Damien, you've written more than I can read, let alone digest, in one day.
I see hard atheists as having a problem: it's easier to change dogmas than it is to give up a need for dogma.
To my mind there are two principal distinctions between notions of purpose and meaning as they apply to believers and as they apply to atheists and other non-believers.This may just be another way of saying what others have expressed here.
The first distinction is that for believers, purpose and meaning are general and given, the same for all believers, as prescribed by God or by their church, while for atheists, purpose and meaning are individual and freely chosen.
The second difference is that purpose for the believer inevitably becomes a duty required of him, but for the atheist his chosen purpose, precisely because it is a choice, is never a duty.
I agree with that
Disagree. Purpose is freely chosen regardless of theism or atheism. Purpose is an imposed duty by definition, even if it is a purpose you assign yourself.
That seems to belie your positive assertion in a previous discussion on Naturalism:
Therefore, humans have no choice about what actions they perform.
That was a different (grander) context -- the bigger metaphysical picture. The choice I speak of here is an illusion; nevertheless, it is an illusion that is commonly understood. Today, the subject is more one of ethics: why should we (feel like we) do what we do? Is there a purpose? The only contradiction is one that is central to all the major questions of human existence.
Therefore every single day we can change our purpose, because we are "free"... so why even bother using the word at all?
Forgive me, but I don't see how Damien's post relates to answering the question at hand -Can an atheist find purpose and meaning to their lives? I churned through that ginormous copy & paste, and followed my nose on a few of the terms to only find minutia.
Was that a yes or a no?
I will say that the conversation is begging around a fundamental flaw of any so called "atheist group". To be part of an group that enjoys a negative. It's like saying "I'm off to my no-golfing club" -where we enjoy NOT playing golf, and we sit and conspire about how stupid playing golf is". The correct answer should be: I do not play golf (atheist), and I've found a better group (Brights, Humanist, ...) where we do things and make a difference.
This can be painfully obvious on this very site as we go back-and-fourth spitting about the theists
I too am guilty of this
The idea of a club devoted to not playing golf sounds intriguing—as long as the initiation fee is not too high and you still have a bar. Rich men play golf and tennis, poor men play basketball. The difference lies in the size of their balls.
hahaha ha ha ha
laugh out loud
IMO a celestial god faither is but a grain of salt in all the superstitious minds on the planet. They are indissociable. To be "free" would be to be free of ALL unfounded thoughts.