Hi, you’re listening to Positive Perspectives As you recall in the last podcast I talked about truthfulness and how it is viewed in various religions. After that podcast one of the comments that I received was “hey, just finished listening to your episode. Got me thinking we all tell lies at some point in our lives, but what if we were able to know the consequences of our actions before we committed a sin?”
So, today we are going to be discussing the consequences of our actions. In this episode, I hope to examine the many groups/institutions and sacred texts of the 5 major world religions; Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
No matter who we are, all of us have made choices in our lives that have had consequences: some good, some not so good. Most often, it is the consequences that lead us to think this way, but one thing is for certain, we can learn from our choices by the consequences we experience. Before I get started with that question, I think it is important to give you a brief background on each of the religions sacred texts.
Hindus value many sacred writings as opposed to one holy book. The primary sacred texts are known as the Vedas. The Vedas are made up of:
- The Rig Veda: Comprises 1028 hymns
- The Samaveda: Consists of melodies, chants, and tunes for singing hymns
- Yajurveda: Priests handbook for performing fire sacrifices
- •Atharvaveda: Contains magical formulas, chants, spells, and charms
The oldest and most important scriptures of Buddhism are the Tripitaka ( The Three Baskets of Wisdom). The three baskets are the principal source for the life and teachings of Buddha.
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Most accurate of Buddha’s teachings consist of:
- Vinaya- Pitaka: Basket of discipline (rules for Sangha or monks)
- Sutta- Pitaka: Basket of discourse (discourses between Buddha and his disciples
- Abidhama- Pitaka: Basket of further
The basis of all Jewish sacred texts is the Torah which means “law”. The principal message of the Torah is the absolute unity of God, The Jewish Bible is known in Hebrew as the Tanakh.
The Tanakh consists of three sets of books which include:
- The Pentateuch (Torah)
- The Prophets (Nevi’im)
- The Writings (Ketuvim)
The sacred text of Christianity, the Bible, is a collection of many different books and letters that include many types of literature.
The Christian Bible has two sections:
The Old Testament
- Spans over 4000 years of the history of Jewish people
- 39 books in the Old Testament
- Points the way towards the coming of the Messiah
The New Testament
- 27 books in the New Testament
- Comes from the teachings of the Bible
- 4 Gospels Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John were written to tell the story of the teaching and ministry of Jesus and of his death and resurrection
- Epistles (letters): written by early Christians.
- Book of Revelations: some believe this to be prophecies of future events
The sacred text of Islam is known as the Quran. “The Quran: literally means, ‘that which is often recited.’ The Quran represents the foundation of divine guidance for every Muslim. Its revelation to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his practical implementation of the revelation, completed God’s blessing for humanity, in providing us with a belief and value system that is valid for all times.
Okay, now getting back to our question the consequences of our actions.
In Hinduism Karma is the view in which good deeds, words, thoughts, and commands lead to beneficial effects. For a person, bad deeds, words, thoughts, and commands lead to harmful effects. Karma is a Sanskrit word meaning action. Hindus believe that the effects of our actions are not necessarily immediate but can be visited upon a soul in future lives through reincarnation; additionally, good or bad fortune experienced in life may be the result of good or bad actions performed in a past life. In Hinduism, karma is the force of retributive justice that compels believers to behave righteously according to Dharma—moral law. karma is a central component of the Hindu ethical worldview. belief in karma reinforces and perpetuates systems of social organization prescribed in Hindu scriptures.
Similarly in Buddhism Karma has implications beyond this life. Bad actions in a previous life can follow a person into their next life and cause bad effects. Karma determines where a person will be reborn and their status in their next life. Good karma can result in being born in one of the heavenly realms. Bad karma can cause rebirth as an animal, or torment in a hell realm. Buddhists try to cultivate good karma and avoid bad. While no one can really be free from the law of karma, people can minimize its negative impact by leading a righteous life, following the Eightfold Path. The aim of Buddhism is to escape the cycle of rebirths Samsara and attain Nirvana an everlasting state of peace and joy.
In Judaism, the consequences of our actions are described in the Jewish sacred text the Torah which means “law”. The principal message of the Torah is the absolute unity of God. Jews choices of how to act and the implication that the more power we have, the more responsibility we need to take for our actions and the higher the standard to which we will be held. This decision appears to be a universal law in Judaism in which God, the ultimate source of all distinctions, actions, and consequences, is the one who dictates his laws in the Torah.
Torah is what constitutes and distinguishes the Jews as a civilizational community. Any decision-making process that claims to be Jewish necessarily involves Torah in this broad sense. In Christianity, the first thing that Christians consider is that God has given them the Bible as a manual for everything they experience in their lives.
There are many examples and stories of actions good and bad and the results and consequences that are directly related to these actions. Christians believe that the Bible is God’s Word given to them to learn to make good choices and avoid bad consequences so that they can enjoy the blessings and fellowship of God.
Lastly, in Islam Muslims are taught that they are responsible for their actions and consequences good or bad. Muslims see sin as anything that goes against the commandments of God (Allah). Islam teaches that sin is an act and not a state of being. The Quran describes sins throughout and demonstrates that some sins are more punishable than others. The Quran also states that on the day of judgment God himself will judge our good deeds against our bad deeds. Those individuals whose good deeds outway their bad deeds will be rewarded with eternal paradise.
In conclusion, there is great power in being able to make choices in our life. We have the choice of what kind of life we’ll live, and what type of person we want to be. We are a result of the choices we make every day. I believe we should remember to think before we act. If we all did this even some of the time, not only would we happier, but this impact would be noticed by those around us impacted them and intern impacted those around them. This would ultimately lead to a better world.
Last, but not least, I would like to thank my listeners for tuning in and listening to this episode of the many different views on the consequences of our actions. If you enjoyed this episode please remember to share, comment, and suggest any feedback. Please stay tuned for the next episode where we will be discussing the importance of repentance.You’ve been listening to Positive Perspectives