What Gives Your Life Meaning?

Saw this on PostSecret:

*sigh*

It’s no surprise that people don’t need religion to give their life meaning. But it’s understandable they would think that since you don’t often hear atheists articulating what it is they live for. I would guess the things that make us happy are almost all the same things that make religious people happy.

But, just for the sake of it: if you’re an atheist, what gives your life meaning?

  • Joe

    At this point, my life is given meaning through my children. I am trying my best to raise thoughtful, caring, intelligent, independent people and that is really my focus right now.

    Happiness is a main goal, for myself, my wife, my children and all we know.

    I don’t need some “higher being” or anything to look for. It is all right here, right in front of me. In front of all of us.

  • http://skeptigator.com Skeptigator

    ditto what Joe said

  • http://joshuamcharles.com/ Josh Charles

    The connections I form with others, learning about the world, engaging my creative mind.

  • Becky

    My family, friends and LIFE give me meaning. As an atheist, I’m not living to die. I know that when I’m dead that’s it, game over man. So I want to make my life fulfilled by traveling, learning, and loving as much as I can. I am fulfilled and happy, when I can show people that I can be kind, generous, and an atheist. Life itself is meaningful enough for me.

  • http://www.skepchick.org writerdd

    Live has no inherent meaning – we have to create our own meaning in life. We have to do things that seem meaningful to us, because there is no-one to tell us what will fulfill us. That’s unique to each individual. Yes, it’s hard to be an atheist in this way, but it’s much more fulfilling than following someone else’s recipe for life, too.

  • Tracy

    My husband, my kids, my extended family, helping others, just being part of the world. No gods, no masters!

  • Polly

    My wife, learning everything I can about the natural world and the wo/man-made world,
    the desire to see that justice is done, and connecting with fellow organisms, both human and otherwise.

  • Gene

    beer and tits.

  • http://t3knomanser.livejournal.com t3knomanser

    What gives life meaning? The dictionary. Well, it’s not really the source of meaning, but it’s where we record it.

    Life:

    the condition that distinguishes organisms from inorganic objects and dead organisms, being manifested by growth through metabolism, reproduction, and the power of adaptation to environment through changes originating internally.

    That about sums it up, I think.

    In case my sarcasm isn’t coming across, I don’t think very highly of the question of life’s “meaning”. What’s the meaning of “Q”? What’s the meaning of my telephone? What’s the meaning of water?

    The question itself arises from the Aristotelian idea of telos: the idea that all things have a purpose. A hammer’s purpose is to drive in nails. Its virtues aid that purpose, and vices would restrict that purpose. And so on, one can build an entire ethical framework around this idea of telos. The Catholic Church got an erection over this idea, and voila: it’s ingrained in our very culture.

    I’m not very fond of the idea of telos. Even if such a thing were true, it’s pretty impossible to objectively conclude what purpose humans have. Purpose implies intent, intent implies an actor, and that implies an intelligent designer.

  • Joseph R.

    I do my best to be happy in life. That is all. There are many things that make me happy: family, hobbies, job. That’s right, I enjoy my job. Happiness and being happy and watching my children engage in activities that make them happy are all things that make my life meaningful.

  • Santiago

    For me, I’m just happy to be alive, it’s kind of weird to say this but I enjoy living very, very much. Why do I need all this to have meaning when I’m simply enjoying this whole strange experience? For me it’s like asking what the meaning behind partying with my friends is, there is none, it’s just something I really enjoy doing.

    It’s kind of liberating when you stop thinking your life MUST have a meaning or purpose. I just try to be happy, as often and as much as I can.

  • Mike

    I have had people tell me (in response to telling them that I’m an atheist) that “everyone needs a higher power.” I understand where they’re coming from, but I think a more accurate way to say it is “everyone should have a cause that is greater than themselves.” Of course, the cause does not need to be supernaturally ordained to be important and meaningful.

  • http://happinessiseasy.livejournal.com Jim

    I agree with Santiago. I also wish people could differentiate between internal and external meanings. My life has no inherent meaning given by my Holy Dad, but it does have the meanings that I (and others) assign to it. And these vary by day and by mood and by activity.

