Someone mentioned karma in a different discussion earlier today and that got me thinking - how many atheists out there believe in or dictate their lives with a consideration toward the idea of karma? 

Karma, as I understand it, is the idea that bad behavior begets bad experiences and good behavior begets good experiences.  However, I've heard the concept of karma described lots of different ways as well, so I'm curious, fellow atheists, what your definition for and opinion is of the concept of karma?

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The fact that karma says events happen to you automatically based on your previous actions suggests some sort of ethereal source. Therefore, I can not accept karma as being a viable belief for me personally. I'm quite suspicious of westerners adopting eastern religions as they inherently take beliefs in form of piecemeal, for example why all this talk about karma and not of dharma? Karma is convenient as opposed to dharma which is a rigid path of existence based largely on your position in the caste. Which takes me to my final point: many white Americans (westerners in general) seem to have found a recent affinity for Buddhism thus supporting a religion which was founded by a Hindu, Siddhartha (Buddha) was a polytheist! I fear that the fact many "atheists" pull ideas from eastern religions such as karma will cheapen the atheist movement. I don't need to be told that good things will happen to me based on my actions, I just simply want to do good by others, not for reward but simply because it's right! I don't believe my good actions are going to get me into some fictitious heaven or heal my dog's skin problems, or somehow have people magically like me, etc etc. Atheists should not adopt anything from religions, western, or eastern!
Haha, nice, however, the dog skin problem thing was meant to show how ridiculous karma can become. I'm going to "Larry's GIant Subs" here shortly, I should get a free sub because I was nice to a random guy yesterday. See how silly it can become?
That's pretty much why I posted the question. Someone said something about Karma and I realized that while I mention karma fairly regularly, I don't actually believe in karma and I'm not even thinking about what karma actually means when I casually talk about it or offhandedly reference it. I think a lot of people have something akin to this that they kind of half-assedly refer to in day to day conversation but when pressed, they don't actually believe in the idea they're perpetuating.

In short - thinking, good. Lazily referencing supernatural concept, bad. :)
rubbish....there's no karma. anyone accepting karma might as well believe in god....
I do not believe in dogma or karma. but I have people in my life who believe in both and I just let it go. My Pagan fiance goes by the "three fold law" of Wicca.
To me it's not so much a "balance the scales" thing, but I've noticed that one does, in fact, tend to reap what one has sown.

Perhaps we should also discuss the idea that karma is just a primitive way of accepting the actual determinism of the universe: What you do has effects which happen inexorably. So, in other words, if karma is real, then that is one more blow against the mistaken notion of free will.



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