Is the general notion of religion that the universe is 'all about humans' one reason to be atheist?

I'm seeing discussions of labels like 'humanist' and others on 'atheistic principles of vegetarianism' or whatnot and have to pull back and point out that the silliness of the idea that the universe is all about humans is one of the strongest reasons that I don't believe in religion or the vast majority of ideas of 'god'.

It is also where I part company with most belief systems all together.

While it may be useful to be anthropocentric (and very hard to get away from) nearly every important scientific advancement points us further and further away from the notion that, if there is even a central purpose to all this, it has much, specifically, to do with us.

Despite your atheism, do you still think that humans have a superior role in existence - or just a particular role? Or perhaps you think that there are no 'roles' at all. I am truly curious.

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We have an important role in that we have the ability to utterly alter the course of life on this planet. The last single species on earth in a position of this much importance was probably the bacteria that first filled the earth's atmosphere with oxygen. We do have a special place on this planet, but it is not a position of prestige. Rather it is one of tremendous responsibility. It's not that we're better than everyone else, but we're the only ones with nukes and enough global emissions to damage the ozone layer and bring about global warming not to mention all the space we take away from other species.
Outlaw,

I think that whatever happens on our planet is the "natural" progression of evolution. Every living organism will die regardless of what humans do. It's interesting that we have this yearning for life on our planet to continue after we are gone... But ultimately, every single organism that would die if the Sun exploded or pollution wiped em out or global nuclear war would die in exactly one lifetime anyway.
You make a good point, but in that case my mistake was believing that Earth is ultimately important.

Of course it doesn't mean that we shouldn't try to preserve the earth for as long as possible. We'll ultimately fail - I have no doubt about that - but we should at least try to avoid checking out early for our children's sake. That's the moral implication. Ultimately meaningless to the universe, though important enough to our species to have merit.

Which leads me to wonder whether we should try to prolong our stay at the expense of other species. That's a difficult question to answer morally though, in the end, it doesn't make much difference; as you said, the earth and the solar system will still be dead in about 2.5 billion years when the sun goes out. (The sun is't actually going to explode. The outer layers of the sun will expand and blast off through the solar system as its fuel runs out, destroying earth and the inner planets and blowing away the atmosphere of the gasous planets, leaving behind their bare rocky cores, but I think the sun itself is actually going to become a white drawf.)

Anyway, I think I got a little off topic....
but we should at least try to avoid checking out early for our children's sake

Absolutely... I want my kids to enjoy existence as long as possible... But big picture, I think that everything is just phenomena with no interherint meaning...only than the meaning we give it.

We're sayin the same thing ;-)
Basicly. I think it's irrational to expect the universe to validate every moment of my existance for me. :)
You might consider posting this as another discussion. It's an excellent quandry to deliberate over.
Good idea!
Humanity is the universe's tool to examine itself.
Right on!
John - I appreciate your take on this considerably more than my post might, on the surface, suggest.

Ultimately, in this brief spasm, illusion or not, we are individuated points of view - at the very least. In a poetically pantheistic sense only - we are the universe looking at itself from all possible angles.

I think that if there is some larger teleological 'purpose' we have about as much chance of latching on to it as a neuron does of knowing it fired as a result of a chess match. And, it may be conversely likely that we defeat our own purpose if we can truly see the 'big' picture like looking at our opponent's cards in a poker game. Why bother playing if you're going to 'cheat'.

I don't mean to reduce life to a game. The stakes are about as high as they can get. And that argues for your point and, yet another reason to be an atheist.

If the purpose of your life isn't unique to you, then your life can have no purpose beyond being a spare part or something. And if your life isn't finite and rare, what is the value of your particular existence?

So - both religion AND a larger purpose for existence eradicate any particular purpose for any individual's existence beyond the 'cog in the machine' definition of purpose.

I avoid the label 'humanist' however, since, as we've seen in previous posts - that label can be rejected for the history associated with an interpretation of a movement. And, while sometimes a means to change a political environment for the individual to flourish in, all movements limit our individual purpose - right?
No. Humans are not special.

Life is not special. Life is a series of chemical reactions that we give meaning to when in the barest terms it's no more significant than salt dissolving in water.

The accident of self-awareness is not more important than the accident of hunger.

Putting one thing inside another thing to reproduce is not objectively better than splitting in half.

There is nothing special about the Earth, there is nothing special about life, less so about humans. Any meaning we find in life is that which we impose on it.
Ah - but since 'meaning' itself is, as far was we can tell, always a human imposition - you HAVE to be right about this ...

However, if there are other forms of consciousnesses out there (or in our own backyard) that also impose meaning on things - then you might be wrong ...

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