  • skinman

    I am forced to pretty much parrot everyone else. My wife, two daughters and soon-to-arrive son give my life meaning. But honestly, I can’t say I’ve ever been concerned with the meaning of life (aside from the Monty Python movie).

  • http://www.sophisticatedrelationships.com/blog Lexi

    My coffee gives my life meaning. I say this slightly facetiously and with utter seriousness at the same time– it isn’t the coffee itself, it is my enjoyment of it. It is my enjoyment and sense of gratitude for many of the little things that are in my life that provides lessons or experiences to enjoy.

    My desire to change culture, to make the world a friendlier place . . . a place where people are able to connect with themselves on a deeper level, and bring their inner awesomeness into the light in a way that is easily conveyed to others.

    Your blog is one of the things that influences my purpose and focus of my life– I love that you provide a sense of community and cohesiveness for atheists as well as provide some kindness in your expression of atheism.

  • Matthew

    “It’s kind of liberating when you stop thinking your life MUST have a meaning or purpose. I just try to be happy, as often and as much as I can.”

    I think for a lot of people this is NOT liberating. It is scary, their lives suddenly seem pointless, and they question why they must experience the bad things in life whether it be poverty, ill-health, or other shit that life can throw at you.

    If the True Believers ever doubted the divine and “higher” purpose their religion informs them they have, they’d probably slit their wrists within a week. This is why, in my opinion, religion has lasted as long as it has. It has provided a way of justifying the hellishness of life in decades past.

    Now that things aren’t so hellish, religion seems to be on a downward tick… So I hope.

  • http://www.fabulouslyinthecity.com Chris (Fabulously in the City)

    This may sound hifalutin, but truthfully the achievements of man. When I see what we have done–the skyscrapers of New York, the monuments in DC, the engineering feats of the world–I’m amazed and yet tantalized: I want more! I wake up every morning thinking of the incredible things mankind has done, and I hope to be a part of what it will do in the future.

    That’s what keeps me going. That’s what makes me love life.

  • Matthew

    “I have had people tell me (in response to telling them that I’m an atheist) that “everyone needs a higher power.” I understand where they’re coming from, but I think a more accurate way to say it is “everyone should have a cause that is greater than themselves.” Of course, the cause does not need to be supernaturally ordained to be important and meaningful.”

    I’m not so sure you understand where they’re coming from. The “higher power” *must* be more powerful than you or I, otherwise it wouldn’t have the ability to change things and send you somewhere else when you die. It *must* be omnipotent otherwise things just happen randomly and for no reason.

    I agree with your definition, but am not sure sure it covers what the Believers really mean. They’re talking about having a big brother that’s bigger than the biggest brother you can imagine.

  • timplausible

    My whole life, I’ve never much worried about whether my life had “meaning.” I wasn’t raised an atheist, but I was raised unchurched, as sort of apatheist-Christian. My parents never talked about “Meaning”. I never wondered or worried or even thought about it. As an adult, it doesn’t cross my mind much either. I’m alive. So I live my life. I seek joy and fulfillment. I try to be a good person, take care of my family and friends, do good for the community. Maybe that can be defined as “seeking meaning” or “giving my life meaning,” but I don’t think of it in those terms. Sometimes I feel like people get obsessed with the idea of “meaning,” to the point that they don’t appreciate the value of just living life. When arguing with people about “how does your life have meaning as an atheist,” I don’t think we should necessarily concede that life needs to have meaning, in the way that they describe it. They’ve been taught to feel that need for meaning and purpose. Taught to feel like life would be empty without it. Well, I don’t have a grand sense of meaning in my life, and I love my life. So “thpt!” on meaning. ;)

  • Ramon C.

    I don’t think Life has a meaning per se.
    I don’t search for a meaning in my life.
    I can answer the reason why I do something or why I don’t.
    Searching for meaning has no meaning in my mind, it is only a waste of time, and I have more fun wasting time doing other things.

  • mikespeir

    You know, I don’t think about it that much. I guess I live for any number of things, not all of them definable. Whatever they are, they seem to keep me happy.

