Atheist’s Meaning of Life

SnowballnHell says:

I was raised to beleive that the purpose of life was to be a good christian and convert others to christ in order to spend an eternity praising god in heaven. it never really apealed to me, but at least it was something to aim for. now i struggle with meaning and purpose in life, as an atheist how have you overcome this? How do you find meaning and purpose in an uncaring universe, where our very exitence was by chance and our lives end at death?

39 Responses to Atheist’s Meaning of Life

  1. Christine says:

    I’m curious if you automatically equate atheism with having no purpose or are you pondering the question of life’s purpose as a general question about life in general.

    For myself, I find purpose in my friendships and relationships. I find purpose in caring about what is going on in the world. I find purpose in caring about doing my job well. Basically, I find purpose in living agood life in the here and now and not giving much thought about when I die. Who cares about death? Life is for the living and living it well. For me that boils down to caring for others, taking care of myself, finding beauty in everyday things and enjoying myself.

  2. Noel says:

    Interesting…. I wonder what is the meaning of having friendship, doing my job well, caring for others, finding beauty in life, if eventually everything will cease to exist? Enjoy life as it is, to then have it all vanish into nothingness? What would the meaning of this finite life then? Too much to bear.

    • Christine F. says:

      And if one believed in an afterlife it would make it worth living?

      • Don Severs says:

        Good point, Christine. The afterlife is a typical invented non-answer to one of life’s problems: death. But it doesn’t solve anything. It just creates more problems: what do I have to do to get there? Which religion should I follow? If we follow Pascal, we should believe in the God who offers the worst punishment for nonbelief. That’s why both Christianity and Islam say Hell consists of infinite, eternal torment. It’s an arms race of threats.

        The world’s religions offer competing non-answers packaged as absolute truth. This is the carrot. Many of them then add threats. The stick. Sign me up!

    • Don Severs says:

      Noel, I love that you’re asking these questions. I have such compassion for us humans: we are in a unique bind. We are conscious animals who can contemplate such things! And it is a devastating, poignant, intolerable vice we are in: we live and love, only to vanish into nothingness again.

      Buddha noticed that life is suffering. Even happiness contains grief because we know it will end. So, what are we to do? Many of us have left religious solutions behind because they aren’t really solutions at all. They are myths that try to patch a happy ending on to this story. If you don’t think so, consider your views of other religions. What makes yours different?

      My life is now about this question: Given the facts, what is the best attitude I can have toward life?

      I often take my kids out to eat. And they often don’t want anything on the menu. Nothing. To them, it’s all gross or disgusting. Or they want something specific that’s not on the menu. We love them and try to help them make the best deal with reality they can. But we don’t drive all over town looking for watermelon ice cream. We give them something much more useful: the ability to change oneself to adapt to a less than ideal situation. We also help them see that things aren’t as bad as they think.

      Richard Dawkins:

      “We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Arabia. Certainly those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton. We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively exceeds the set of actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I, in our ordinariness, that are here.”

      You said the human condition is ‘too much to bear’. I understand that feeling. But compared to what? Would you prefer to never have existed at all? Can we demand something that’s not on the menu? Shall we go mad and pretend we are eating watermelon ice cream; then form churches where we encourage everyone to pretend along with us to strengthen our delusion?

      My view is this: That it is childish and plain ungrateful to wish for an afterlife. We have been born. Many of us have lived longer and with better health than most of humanity. It is sad that we would complain when we are so fortunate. And who can we complain to? Kids in Somalia who die when they are two of diarrhea? The rocks? Neutrinos? No! We are unimaginably lucky. We are human! That is worth more than anything we know of, and makes all the risks and suffering and ultimate loss worthwhile.

      Even if there were good reasons to believe in an afterlife, it would still be a dubious prospect. In The Religious Case Against Belief, James Carse points out that deathlessness is not without its problems*. We experience and enjoy life because it will end. Without an end, life becomes a prison.

