It doesn't have to, but we need some meaning and purpose to feel complete. The other animals do more often what nature/genes/hormones urges them to do: do the mating dance, build a nest, have young. We think more, but in the end most of us have young or find something to replace them.
Only if you've been told that by incompetent parents. If you were born with wolves! you would not be considering "purpose". Purpose is not biological, nor innate, it is a learned concept.
James, I'm persuaded that unhappy people need meaning, purpose and such, and that religion's (especially Catholicism's) purpose is to make people unhappy.
Statistically, religious people are happiest. IMO the happiness mantra is a major catastrophe for humans, it blinds us to problems, making us serfs to power.
I totally agree with you here James, why do we have to have any meaning or purpose to life. We question how we came to be, why we are here and the purpose of it all. The fact is we can't explain why we are here, evolution explains how and I think after that we should just go with the flow. Ultimately there is not difference in life quality between a religious person or an atheist. Some are rich, successful and some are not - from both sides.
I have to question how believing in a supreme being gives you purpose??? As far as I am concerned, it actually gives you less purpose because religion is so stale and stagnant that there will definitely be no answers ever - just the same old story over and over again 'goddidit' and we all know he ain't explaining anything.
Searching for a meaning or purpose to life is just the same as believing in religion, people need to feel that they are wanted and needed. How can we need a reason to live when you have no control over where and when you are born - shit happens and we should just live it and enjoy it.
Religion discourages the pursuit of meaning because it implies that God will provide us the answers on a silver platter after death. Meanwhile you're required to waste huge amounts of your time prostrating yourself before the fantasy. This is the true evil of religion because with only 80 or so years of life, most spend massive amounts of time bowing to the precepts of faith rather than seeking out the true inspirations and meanings of life. We allow the fear of death to keep us from truly living. For one that used to find meaning and inspiration in a book, I now see it everywhere else.
Of course, religion views individuality as sin. Religion is about teaching people to all live with each other, shut up, obey. Religions' first purpose was to achieve higher human living densities, so that the power hungry among us could amass massive buildings and wealth.
I am enjoying these responses a lot. Way to ask the big questions Steph!
As others have said, helping others makes me feel good which somehow equates to purpose. Another important one for me is self actualization. In a nutshell: ""the tendency to actualize, as much as possible, [the organism's] individual capacities" " Or as the army commercial used to say: "Be all that you can be." Laziness and a tendency to procrastinate get in the way much of the time, but the list of things to learn, places to go, things to try, people to spend time with, etc.... is long and will take more than a lifetime.
Here's something I found while reading up on Thomas Jefferson:
If we did a good act merely from love of God and a belief that it is pleasing to Him, whence arises the morality of the Atheist? ...Their virtue, then, must have had some other foundation than the love of God.
-Thomas Jefferson, letter to Thomas Law, June 13, 1814
That's a KEEPER, Tony! Thanks for posting it!