Karma and the problem of evil: A response to Kaufman

Philosophy East and West 57 (4):533-556 (2007)
Abstract
The doctrine of karma, as elaborated in the Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain religious traditions, offers a powerful explanatory account of the human predicament, and in particular of seemingly undeserved human suffering. Whitley R. P. Kaufman is right to point out that on some points, such as the suffering of children, the occurrence of natural disasters, and the possibility of universal salvation, the karma theory appears, initially at least, much more satisfactory than the attempts made to solve the perennial problem of evil by writers working within the mainstream theistic traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam .1 Kaufman, we think, is also correct to highlight the lack of critical analysis given by contemporary philosophers of religion to the theory of karma, at least in comparison with the voluminous body of work produced in recent years on the theistic problem of evil . Kaufman?s recent article in this journal, therefore, is to be welcomed as a step toward redressing this imbalance in the literature, and in the process helping to remove the Western theistic bias of much contemporary philosophy of religion. On the other hand, we think that Kaufman has unfortunately done little to further the general understanding of the doctrine of karma
Keywords 220399 Philosophy not elsewhere classified
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