      There is, of course, still the fact that we fear our own annihilation. This is a psychological fact, probably given to us by evolution for obvious reasons. This doesn’t reduce its importance for us. How we react to it also depends on our psychology. Can we accept religious ‘solutions’ and hope they are true? How do we choose which religious solution to believe? Can we ignore the problems they entail (there are always problems!). Or do we face facts, hold on to one another, and practice a genuine gratitude for our existence? Shall we, who have been given the rare joy and terror of being human, spend our time denying what it means to be human?

      * http://books.google.com/books?id=5hm_W9-qk5kC&printsec=frontcover&dq=james+carse+religious+case+against+belief&source=bl&ots=yhDN5MWRy9&sig=cO3n95wXWVvYQ_HAJ7WF3sjmfx4&hl=en&ei=HpdiTZ2jHYmitgeQruTOCw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=3&sqi=2&ved=0CCkQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=sybil&f=false

      • Noel says:

        Don, I appreciate your honest response. It is quite persuasive. I notice you often quote a famous atheist, and wonder if you have read other literature to inspire your views. Anyhow, I too have abandoned the traditional religious view, which is why I consider myself a Reflective Christian. I have so many questions, which I have learned to accept as part of my spiritual journey to learn more. I like the notion of appreciating this life as it is, since this is all we REALLY know that we have. Having said this, I also believe that this life is a gift from a Higher Power, a being too great for any of us to fully comprehend, but can learn from by living this life. The more I accept life and serve others, the closer I get to know this Higher Being (God, Jesus, Karma, whatever you want to call it). But this is, again, my belief and I do not intend to convert anyone to it. I find it very hard, if not impossible, to look into my child’s eye and tell him that their existence has no meaning except to live in the moment. I find no hope in this statement. if I sound unappreciative and childish, maybe I am. Besides, we are all children spiritually, until we can fully know God. We are constantly experiencing growing pain. My “consciousness” demands a purpose, greater than what I can see with my eyes. “What you see is what you get” does not define life, in my view. I believe I must continue to seek, continue to strive towards perfection (God), continue to believe. I don’t seek comfort in a fantasy, I seek meaning in a chaotic world. Thanks for your time. Peace.

        • Don Severs says:

          > I find it very hard, if not impossible, to look into my child’s eye and tell him that their existence has no meaning except to live in the moment. I find no hope in this statement.

          Do we have to accept that because something isn’t eternal that it has no meaning? Since we don’t know if anything is eternal, if you place such a constraint on meaning, then you are almost certainly assured of not having it. I see no reason, apart from the cultural pressure applied by religions, to accept it. I delight in ephemera, and in the durability of life itself, even though individuals (like us) come and go.

          Anyway, thanks for your thoughtful reply. I understand and empathize with your position. We’re all in the same boat. Since Greek times, people have argued about whether things have ‘purpose’ (teleology).

          “Dawkins, who is perhaps the world’s best-known evolutionary scientist, argues that the explanation offered by a frustrated atheist before Darwin would have left one feeling pretty unsatisfied. But then came Darwin. In a single sentence, Dawkins gets to the heart of the matter: “Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.”

          So, Darwin showed how wonderful, apparently-designed things like humans can arise from unconscious processes. If that is the case, what does that mean for humans? I, for one, feel incredibly fortunate to be a human and to have been born after Darwin (to have some idea of my situation). There were a few, like Zeno, Parmenides, Hobbes and Hume, who rejected teleology before Darwin.

          By extension, the fact of evolution suggests that other systems have also evolved, and that includes the universe itself. It isn’t conscious or purposeful, but we certainly can be. Now, there might be undiscovered laws of nature that allow for consciousness to emerge from unconscious processes. This is extremely interesting, but won’t operate retroactively. Even if we come to understand that the universe includes consciousness, it won’t mean that there was a Designer or a Purpose. It will just mean that the universe is that way. And we can count ourselves lucky that it is.

