The problem with free will is that if karma really exists then the subject of free will is in question. Free will is having the ability to make all decisions in your life and that you choose what to do. There are many different opinions about if free will is a real thing or is everything in your life predetermined by past events. Examples of these are determinism, libertarianism, and fatalism.
Determinism as a whole is defined as believing that things that happen to you is directly affected by what happened to you in the past. There are different types of determinism and it can be split into two types; hard and soft. Hard determinism states that free will does not exist and that everything that happens in your life is predetermined by events in your past.
Soft determinism says that you can both have free will about some things and that some things are predetermined. This is also known as compatibilism. An example of this is if you are walking down the street and someone points a gun at your head and says to give him your money. In this case, you do not seem to have a choice whether or not to give him the money. In the same scenario with a homeless man, you choose to give him the money because you want to help him. In both cases, you gave someone else the money but in the first, it was determined for you that you would have to give up the money to live while in the second case you choose to give up the money freely. If you have complete control over the situation then you get to choose what to do which is having free will. If there are outside forces that can be seen as your actions being determined for you.
An alternate example is having the choice to eat. Assuming God exists he knows your future; he can know that you are going to eat chicken for dinner tonight. You of course do not know of his plan so you are free to choose to eat whatever you want to. Without knowing his plan you choose to eat chicken. A compatibilist would say that this was your free will to choose to eat the chicken. Although it was already planned that you were going to eat it you did not know about the plans and had the ability to choose freely what to eat. In contrast, a hard determinist would say that since God had determined that you were going to eat chicken then there was no choice to be made and you did not have free will.
In libertarianism events that happen in your life is not determined by the past. It says that you have full control over what happens to you and you get to choose how you live your life. An example of a libertarianism viewpoint is an individual growing up in a household that is very poor, divorced parents, and no college education. This person could say that based on their past it is already determined that they will only achieve what they have been shown in the past. However, libertarianism’s say that you have the power to choose to do whatever you want to in your life. Even if your past was bad, you can still turn your life around and do whatever you wish to with it.
Fatalism is the exact opposite of libertarianism. It states that everything in life comes down to fate, even if you do not choose to do something if that is what your fate says that is going to happen then you cannot avoid it. An example of fatalism is that if a prophet told you that your fate was that you were going to be the emperor of China. No matter how far you went away or what you did in your life eventually you would become the emperor. This theory states that no matter what you do fate will catch up to you. If this is true then karma is irrelevant because if you already know what you are going to do with your life no matter what then your actions have no consequences.
If I had to put myself into one of these categories, I would be a…