According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, karma is defined as “the force generated by a person’s actions held in Hinduism and Buddhism to perpetuate transmigration and in its ethical consequences to determine the nature of the person’s next existence.” In layman’s terms, karma suggests that what you put into life is what you’ll get in return, even if the outcome is not immediate. Therefore, it should be one’s goal to be generous and do positive deeds in life because the pendulum of karma will continue to swing until equilibrium between positive and negative karma is achieved.
In Dennis Shields’ religious satire, God Went Fishing, nearly every character receives a corresponding fate as a result of his or her actions. Bernie Gold, mentor of the main character Sigmund, tells him that “this was a rational universe and that all was for the best in this best of all possible worlds.” What an ironic statement given that it comes from Bernie, a man who speaks largely from experiences that are not his own. One must ask then, “Is all truly for the best in this best of all possible worlds?” Only if an individual has had positive karmic outcomes, having always committed good deeds; then yes, it would be the best of all worlds. However, for many it is much easier to veer from good and choose evil than it is to be good for an entire lifetime. Thus, even one negative deed is a “karmic debt” and would have to be repaid in order for balance to be restored.
One character from God Went Fishing that epitomizes the concept of karmic payback is Doctor Laszlo. He performs abortions for a living and relishes it. Also, he arrogantly describes his work setting as, “The clinic where I do the Good Lord’s work.” As fate would have it, Laszlo falls from the hospital room to the street below, nearly ten stories down and survives. When Sigmund runs into him later in the story, Laszlo tells him about his fall: “Oh, that. It was the most amazing thing. If I believed in God I would have said it was miraculous. I landed on the hospital awning and bounced onto the ground safely. Thank the Good Lord. But a mobile home ran over my feet before I could get up, leaving me footless, so I don’t thank Him too much. I myself was in the hospital for a month.” Karmic retribution for the doctor can be seen in the events that follow: his legs are amputated and he is hit with an abortion malpractice suit. He is eventually forced to beg for money in the streets, essentially becoming what he so despised in others.
Ultimately, Sigmund concludes that Bernie was wrong, and this is not the best of all possible worlds. There is far too much negative karmic debt in too many people for this to be the best of all possible worlds.
Dennis Shields’ God Went Fishing demonstrates through one fascinating episode after another that we “reap what we sow.” This truth can be negative or positive; it’s up to each individual. This is an entertaining read full of philosophical truths that will have readers examining their own lives in relation to karmic balance in a world where personal choices have lasting consequences.
Find out more about God Went Fishing by visiting http://GODWENTFISHING.COM.