As An Atheist Can Your Life Have Purpose and Meaning?

I was wondering what other people thought about this.

I realize we weren't born with a purpose. No creator or "higher calling".

But as a non believer can your life have meaning and purpose without god?

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Thanks, Steph, your encouragement means a lot to me.  There’s not too many artists in the world that have fallen in love with their own creation as I have.  Cynthia even comes to me sometimes in my dreams.

Here’s the ending: 

Cynthia finished her champagne without sitting down.  “You know, the semester will be finished soon and I’ll have some free time.  This summer I think I’ll write a novel.  I mean … when I was looking in the mirror upstairs, I got a great idea.  I said to myself, ‘You know, Cynthia, you’re not bad looking.’  If I dyed my hair red, bought a sexy wardrobe, I bet I could go to the city and knock ‘em dead.  I’m going to write a novel about how I decide to quit this boring town and run away to New York City to become an exotic dancer.  I wonder what life would be like.” 

She placed her right hand on her hip and waggled her skinny ass like a flirtatious goose.  Everyone chuckled that someone as innocent and scholarly as the professor could come up with such an idiotic, harebrained idea. But they knew Cynthia and they loved her.    



Thank you Richard for adding the ending to your story here! Very good!

 I’m going to write a novel about how I decide to quit this boring town and run away to New York City to become an exotic dancer.  I wonder what life would be like.” 

Just a little enticement, Steph. That's preicsely what happened to this prim, skinny-ass, science professor.  Just a taste of what the "Atheist Novel" on the right is about. 

Sounds awesome!
I would love to read your novel.

Since my life is brimmed with meaning and purpose--and god/God has nothing to do with it--I suppose I must answer to the "can" with a "must be the case, since it is." As an adult whose childhood was spent being thoroughly saturated with Fundamentalist Christian influences familywide, I admit to long-time struggle with those (now deemed preposterous) beliefs. And they've left their mark(s) indeed. I cannot imagine growing up without such influences. Ergo, without such polluting, invasive mental/psychological toxins. To those who were spared such: I envy you. With a smile, grateful that it is possible to have a history like that. For anyone. I do understand that people steeped in god/God beliefs have difficulty accepting that meaning can come independently, separately. I'm tempted to turn the question around: "As a Fundamentalist Christian, can your life have purpose and meaning?"

Well stated Chuck! I grew up with mad church involvement too. My experience moved from standard Presbyterian to Evangelical. I spent a minimum of 4 days each week doing church activities and went on frequent weekend retreats (aka brainwashing sessions).

Ironically, I remember the church turning us on to a video about the Moonies to help us guard against being sucked in to a cult. I ran into a friend from church years later and we both said at the same time, "We were in a cult!"

Coming out of the other side of that kind of indoctrination took years, but the experience has made me a deadly debater of the faithful.

Good post, Chuck.  Doesn't it bother you that these people think there's no meaning or reason to live without God?

They never tried it. 

@ Richard G


It's quite sad, actually. And yes, it bothers me that they hold themselves in such a limiting/limited state. Handcuffed, as it were, from truly living. Lives led of quiet desperation, I suppose. Incomplete human beings.

Meaning what's all this sh**about meaning ...we are... then we die  full stop

 the world we are born into is but a blink then all will be gone

lets talk about f***g greed the root of everything  cruelty abuse torture of animals creatures boiled alive hung up alive and abused to induce better tasting meat  slaughter of the mighty Wale.. horses donkeys..treated as if they were nothing more than a play thing a tool  they don't run on f****g   diesel   could go on and on and on and on

ain't the human fantastic  worthless not worthy of a GOD EVEN A BAD god  ME ME ME ME ME ME

hear hear

Happiness is the only good.  The time to be happy is now.  The place to be happy is here. The way to be happy is to make others so.
-- Robert Green Ingersoll

If that isn't the basis for having a dynamic and fulfilling purpose to one's life, it'll do until something better comes along.

RGI could have stopped after three after three of the above sentences.

He didn't, and the word I want to use is "servile" but I have no evidence of his emotional state at the time he wrote, or first uttered, the fourth sentence.

He could have said "A time to be happy is now" or "One of several times to be happy is now." Ditto for "place".

His use of "The" marks him as a man with tunnel vision. The world has more opportunities than can be seen while in a tunnel. Especially deep in a tunnel.

The NOAD defines "servile" as "of or characteristic of a slave or slaves". The Xianity I knew put a lot of effort into making me servile and for a time succeeded.

I'd been an agnostic for twenty years and a political activist (kind of radical) for five years when I heard a brother (fifteen years younger) say words much like RGI's fourth sentence above. I told my brother he sounded servile.

He got over it; he became and remains all but intolerably demanding. Like his older brother.




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