As a theist, I am interested in hearing about where atheists find their purpose in life in a godless world. Where/ how do you find purpose? What does this life mean, if anything? If it doesnt, why endure suffering?
Understand that I am not saying atheists cannot have purpose. I am wondering where that purpose comes from.
Choosing to subscribe to this topic will automatically register you for email notifications for comments and updates on this thread.
Email notifications will be sent out daily by default unless specified otherwise on your account which you can edit by going to your userpage here and clicking on the subscriptions tab.
As an atheist, I don't require a god for my life to have purpose. As a human it get purpose comes from friends and family.
Joshb, I would like to bounce this back at you. As a theist I must assume you believe your god assigned you a purpose. What is your purpose, and have you accomplished it? If you do not accomplish your purpose, will god be pissed at you and send you to hell?
I make my life what I choose, and if I have a purpose, it may change depending how I feel when I wake up that day. I am my own god.
I am fairly young in my faith so I am still trying to figure out what my purpose is. As a Christian, whether you "accomplish" a purpose or not has nothing to do with gaining eternal life. God will allow people to perish if they don't believe in Him, not whether they accomplish their purpose. Christianity is not a to-do list. However, If someone follows Christ I believe their purpose will be fulfilled regardless.
Are you a member of a Christian sect that believes when a non-believers die that is the end of them (that there is no supernatural location commonly referred to as Hell, similar to the Jehovah's Witnesses)?
I believe in afterlife for both believers and non-believers. I do not know that Hell is a "lake of fire," I only know that it is eternal separation from God.
Eternal separation from that fantasy manifestation of wrath, genocide, misogyny, racism, infanticide, incest and torture? Sounds like a plan.....
By the way, a "purpose' in life is entirely dependent on each humans' gut health, attitude, mental health and ambition. Your particular made up god has nothing to do with it.
Minor point; It was the Christians who invented the concept of an eternal hell, over centuries, . . Doesn't exists in the mother religion, Judaism.
If you think your faith is strong enough to be confronted with some very different views, from 'an expert' in Christianity, I invite you to take a look at some of the Youtube clips with Archbishop John Spong. Better still, read one of his books.
The link below is to a three minute clip of John Spong on Hell. Probably more informative to watch some longer clips.
That does not make sense. If god created you for a purpose, and you failed to fulfill it, then you have failed your god and deserve to be denied heaven.
A creator creates for a reason, and any unfilled "purposes" are a fail.
And how come you don't know what your purpose is? You came in here talking about purpose but have no idea what yours is. I know what mine is, and I am an atheist.
Ephesians 2:8-9 "For by grace you have been saved by faith and that not of yourselves it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast."
You are right - we all deserve to be denied heaven because we all fail to live sinless lives. Our purpose is to "be perfect" which is impossible. God recognizes this brokenness and grants salvation through faith alone because we will never get there on our own. That is what makes Christianity different from any other religion.
And like I said before, I am young in my faith so I am not sure what God's will for my life is. That's why I asked this question. I am curious how people find their purpose.
"we all deserve to be denied heaven because we all fail to live sinless lives."
I do not wish to have you preceive this as an insult or vulgar, but that statement is the biggest peice of fucking horseshit ever conceived. The legal term for it is extortion. Do it my way or I will fuck you up, something out of a mob boss handbook.
And you have the arrogance to suggest your god is loving and kind when it holds this threat over your head? Don't you understand how cruel and perverted that is?
According to your religion, your god created everything and is all powerful. Your god knew what was going to happen before creation. Yet your god allowed the Garden of Eden story to play out so that 1) mankind would be expelled from Eden, and 2) we would live our lives under a dark cloud.
Your god created the conditions where humans were supposed to be in perpetual fear and obligation just because.
I actually don't view it as a threat at all. I view it as a gift of grace by God lending his hand to save us from our wicked nature.
God could make all of us believe in him but I think that is whats beautiful about free will. God is not forcing us into anything, simply giving us what we want. The question of why a good God sends people to hell is answered through free will. He is not "sending" anyone to hell, He is letting us go there because that is what people want. I argue God is even more loving because He allows us to choose.
@Josh Re: "I actually don't view it as a threat at all. I view it as a gift of grace by God lending his hand to save us from our wicked nature."
...*slack jaw with mouth wide open*... *double face palm*... *grooooan*.... Wow... Just wow.... So many things wrong with that statement on so many levels it is difficult to comprehend how a person could honestly believe it to be some profound and proud proclamation of joyful wisdom. Disturbingly, though, that statement actually indicates a delusional mindset that has purposely abandoned any pretense of logical and rational thinking in a desperate effort to maintain belief in a dogma designed to strip the follower of any personal dignity/self-esteem by convincing the follower he/she is a worthless and damaged being who deserves to be punished forever by the very "all-loving" entity that created them. Therefore, the follower spends their entire life groveling at the feet and kissing the ass of this imaginary entity in the hopes that said "all-loving" entity will have mercy on them and decide not to torture them forever after they die.
Keep in mind, this entity is reportedly "all-knowing, all-powerful, all-loving, all-forgiving, and PERFECT". It also supposedly "made Man in it's perfect image." Please allow that to sink in for a few moments before you atrempt to reconcile and justify the absurdity that this same entity advocates eternal torture for those who simply do not worship it. Ladies and gentlemen, I submit that it ain't rocket science nor brain surgery to clearly see how utterly ridiculous that concept is. Sadly, though, far too many people around the globe are sucked into that dismal pit of belief... *shaking head sadly*...
Oh... And, Josh, like it or not, what your god does IS pretty much a texbook example of extortion. Not that you will comprehend or ever admit it, but you would condemn and prosecute any gangster or loan shark for doing the exact same things for which you praise and worship your god for doing.