          This might help:

          http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=69677074004

          • Noel says:

            Don, let me use an analogy. A book of instructions have words, and the words have meaning. Meaning for what? To do something beyond the words themselves. If the words have no meaning, why have a book of instructions at all? I guess the unanswered questions by science is still “why?” I don’t oppose science, by the way. I think it is a tool from God also. I cannot conclude the absence of God by my mere limited human reasoning, but I am not concluding who this God really is either. I am still seeking. The bottom line, I think, is that we should still seek, serving and helping each other in the mean time. Peace.

            • Don Severs says:

              Ok, but your analogy mixes types. An instruction book is “about” something. There is no reason to think that the universe is “about” something. (IN fact, if the universe is defined as “totality”, then there is nothing left for it to be about.)

              Humans are apparently predisposed to look for meaning (by evolution), and that may make it hard for us to not seek meaning in nature; but we have discovered many cognitive and optical illusions. Perhaps this ‘meaning seeking’ trait we have is another one. It sees, and even demands to see, meaning in situations where such ideas don’t apply. Science offers us a way out of our hypnotizing minds, if we want out.

              • Noel says:

                Don, I am trying to understand your logic, so are you saying that finding meaning is an accidental outcome of evolution? In that case, is it futile to find meaning out of meaninglessness? Is it meaningful to even talk to you about this? Your way of thinking leads me to perceive you as a meaningless being,like being hypnotized, which does not require me to respect you. But I do want to respect you, because you mean something to me, but if there is no meaning to this life, why should I? Peace.

        • Don Severs says:

          >I also believe that this life is a gift from a Higher Power, a being too great for any of us to fully comprehend,

          By itself, this statement doesn’t home in on a supernatural god, or even a living being. Many believers say they feel god’s presence, but this feeling, if reliable, could point to a wholly natural advanced alien. It could still be with us, playing favorites, answering prayers, giving guidance. Or it could be dead, having left indelible evidence of its life in the universe.

          >My “consciousness” demands a purpose, greater than what I can see with my eyes.

          Fine, but you could change that. There is no reason that the universe should comply with our demands.

          >“What you see is what you get” does not define life, in my view.

          This is a very important point: how do we treat the unknown? How do we treat apparent facts (like our own, permanent death) that are ‘unacceptable’?

          When something is unknown (like the Big Band or biogenesis) Science says ‘we’re working on it’. We know that filling in the blanks with scripture, personal revelation or received wisdom is no answer at all. But human psychology plays a big role. Many people simply can’t tolerate not knowing things, so they fill in the blanks. Science requires that we not do this. We who enjoy science have gotten used to this fact, but it’s still uncomfortable for us. We simply value science more than our own comfort. To me, it is a form of lying to make claims without scientific evidence. In accounting, medicine and banking, we need good reasons for our decisions. In every area besides religion, good reasons are scientific ones.

          When science tells us a fact we find uncomfortable, what do we do? If we deny it, we have stopped doing science. If we accept it, we often have to give up cherished notions. But if these things are illusions, why would we hold onto them? When science tells us that we die with our bodies, we are being dis-illusioned. I think that’s a good thing, but that is because I have made a commitment to accepting scientific truth. This is a value I hold because I don’t want to sleepwalk through the only life I will ever have.

      • Thank you for your beautiful and thought provoking response. It truly is a wonder to be human and simply to be alive, i suppose i’ve just longed for some simple purpose to follow, but isn’t that the reason that i left christianity in the first place, the meaning is mine to make or not, perhaps im being a coward, afraid to make my own meaning for fear of making the wrong one(s) but thats really no palatable excuse in light of the brief time i have to enjoy life. or even just live it.

    • Don Severs says:

      In America, we are all deeply imprinted by Western, Christian culture. Our view of the afterlife is colored by the way those traditions have presented it: as some sort of ultimate reward. But here’s the key part: it’s not guaranteed. It’s not free. (Unless you’re a Universalist.)