  • http://www.laurawithoutlabels.com Laura

    My family & friends, my partners, my work, my poetry, my quiet time, my magazine. A good meal with a good friend. Camping. Creativity. Stories. But mostly the people in my life. They are a never ending source of joy.

    I wrote a blog post about making your own meaning at my blog here.

  • Liz

    When I was religious I always thought life was pointless. God created me why? So I could have kids and then I could spend an eternity in heaven. It seemed stupid. There was no reason to do those things, other than because that’s what I was supposed to do.

    I like it better now. My reason to live is so that I can enjoy my husband and daughter, books, my RSS feed, food and video games. I can travel. Nothing stretches on into a pointless infinity anymore.

  • http://notreallyalice.wordpress.com Alice

    I know I am supposed to give my own life meaning, but most of the time I’m either bored at work or I’ve got my face in a book. I suppose this means I don’t really have much of a life, which should probably be addressed before/while I am determining the meaning of said life.

  • http://inthenuts.blogspot.com King Aardvark

    I find meaning in trying to understand the world better – hence all the science/history reading that I do.

    That and eating chocolate. That’s pretty meaningful too.

  • Milena

    I give meaning to my life. I believe that ultimately, my accomplishements and the way I lived will confer meaning to my existence, and it’s up to me to make that meaning a positive one.

  • http://mylongapostasy.blogspot.com ATL-Apostate

    My wife and my little girl.
    The quest for knowledge.
    Helping others.
    College Football.
    Pro Football.
    Fantasy Football Leagues.
    Friends.
    Beer.
    Cigars.
    Coffee.

    That’s the short list.

  • Laura

    Why does life need meaning? Certainly one can lead a happy existence without worrying about having to have “meaning”? Cannot we lead a content life, without demanding that we be recognized as having “meaningful” lives that impacted the world in some profound way? Surely happiness has nothing to do with meaning and there are plenty of people leading peaceful, meaningless lives, that will enjoy their time here, have their kids, and never worry about having some kind of meaning in their lives. We are not cogs in a machine that must serve some purpose or be dismissed.

  • Brian E

    What Gene said.

    Oh, and eating babies.

    And I want to live long enough to own a flying car, and perhaps achieve immortality by placing my brain in a jar.

  • Steven

    I don’t think I need my life to have any particular meaning – I’ll settle for having it continue as long as possible.
    Like everyone else I’ve had lousy things happen in my life but that hasn’t changed the hunger I feel to experience as much as possible.
    I suspect that folks would be a lot happier if they stopped worrying about the meaning of life and got on with the business of living.

  • http://thehappyhuman.wordpress.com John

    Forty-ounce bottles of malt liquor.

  • Richard Wade

    When I was a boy an old man told me that during my life I will use up a lot of air, water, food and space. So because I’m alive the world is a little more stuffy, thirsty, hungry and crowded. He said that people never have a zero effect on the world, that they either make it a little worse or a little better. If I want to leave this world a little better because I have been in it rather than a little worse I have to somehow compensate for that air, water, food and space that I consume. I was electrified by this idea and without anyone else’s input I chose service to others as my contribution, determined to somehow help make others’ various situations better rather than just self-centeredly consuming. I think I’ve been doing that pretty well and I intend to continue. When and if I can no longer make things a little better because I’m here, then it’s time for me to go and that will be all right.

    I concentrate on helping my family, my friends, my community and my species in that order in whatever ways I can. Any success on any of those levels, small, medium or large, gives me great satisfaction.

    “Meaning” or “purpose” for life in general never really made much sense to me, because they seem to imply some separate thing or effect outside of life itself, added on to life or made to happen only because of life. Even as a school kid I thought that life is either its own purpose or has no purpose, depending on how you want to say it. So when it comes to the question about my own life, I use the term “making it worthwhile” to refer to whatever satisfaction compensates for the pain in the ass it can sometimes be.

    For me, what makes life worthwhile is helping others.

