Interesting thought Beeble - people 'psyching themselves out' so that they're 'good' and don't inculcate more bad kamma.
Personally, I think that's a convoluted way to think - however - I'll just bet you're spot on as to some people.
However, I think one can be a nihilist and materialist and be 'moral' - do good actions. It's never occurred to me personally to "do bad things" if I could "get away with it". I actually feel that's pretty childish. There's no reason to be a right bastard - whether we go to wherever, we don't, there's no such thing as nibbana - whatever - there's no reason to be like that.
My point is - if one wants this life to be 'it' - maybe they don't like being here (I certainly never have since as far back as I can remember) - and IF - the whole 're-birth' conundrum (for that's what it's become) is merely 'in this life' (again - no reason why it cannot be that) - then there is no point to practise - if there are no literal re-births - why bother? If there is no being to be reborn - then no matter.
On the other hand - (I'm arguing with myself here) what is 'reborn' (literally or 'in this life') are what I like to call (for lack of better word and trying not to connote 'self') are tendencies - tendencies carrying on by 'one's' actions ... not a life continuum - just tendencies carrying on - that is what gets 'reborn'
Certainly tendencies being reborn in this life can be a real drag - if those tendencies to which one clings (kling-on - kaplah!) carry on to a new form - I suppose one could say there is a tenuous connexion with a former 'being' - a mass of constituents - in such 'new' life.
Meh - it's impossible to discuss the ineffable - sometimes I think I see it - "presque vu" - anyone read Catch-22?
Sitting on my front porch on misty Mt. Meru,