      So, even if we accept that framing, every reward is a threat. Belief in the afterlife requires us to be concerned about it. This is one of the principle tools of Christianity. Without it, we would still be moral, loving, human beings (because evolution made us to need each other and love our children). But there would be no urgency about believing any particular thing. Religion would be de-fanged, just another item on the shelf we can take or leave.

      So we shouldn’t be too impressed with Jesus’ sacrifice. It’s no free gift.

      I know many lapsed Christians who seek to follow Jesus. They say things like “Christianity isn’t Jesus’ fault” and consider him a great sage whose teachings have been corrupted.

      I’m with James Carse. He says that the scholarship is such that we’ll never know who Jesus was. To paraphrase Nietszche: “There are no facts about Jesus, only interpretations”. Further, whenever someone says they follow Jesus, I ask, “Which One?” Sermon on the Mount Jesus and Revelation Jesus are not the same guy. The Bible presents no coherent message or philosophy. This is exactly what we should expect from a compilation of writings by 40 authors over a period of 1400 years. The Bible isn’t a book, it’s a museum.

      So following Jesus is like following King Arthur. You have to argue for every trait you say he has, then admit you’re still not sure. Ultimately, religious peopel choose their morality and our philosophy, then choose those parts of an off-the-shelf religion that fit what they already believe.

      It has to be this way. There is no way to believe everything in any of the religions. They aren’t internally consistent, even if we were to say they are believable.

    • Don Severs says:

      >are you saying that finding meaning is an accidental outcome of evolution?

      I’m saying that our tendency to see meaning (and even demand it) is an accidental outcome of evolution. We don’t have to insist on it, any more than we have to rape and kill. It’s just another instinct we have. We know that giving up absolute meaning is harder for some types of people than others.

      >In that case, is it futile to find meaning out of meaninglessness?

      No. Humans can and do create meaning in a meaningless universe.

      >Is it meaningful to even talk to you about this?

      Of course. I think we are each responsible for creating our own meaning. We also create shared meaning, but we don’t all agree on the particulars. Religion is largely an attempt to create meaning. I suppose most human activities are. I find meaning in everything I do.

      >but if there is no meaning to this life, why should I?

      Correct me if I’m wrong, but you seem to feel that meaning that we create ourselves doesn’t count. You seem to be looking for an absolute source of ‘real’ meaning that is independent of humanity. Is that right? If so, I think you’ll be disappointed and you’ll have the crisis you are describing. Or you can subscribe to a religion or cobble something together of your own. My view is that the universe is accidental and unconscious, but it is a non sequitur to say that doesn’t allow meaning at all. It just doesn’t include the narrow kind of meaning you are looking for.

    • Don Severs says:

      This has gotten very wordy, but here’s the deal: You already have meaning. Do you have kids? Do you have parents? If I were you, I wouldn’t show them this page. My wife would be so pissed to hear that I was looking for meaning!

      • Thomas Nagel, in “The Absurd” discusses basing meaning on future outcomes. He examines the comment:

        “Nothing we do now will matter in a million years.

        Even if what we did now were going to matter in a million years, how could that keep our present concerns from being absurd? If their mattering now is not enough to accomplish that, how would it help if they mattered a million years from now?

        Whether what we do now will matter in a million years could make the crucial difference only IF its mattering in a million years depended on its mattering, period.”

        On the afterlife:

        Is life less absurd if it doesn’t end? If life is absurd for 70 years, it will be absurd if it lasts forever, too.

        On chains of justification:

        All chains of justification come to an end, but that doesn’t mean no activity is meaningful. It is meaningful to take an aspirin for a toothache or go to a museum. Period. No larger context is needed to prevent these acts from being pointless.

        IF outside justification were required, then none could be given, since an infinite regress would result. If God is necessary for meaning, then we are obliged to ask what makes that the case? Why not just drop the heady, cosmic requirements for meaning and say things can be meaningful without outside justifications?

  3. Don Severs says:

    >How do you find meaning and purpose in an uncaring universe

    Great question. We can hardly say we are human if we don’t struggle to answer it. I left religion because it only provided non-answers that created more problems than they solved.

