Saturday, January 29, 2011

Atheists believe there is no purpose to human life!

Christians often assert that without a higher being/intelligence assigning his divine plan to you, it is impossible to have any purpose to your life.  Since atheists lack a belief in a god or gods, some Christians take this to mean that atheists perceive everyone to have no purpose during their lifetimes.  These Christians are correct on two points.  One, atheists lack a belief in a god or gods; and two, most atheists reject the notion that someone has an intrinsic purpose to their life.  Let me reiterate the definition of atheism because understanding this definition fully should stop a few common misconceptions about atheists.  Atheism is the lack of belief in a god or gods.  Let me say it again.  Atheism is the lack of belief in a god or gods.  Not, "Atheism is the belief that no gods exist" or "Atheism is the belief that nothing exists" or "Atheism is a worldview that preaches science".  Most atheists reject the notion that someone has an intrinsic purpose to their life. What do I mean by "an intrinsic purpose"?  An intrinsic purpose is a natural, inherent property that something holds that would give it meaning.  It takes some kind of cognitive feature, such as the human brain,  to give something meaning.  Speaking from my point of view, humans don't come with pre-packaged purposes.  We decide for ourselves what our purpose to our life is going to be; not some god.  In other words, you decide what kind of meaning/purpose you want your life to have.  Furthermore, I would consider this more empowering than the Christian view that God decides what your purpose in life is.  If God assigns you a purpose, then you are not free to change it (considering God is omnipotent).  Not only could this raise questions about free will, but I would classify this situation as a form of entrapment.  Sure, you could say that God lets you do as you please, but has an ultimate goal for you.  However, why wouldn't God make it so that you could pursue whatever purpose in life you wanted (assuming that God can make up the rules).  Humans give themselves their purpose/meaning to life.  I challenge everyone reading this post to ask yourself, "What is my purpose in life going to be?"  You can have multiple purposes, extravagant goals, things you would like to accomplish or do, and assign whatever meaning you want to your own life.  Finally, after deciding on your purpose, I want you to go after it whole-heartedly; make something of your life.  If your self-assigned purpose is to be top of your academic class, then you should work hard and earn (not get) good grades.  If your life's purpose is to have and support a loving, nurturing family, then work towards that.  Yes, even if you want to be a Baptist minister, then go to seminary and pursue that goal with passion and dedication.  Who is anyone else to tell you what the meaning of your life should be?  I would like everyone to lay out your purpose/goals/meaning in your life and start working towards maintaining that meaning, reaching those goals, and achieving that purpose.  My purposes in my life are threefold:  get a good career in the field of Economics, start a family, and promote rational thinking, skepticism, and atheism in all communities across the world.  That is my motivational speech for the week!

If you have any questions, disagree with me, or want to start a discussion, I encourage you to e-mail me at!  If it is more comfortable or convenient for you, you may post in the comments section below.  Have a great rest of the weekend!

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