My questions are:
How is karma any
differentmore believable than supernatural gods passing judgement when we are talking about rebirth after the point of death - rebirth being inextricably linked to karma?
I've read a lot about how seeds of karma ripen into result, and what seem to me to be absurd cosmological realms existing under a flat earth, but then teachers have said karma is just moment to moment. Then it changes to it is not even moment to moment but a universal law like gravity.
I mean no disrespect by this, but gravity is observable whereas being born as a human and then a dog after you die because of unskillful karma is not.
Also some humans are born in such a way (severely disabled) that dogs are smarter than they are?
Why is rebirth in human realm classified as higher when some humans suffer more than some animals and have less of an intellectual ability to reason than dogs or crows?
How are you sure this transition to lower rebirth exists, as in the hell realms which sound like really bad places that physically exist, aside from anecdotal evidence that cannot be observed through experience?
Why does no one support rebirth with any solid evidence, but claim it as a result of karma where karma is portrayed as a natural law?
If you are claiming there is evidence, where is it and how were the observations conducted? Are you just taking this persons word for it, or can you reproduce the result? How do you know this?
Personally, it seems to me that this notion of lower rebirth at the time of death could be true but is just as likely not to be true. So the people that claim it positively exists based off it just seeming to make sense or anecdotal evidence are no different than Christians or Muslims who believe in their gods because it just seems to make sense to them. There is an essay that explains this quite well and references Pali suttas.
An excerpt that asks this a bit more eloquently than I can:
"There is one more consideration here. Rebirth is intimately linked to the Buddhist doctrine of karma. I mentioned a couple of weeks ago (Son of the Śākyas) that the idea of being judged on the basis of your actions is one that might have come into Buddhism (and Hinduism) from Zoroastrianism. All large scale cultures seem to have a metaphysical overseer. In most cultures it comes in the form of a god who monitors your behaviour. Why do we need monitoring? In ancestral small scale societies we all knew what everyone was doing because we spent all of our time together. Privacy did not really exist. But as we became civilised and started living in larger scale communities it became impossible to keep everyone under surveillance to make sure they were keeping to the rules. Society is predicated on the idea that most people follow the rules most of the time, and if we catch someone breaking the rules we punish them somehow. One of the harshest non-fatal punishments is shunning which was practised in the early Buddhist Saṅgha for some offences (it still is). So gods like Indo-Iranian Mitra/Mithra, developed to keep a celestial eye on everyone and keep order. In non-Vedic India however the function was not divine, and not anthropomorphised, but became an impersonal built-in property of the universe, i.e. karma. However the function of karma is no different to the function carried out by judicial gods (e.g. Mitra or Zeus), or the oversight function of a mono-gods (e.g. Jehovah), and that karma is still a supernatural agency. Karma was invented to make sure that private actions have public consequences, though the astute reader will notice that the consequences are mostly private—that is divorced from the society in which the action was done—as well, since they are put-off till a future life."