(A bit of a side note... Although this post is directed to Josh, I am aware his mentality is apparently too far gone to allow him to understand/acknowledge what I and others have attempted to explain. That being said, I am writing this post for the benefit of the lurkers who might pass through here, so that they may be given a better insight into the damaging effects religion has on the human psyche.)
@Joshb: save us from our wicked nature.
Speak for yourself.
@Josh Re: "...save us from our wicked nature."
To expand a bit on what Algebe replied to your statement, I freely admit I can absolutely be "wicked in nature" should the situation call for it. Thankfully, though, I no longer have to worry about encountering such situations nearly as often as I once did. Meaning I am quite content in allowing that part of me sleep peacefully unless it is absolutely needed.
I don't want to go to hell, I did not choose to go to hell. Now the ball is in god's hands, what will he do, send a decent person to hell or what?
It is not good graces from your god, this is pure thug crime boss mentality, do what I say or I will punish you beyond anything reasonable. You can not come close to describing any entity holding a gun to one's head as "gift of grace".
@Joshb: "As a theist, I am interested in hearing about where atheists find their purpose in life in a godless world."
You realize we think you live in a godless world too, right?
I have always lived a purpose filled life. I don't need a sky fairy or any believer to question or doubt me. Our "sense" of purpose is uniquely human whether embellished with religious fairy tales or not.
@Joshb: RE: "Purpose"
1. We choose our own purpose. You are what you do.
2. Why would you assert "Endure Suffering?" What suffering? I'm with the Buddhists on this one. Attachment is suffering. This thing you call suffering is demonstrably reduced the less attached you are to the world around you. There are only things that happen and our responses to them. Suffering is one response of many. But as you think suffering is an issue, why does a loving god force you to suffer?
Either god wants to abolish suffering and cannot, or he can and does not . If he wants to and can not he is impotent. If he can but doesn't he is a monster. How do you deal with the fact that your god forces you to suffer?
"We choose our own purpose"
What if I wake up one day and my purpose is to kill innocent human beings? Surely you would consider that evil. For who are you to decide whether my purpose is right or wrong?
@Joshb: What if I wake up one day and my purpose is to kill innocent human beings?
Then you would probably start an inquisition, a crusade, ethnic cleansing, a pogrom, a holocaust, a 30-Year War, or a St Bartholomew Day massacre. All of these things were done by people who absolutely thought that morality was handed down by their god. Who are you to decide whether their purpose was right or wrong?
I believe this discussion warrants its own thread.
What an epic cop out.
Evasion of the week award goes right here.
Soon as you get to a question you don't want to respond to.... bam! "let's start another thread!" (And secretly hope that no such thread ever gets created.)
Really? This was brought up and is on topic. And relevant to this thread. You don't get to seperate out stuff when a question comes up that you do not want to answer because it likely destroys your position. Well at least not without us noticing it and calling you out on it.
Besides this question was in response to a hypothetical that you wrote about. Why is your hypothetical on topic but the follow up question to it is not?
If you had a good response it should be shorter then this post I just wrote.
@ Logic FTW
Maybe you should look at other threads I've started before making an accusation like that. We've been talking about this for about a week now under the "Objective Morality" thread. C'mon now...
@Joshb: RE: Purpose. I repeat. You are what you do.
If you wake up one day and kill and innocent human being, then THAT WAS YOUR PURPOSE. Evil is a name we ascribe to actions and behaviors. Why must it be evil? We fight wars all the time and there are plenty of innocent people on both sides. But --- let's call it "EVIL" anyway. What makes you thing one's purpose can not be evil. People have the purpose of robbing another, holding up a bank, or kidnapping.
Let's look at evil purposes. Your purpose is to spread lies and scare small children and ignorant people into thinking like you think. Don't you think that is evil? I sure do.
I am the only person who can decide whether your actions are right or wrong. No other perception of right or wrong need matter to me. I reject your child butchering, non-believer murdering, asshole of a god. (If we are talking about the traditional god of the bible or Quaran.) I make that decision. I can choose to accept or reject anyone's position of morality, JUST LIKE YOU.
"where atheists find their purpose in life..."
Well lets see...…
how about putting food on the table ,A roof over my families heads ,getting my kids educated ,trying to improve the lot of my fellow man ,trying to improve my home my neighbourhood , trying to stop the crazies from screwing up the world ……
lots of stuff really.....
too much to allow me time to encourage the second coming or prepare for the end of times or the rapture or anything "important" like that...… so its just as well non of it is happening really., isn't it...?
no matter how much you want it to.
@JoshB: why endure suffering?
Hamlet asks whether it's better "to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles and by opposing end them", by which I suppose he meant suicide. That's one way out, and I don't look down on people who choose to end intolerable pain by that route.
There's another option. You can discover hidden reserves of courage and strength within yourself, and unexpected kindness in others. You can find people with the wisdom, knowledge, and skills to help you. With those forces at your back, you can drive through your suffering and emerge stronger, better, wiser.
Or you can go down on your knees and blubber to your invisible friend. The ratio of prayers to miracles is roughly a trillion to zero.
"Or you can go down on your knees and blubber to your invisible friend. The ratio of prayers to miracles is roughly a trillion to zero."
Algebe, that ranks as one of my favorite comments EVER, not just on this site, but anywhere! It's completely hilarious and perfectly sums it up at the same time. Kudos!
@Joshb: RE: "God will allow people to perish if they don't believe in Him, not whether they accomplish their purpose."
One of the longest strings of horseshit I have seen on the site this week.
Let me in.
So I can save you.
Save me from what?
From what I will do to you if you don't let me in.
Wondering what your point is?
@Joshb: POINT: "One of the longest strings of horse-shit I have heard this week."
Can you at least expand on that a little bit? Since when is Christianity a works-based faith?