma] are adjusted has also become much more refined and lighter through the continuous striving for the good volition.”

Every false religion/cult that adheres to karma, believes that when bad karma are completely paid off after centuries of rebirths, the soul is finally released and no longer reincarnates. There’s no agreement on this.

Some teach that the soul ultimately gains unity with Brahman; some teach that it attains nirvana; some say it spiritually evolves to become an “ascended master” or spirit guide. That inevitably leads to contacting the spirit realm, which I will discuss later in this series.

In conclusion, karma and fate are based on myths and fantasies which condition those who believe in them to have a grossly distorted perception of reality. Karma is a work-based system that leads people to reject the truth of the Bible, the perfect, saving work of Christ on the cross as well as the reality of sin, heaven and hell.

While Christianity has the testimony of Jesus Christ who died, rose on the third day and is alive forevermore, the Grail message fails to present us a single evidence of a person whose karmic burden was lighter or has reincarnated – not even Abdrushin himself! Yet the “cross bearers” have blind faith in his writings.

Exposing the Grail Message

The first Grail message adherent I met on a personal level was Fola. We were course mates in the university and were posted to the same state camp for NYSC in 2011.

I had assumed she was a Christian until she admitted being a “cross bearer.” At my request, she loaned me her Grail message book, In the Light of Truth by Ab-dru-shin. Reading through it, I realized its content wasn’t really different from most mystical or New Age books.

Now, when you have the truth of the Bible, the reality of Jesus Christ and the witness of the Holy Spirit in you, you won’t fall for the philosophies in such writings.

You can’t possess gold and start to crave for dross, unless you are blind or ignorant.

In this piece, I will be pointing out several snares in the Grail message and its movement. Their Nigerian website says:

The Grail Movement is not a legal organization, but a collective term for conceptual efforts to spread the knowledge of the Grail Message and to realise it in all walks of life.”

The British website states that the Grail foundation serves “to further the public welfare in the spiritual and ethical spheres through dissemination of the work, In the Light of Truth: The Grail Message, and the spiritual and ethereal knowledge therein transmitted.”

The Grail movement originated in Germany in the late 1940s, inspired by the works of the self-proclaimed messiah, Oskar Ernst Bernhardt (pen/craft name: Abd-dru-shin). Oskar was born near Dresden in 1875 but was interned in the Isle of Man during WW 1. There, his mysticism began.

In 1928, he completed his Grail writings, but was expelled from Austria and had his work banned by the Nazi government. They were finally published in 1945, four years after his death.

Other books used in the Grail movement are The Ten Commandments: The Lord’s Prayer, Book of Javada and Ephesus.

Today, Grail teachings have covered about 22 African countries garnering about 10,000 members. In Nigeria presently, there are over 3,500 adherents (persons who have been “sealed” or initiated into the circle) and many more readers and supporters.

In the Light of Truth: The Grail Message book, has been translated into 16 languages and has spread over 90 countries.

Grail adherents call themselves “cross bearers” and they often wear a cross enclosed in a circle (also seen at Grail temples). They usually gain recruits through public lectures and media broadcast.

New applicants or readers are directed to study the 3 volumes of the Grail Message and subsequently invited to face a panel of judges who drill them with questions to assess if they are “evolved” or mature enough to be “sealed” into the Grail circle or still need to undergo further orientation.

Grail temples have weekly hours of worship (which includes Sundays) and Grail festivals (thrice in a year) during which members to-be are “sealed.” Non-cross bearers are not allowed to be part of their worship.

Some non-Christians (and uninformed Christians) think the Grail Movement is just another Christian denomination, or at least, a sect, but a cursory reading of their materials quickly divests one of such an idea. Their antagonistic stance against Christianity is rather conspicuous:

“Do not allow yourselves to be confused by those men and also churches who have already long ago surrendered to Antichrist … No wonder then, that he could penetrate to the altars, and that representatives of earthly religions, also of the Christian churches were bound to become his victims … Observe his dubious methods in defence and attack; for he will once more make use of only of slander and insinuation since his followers are incapable of doing anything else” (Grail Message, 1, ch. 3).

