Finding Meaning as Atheists

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PhoenixFire's picture
Finding Meaning as Atheists

How do you find meaning as an atheist? Do you find meaning at all? Is this important to you?

I got involved with the Satanic Temple because I wanted a community of like-minded people who shared goals and values, and our activism and discussions give me meaning.

Making this short existence more tolerable for myself and other humans and animals also gives me meaning, and so does creating art to share with my communities.

I think that even though we are atheists, many of us are still story tellers and meaning-making creatures.

What do you think?



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Old man shouts at clouds's picture
Yes of course we are social

Yes of course we are social animals...does that have any bearing on atheism? No.

I enjoy the people and camaraderie here on these forums and the extreme erudition of some members but it is nothing to do with my atheism per se.

boomer47's picture
@Phoenix Fire

@Phoenix Fire

As a Catholic, life had a clear meaning. One was born, lived a good life, in accordance with the values taught. After what one hoped had been a rich and fulfilled life, one died. Then came the survival of the soul (meaning personality, the mind) and eternity with a loving god. Yup, good old fashioned cartesian dualism .

Those feelings and beliefs were lost when I stopped believing and became an atheist. I was confronted by the question of meaning. I admit I initially felt lost and that life had no purpose. Since that time about 30 years ago, the questions haven't changed, but they have become redundant.

Today, my thinking goes like this: Individual ego is without meaning or purpose. As a phenomenon, the purpose of life is to survive and replicate itself. I can think of no reason it should be otherwise.

I'm 72, and will probably die with in the next decade or so. Can't say I'm thrilled about that. Like all mammals, I'm afraid of dying. This is a crucial instinct. Without it our species would not survive. Fair enough. However, I do not fear being dead. Why should I? It's not an experience, but the antithesis of experience. It was ever thus in the aeons before I existed, and I have no fear of that unimaginable length of time ahead. because I will not exist.

What if I'm wrong? Well, if the YHWH monster of the old testament is real, I'm stuffed., If however, it's the infinite being of infinite qualities of love and compassion, then I'll be fine ..

So in the meantime, I appreciate each day, the people in my life, the experiences I have and am content. I think it's ironic that I flittered through life as a young man. The life ahead seemed almost infinite and time passed at a suitably moderate pace. As an old man, with far less life to live, time passes very quickly. Each day over as it has barely begun. A year seems to pass with the same speed a month once passed. (A psychologist friend explained why that is so and it's bloody annoying ) I have finally realised that "youth is wasted on the young" is not a cliche but a truism.

For what it may be worth: THE most important things in life for me are to love and to feel loved . ( I don't say 'to be loved' for who can truly know the mind of another?)

Cognostic's picture
@PhoenixFire: You felt you

@PhoenixFire: You felt you needed some meaning in your life and so you turned to religion.

Why do you assume one's life requires meaning. Is not simply being here, in this world, enough? Not everyone is as greedy as you. Not everyone seeks something outside themselves to fulfill themselves. In Buddhism there is a story about two ways to become rich. The first way is to get everything you want, to go into the world and fulfill all your needs. The second way is to need nothing and simply appreciate everything that comes your way.

With that said, I found fulfillment in simply being human. I am a teacher and I love my job, but teaching is what I do. I am a counselor and I love my job but counseling is what I do. I am already fulfilled without teaching or counseling. I am an atheist and that is what I do, I bring my fulfillment to atheism. I have no need of religion or religious ideology to make me feel fulfilled.

I submit to you that you only use religion because you are not fulfilled. As long as you pretend that it is Satanism completing you, you will never be complete as a human being. You are looking for something out there in the world that can make you feel whole. The dirty little secret is that you are already whole. You don't need anything.


(EDIT: There is nothing out there, that you can put in here, that is going to complete you. You are already whole and complete and capable of doing what you need to do to live fully and completely.)

David Killens's picture
Let us turn this on it's head

Let us turn this on it's head and reverse the question to one of faith. What is their meaning in life? To be one of many tested and weeded out so they can spend an eternity sucking up and kissing god's ass relentlessly.

As an atheist I find meaning in whatever I choose. It is my life and I will do whatever I choose with it.

ronald bertram's picture
"Finding meaning" in life is

"Finding meaning" in life is not a function of being atheist or theist. It's a function of personal values and philosophy. Everyone has a capacity for happiness, a sense of accomplishment, a sense of purpose, etc. Some are more fortunate than others at enjoying those rewards at a higher level than others. It is a miracle of probability that we ever came to exist. At the end of the day, we all use up the time we have. Just remember, the Universe has no conscience. It doesn't really matter how any of us use our time.

LogicFTW's picture
Humans already have a meaning

Humans already have a meaning. Survive, and reproduce.

We just gotten so good at it that we sort of lost sight of that and try to add new meanings that better suit us. Which is fine. My personal meaning of life is to enjoy and experience this wonderful, time limited life I have.

I consider myself the happiest and most "free" person that I know of.

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