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Fatalism is the belief that all events are inevitable. Fatalism is not based on a cause-and-effect relationship, unlike fate.

Fatalism is usually confused with determinism. Determinism says that every event has a cause that necessarily precipitates the event. For example, the American Heritage Dictionary defines fatalism as "The doctrine that all events are predetermined by fate and are therefore unalterable." In the concept of determinism, there is no human free will. So any decision taken is viewed as the natural and inevitable result of influences like bio-chemical conditions, desires, passions, and external circumstances beyond the control of the individual. Related to this is the idea of "bad blood" and "good breeding" in humans: family name and lineage as evidence or proof of moral character.

Philosophy Pages offers a fairly simple definition: Fatalism is the "belief that every event is bound to happen as it does no matter what we do about it." But to fatalists, preceding events do not cause the events that follow, nor does a fated event take place according to a natural law. Events happen because of a decree of God or of some supernatural power. (For example, the ancient Greeks believed in the Fates, three goddesses who determined the beginnings, the subsequent ongoing circumstances, and the final destinies of all beings, including the gods.) From both points of view, there is no question of a person freely choosing a course of action: every free choice is made entirely according to each person's nature, according to their own innate predisposition, without any coercion.

From a logical perspective, the idea of free will is closely linked to human responsibility for moral action. Human responsibility depends on freedom of choice and moral judgment. If humans have no freedom of will or choice, none would deserve praise or blame for any action; hence, all penal codes would become instruments of injustice!

Materialism is fatalistic in its position that all human activity is determined by natural forces (Determinism). See Philosophical naturalism and Anarchism.

Libertarianism is paradoxically based on moral fatalism. The Libertarian Party is an example of a political expression of fatalism.

Two examples of dogmatic fatalism in theology are represented by Calvinism and Islam[1]. Aspects of fatalism are also present in the teachings of Buddhism.

Fatalism is opposed by Arminianism and Catholicism.