  • Pingback: What Gives Your Life Meaning? « Jyunri Kankei

  • http://www.myspace.com/theonlyfontainemusic Matthew

    What gives my life meaning:

    1) My wife
    2) My family (despite their Christianity)
    3) Music
    4) Learning and growing in understanding.
    5) Coffee
    6) My cats

  • http://bornagainblog.wordpress.com Justin

    Serving my community through art and entertainment gives my life meaning. Telling a great story, making people laugh. Spreading the joy around.

    At the end of the day, the only things that matter (IMO) are how much joy did I spread and how much suffering did I ease? Everything else is just what well-fed people do when they’re bored.

  • Jonathan Dolias

    I made some insanely awesome Chili yesterday. If that’s not worth living for, I don’t know what is.

  • Eric

    This may sound corny, but it’s honestly trying to figure out the world around me.

  • High Church Atheist

    Escaping from religion has given my life meaning. Hot sex, my partner of 34 years, living in the country near a fabulous small city, and running a Humanist/atheist organization make me celebrate life.

  • Óli

    Using what time I have to feel happy. And I obtain happiness through socialising, learning, and (hopefully) impacting the world for the better.

    And some of it is just plain old sinning!

  • http://www.dilutedreality.com Diluted Reality

    Probably the same things that that give people of faith their meaning of life, minus the whole god thing…

  • http://www.freewebs.com/guitarsean Sean

    As some have said already… coffee (and tea). Music and art, having an outlet for my creativity. Being kind to others. Knowing that I am made out of star stuff and thinking that I may be star stuff again someday is awesome.

  • http://feministblogproject.wordpress.com Allyson

    I agree with a lot of posters here that life doesn’t have any actual meaning. We all exist, with no real reason, other than the random occurrence of ideal conditions to support human life on this planet.

    But that doesn’t mean that I don’t make my own meaning; I think that all humans do that. It’s like how I believe that time is somewhat arbitrary, but humans need it in order to organize the world in a way that makes sense to us. We all need meaning, but religion is optional . . .

    Anyway, the things that give my life its own meaning:
    1. My job (yes, my job. I love it.)
    2. Books and the public library
    3. Cooking great food from scratch
    4. Dancing

  • David D.G.

    But, just for the sake of it: if you’re an atheist, what gives your life meaning?

    Frankly, I consider the question meaningless.

    First, the question presupposes that one’s life automatically has meaning if one is NOT an atheist, and that atheists have to scramble to come up with something that theists already have. But that’s absurd. Theists’ lives have no more meaning than atheists’ lives. They might have more focus (i.e., through religious activities of all kinds that reinforce that religion), but this is not the same thing — and it also is most certainly not what I consider a good thing, at least in that application. The same goes for most other kinds of fanatical devotion in one’s life; if your life orbits entirely around just one thing, that’s just not healthy.

    Second, why should my life (or anyone else’s life) have to have “meaning” anyway? What exactly even constitutes “meaning” here? Is it focus, as alluded to above (even when such fanatical focus becomes practically masturbatory, with little or no function outside of its own continuation)? Is it end-oriented, like a purpose or goal? Or is it more ongoing in nature, like values? Can “meaning” really be so wildly subjective as to vary from one person to another on a scale that ranges from “pursuit of world peace” to “beer and boobs,” or is it something that requires some objective parameters to even qualify as a legitimate answer to the question?

    ~David D.G.

  • Polly

    OK, since we’re getting all post-modern here and questioning the question, I’ll put in my 2 cents.

    Life with an omnimax god, in my view, can be only meaningless for stupid humans.

    God can do everything, so anything we do in our poor and faulty capacity is just a lousy redundancy.
    God knows eveything. so why bother learning?

    God is eveywhere so there’s no real new discovery or exploration.

    Most people are going to Hell. Whether or not you make their lives better, their eternal destiny is torture.

    I don’t see anything fulfilling about going through the motions.

  • http://www.freewebs.com/guitarsean Sean

    Frankly, I consider the question meaningless.

    Ok David, I guess I agree with your assessment of the meaning of the word meaning. Maybe purpose, drive or joie de vivre would suit you better. And no, in a cosmic sense life doesn’t have meaning. There’s no great reason I am alive at all. But I can’t just sit around and do nothing all day.

