Monday, August 26, 2013

Purpose in a Godless world

So a very good friend of mine who is struggling with the nature of their belief asked me a very important question, one that I had trouble answering because the answer seemed so self-evident to me. This question was, of course:

"As an atheist, what gives your life meaning and purpose? What makes life worthwhile?"

So i turned, of course, to the only place fit to answer this question: twitter. I posted this question for my followers to answers, and here are the responses I got, unedited:


-"Art. The creative drive."

-"Serious answer: my wife's vagina tastes amazing. Also my son is ok I guess. A little on the whiny side."

-"Friends, family, simple things."

-"the thought that this fleeting moment of time, we call life, is the only tangible thing we will ever be able to experience"


-"Friends, laughter, conversation, travel, learning. / Learning more each day, the joy of existence and reality."

-"Art. Music. Friends. Comedy. Love. Science. Nature. Grandeur. Fun. Lots of other stuff, and no god required."

-"Well. I have depression so I can't say that right now...But usually my baby brother. And my mom. And my writing"

-"children, friends, family. Common answers and all important. But also knowledge, the joy of learning something new"

-"Art. Creating something."

-"Little moments of real happiness in life, like hearing my child laugh, a beautiful sunset, experiencing art, feeling love."

-"My girl,, the rest of my family, my work, hobbies, friends, nature, science, Photography... etc etc etc"

-"Brain chemicals…and computer gaming."

-"Knowledge allows us to have predictable interactions with the natural world while we form unpredictable relationships."

-"air, food normal things. Wife, kids, family, friends make it fun & nothing to die for also helps"

-"My drive to understand what Socrates meant when he said, "I know now that I know nothing".
Perpetual learning drives life."

-"Existentialist philosophy suggests existence before essence, that we are born w/out meaning & must create it in life experience."

-"being able to enjoy & appreciate food/ drink/ music/ relationship/ sex/i.e life in general without silly baseless restrictions."

-“the fact I know I don't need a god to enjoy my life!  It's a devious myth.”

-“Joy? Family, nature, beauty, books, music. Lack of God doesn't remove any of the wonder from the world.”

-“this is late, but: existence itself. I’m a nihilist as well as atheist. Life is what we make it & nothing more.”

-“Humans are aware and intelligent enough to make their own meaning.”

-“Understanding that we are each free to embrace our own meaning is liberating, confusing, frightening. I've come to understand this, and I'm struggling with how to find meaning right now. I’m responsible for me, no more/less. I hope along way I bring some good 2 others since it pleases me. ”

-“mere existence. It blows my mind!”

-“Music, nature, my family, my work... It's a long list because I want to enjoy this life as much as possible :)”

-“Family. Friends. Laughter. Love. Curiosity. Discoveries.”

-“No answer that will satisfy ppl who are believers bcs of their inner emo need to have the safety net their delusion affords. There are those who can find happiness and meaning in life, you have to look for it, not wait for it to drop from the sky.”

-“My friends, my spawn, my family, doing fun stuff, exploring the world. We get one life, I aim to make the most of it.”

-“good books/poetry, a loving partner, thoughts,and dreams: the more far-fetched,the better.They'd take longer to achieve :-)”

-“My kids, trees, space, mma, music, science, cats, fossils, being nice. Everything really, just not religion :-)”

-“Just the fact I'm alive is meaningful and joyful enough for me.”

-“learn new things every day; sense of helping human progress at work; see kids embracing right knowledge and values; garden!”

-“The impact I have on others' lives. I try to help others, particularly children, as much as possible”

-“The realisation that we are an infinitesimal blip in the time-space continuum encourages me to make the most of every day. Plus if you're getting your meaning & joy from thinking God exists, you are probably doing it wrong.”

-“Drugs and the knowledge that I'm going to die eventually anyway.
And the dog.”

-“Family, friends and the discoveries that come with each new day.”

-“The love I have for and receive from my wife. Artwork that I do. Learning new things. Doing good things. Debating.”

-“my life Is meaningful because I'm free from superstition and mental bondage”

-“Much the same as everyone! Family, friends, helping, achievements...etc.etc. None of which need god intervention!”

-“Sound of a babbling brook, children laughing, hugging loved ones, savory food, intoxicating scents, music, etc. etc.”

-“The fear of burning in hell if I…. Oh sorry misread, ermmm pies, yes I guess it’s pies.. oh and beer (with a pie)”

-“the beautiful thing about atheism is life is what you make it not what old book says it should be.”

-“Love for my wife and children. Making a difference daily. Being good without god.”

-“to this day with my children grown and on their own, joy is hearing them laugh
And that is just 1 joy-bringer”

-“reality. Everything about it is so much more majestic than any ancient holy book would have you know.”

-“knowing I am far more developed mentally than people who ask such ridiculous questions?”

Of course, we know that 140 characters is a restrictive limit when expressing one's self and our innermost passions, and while all of those things are not only individually true, but on some level true to all of us living without religion, or god, I thought I would take a crack at it anyway.

What gives my life meaning? There are a lot of answers, but the simplest is this: I give my life meaning. My experiences, my aspirations, my passions, and goals. These are the things that give me a purpose to move forward, which keep me going. My love for my family and my friends... the general, simple, beautiful love I have for all of my fellow humans... THOSE things give me purpose. Striving to be better, as myself, and to do better for those around me, are why I can wake up in the morning.

No archaic text, superstition, or dogma needed.