“And this present, only apparently harmless form was born out of the same unspeakable spiritual arrogance of the representatives of all churches, as hitherto. And where this damnable arrogance is not present there is to be found an empty conceit based on the earthly power of the churches.”

“Every Catholic thinks himself far better before God than a Protestant without there being any cause for it, but every Protestant thinks himself more enlightened, more advanced, and thus nearer to his God than the Catholic! … Both parties are fools, who rely on something that does not count in the least before the Will of God!

An icy blast will sweep them away like worthless chaff; for they lack pure humility within themselves … By their nature they are the worst misusers of the Name of ‘God,’ the most flagrant transgressors of the Second Commandment! They all serve Lucifer, not God! And thus they scorn all the Commandments of God!” (The Ten Commandments of God, Sunday Punch, December 2015, 9).

Indeed, the Grail movement is rabidly anti-Christian. Jesus said “whoever is not against us is for us” (Mk. 9:40). By opposing Christianity, the Grail message shows it’s from the spirit of lies.

Scripture says: “We (Christians) are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood” (1 Jn. 4:6).

Those quotes above also establish the Grail movement as a cult.

In his work, What is a Cult? renowned cult expert Ronald Enroth, laid out some identifying marks of cults. “Their beliefs, practices, and values are counter to those of the dominant culture. They often place themselves in an adversarial role vis-a-vis major social institutions” (What is a Cult? Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press, 1981 p. 18).

In other words, for a person to actually embrace the Grail movement and its teachings, he/she must have already had a level of underlying opposition or hostility against mainstream Christianity.

Notice that in the first quote, the reader is told to dismiss any criticism of the Grail message as “slander and insinuation” from the Antichrist. Persecution complex is a tool commonly deployed by many cults to control their followers:

“Perceived persecution is one of the hallmarks of virtually all new [cultic] religious movements. Their literature, public statements and in-house indoctrination all convey the theme that in one form or another their group is being singled out for persecution – by mainstream Christians, the president, parents or the government” (What is a Cult? p. 22).

The preface to In the Light of Truth issues this warning:

“Religious fanatics and irresponsible enthusiasts may hold aloof, for they are detrimental to the Truth. As for the malevolent and prejudiced, they shall find their sentence in the very words.”

This is a preemptive threat aimed at fostering blind subjection of the mind in the reader.

If the Grail message is the truth; if it’s a word for mankind to find the right path and lead them to the longed for height, then Oskar need not try to deter critics, fanatics or the prejudiced from sifting through it.

In the Bible, God allowed even Satan to quote from His Word. A divine revelation is never afraid of criticism. Pure gold does not fear test from the hottest fire but is in fact, refined by it.

The Bible has survived intense attacks from religious fanatics, irresponsible enthusiasts and the malevolent, yet it’s still very alive “reviving the soul” and “making wise the simple” (Ps. 19:7).

By appealing to only readers who are willing to put their brains beneath Abdrushin’s toes, the Grail message evinces another feature of destructive cults: esotericism.

Grail adherents believe they are seeking “ascent to the luminous height” while others outside are “spiritually inferior and indolent” people.

They typically assert that the Grail message is an extension of Christ’s teachings, although in a more developed form. “Developed,” because the Gospel writers supposedly never met Christ, hence the Bible is incomplete and riddled with contradictions, until Oskar brought the real thing in the 20th century.

How could Oskar, a 20th century mystic who wasn’t an eye witness to any Biblical event, offer a superior account than the inspired first century Gospel accounts penned by “eyewitnesses of His majesty” (2 Pet. 1:16)? Not possible.

The validity of the New Testament is based upon the facts of fulfillment of prophecies, symbolism and typology of the Old Testament. Therefore, if the Grail message is to be received as divine, it must meet the test of being in complete agreement with the Holy Scriptures as found in the Bible.

Logically, since the Bible was before the Grail message and the Grail message – to an extent – appeals to the Bible, then whenever there is a conflict between the two, the newer and lesser (Grail message) must give way to the older and greater (the Bible).