    I think you still have to answer the question in the way it is asked because that is what a theist would ask. Lack of purpose is a common misconception about atheism. Even though I might interpret the question as ‘what makes living and getting out of bed every day better than throwing yourself under a moving bus’ rather than ‘what does the FSM want for my life’ that doesn’t make the question less valid or unworthy of contemplation.

    So, David, why do you get out of bed in the morning?

  • http://vegatee.blogspot.com vegatee

    Loving, being loved, learning, helping others, and having educational and career goals.

  • Aj

    When religious people say “life has meaning” they mean purpose applied from a supernatural intelligence and perhaps mixed with silly notions of destiny. An atheist doesn’t think that life has that kind of purpose. You’re only going to find that meaning in religion.

    A rational atheist is only going to answer this question honestly by saying genes are selfish replicating machines, we’re larger machines made of them. If “life” has purpose (nature, function) separated from intelligence, then it is replication and survival.

    We (humans) seem to be programmed to require intentionality. This seems to be linked to our paranoia and bias towards assuming agency behind things.

    I think atheists like Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins are wrong when they adopt strongly associated religious terms to discuss the human experience. We should stay as far away from religious terminology as possible. Screw meaning, I live life as I see fit, and that is a happy life. I act on my will: hedonistic urges, ethical judgement, and a “purpose” a.k.a. goal, function, that is of my choosing.

  • justin jm

    My goal in life is finishing college. Beyond that, I am not sure what I want to accomplish.

    Otherwise, I will echo many of sentiments above in that happiness is a worthy goal. There are many things we can do with life that we enjoy that we cannot do if we are dead.

  • Roland B

    My goal in life is to solve my problems as they come and enjoy it as much as possible.
    Like everyone else, it makes me happy when I see people happy (some restrictions apply).
    I also like to have hobbies and having new experiences.

  • yogamama7

    I walked into my conservative Christian parents’ house to see this written on a chalkboard (probably for my arrival, since I’m the only atheist in the family):
    “If God doesn’t exist, NOTHING matters.
    If God does exist, NOTHING ELSE matters.”

    This seems logical to a Christian.
    But it’s totally wrong.

    Because my life is what it is, just a few short decades here on Earth, everything matters. Every conversation, every day, each moment, each meal, every book that I read and person that I meet. It’s what I have and what I am. I believe that these minutiae are all that will comprise my life (and the meaning I and others give it). There is not going to be an eternity tacked on to the end of my days, when I’ll stand in Heaven singing songs to God and Jesus (or, as my family believes, roasting in hell).

    The meaning of this short time that I have is to make the most of my life, because it’s what I have.

  • http://barefootbum.com The Barefoot Bum

    Nothing gives my life meaning. I create meaning.

  • JohnB

    This question reminds me of a Sanskrit poem:

    “Look to this day, for it is life. The very life of life.
    In its brief course lie all the verities and realities of your existence.
    The bliss of growth.
    The splendor of beauty.
    The glory of action.
    Today well lived makes yesterday a dream of happiness and tomorrow a vision of hope. Look well, therefore, to this day.”

    If there is any meaning in life, it is being able to enjoy your moments to the fullest, to realize life while you live it.

    My happiest moments are found in doing good work that is worthy of my talents. Paying attention to the world around me and learning as much about it as I can, and watching my son grow into adulthood.

  • Richard Wade

    Add to what I said earlier about helping others, the sheer pleasure of engaging in arguments with people on this blog and the enjoyment of all the emotions I feel including humor, love, thrill, puzzlement, surprise, frustration and even fury.

    For instance, David D. G. said,

    First, the question presupposes that one’s life automatically has meaning if one is NOT an atheist, and that atheists have to scramble to come up with something that theists already have.

    No, it doesn’t, David. You’re reading too much into it. The question basically says, “Hey guys, we’re pretty familiar with the standard answers that most theists give to a question about what gives their lives meaning, so what is your answer?” There is no implied statement that atheists don’t have a meaning where theists do. It’s just asking about your answer, which we haven’t heard, compared to their answers, which we have heard often. That’s all.

