On meaning and purpose without God

On meaning and purpose without God November 21, 2012

So there has been some debate on my meaning of life essay with JohnM, a YEC. He seems to think the only real purpose is an ultimate purpose, and getting through to him that this is not the case, and that ultimate purposes have no more value than subjective, instrumentalist purposes. Value system are, after all, entirely subjective affairs, by definition. After all, the Oxford Dictionary states this:

 

verb (values, valuing, valued)

[with object]
1 estimate the monetary worth of: his estate was valued at £45,000
2 consider (someone or something) to be important or beneficial; have a high opinion of: she had come to value her privacy
The subjective notions are fairly explicit.Anywho, see what you think to this short video with DJ Grothe who works with the James Randi Educational Foundation. The idea that atheists don’t have ultimate meaning seems pretty obvious to me, without an ultimate entity, so to speak. But perhaps atheists are too often scared to admit this?

 

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  • Andy_Schueler

    I think that an “ultimate purpose” for humans cannot possibly exist, even if one assumes that an “ultimate” / “perfect” / “maximally great” being  (i.e. a “God”) does exist. 
    If a God exists who is “maximally great” all by itself, how can there be any purpose for the Universe or any life within it ? How can there be a less-than-ultimate purpose for anything if the “ultimate state of existence” is already there ? 
    If this being is already “maximally perfect”, creating anything could not make things more “perfect” than they already are, by definition – it could only make things less perfect than they already are. 
    Therefore, the creation of humans (or anything else) cannot possibly have an “ultimate purpose” in this scenario (or any other scenario).

  • I think science has pretty much shown that we live in a universe that is indifferent to little ole homo sapiens, just as it is to all the other 99.9% species that have went extinct. Purpose is what we make for ourselves.

  • The video (above) is pretty much the core of Confucianism.  Do good for the sake of being good, period.

  • JohnM

    I really like this guy… He’s smart enough not to mess with me :P

    Can you have “subjective meaning” in life?

    Well sure. You can tell yourself, that the meaning of your life, is to hit 205 home-runs in profession baseball.. or to complete 2 ironmans in a row.

    But I just hold that to self-deception. In my view, it’s grasping at straws.. Looking for something that just isn’t on the atheistic world-view.

    Also, when he starts talking about how my 70 something years on the planet, are ultimately sorta meaningless, he completely lost me..

    On the Christian world view, what you do in life is very important. And it actually ends up determining how you will spend eternity. So there’s a higher meaning in life, that gives everything we do in this life, a purpose, for a higher purpose.

    So no, our lives are far from meaningless.. But pain and suffering, becomes meaningless to us, when compared to an eternity of joy. And that is why so many Christians have been willing to suffer and lay down their life, across the ages.

    “But what about making the world a better place?”

    This world is evil, wicked and rotten to the core. You don’t fix a ruin like that. You tear it down and build something new. So the focus is on getting people out of the building, before it comes crashing down.

    • Andy_Schueler

      But I just hold that to self-deception. In my view, it’s grasping at
      straws.. Looking for something that just isn’t on the atheistic
      world-view.

      “Stop finding meaning, I don´t want you to find meaning without MY god !!11!”

      On the Christian world view, what you do in life is very important. And
      it actually ends up determining how you will spend eternity. So there’s a
      higher meaning in life, that gives everything we do in this life, a
      purpose, for a higher purpose.

      What you do seems to be pretty much irrelevant in the christian worldview – the gullible go to heaven the not-so-gullible go to hell, no choice involved.

      So no, our lives are far from meaningless.. But pain and suffering,
      becomes meaningless to us, when compared to an eternity of joy. And that
      is why so many Christians have been willing to suffer and lay down
      their life, across the ages.

      Yeah, people have always sacrificed themselves for silly reasons – works just fine with all Gods (even aliens – look up “Heaven´s gate”)

      This world is evil, wicked and rotten to the core. You don’t fix a ruin
      like that.

      No, people like you don´t fix a ruin like that. You leave it to other people to clean up the mess.

    • “So no, our lives are far from meaningless.. But pain and suffering, becomes meaningless to us, when compared to an eternity of joy. And that is why so many Christians have been willing to suffer and lay down their life, across the ages.”

      So your purpose is to spend as much time or to be in heaven rather than hell. Things aren’t done in your life for the intrinsic value of their goodness.You, sir, are the ultimate moral consequentilist (as we know, secretly, all Christians are!).

      i don’t think you realise how much you undermine your own position.

      “This world is evil, wicked and rotten to the core. ”

      Let’s think, who made it? Who knew it would be, but made it anyway? You never adequately answered this before.