Therefore, a fair and rational person must reject the Grail message if it contradicts the Bible. Here are some examples of these contradictions:

a] Another Christ

“Jesus was procreated physically, otherwise an earthly birth would not have been possible … With this gross material act of baptism, the beginning of the Mission was firmly anchored in the World of Gross Matter. The bandage fell. From the moment Jesus himself was conscious that He was to carry the Word of the Father among mankind on earth” (1, p. 82)

Jesus is eternal; He wasn’t created. He has been from “eternity past” (Mic. 5:8). Jesus had been a Messiah from birth and He knew who He was even at age 12, long before being baptised (Lk. 2:49).

The Old Testament gave many precise prophecies about the birth, lineage, ministry, and mission of Christ centuries before He came in the flesh. Lastly, Jesus didn’t “carry” the Word of God, He is really the Word made flesh (Jn. 1:14).

b] Denial of Christ’s atonement

“Neither was the death on the cross a necessary sacrifice, but a murder, a dastardly crime … Christ certainly did not come to the earth with the intention of letting Himself be crucified; neither does redemption lie in the crucifixion!” (1, ch. 55)

On the contrary, Jesus is presented as “the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world” (Jn. 1:29). God’s plan has been that Jesus would “give his life as a ransom for many” (Mt. 20:28).

He said: “No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father” (Jn. 10:18).

c] Denial of Christ’s resurrection

“The physical body of the Redeemer followed the same course that every other physical body has to follow in accordance with the Natural Laws of the Creator. Consequently, Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God, did not rise again in the flesh” (2 ch. p. 48).

Since Jesus is the God-Man, He is above natural laws. Only His physical body died – not His spirit nor soul – and only His body rose again. He told His disciples, “It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see me I have” (Lk. 24:49).

Every instance of resurrection in the Bible is a return to life of physical bodies. Jesus’ case wasn’t an exception.

d] Fictitious stories

Three kings found their way to the stable and presented earthly gifts; but then they went away, leaving without protecting the child whose earthly path should have smoothed with their wealth and power…” (1, p 82)

The number of the wise men (they weren’t kings) from the East wasn’t given. They could have been more than three. God – not men – protected Jesus as a child.

It continues:

“Disquietude drove Mary away from Nazareth, and Joseph seeing her silent suffering and longing, granted her wish solely to make her happy. He handed over the management of his carpenter’s shop to his oldest employee… in the course of their everyday life of works and cares; the meaning of the Radiant Star faded from their minds… it was only on his [Joseph’s] deathbed that … [he] saw in passing the Cross and the Dove above Jesus Who stood alone at his bedside” (ch. 1, 82)

Who was the eye-witness to these events? These are concocted stories without a shred of historical documentation.

e] Panentheism

This is the belief that God and the universe are one. Thus, most New Age religion often reference “the universe” in place of God since their god is an impersonal force that animates all in the universe. This is also seen in the Grail book:

The physical bodies merely act as spiritually animated instruments, which themselves only took shape through the power of the spirit. The same applies to trees, stones, and the whole earth. Everything is animated, permeated and driven by the Creator spirit” (1, p. 39).

God spoke other things into existence, but man received “the breath of life” which made him “a living soul” (Gen. 2:7). God is separate and distinct from the works of His hands. The universe was created by God, it’s not God.

Only pagans believe the delusion that “God” permeates trees, animals, rocks and the universe. The God of the Grail message is not the God of the Bible.

f] Karma

“You can then joyfully start working off all your karmic burden. What you do for your neighbour you do in reality only for yourselves! Solely for yourselves, since according to the Eternal Law everything returns to you without fail, good or evil, either already here or there” (1, pp. 29-31).

But the Bible teaches forgiveness as a gift God offers by grace to all who trust in the perfect sacrifice of Christ (Rom. 5:15; 6:23). Belief in Karma is illogical, unbiblical and amoral. It is an erroneous belief that emanated from Hinduism.

g] Salvation by works

Therefore free yourself! Do not delay a single hour in setting a limit to this enforced atonement! The honest volition for what is good, for something better, reinforced by a truly heartfelt prayer, will bring redemption!” (1, ch. 7)

This sounds a lot like a satanist’s creed:

“Here and now is our day of joy! Here and now is our opportunity! Choose ye this day, this hour, for no redeemer liveth. Say unto thine own heart, ‘I am mine own redeemer'” (Anton LaVey, The Satanic Bible, p. 33).