    Nice hat, by the way.

  • http://www.sagansuniverse.blogspot.com Stacy

    My children give my life meaning, however, I do believe that before my children were born, my life had meaning as well. My husband gives me meaning, my unique world view… lots of things. I can’t even fathom how religion gives a human being meaning. Even as a child going through the Catholic system, I felt no attachment to church or religion. It was meaningless to me even as a youngster.

  • http://teenatheist.com/ Teen Atheist

    Fun. Happiness.

  • David D.G.

    Okay, since Richard Wade and Sean addressed what I considered the underlying assumptions of the original question, I will now treat it as suitably modified. (And thanks for the hat compliment!)

    The mundane answers as to why I get out of bed each day aside (e.g., I have to go to the bathroom, or I have to go to work to pay the bills to live somewhere and have food to eat), I honestly have a hard time answering such questions. It isn’t that I have a hard time finding meaning in my life; it’s just that I have a hard time defining it proactively, since I don’t go about my tasks every day with a specifically verbalized Philosophy Of Life at the forefront of my mind. It’s not something I normally bother to dwell on; and, truth be told, I don’t feel the need for it.

    Looking back over my life, however, I think I can define it descriptively. I think that what it boils down to is that I tend to treat all aspects of my life, from pets to political issues, from relationship dilemmas to random situations dealing with me alone, in pretty much the same way as I treat the articles and books that I edit: I try to respect their functions and preexisting requirements; do nothing to make them any worse than they are; and, if possible, introduce what I can to make them better than they were — and “better” can, and often does, extend to similar terms denoting improvement, such as “more comfortable,” “happier,” “safer,” “healthier,” “more entertaining,” “more accurate,” and so on, as applicable.

    I guess the only “meaning” that I need is to know that I’m trying to do the most good and the least harm to all around me, while trying to enjoy life for myself as well. Integrity seems to me to be the highest good. Whatever more can be added to that on a grander scale (e.g., increasing knowledge for future generations), I’d gladly add, if I knew of something I could contribute to it — but until I think of something, this seems pretty good to me, and suited to my limited abilities.

    ~David D.G.

  • http://www.otmatheist.com/ hoverFrog

    Whatever I damn well please. The question is irrelevant.

  • Richard Wade

    John B, thank you for that wonderful Sanskrit poem. I’ll be keeping that handy.

  • chancelikely

    How many ostensibly religious people feel that way? It’s gotta be more than one person who sent something in to PostSecret.

    It wouldn’t surprise me if the number of people who believe or pretend to believe for reasons like this exceeds the total number of atheists.

  • ChickN’Stu

    Teaching gives my life meaning.

    I’ve devoted my entire life to educating the new generations that will become the stewards of this great big world of ours, and I can’t imagine my life being anything else. I’ve found that it has been the most rewarding experience of my life.

  • Desert Son

    An incomplete list, in no particular order, of a few of the things to which I ascribe meaning in my experience and which are valuable to me as a result:

    1. Family I love
    2. Friends I love
    3. Reading
    4. Music
    5. Hiking
    6. Jogging (lately, and this one surprises me)
    7. Pursuit of my doctoral degree
    8. The sense of wonder I feel at insight or discovery
    9. Creativity in learning
    10. Sex, especially the sounds a woman makes during sex, the physical sensations, and the combined wonder/humor/connection of the experience
    11. The scent of the first few raindrops on desert dust
    12. How small I feel in the universe
    13. Laughter
    14. My grandmother’s frijoles and cornbread
    15. Childhood memories of learning to ride a bicycle
    16. The memory of my grandparents
    17. Nearly drowning at age 12, and continuing to struggle with fears about significant bodies of water
    18. Those times when I failed, and realized the good it did me
    19. Recognizing the need to pay more attention to the failures that can do me good, and not mourn for them as losses
    20. Love, including falling in, losing, and other manifestations
    21. Flights of imagination
    22. A year living in Edinburgh
    23. Drinking water
    24. Prado Enea Gran Reserva
    25. Mountains
    26. Wolves
    27. Freedom, nebulous and complicated as it can be
    28. Participating in something that is bigger than myself (not in a religious/supernatural sense, but in a part-of-life-on-planet-Earth sense)

    Just a few. Fun to think about. Thanks for the topic.

