How do crimes fit into karma?

There's a big loophole in the karma theory or the law of cosmic justice, which otherwise seems grounded in the physics principle that says, every action must have an equal and opposite reaction. This loophole is the suffering that innocent people have to go through - victims of rape, sodomy, torture, abuse and degenerative diseases. Nobody deserves that fate, as a friend once told me. Until then, I'd been an ardent believer in karma.

And today as we pray for the departed soul of Aruna Shanbhag, I am reminded anew that the karma theory has its loopholes. Because regardless of which religion he/she belongs to, God cannot be anything but kind and merciful. I cannot believe that redemption takes place in 'paying for your crimes'. Redemption has to take place in a cleansing of the soul that comes through penance and practiced goodness.

I know what staunch believers of the karmic theory say - that the rapists of today will suffer the same fate in a succeeding life. But if that were true, humanity would never have evolved and will never evolve. That kind of justice perpetuates a cycle of horrors and I don't believe any God with unconditional and all-encompassing love would ever sit with a ledger bearing an account of people's deeds and make cold-hearted judgements. I don't believe that God condemns some souls to eternal hell. Salvation has to happen without causing additional suffering. Perhaps, it happens in silence, guilt and an eruption of conscience. But I do not believe that it happens in a flood of blood and tears.

In fact, is there a God at all in a world so messed up? If ever there was a time when we needed living, breathing, fire-thundering Gods, it is now. But where are they? All we have is this little whisper of conscience in our own selves and the eternal battle of temptation versus the knowledge of right and wrong. Will the world end one day and take all of humanity with it? Or will we all truly evolve to the point where every one of us has attained Godliness to the extent of non-existence? Will there be a new world where goodness reigns supreme and evil has never been conceived? Or will there just be emptiness and an eternal silence? Silence would be good. It would be really good.