    Religions love to claim territory. They have planted their flags, illegitimately, on Morality, Justice and Meaning. But these peaks are littered with flags of competing faiths. We don’t have to choose any of them. We can face reality and make our own meaning:

    “The contemplation of this world beckoned as a liberation. The road to this paradise was not as comfortable and alluring as the road to the religious paradise; but it has shown itself reliable, and I have never regretted having chosen it.”

    Albert Einstein (Autobiographical Notes)

    Richard Dawkins’ words come to mind:

    “After sleeping through a hundred million centuries we have finally opened our eyes on a sumptuous planet, sparkling with colour, bountiful with life. Within decades we must close our eyes again. Isn’t it a noble, and enlightened way of spending our brief time in the sun, to work at understanding the universe and how we have come to wake up in it? This is how I answer when I am asked — as I am surprisingly often — why I bother to get up in the mornings. To put it the other way round, isn’t it sad to go to your grave without ever wondering why you were born? Who, with such a thought, would not spring from bed, eager to resume discovering the world and rejoicing to be a part of it?”

    Here is my attempt:

    http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=69677074004

  4. Michael Hiebel says:

    Hello Snowball … I have just finished a book that is dedicated to answering just that question. The question of “Making Meaning”. It is nothing short of terrific (my opinion). The author, Eric Maisel, has the following website:
    http://theatheistsway.com/home.html

    I hope it helps you as it has me.

  5. Don Severs says:

    > I find it very hard, if not impossible, to look into my child’s eye and tell him that their existence has no meaning except to live in the moment.

    Isn’t it just as hard to look into a child’s eye and tell him that his existence has no meaning because it will end?

  6. Don Severs says:

    ‎”Asking ‘If there is no God, what is the purpose of life?’ is like asking, ‘If there is no master, whose slave shall I be?” — Dan Barker

  7. The Atheist says:

    Sorry to join the conversation at the tail end – I’m just now getting my schedule freed up enough to have time to post again.

    One thing I notice that is missing from the comments is a flat-out, unequivocal admission from non-believers that we would really rather have eternal life. I know I would. However wishing I could have eternal life is no reason to believe that eternal life is possible. Given the options to pretend that I have eternal life or to acknowledge the reality that eternal life isn’t possible, I would rather acknowledge reality.

    I really liked the descriptions of personal meaning that were posted here. Whether there is an after life or not, all meaning is still personal meaning. Meaning is not something that exists out there in the universe, it’s a concept of the mind. There is no meaning to anything without a mind that assigns meaning.

    If I find personal meaning in a kind act I did today, will I still find the same level of meaning billions of years from now in this same act (presuming I’m somehow still alive)? Or will the act be forgotten and replaced by other more recent meaningful events? If I forget the act and if meaning depends on permanence, did the act ever have meaning if it has no meaning a billion years later? The concept of eternal life doesn’t really solve the problem of meaning, it simply obscures the problem.

    Religion offers us more than this personal meaning. It says that our actions aren’t merely meaningful to us, they’re meaningful to a personal God. Obviously, if God doesn’t exist, the claim is nothing more than a pipe dream, no matter how attractive the claim sounds. But if we suspend disbelief for a moment and accept that a personal God exists, the idea that God finds meaning is still problematic. If nothing exists that God didn’t create, then from God’s perspective, everything that exists is fundamentally an extension of himself. If all that exists is God, what kind of meaning can God derive from his existence? Imagine if you were the only being that existed, would anything you did have meaning?

  8. Don Severs says:

    >admission from non-believers that we would really rather have eternal life.

    “Afterlife” is a term like God. It is so imprecise that it is dangerous. Say you were considering a house and all you knew about it was that it was “old”. You could never make a decision based on that. Likewise, just living forever is not enough information to decide whether we would want eternal life.

    The myth of Sybil illustrates this problem. She asked for eternal life and got it. Later, she begged for death. She had forgotten to ask for “eternal youth”.