  • JohnM

    Jonathan : So your purpose is to spend as much time or to be in heaven rather than hell. Things aren’t done in your life for the intrinsic value of their goodness.You, sir, are the ultimate moral consequentilist (as we know, secretly, all Christians are!).

    The bible tells us, that God will judge us, and that God knows every secret of the heart. So I think it’s safe to assume, that our reasons for acting as we do, will be know, and also factor into the judgement.

    I mean.. if you’re not really regretting something, but just asking for forgiveness, to avoid reaping the consequences, do you really think that God will be fooled by that?

    Jonathan : Let’s think, who made it ( the world )?

    Yeah, good question..  Now remember that the bible tells us, that God made the garden of Eden. So who made this world? Evil god?

    After all, the bible refers to Evil god, as “the father of all lies”. As “the deceiver”. And as “the corrupter”. I think that’s some clues worth considering, when pointing the finger.

    Am I right?

    • Andy_Schueler

      Yeah, good question..  Now remember that the bible tells us, that God made the garden of Eden. So who made this world? Evil god?

      After all, the bible refers to Evil god, as “the father of all lies”.
      As “the deceiver”. And as “the corrupter”. I think that’s some clues
      worth considering, when pointing the finger.

      Am I right?
      .

      Got it, “evil God” wanted “evil world” and “good God” wanted “good world” – “evil God” won. But “good God” will totally win the rematch! Makes sense.

  • JohnM

    It was actually humanity, who Good God had made stewards over the earth, that gave Evil god the power to corrupt it. But Evil god didn’t win the war. And the tide of war turned a long time ago, with Jesus Christ. So now we’re just waiting on the mop-up operations, before we can declare victory.

    • Andy_Schueler

      It was actually humanity, who Good God had made stewards over the earth,
      that gave Evil god the power to corrupt it. But Evil god didn’t win the
      war.

      Well, according to you, the world is “evil, wicked and rotten to the core” – looks like “evil God” won.

      And the tide of war turned a long time ago, with Jesus Christ.

      Well, if you are right and the world is “evil, wicked and rotten to the core”, then Jesus lost just like his daddy lost in round 1 and here we are 2000 years later in “evil God” is still winning.
      Declaring that you will be “victorious” very soon, when the other side has won every single battle so far doesn´t sound very convincing.

  • JohnM

    Is that you or Satan speaking though you ? :)

    Think about it.. If the bible is true, then you’re a servant. A slave. And you hate everything about me, because… What ?… Because you know that it’s all going to end pretty soon. Your masters time is running out. And so is yours. And that is why you hate Christianity. That is why you hate God. And that is why you are so angry. And that is why you are so aggrovated and aggressive towards me. On the other hand, if you really thought that you had all the time left in the world, then you would be calm, and relaxed.. and couldn’t care less what Christian lunatics like myself, said.

    Am I right?

    • no.

    • Andy_Schueler

       

      Think about it.. If the bible is true, then you’re a servant. A slave.

      Nope.

      And you hate everything about me, because…

      I don´t hate you. I strongly dislike you because you are completely ignorant and proud of it and because of your stunning degree of dishonesty and hypocrisy.

      Because you know that it’s all going to end pretty soon. Your masters time is running out.

      Which “master” ? Sauron ? Voldemort ? Gargamel ?

      And that is why you hate Christianity.

      No, I hate christianity for the misery, suffering and ignorance it causes.

      That is why you hate God.

      Funny, Muslims usually tell me the same thing about their God.

      And that is why you are so aggrovated and aggressive towards me.

      No, I´m impatient with you because you are a dishonest troll – see for example this thread:
      http://www.patheos.com/blogs/tippling/2012/11/04/legitimate-rape/
      or this one:
      http://www.patheos.com/blogs/tippling/2012/11/04/conflicting-genealogies-of-jesus-and-johnms-thesis-of-a-matrilineal-bloodline-refuted/

      On the other hand, if you really thought that you had all the time left in the world, then you would be calm, and relaxed..

      And just let you enjoy your trolling ?

      and couldn’t care less what Christian lunatics like myself, said.

      And if you would be secure about your beliefs, you wouldn´t be so dishonest, and you wouldn´t believe ridiculous bullshit like the notion that everyone actually believes in your God and atheists are just “rebelling”. You can´t be that stupid.

    •  JohnM,
      Your a moron.

  • JohnM

    Andy_Schueler : Which “master” ? Sauron ?

    The all seeing eye of Sauron, is a direct reference to Satan. And Gandalf the white, has certain features associated with Jesus Christ, if you haven’t noticed.

    • Andy_Schueler

       Your argument being that the Bible is just like the Lord of the Rings ? Got it.
      Btw, the Lord of the Rings is not intended to describe actual history, there is no place called “Middle Earth”, Wizards don´t exist, and neither do Hobbits.