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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    Freethinker31

    Good question Steph......My life makes more sense now that I no longer believe in the myths that were indoctrinated  into me as a child.......As a person trained  in science, a pharmacist,  I learned  how important it was to  verify before believing....My religious beliefs  seemed  to be in conflict with that.....How could I be asked  to believe in a god no one has seen and knew very little of.? How could I believe the world is only   6 to 10,000 years old, when science has proven otherwise., and in just 6 days?  Once I realized  that I and others  were being asked  to believe in this nonsense, it made everything so much clearer for me.......Some traditions are hard to let go of and I still struggle  with some but as time goes on ,it gets  easier....All in all. I can definitely say my life has more meaning now and purpose, without believing in a super natural god....

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      Frank

      I think the feeling that nihilism is bad is a reaction to theist dogma and apologetic's.

      Me personally, I'm not a fan of the idea of purpose, because it implies a mission bequeathed by some external thing. Nonetheless, I'm a biological researcher, and was motivated by a strong desire to contribute to our understanding of human disease. So I feel that this gives my life meaning. I've also been deeply involved with social justice causes for many years, and again, this is something that gives me meaning.

      But purpose ... meh? Then again, I'm not a word nazi :)

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      Bertold Brautigan

      To my mind Oscar Wilde more or less nailed the answer to this question in his 1891 novel The Picture of Dorian Gray. In the words of Dorian's mentor, Lord Henry:

      The aim of life is self-development. To realize one's nature perfectly--that is what each of us is here for. People are afraid of themselves, nowadays. They have forgotten the highest of all duties, the duty that one owes to one's self.

      No deities or superstitious beliefs required.

      If more people were to attend to optimizing their own potential without regard for tribal or social dictates (or for the extent to which other people are or are not conforming to such dictates) there would be far less conflict.

      As a more contemporary writer put it in more incisive terms,

      . . . the extremes of nationalism (sacrifice of self for nation-state), communism (absorption of self in collective), and individualism (self only matters) are, frankly, all extremes that push natures too far from nature, though it takes strong doses of individualism to realize the importance of the individual. It is also clear that religion may function as any one of these extremes with the same consequences of intolerance and permanent conflict.

      --Tobias Churton, The Beast in Berlin

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