    Of course, a loving God would never do a bait and switch like that. But we aren’t dealing with a loving God. Can’t be. The fact of human suffering rules it out.

    What if this was the offer: “after you die, you live for 10 years in utter bliss”? Would you take it? Epicurus would say it doesn’t matter, since no amount of living will reduce the time spent dead.

    I raise all these points just to show that the afterlife is inadequately labelled. We would never buy it without more information.

  9. The Atheist says:

    I think you’re right that we wouldn’t opt for just any kind of afterlife. The New Testament goes to great length to describe a particular type of eternity that is worse than annihilation. However we can probably assume that the afterlife we are usually invited to consider (at least in Western and Near Eastern cultures) is eternal bliss with God in heaven, regardless of how cruelly God treats others that don’t make it into the eternal bliss.

    The consideration of 10 extra years of eternal bliss is no different from the choice we have now. If we will be dead anyway, why not just end our lives now since, after we are dead, it won’t matter how long we lived or how we died? The reason is that living matters to us now. Right now, we (most of us) would prefer to live.

    Consider an experiment that you are asked to participate in. The experiment lasts a few days and you will be handsomely paid for your participation. In this experiment, a researcher will subject you to a hallucination so real that you have no way to discern the hallucination from waking reality. The hallucination is that you are being eaten alive by blood-hungry rats, each taking a small bite of your flesh in an attempt to consume you. However, you continuously regenerate your flesh so you are never fully consumed. From your perspective in the hallucination, the procedure goes on for countless years. The pain is so excruciating that you would gladly choose death over living with the pain.

    Fortunately, at the end of the experiment, the researcher uses a tried and proven technology where he can erase any memory of the hallucination. At the end of the experiment, your last memory will be agreeing to the procedure. Would you do it? Personally, I would not. I would care that I would be allowing myself to suffer at the moment, and the fact that I would later have no memory of the experience is not a sufficient consolation. More specifically, anyone undergoing the painful experience will not be consoled by the fact that he or she will have no memory of it later.

    The fact that we will at some point have no memory of an experience does not mean the experience never mattered. It still matters at the time.

    Consider the similar but more real predicament in which we actually find ourselves. Anything that has ever happened to us exists only in the present as a memory. The actual experience no longer exists. If we follow this to it’s conclusion, all that matters is our experience now (where our experience now includes our memories and our projections into the future), and our experience of “now” matters.

  10. Don Severs says:

    >eternal bliss with God in heaven, regardless of how cruelly God treats others that don’t make it into the eternal bliss.

    This says a lot about the Christian God: he forces us to choose between him and our fellows. Jesus was clear that we had to choose him over our families. This is at odds with Love Thy Neighbor.

    No god worth worshiping asks us to seek Heaven without regard for our fellows. Christianity has this selfish, anti-social quality about it. It is about individual salvation. If a loved one makes us sin, we are instructed to ‘pluck it out’. Better to lose a member than the whole game. Humanists and US Marines should reject Christianity on this basis alone. We’re all in this together.

    Even if Yahweh were true, if we rebel and hang together, he will be alone in his paradise.

    http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=227971504004

    Best,

    Don

  11. Don Severs says:

    Noel hasn’t specifically said so, but it seems he is infected with the prevalent notion that things that are not eternal are meaningless. William Lane Craig pushes this idea, but it is an utter non sequitur. He never explains why, just because something lasts only for a while, it must be devoid of meaning. Here’s a typical passage:

    “If God does not exist, then both man and the
    universe are inevitably doomed to death. Man, like
    all biological organisms, must die. With no
    hope of immortality, man’s life leads only to the grave. His life is but a spark in the infinite blackness, a spark that appears, flickers,
    and dies forever. Compared to the infinite stretch of time, the span of man’s life is but an infinitesimal moment; and yet this is all the life he will ever know.”