    No kings,

    Robert

  • Kyle

    The limitless abyss of meaninglessness and purposelessness that is the universe gives my life meaning.

    I must also agree with Gene.

  • Emily

    Love. Friendship. Education. Fighting for human rights. Knowing that i’m going to make a positive difference in many children’s lives someday. Stars. Nebulae. Planets. Trees. Flowers. Puddles. Ocean waves. Good books. Good movies. Language. Compassion.

  • timplausible

    To pull out a favorite quote from an odd-ball source:

    “If nothing we do matters, then all that matters is what we do.” – Angel (from the defunct TV show of the same name)

    As corny as it is, it actually verbalizes pretty well what my gut feel about the whole issue of “life having to mean something.”

  • http://MindsMoveMountains.com/ Kevin

    This is what I wrote about for the very first entry of my new blog.

    Meaning isn’t something you seek; it’s something you create.

    And of course there’s no obligation to even think about the meaning or purpose of your life, but it is one reliable way to make yourself happier.

  • Kim Peterson

    if you’re an atheist, what gives your life meaning?

    I believe what gives my life meaning is being a good person, striving to be happy, and living my life to its fullest.

    I don’t believe that to have meaning you have to have a plan or a purpose. Just take it one day at a time and enjoy the beauty of the world around you.

  • Grimalkin

    What gives my life meaning? My family. I love my parents, my sibling, my husband – I even love my potential future-children. These people make me feel happy and connected. They make me look forward to waking up every day because I get to talk to them.

  • http://www.BlueNine.info Blue Nine

    Not quite an answer, but:

    I get the impression that theists just let other people tell them what gives their lives meaning. They just accept the stock answer.

    Religion is sounding more and more like a subtle form of slavery.

    Plus: Just because you have convinced yourself you have the answer does not mean you really do have the answer.

  • TXatheist

    Ditto to Joe. I can’t look at my wife and kid and not realize how meaningful they are to me

  • Spurs Fan

    As I read through these responses, I’m reminded (contrary to what theists will say about us) to the diversity of those who question or reject the notion of a diety. The responses range from fantastic lists to inspiring sanskrit poetry (great poem by the way JohnB) to “beer and tits”.

    Wow! We are a diverse and beautiful people despite what Fundamentalists who might lump us all into the “Hippie, Communist, Liberal” crowd (not that there is anything wrong with that!)

  • Beijingrrl

    What gives my life meaning is the attempt to take all of my life experiences – positive and negative – and analyze them rationally in order to apply them toward making my life and those around mine more positive in the future.

  • http://synapostasy.blogspot.com Ben

    Strangely enough, religion gives my life meaning – but not in the way you’re thinking. I realized I was an atheist at the same time that I discovered the academic study of religion (in college, of course). The last 5 years of my life (I’m in grad school now) have been spent asking the question “why are so many people religious?” – and it’s the pursuit of that understanding that gives my life its greatest purpose and meaning.

  • http://killme.com Survivor

    Ok, I’m 45 than i’m old.
    I got divorced
    I had a law-suit before for $100,000 so I went bankruptcy.
    I lost my job.
    I have no money.
    I have no insurance.
    I have no kids, girlfriend or even pets.
    Now, You tell me what in the heck is the meaning of life?
    We are just randomly surviving, tax payers, mortals humans… Seriously?!
    Can somebody turn off the f#%&@ lights!
    I’m tired of this shit!

  • linda

    the things that give my life meaning are – my relationships with my 2 sons , my famliy , my friends .
    My 2 cats
    My job as a nurse manager in a hospice – feeling that we as a team can make a difference to patients and their families .
    Watching plants that I have put in my garden grow
    Sunshine and the sea .
    I m not religious at all I dont need religion or a higher being to have meaning .


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