But God’s Word says: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” (Eph. 2:8).

h] Sexual liberty

“There will be far less unhappiness if people will only free themselves from the error of the merits of sexual continence. Compulsory continence is an interference which may have dire consequences … Suppression is unnatural” (2, ch. 14).

What a free license for sexual immorality! The book says there is a “continual conflict with the natural instincts” which “consumes a great part of the person’s spiritual powers, keeping them in constraint so that they cannot be active in other directions. Hence the free unfolding of these spiritual powers is hindered.”

Lastly, it says sex is a “necessary process of an intimate fusion and a mutual exchange of vibrations, thus producing greater power.”

This idea is well-entrenched in the beliefs and practices of both ancient and modern pagan fertility cults, and it’s straight from the Evil one (1 Cor. 6:18).

i] Occult powers

“Through the continuing good volition in every thought and deed, a constant reinforcement also flows retroactively from the homogeneous source of power, so that the good becomes more and more firmly established in man himself, emerges from him and first of all forms accordingly the ethereal surrounding that envelops him like a protective covering” (1, p. 41).

This is a classic occult concept which involves creating a psychic shield. Some call it psychic vibrations or protective energies. In the Grail message, they are taught that every living thing has its own spiritual vibration and when your vibration homogenizes with another, your spiritual covering is sustained.

Such metaphysical nonsense are the lies of the devil. The only safe and secure protection is in Jesus Christ and His finished work at the cross. Any other supposed protection is a grand deception.

Drawing on the Arthurian legend of the “holy Grail” the book overtly introduces its readers to the spirit world and the spirits therein:

“Far above the eternal cycle of Creation, there floats like a crown in the centre, an ‘Azure land,’ the abode of the blessed, of the purified spirits; who may already dwell in the Regions of Light! This island is separate from the world. [There stands] the Grail Castle … Light of Greatest Glory and harbours the Sacred Vessel of the Pure Love of the Almighty, the Grail!” (1 p. 77)

In witchcraft, the chalice or cauldron represents the great goddess Astarte/Venus/Ashtaroth (called by many names).

Grail adherents observe three annual festivals: Festival of the Holy Dove, Festival of the Pure Lily and Festival of Love/Radiant Star.

The lily festival is said to be especially for women. The star, dove as well as the cross have esoteric meanings within the Grail movement and other occult groups.

A Grail adherent noted that lily and rose symbolize “two female figures of Light Awe; through whom God out pours His gracious powers of Love and Purity.”

Apparently, these emblems represent the two demonic queens in Satan’s kingdom: Asherah (queen of the coast) and Astarte (queen of heaven) respectively. Oskar himself wrote:

“Certainly, there is a Queen of Heaven, Who according to earthly conceptions could also be called the Primordial Mother, and Who yet possesses the purest virginity … since the human spirit can only see the spiritual, from which it has emerged, it is unable to behold the Primordial Queen, Who is of a much higher species. But should anyone ever be so blessed, it would be possible to see Her spiritually radiated picture … This, however appears lifelike, and can be so strong even in its radiation, that it works miracles wherever it finds the soil prepared for it…” (1, p. 50)

If you are seeking an interaction with a false god, false Christ and demonic entities, then you need the Grail message.

But if you want truth, peace, eternal life and a relationship with the true God, study and meditate on the Bible.

The Question Marks of Reincarnation

Reincarnation – the soul being reborn in one or more successive existences – is a crucial belief in Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Jainism, Wicca, New Age groups, Eckankar, Rosicrucians and other religious minorities.

It’s a subject that is frequently romanticised in alternative spirituality books, music, movies and public lectures.

A survey shows that one-third of Europeans believe in reincarnation, with Lithuania having the highest (44%) and Germany the lowest (12%). A Barna survey also indicates that a quarter of Christians in the US believe in reincarnation.

In Hinduism, reincarnation (samsara) is a migration of the soul in successive cycles through which it is reborn as human, animal or plant life forms.