    I like this version better:

    “If God does not exist, both man and the universe still have existed! Man, like all biological organisms, must die. With no hope of immortality, man’s life means even more while it lasts. His life is a spark in the infinite blackness, a spark that appears, flickers gloriously, and dies forever. Compared to the infinite stretch of time, the span of man’s life is but an infinitesimal moment; and since this is all the life he will ever know, we must not waste a moment of it.”

  12. Noel says:

    Don, let me conclude with this (and this is why I rather not engage in theological conversations because they seem to have no end). I strongly believe that, so far, my purpose in this life is to love others by unconditionally serving. You may consider this “meaning” something I made up for myself as part of evolution. That’s ok. I perceive it as coming from something greater than me. I don’t put myself in the center of the universe (and I am not implying you are either) but I put God in the center, who I am still getting to know more. I don’t want to conclude something as big as who or what God really is, but I am claiming that I understand that, today, my purpose here is to serve others, which I call living the Kingdom of Heaven, which is love, which is God. I enjoyed our conversation. Peace.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Wow honestly u guys are real smart…… but still I rather believe in a god because it brings a meaning and it makes me happy…does this mean I’m a retarted??? Does this mean I’m classified as lower then an athiest???

    • Don Severs says:

      The difference between nonbelievers and believers isn’t intelligence, it’s a matter of values. It’s more like the difference between conservatives and liberals. I’m an intellectual conservative, meaning that I require scientific standards for believing things. Having a feeling isn’t a good enough reason for me to declare I believe something.

      To a more liberal thinker (like I once was), it’s perfectly reasonable to believe something without scientific evidence. Intelligent people, like Francis Collins, do this all the time. 80% of people believe in God, so it can’t have anything to do with intelligence. From the other side, a friend of mine recently told me, “Come on, Don. You can’t believe the universe just popped into existence. You’re smarter than that”. Well, lots of smart people reject the notion of a Creator for many good reasons. Lacking belief in gods has nothing to do with intelligence, either.

      It just has to do with how much we value logical consistency in our belief systems. To most people, there is no compelling reason to use only scientific thinking to get through life. They switch between modes as needed. I find this inconsistent, but I value consistency. If a person doesn’t value consistency in their belief systems, it doesn’t make them less intelligent.

      I am committed to scientific standards of evidence because, without them, we open a Pandora’s box of belief that results in the fractured world we read about in the news every day. I have given up some freedom by constraining myself to scientifically supportable claims because I see what happens when other people don’t do so. I think the natural world is the best thing to base my beliefs on, but that is because of my values, not because of intelligence.

      http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=402362749004

  14. ogefila says:

    You said life end at the death, Try and read book of the people you wrote about their exprience about “Near death exprience” This are true testimonies, even doctors comfirm them in various hospital. There are evidence that life did not end at the death

    • NDEs are evidence, but not of surviving death. First, these people didn’t die, so their experience concerns ‘near-death’, not death. Second, the existence of a supernatural soul and a realm it could live in are certainly not the most likely explanations. I think we should look to brain physiology to explain NDEs. This avoids the extravagant step of proposing unseen worlds.

  15. life has the meaning you give it

    be the best person you can be

    enrich and enlighten and educate yourself

    create something

    fight for something

  16. Javed says:

    If there is no GOD,means no life after death.If life is only in this world,only once,then it should be enjoyed to the fullest,by hook or by crook.If you cannot buy good house,car and all the pleasures,why not murder,steal to get all that pleasures.Why care for others.Why have laws caring for others.This should be free for all world.
    NO.That’s not the way.It is some super power who has laid certain rules for this world to live in with rewards and punishment.A human being is not capable of setting such rules for this entire world.That super power is GOD.

    • Durzal says:

      Javed, I dont need belief in a God to stop me going out murdering, theiving and raping ….. do you?

      Do you really only care for others because of your belief in a God?.. What does this say about you as a person?

      If this is how you would act if you lost your faith I hope you don’t live near me and I hope for everyones sake you stick with the religion.

      Sure Javed there is a God, whatever you say.. just don’t steal my car or kill me!!!

  17. Henry says:

    As an atheist my answer is simple :

    Who cares ?

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