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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David I like your conclusion, pain is an important part of life, and people intent on removing pain from our existence are deluded. In the same way that people criticize the bible for having unpleasant things in it. If anything, that's the reasonable aspect of the bible, the fact there's both unpleasant and pleasant events/teachings. I'm always dumbfounded at that particular anti-bible argument. Without pain there is no pleasure, they are all relative.

Steph, I've been away for several weeks and, upon my return I find this topic. Among the posts I've seen so far are the most thoughtful and valuable I've ever seen on A/N. Thank you.

Awww thank you so much Tom for your kind words. It means a lot to me. Your welcome!

Yes. As a (relatively speaking) young parent, I focus on my kids. For me, raising them well also means instilling in them an appreciation of the beauty, complexity, and wonder of the natural world -- an appreciation free of any notion that it exists thanks to some SuperDude in the sky. I also want them to know that this is the only life we get, and we have to live (and enjoy) this life to the fullest. The hope is that they'll carry these beliefs with them and, when they're older, pass them down to their children and friends and so on.

So, in that sense, in my own small way I'm trying to spread Aetheism down the line. Beyond that, I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up.

I’m somewhat late to the discussion, but here’s my 2¢ in the “for what it’s worth” category.  Each of us independently defines our “purpose” on what we do every day. Part of it is defined by our work, and what we contribute to society. Another part is family, and how we interact with those we love, and tolerate (crazy Aunt Myrtle). And, yet another part is how we view ourselves. Our likes and dislikes, our joys and passions (art, music, literature, science, etc.).

I recently got into genealogical research in I know, I know, it’s a Mormon site. But what the heck. They actually do a pretty good job. On my maternal grandmother’s side, I was actually able to trace my ancestors back to the House of Norman in medieval France (William the Conqueror – though given my family, any relative would have probably been the Court jester who got the job through a connected uncle). Father’s side were Irish potato farmers who fled to America during the famine. The whole thing is somewhat of a hit and miss operation, in that you’ll never find everyone.

It got me thinking. Somewhere in the murky past are my direct predecessors; ancestors whose romances are responsible for me being alive, and whose names I do not even know. I know absolutely nothing of their lives, joys, troubles, circumstances, hopes, fears, tragedies and triumphs. And, in a thousand years when my atoms are dispersed, I daresay my descendants will know nothing of me. There will, in all likelihood, be no monument, marker, tombstone, and no biography of me to tell them my story – my joys, fears, hopes, and disappointments; warts and all.

What then, is my purpose in being alive? It was stated earlier here that it is to pass on my DNA and reproduce. I certainly agree with that biological assessment, and have done that. How do I define it for myself beyond mere reproduction? Knowing there is no pie in the sky bye and bye, I have to define it myself, in the context of everyone with whose lives I interact. I suppose it’s to try and be the best person I can, with the limitations I have. As I told my children, if at your death, others can say this life was better as a result of your presence in it, then it had meaning and purpose.

sorry, but no, your purpose in life is not to pass on your DNA, passing on your DNA is simply the result of you living beyond puberty, and is dictated (in nature) by chance. the only reason you'd think that is biblical teachings, of which it's a main tenet. As has been oft stated in other posts, there is no need for any "purpose" whatsoever. Chance is everything, it is the essence of life.

I can remember as a kid I thought one of the greatest things in this world was the fact their was a "Santa Clause"!  This meant everything to me as a kid; the mystery of trying to stay up long enough to maybe catch a glimpse of him or to see the sled pulled by the reindeer!

But, guess what?  I found out the truth about the whole matter.  There was no Santa Clause, no reindeer or sled!  Sure it hurt.  Being lied to and cheated out of this wonderful experience that my mom and dad and the rest of the world was in on!  The entire world as I knew it lied to me about Santa Clause!

But, I got over it.  I found other things to fulfill my life!  Raising my children, coaching football, helping in community projects!  All of these things have been very fulfilling in my life and still are!

Christians seem to forget the fact that their god created "satan"!  What was god's purpose in doing that?  He created satan before Eve had eaten from the Tree of Knowledge according to their "bug nut bashit crazy scriptures"!

Jeff, you mean there is no Santa Claus??????? ;)

That's right; there is no Santa Claus.

I've always thought the Santa Clause is a literary device in a detective story that tells who done it, or gives away other info before the story's end.

Cool!  I am reading a detective story right now! (Nero Wolfe)

I'm looking for Santa Claus in the Constitution.

If I don't find him there I'll check Indiana.


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