In contrast, Buddhism does not believe in soul migration, as Buddhism: An Illustrative Guide notes, it views reincarnation as “a suffering-laden cycle of life death and rebirth without beginning or end.”

Jainism believes reincarnation is the passage of the soul (or atman) through cycles of rebirth, and depending on the karma, a soul can be reborn in heaven, hell or earthly realm.

In Yoruba religion, a component of the departed soul is said to return to earth in a form while the other form, the guardian or ori remains in heaven. This idea reflects in some Yoruba names given to persons e.g. Babatunde (“father has returned”) etc.

The Blind Law of Karma

In Eastern religions, reincarnation is not all bright and sunny. In Hindu thought, the world is seen as a place of terror, suffering and pain – like an evil forest – from which mankind should escape.

But in Western pagan spirituality, these “negative” talk about suffering and pain is bad for marketing, so they adhere to a convenient form of reincarnation – one which blends with Western ideals of hedonism and exploration of human potential.

So, while the East teaches that one can return to earth in a lower form as a bug or maggot, the West teaches “progressive” reincarnation, that humans will always return to earth as humans or higher life forms.

Karma, the universal law of cause and effect, regulates all natural existence and human experiences.

The word “karma” comes from the Sanskrit root words meaning “to do,” “what is done” and “a deed,” and its function is to reward people for every past deed, thought and word with future good or suffering.

But the rewards for all thoughts, deeds and words are too many for one lifetime, so a person must return again and again to pay off his karmic debts. This is where the “warm fuzzies” of reincarnation wear off.

For example, if a husband beats his wife, he has accrued a negative karma, so in the next life, he must return as a woman beaten by her husband to work off bad karma. Since her husband too has generated a bad karma by abusing her, he will also have to return in the next life as a woman to be beaten by her husband and on and on it must go until the scales of karma are balanced.

Or, if a person murders a fellow, he must be reborn as a victim of murder, after all, there’s no forgiveness in karma. This indicates that karma and reincarnation, perpetuate evil and sin rather than provide a solution to them.

In the Eastern versions, a person’s soul must undergo rebirth until he reaches a state of perfection or liberation (moksha) and becomes united with the divine or universe. In Buddhist belief, he ceases to exist or goes into blissful nothingness (nirvana).

In Western versions, with each rebirth, a soul gradually evolves upward by learning his lessons until he reaches the pinnacle of perfection as an “ascended master” or a super-human being. Essentially, he may have to be reborn in each race, status, gender or zodiac sign in order to evolve. That means a person will probably have at least 10,000 years to attain his goal!

Oskar Bernhardt, a 20th century German adept, wrote:

Through an Eternal Law, you are burdened with an irrevocable obligation to make atonement which you can never cast upon others … your thoughts, words or deeds can be redeemed by no one but yourself” (The Grail Message, Vol. 1, p. 43).

There are two problems here. First, the law of karma can’t be “eternal” since this earth isn’t eternal. It has a beginning and definitely has an end.

Second, in this system, you are obligated to make atonement for yourself and also redeem yourself from bad karma. In karma, there is no sin and consequently, no Saviour or Redeemer, so how can this self-atonement and self-redemption be achieved? Opinions vary.

Hindus seek “liberation” through ethical living and meditative practices such as yoga.

Buddhists observe yamas or niyamas (truthfulness, non-stealing or non-violence). The Jains adhere to asceticism while Sikhs claim it’s by devotion to God and good works. Most agree that Ahimsa is the key. Ahimsa literally means “compassion” or “harmlessness.”

It means you must live your entire life without ever harming any living thing, especially because they all have the spark of “divine spiritual energy” in them. Thus, hurting them brings bad karma.

Ahimsa has an extraordinary status in the ethical philosophy of Jainism. Jains take a solemn vow never to hurt any life form with words, deeds or thoughts.

To avoid stepping on an insect, they don’t go out at night and when they walk, they carry a little broom with which they sweep the ground. They live a strict vegetarian diet, eating nuts and fruit which they say, are freely given by the trees.

They don’t eat honey – that’s violence to bees – and they also wear masks covering their mouths to prevent them from breathing in or ingesting a microbe. Some Jains don’t even farm because it could kill or injure insects or worms!

