My friend and his wife (he's atheist, she's goth) moved from upstate NY to Vegas because they felt their home and life here had bad karma. It seems extreme to me to make a life decision based on karma. Is that a common practice?

Another friend (Catholic) wouldn't look for a job in NYC because he thought that Manhattan had bad karma. Now this was before 9/11, so he might feel justified now that he was right, based on the terrorist attacks; but I could easily point out that based on the way New Yorkers came together, consoled, aided, rebuilt, prayed, grew stronger, that Manhattan has very good karma.

How do Buddhists determine good karma and bad karma? Are major and/or minor life decisions based on karma?

Karma is something to be faced, not to be afraid of.

How can an aethist believe in Karma? That sounds really odd to me. And isnt "goth" a style of fashion, not a set of beliefs?

I think Karma is just a way of making people do the things that are currently accepted as moral in society. You tell them "if you do good things, Karma will make sure good things happen to you, and if you do bad things, Karma will make sure bad things happen to you".

Obviously there is no magical force that makes good and bad things happen. There are consequences howerver. If you lead a good life helping people and obeying the law chances are good things will happen to you (people will help you, people will like you etc . . .).

If you go around committing crime and betraying people bad things will happen to you because you will be punished for the crimes and those people will get you back.

These are just fundamental aspects of our society. I guess you could call it Karma, but there is really nothing super natural about it. Its just simple cause and effect.

Interesting...BMac you have got mail.

Well, that's what I figured, that my friends had adopted a watered-down, superstitious version of Buddhism. Guess that's what happens when a religion is not researched, but is just picked at like food in a cafeteria line.

(By the way, it's my friend's wife. I guess goth is not a religion, but it is sort of a lifestyle, and for her that includes ouija boards and such.)

Thanks for the feedback.

elgringo, as far as my atheist friend, I don't think it's so much that he doesn't believe in God, I think he's more angry at Him, but still searching for spirituality.