As An Atheist Can Your Life Have Purpose and Meaning?

I was wondering what other people thought about this.

I realize we weren't born with a purpose. No creator or "higher calling".

But as a non believer can your life have meaning and purpose without god?

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Well put, Loren. I refer to your point of view (which I share) as the cliche "happiness is a direction, not a destination."

It might be a cliche, but it's a damn accurate one in my opinion and has served me well thus far.

Actually I'd have to echo Loren here as well. Our purpose in life is just that, 'ours', our choices and the method by which we discover and carry them forward.

Right Tammy, it's through our choices that we have purpose and meaning in our lives.

True that. My kids are young adults and often struggle with the issue of meaning. I tell them that all they really need is direction (something to do) and connection (supportive people in their lives).

I like that Loren;  "Serving myself and others."

The search for knowledge and growing and learning is a great way to have meaning and purpose in life.

Thank you!

About being a mother Loren, that will always be my favorite purpose, but now that my kids 18 & 20 are 'grown-up' (I put it like that because they still need me, at least I like to still feel that they do! lol), I am going to find some new purposes as well.  I am going to start by volunteering in the fall when my kids go back to college.  I want to volunteer for the Democratic Committee or whatever it's called, in a storefront downtown in my city.  I also love my animals (1 dog, 3 cats) and I rescued them, and will always take-in rescue animals.  Still, as long as I'm on this Earth, I will have a purpose, however small, in always being available to my adult-children.  My Mom is still doing this for me at age 69, and I am thankful for her. :)~ Melinda

How wonderful Melinda!

I also love to help animals and I love to donate money to the animal shelters and bring them supplies and food for the animals there.

Volunteering for causes is a great way to have meaning and purpose.

Well put, Loren. I especially like "... as growing and learning in the directions which ... interests lead me, and in enjoying this life so long as I have it." Wiser words have not been invented. As far as I know.

Loren I agree when you say your purpose is discovered and evolves and changes with you.


"...her purpose is to raise her children, once that task is complete, Where Is Her Purpose Now?!?"

Her problem has a name: Empty Nest Syndrome. Her purpose is to recover from it.

"God's will" is god swill IMO.  But any of us who were dragged to Sunday school for years had the false idea of "god's plan for us" drilled into our very malleable minds.  The catch is that nobody ever had an answer for exactly what that "plan" was. 

I remember hearing over and over again that "god" created humans to worship and serve him, and I started wondering why the most powerful being in (or outside of) the universe would need to be constantly flattered and praised. Sounded like primitive tribal chiefs' behavior to me.

Dan Barker's little book, The Good Atheist, is in part a rebuttal to Slick Rick Warren's The Purpose-Driven Life, and a primer for adults who are working their way out of religion.

Part I explains how serving God is unrewarding and demeaning. Basically, Dan says that Christians are in a state of slavery. Dan's engaging, friendly style never comes across as pedantic, so it was a pleasure to read. Rather than a point-by-point criticism of Warren's book, Dan presents his own argument, and it is easy to imagine doubting Christian readers coming to disdain their state of slavery.
Many writers have pointed out that the positions people take when praying are similar to the way slaves were made to behave when listening to their "massa'...heads bowed, hands clasped together as though they are shackled, kneeling in submission. 

I haven't found a good reason for Muslims to stick their butts toward the sky when praying...but (sorry, unintentional pun) I have heard that the word "Islam" translates as "submission" or "servitude."  If that's what their imaginary master enjoys, all I can say is HOW CRASS!

(Any typos remaining in this post are the work of Pumpkin...he's standing on my lap and patting at the keyboard.  He wants to write his own book...Catatonic...a guide for kitty bartenders.)

Hi Steph. I have thought alot about the 'meaning of life' over the years. For me personally, my life is given meaning by helping others. In my job, and off. The more rewarding seems to be when I do things that I do because it is just the right thing to do. Holding doors for somebody, checking in on elderly neighbors, delivering meals on wheels, thing like that. I definately receive more than I give. A sense of inner peace, if you will. But what works for me doesn't necessarily hold for others.

I think each individual finds that which gives them purpose, a fulfilling of an innate drive, probably biological in the sense that most of us continue each day, putting one foot in front of the other. I have heard it put different ways, but the meaning of life I think, generally, is that it is. Nothing more, nothing less. From the BB to now, the universe has evolved into what we have. It just is, and we are a part of the wonder of its evolution.

So, make your life fulfilling in the ways that bring you joy, rejoice that you are here now, because this is your time. Grab it by the horns, enjoy, laugh, cry, wonder at the beauty around you, study, learn, continue to evolve. A greater meaning to life. And know that when you die, you will continue, as your constituent atoms will continue to remain and take part in the continual dance of the universe.


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