This sort of lifestyle may be quaint, but if anyone is going to make it in the karma game, the Jains are. Others who sweetly teach reincarnation but are not emulating them are just hypocrites.

The irrationality of this belief becomes obvious when, for instance, you are in a situation when you have to protect your life or that of your family (like in a war), ahimsa flies right out of the window.

And lest anyone put some hope in this folly, our body’s immune system attacks and kills millions of microbes every day, so, the karma debt is beyond what any man can pay.

This is where the truth and logic of the Bible shine brightly: “Therefore no one will be declared righteous in [God’s] sight by observing the law” (Rom. 3:20).

No amount of right actions will save us from eternal doom because “our righteous acts are like filthy rags” (Is. 64:6). “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 6:23).

God’s gift of eternal life is free of charge and we neither pay for it nor work to earn it. It’s simply received by faith in Jesus Christ.

Fatalism, Memory and Justice

There’s another problematic outcome of karma: fatalism. It’s asserted that the law of karma cannot be limited to the sphere of human conduct.

By karma, the sun, moon and planets keep their appointed courses, the tides rise and fall, the winds blow and all animate creatures pass through all the stages of their life from birth to death (Edgar Thompson, The Word of the Cross to Hindus, 1956, p. 102).

In other words, whatever will happen has already been fixed by karma. If a ship carrying passengers sinks in the ocean or hundreds of children die in a gas explosion, that’s their karma.

In this system, one’s karma (or higher self) – instead of God – is the judge. It judges your actions daily and tells your future what rewards you deserve.

That is, you make your own policies, keep your policies and enforce them, ergo – you are your own judge. That was what Oskar Benhardt painted in rainbow colours in his Grail Message.

Whatever happens to you is what karma or your “higher self” decides is the best for you.

Now, try to imagine the influence of this belief on cultures that have embraced it. If you see a starving woman with a sick child scavenging on the trash dump of Mantola, don’t you dare help her! She is working out karma.

If you take her in, give her a good meal, treat her child and give her a good job, she will just have to return in another lifetime and become a scavenger with a sick child all over again.

So the beggars, destitute and invalids in some Asian countries are left that way because to help them is to interfere in their karma. This is why these regions didn’t have hospitals or charity organizations until Christian missionaries set foot there.

From the reincarnationist’s view, the 2012 gang rape in New Delhi was karma. Perhaps Jyoti Singh’s “higher self” had decreed that she would be raped on that day, so preventing the crime would have messed up her karma.

The World Trade Centre attack was karma too, since the “higher selves” of those 2,977 victims simply worked together with the “higher selves” of the 19 plane hijackers.

The 2008 earthquake in China which claimed 69,195 lives must have been karma too, after all, death is just a “transition.”

You see, if we are just puppets on a playground playing out an unchangeable script, then we have no real purpose in life. If we are here on earth just to get recycled into another form like paper, then life is meaningless.

Aside from that, if we have all lived before, why do we not remember? Most people live and die without knowing about their past lives or what they are supposed to be “paying back.”

A school of thought says that souls of the dead drink from “the river of forgetfulness” before they are reborn but their past memories can be recovered through occult meditation or mediumship.

This entails expending so much time, energy and money to know one’s previous lives or pay off karma. In some climes, “seekers” sit in lotus position for weeks, literally doing nothing, with all their bodily needs being cared for by others. Must we go into a permanent state of catatonia to know our “past lives”?

I read a book published by the Hare Krishna Society on this subject in 2008. The author says if a woman is thinking of her husband before death, she will return as a man. If she was thinking of a pig, she would return as a pig.

I would like to ask: what about persons who reincarnate as cactus plants or mealy bugs, do they also remember their past lives and work off their karma or are such creatures capable of human thinking? That’s why reincarnation works well with Animism. One delusion makes way for another.

How can karma or reincarnation be a “learning experience” if rewards and punishments are meted out to people who have no conscious knowledge of why they are being rewarded or punished?

