Who Says You Can’t Live a Purposeful Life Without God?

Professor Anthony Pinn filmed a segment for Chris Johnson‘s multimedia book about atheists and what gives them joy and meaning in life.

In the segment below, Pinn talks about “those who say you can’t live a purposeful life without God”:

(via The Atheist Book)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • LogorrhoeaHogback81
  • http://profile.yahoo.com/A37GL7VKR3W6ACSIZPH7EID3LI rlrose63

    I have a very purposeful life… my purpose is to live, give, and laugh.  I don’t get to do much of the last.  I am constantly working on that one but the world gets to me at times.  At those times, it’s nice to wish I were religious so I could just “give it all to God” and keep smiling blindly, like most of my friends do, but I just can’t.  My purpose is also to raise my son to be a productive member of society and he doesn’t need God to do that.  I does really annoy me when I hear god-folk say I have no purpose, like they know me or something.

  • Octoberfurst

     I liked what he said about life being short and we have a limited time-frame to make the most of life. That is what drives me. I want to make the most of my short time here on earth and try to make the world a little bit better place than it is with the finite resources that I have.  I know life is precious and I want to enjoy life to the fullest. I also want to make others happy knowing that this is the only life they will ever have.

  • Gregory Stacey

    An unsurprising straw man. The claim more sensibly made by theists is that sans God, there is no objective purpose (i.e. one not found solely in the arbitrary opinion of creatures) to our lives, not that many atheists or theists don’t think up their own purposes- that much is evident.  

  • Coyotenose

    “God’s Will” would be the ultimate in subjective opinions, were it a real thing. Its dictums aren’t based on physics, psychology, or biology, but are generally “Because I said so.” Compliance is almost never achieved through logic and not often through empathy; most often, it is through threats.

    On a tangent, does the Bible even say *why* it is wrong to murder people? I can’t remember.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    Unfortunately for those more sensible theists who put so much stock in having “objective” criteria for what is a purposeful life, it is still only their own arbitrary opinion that there is a god who is somehow endowing them with an objective purpose. When they are asked to show the objective criteria that supports their opinion,  they only offer even more arbitrary opinion, usually in the form of statements about faith.

    And as Coyotenose has pointed out, their god does not seem to offer its own objective criteria for its preferences, but merely dictates an authoritarian criteria, i.e. “Do what I say or I’ll torture you forever.”

  • A3Kr0n

    Who says you can’t live a purposeful life without god? Over 200 million Americans, that’s who says.  And they vote.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/A37GL7VKR3W6ACSIZPH7EID3LI rlrose63

    Sad, but true… thanks a lot… now I need a drink and there’s no booze in the house… killjoy.

  • advancedatheist

    Of course traditional theists don’t want to consider the possibility that a god created humanity without any purpose or meaning. 


  • brianmacker

    Exactly, and furthermore there are objective criteria for morality and purpose that do not require a god. Objectively I was not created as a tool, and although purposes can be projected onto me by other actors ( I can be treated as a tool) I don’t have to accept such a role. Purpose is generated from the goals generated by actors in the first place, and we are certainly actors. There are moral rules that are or are not objectively on a level playing field, proportionate, or connective of consequence with action. Many god based moral rules break these objective criteria.

  • brianmacker

    I don’t think it even makes clear what murder is.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Basing objectiveness on one’s personal variation of a make-believe person is hilarious, and shows that the person doing so really has no idea what the Fuck they’re trying to claim.

  • David McNerney

    …and that’s special pleading, suggesting that God is allowed have an arbitrary opinion that is somehow objective, while my arbitrary opinion is subjective.

  • Christi99100

    Why would they say you have no purpose?  It seems to be they should be saying that you have a purpose (after all, weren’t all men made in his image?) you just don’t recognize it or let it (your divine purpose) guide your life.  Their criticism should be more about you not choosing to let the “correct” purpose guide you, when you substitute your reality-centered purpose for the divine one.