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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Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, it is an interpretation. If you had grown up without human culture, you would not even consider that. The consider of beauty establishes pecking order within tribes.

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

We construct purpose based on individual emotions, desire, and necessity. But making purpose is not “the purpose” of human life, merely one attribute of homo sapiens. It could be said that we are bipedal primates, use speech to communicate, are naturally omnivorous, and individually assign meaning to our lives. Again, this is not a bad thing, but only one aspect of human beings.

We GIVE our lives purpose.

No argument. This goes back to my premise that the purpose and meaning for any individual is entirely subjective.  And, given that there in reality is no “god” or “gods” defining human purpose, then purpose and meaning have always been an artificial construct of man, many of whom are simply operating under the delusion of divine guidance.

I try to be neither optimist nor pessimist, but rather perceive reality as it is the best I can. Perhaps that is my own self-deluded purpose :-)

"We give our lives purposes."

Only to the extent that we give our socks purposes. The assigned purposes are imposed for some other goal; they are not inherent purposes or any transcendental concept that people imagine when they refer to "THE" purpose or meaning of life. You can give your life AN arbitrary purpose that will never be THE purpose.

I agree with you Jonathan Chang - very logical statements that get us thinking critically. Appreciate you taking the time to respond.

Purpose isn't a constant. The purpose of the baby is to get all its needs met through others; to be dependent. A young person's purpose is to break away from dependence on others to become counter-dependent. A mentally healthy, mature, adult's purpose is to become interdependent with mates, children, co-workers, and all sorts of interactions with others. The final purpose is to become dependent once again as physical and mental capacities decline.

Individuals bring to these processes different interests and abilities and it is up to the individual to find his/her own strengths and meaning to his/her life. Don't ask for permission or for direction; do ask for information and training.

Just as a sock has purposes, so, too, does an individual. It depends. 


Evolution is the purpose, not only for homosapians but for all life.

Sorry, but COMPLETE BS.

Evolution is not a "purpose", evolution is the consequence of mixing and matching and survival of genetics over time, completely circumstantial to its context.

Great, I never thought of that. Thanks for the correction.

I had heart surgery a few years ago and I told the surgeon I wanted an ophthorectumy, cut the nerve going from the eyeball to the rectum so I would not have such a shitty outlook on life. I went to sleep with the surgical team and the team outside surgery laughing. What a nice way to go under. 

Well, it worked. Going into surgery, I knew there is no meaning to life and no purpose. I woke up knowing that I breath air, drink and eat, poop and pee and fifty years from now, no one will know the difference. However, I have unique experiences and understanding about life and its foibles; I have nothing to lose being an activist in the interest of combating domestic violence, poverty, domination, oppression and exploitation. 

I may not make a difference to others; I do make a difference for people I care about and for me. That is enough for me. 


That's hillarious Joan! I'm sure my wife would agree that I too could benefit some days from an ophthorectumy.

Joan, you are lucky to live a life full of meanings, thats what makes you respectfull among us.

Love that story Joan!  Also like that definition of Curmudgeon.  I just need to develop my humor more to become a card carrying one.




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