If a 10 year old girl dies of cancer for being Adolf Hitler in her previous life, but never knows that fact, is this a gesture of justice? What lesson did her cancer teach her about her past life since she couldn’t remember it?

How do we learn our lessons if we are never told our mistakes? Why do the gods or the universe (or whatever!) punish people for bad deeds in their past lives which they don’t know?

Is it not sadism to put people through misery while withholding the very knowledge they need to solve it? Is this just? Is this sane? Absolutely not. Even from a human standpoint, reincarnation is senseless.

“Proofs” of Reincarnation?

Some people have claimed to remember their “past lives” through hypnosis, but in the court of law, memories recovered via hypnosis are not scientifically reliable.

Dr. Ian Stevenson, has published case studies of 2,500 children who claimed to have remembered their past lives over a period of 40 years.

Keith Augustine reviewed this work in The Case Against Immortality, stating that “the vast majority of Stevenson’s cases come from countries where religious belief in reincarnation is strong, and rarely elsewhere, which seems to indicate that cultural conditioning (rather than reincarnation) generate claims of spontaneous past life memories.”

A true scientific experiment must eliminate all other variables except the control, but since Stevenson’s works (and other such “testimonials”) haven’t done this, then these children must have obtained their information, however accurate, from demon entities which have been in existence for ages.

Buddhist sage, Dalai Lama boasted: “If science can disprove reincarnation, Tibetan Buddhism would abandon reincarnation.” Of course, science has disproved several ancient beliefs, but they are seldom given up.

Reincarnation is invalidated even by demography. The world population in 1350 was near 370 million, but as of March 2016, it is 7.4 billion and it’s estimated to increase to 11.2 billion by 2100.

If we are all being recycled, why is the human population increasing exponentially? Where are all the new babies coming from? Or how did 200 souls emerge from one corresponding soul from 8 centuries ago?

To affirm the existence of a Creator creating new spirits totally negates the pantheist worldview. The linear view of human destiny is supported by credible evidence, but the cyclical view of human life ties in with mystical twaddle, lies and subjective fancies.

We are told reincarnation results in human upward evolution, but where is the evidence for this? Aside from progress in science and technology, can we say humanity has made any significant progress in the last two centuries?

Think of the two bloody world wars in the 20th century and the crises currently brewing in several nations of the world. We boast of medical breakthroughs, only for more deadly diseases to strike the earth.

We invent satellites, computers and split atoms, only for human depravity, deception and wickedness to rise to another level.

Mankind has not evolved. In fact, if reincarnation is true, India and Nepal, with their arcane spirituality and traditions, should have been the most civilized utopian nations on earth by now. But if what we see happening there today are the ideals of reincarnation, then it’s truly lamentable.

Reincarnation in the Bible?

Some people argue that John the Baptist in the Bible was a reincarnation of Elijah. But when John was asked “Are you Elijah?” He answered “no.” (Jn. 1:21).

His office was similar to that of Elijah in the scale of repentance (Mal. 4:5-6). Elijah didn’t die and certainly didn’t reincarnate.

John 9:1-3 doesn’t support reincarnation either because Jesus said: “Neither this man nor his parents sinned.” The Bible is clear: “People die once, and after that they are judged” (Heb. 9:27).

The Bible teaches resurrection instead of reincarnation and we have a reliable evidence in Jesus Christ who died and rose again.

Jesus didn’t reincarnate; and for religious people who fondly imagine that they can combine reincarnation with resurrection, the question they must answer is, in which of the hundreds of bodies they’ve supposedly being reborn will they be resurrected in and why?

Exactly what proof do reincarnationists have for their belief? Their “higher selves”? Some mystical books? Spirit guides speaking from behind a veil? Vivid memories? Fevered imaginations of deluded gurus? These are not proofs. The physical evidence of what the Lord Jesus offers us blows all these mystical belief systems away into sheer ludricous inanities!

Rather than making us run on the treadmill of karma for centuries till we get it right, the true God offers complete forgiveness and salvation by faith in Jesus Christ (John 5:24).

Reincarnation is an amoral and hopeless lie. It neither atones man’s sins nor redeems him from evil. It’s a lie of the devil, and its goal is to lead many souls to a Christless eternity.