Friday, January 11, 2008

The Law of Talion, Karma and Grace

I've been reading a book called Jesus Without Religion by Rick James. (Not the Rick James that you're familiar with.) James has a fresh new was of looking at the ministry of Christ.

In the second chapter, James has an interesting quote by rock star Bono. While I'm not convinced that Bono is a prophet, he does bring some good insight to the Christian faith. The quote is taken from an interview that Bono gave to Christianity Today magazine in 2005.
You see, at the center of all religions is the idea of Karma. You know, what you put out comes back to you: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, or in physics—in physical laws—every action is met by an equal or an opposite one. It's clear to me that Karma is at the very heart of the universe. I'm absolutely sure of it. And yet, along comes this idea called Grace to upend all that "as you reap, so you will sow" stuff. Grace defies reason and logic. Love interrupts, if you like, the consequences of your actions, which in my case is very good news indeed, because I've done a lot of stupid stuff. (CT. 8/8/2005)

Think about his way of looking at religion. It is interesting that he doesn't reject the truth of other faiths, rather he point out that Grace, as the core of Christianity, trumps all other truths. Karma is seen as a great enemy to western Christians. It isn't the enemy; it is conquered by Grace. Likewise, the Law of Talon was discussed as a viable law in the Old Testament, but Christ puts it to bed in the New.

Which of us should not be humbled by this Grace? Which of us is less a sinner than Bono? I'd say no one has that claim, but in Jesus those sins are powerless.