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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I agree with the Nihilist view to a point -we are here by chance most likely.  I would add that now things have changed.  Our cognition IS NOT an illusion.

If you can perceive beauty, comedy, or anything of the sort -you've passed a simple test for a reason to go on, past simple replication.

When it all is boiled down, meaning - no meaning, I say the ABILITY to even ask the question also allows the person to imbue meaning.  

Fine, there's no purpose.  So let's make one.

- i like your posts tom (i can't shake being an optimist)

I agree with John Carey.  The universe does not need a purpose.  And, each of us can live with his own purpose in mind.  I think intelligent people are introspective enough to think about how we want to live our lives and what goals to pursue.  We GIVE our lives purpose.  Isn't that better than a god who says our purpose is to worship him?

There you have it.

*The purpose of (human) life is to MAKE PURPOSE.


That is insane, that's the exact opposite of reality. The concept of an individual having "a purpose" may well be the most destructive force on earth. If all the crappy purposeful leaders of the society/world and all the crappy purposeful industry leaders who with their purpose to acquire wealth and subdue the masses had not had their dumpy 'purpose' the the planet would not be the overpopulated, garbage infested, dead wildlife place it is turning into. And mostly, purpose is what drives faithers and missionaries to bend other cultures to their ilk.

The establishment of "purpose" is like the search for "enlightenment with the Buddhists, or the search for "Heaven" for Abrahamer faithers, it serves as a means to make oneself appear better than all others around. Purpose is to me an 'evil' word.

As true hikers' etiquette states, when going into the forest, leave as you entered, "pack it in, pack it out", that is the opposite of purpose.

But because there is so much "evil" purpose on the planet, my objective that I set for myself as a biologist, is to contribute to undoing the the mess caused by people with purpose.

Like you, purpose has a negative connotation to me.  I think of it in relation to a creator.  A creator gives purpose to his creations.

However, after looking-up the various meanings, it can also mean an object to be reached; a target; an aim; a goal; a result that is desired; an intention.  So, it depends on which definition we choose, what we think about purpose.  

I guess "meaning" also has several definitions, but again, the one I first think about, which is "what is the meaning of life", I'm inclined to say life has no meaning.  

Again, both words have a negative connotation to me.  I've just met too many people (in and out of religion), that try to force their meaning and purpose on me, and I resent it.

Spud thanks for your take on purpose - I agree that it gives a negative connotation - like a religious belief system.

I will take it to mean goal - like you stated it could mean in the definitions.

Life has no meaning - agreed.

But because there is so much "evil" purpose on the planet, my objective that I set for myself as a biologist, is to contribute to undoing the the mess caused by people with purpose.


You seem to define purpose in moral terms. But purpose itself to me is amoral – it is simply a self-described reason for existing or for taking action towards a desired goal. Indeed, many humans have set their objectives on goals which are harmful and destructive to others – but many have not. By my definition, you ironically stated your purpose when you said you wish to contribute to the undoing of the mess caused by people with purpose. But perhaps this  is only a semantic misunderstanding.

That is the 'traditional' definition of "purpose of life", of course we can twist definitions all we want to satisfy our needs.

But the word 'objective' is much more relevant/appropriate is one sets one's own objective. Objective and purpose are entirely different.

The first couple noun/verb definitions from may clarify this issue...


1. the reason for which something exists or is done, made, used, etc.
2. an intended or desired result; end; aim; goal.
verb (used with object)
6. to set as an aim, intention, or goal for oneself.
7. to intend; design.
Morality is not mentioned.
The word 'purpose' is used as a synonym for 'objective' in several instances if you examine

Yes indeed, you can prioritise what dictionnaries tell you is the secondary definition, that is your prerogative. I'll stick to the main concensus, science and communication function much better that way.

We don't really "perceive beauty, comedy, anything of the sort", those are interpretations of reality based on social conventions.

Light we perceive, cold hot we perceive, but what you've described is cultural interpretation of reality, which varies across cultures.

So if you existed with never knowing any other person ever... You couldn't say something was pleasing to the eye??

That does not compute


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