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 thank GOD for one thing in my life....and that is that thousands of us who dont believe wouldnt have someone to not believe in or a place to unite in such a passionate manner lol nothing in life happens for a reaon but everything in life that happens is reason. Only human arrogance makes any of us believe that we deserve or can earn a place greater that where we are now. And only arrogance makes us believe that we are worthy of forever. I am greatful for not being a believer. I savor every moment, every taste, and value every life. We and the ability to reason and think are exactly what the purpose of life is. If not for US appreciating the world it would not exist...we are the creators of everything for without us witnessing the world it itself would have NO purpose. We define the world and everything in of sunrises gives the sunrise of food gives it of god gives god purpose. We can credit ourselves for all that is good and bad and known or witnessed in the world. Humans defining the world and everything in it is our purpose. We are the creators and we are AMAZING
Life forms have evolved following the laws of nature. Human being one of the life forms and with same meaning and purpose as other life forms bestowed by nature of things. The whole universe has no purpose and no meaning it just exists. However with evolution of intelligence we human have created concepts to make sense of the world we live in. We human have evolved into intelligent society where several concepts have been created for coexistent and survival of each member and groups. Our place in society and interactions with fellow human we go through create meaning and purpose of our life. It need's no divinity to tell us what meaning and purpose our life has. Meaning and purpose of life described by religions are mere speculations and see how different they are across religions ? Neither the world nor the human beings could have been created by many GODS, if at all there is there should be just one God and thus just one religion, one book, one philosophy and only one meaning and purpose for every human being who ever lived, living today and to be born till end of humanity. The evidence against GOD lies in this very fact that the people who claimed to know Gods, to be Gods, to be son or prophets, to be incarnations of Gods have all been teaching widely different realities, truths, interpretations and knowledge about one and same thing, this world, this unique world which can have only one set of truths all along its existence. Meaning and purpose of life derived by believers from their religions defer from men to men. But only one can be true. Which one? All can not be true but all can be false. Hence it is unwise to search meaning and purpose of life from falsehood. This leaves you to create and evolve your own meaning and purpose of your own life.

So very true Prem. 

Religions only concentrate on the question of purpose, or Why?

Though there is no rational reason to seek a purpose to things like the universe, because it doesn't provide answers to how to live the life we have.  A divine purpose for existence offers us nothing for living, nor any explanation of how to survive.

Theists cannot understand this, as they think purpose is more important than understanding the reality of the present.

Which means that they put Faith (pretending to know things they do not know) ahead of Knowledge.

I often wonder how they would cope if we gave them some spears or arrows and shoved them into a forest or jungle to fend for themselves.

They would suddenly come to a realization that knowledge of how to hunt and prepare food and survive is more important than worrying about whether their lives have a purpose.


DD, I very much like your thoughts about survival outweighing purpose.

The point of discussion is an atheist can your life have meaning and purpose ? Well, the questioner obviously believes that being theist is fundamental requirement of knowing purpose of one's life. Because a theist by way of his faith aquires the sense of purpose of his life handed over by his religion. A theist having derived purpose of his life from his faith in religious truths really wanders if the persons who don't believe in any religion can have purpose of their life. It also presumes as if every theist knows the purpose of his life. Which is not true. Every theist is told ( conditioned) the purpose of his life by the society he grows into. Here is the irony. Theists of various faith have different purposes of their lives. Some have to work for salvation, some for Nirvana and some for jihad and so on. How come this variety ? Why different purposes of ones life based on faith ? If at all there is a purpose for every human being to be born and live, dictated by divinity, it should be common and same for all. In this fact lies the vanity of theists to believe that theists know the purpose of their lives and that they fulfil it. The theists fail to understand that their contradictory purposes of being alive defeats the claim of knowledge of purposes of their being born and exist. On the other hand an atheist being a realist can derive purpose of his life from the realities around him, his strength and weaknesses and his liking and dislikings. To live long, to enable offspring to stand in his own, to be happy and to enjoy life is the purpose of life for an atheist. Simple enough without any help from Gods or thier middle men.

I get the impression that some theists are stuck on this because in their circle of logic design implies a purpose which, in turn, proves design. Also, it's easier if your "purpose" is neatly set out for you than to determine it for yourself.

Personally I am focussed on contentment. I think the Epicureans had it right.

Human beings evolved into existence according to evolution and according to genetic accident or coincidence or random chance. In terms of biology your "purpose" is just to be a vessel for your DNA and to have kids so that pieces of your DNA will continue to exist or so the species will continue to exist. In terms of having a special mission nor goal in life, the whole concept of the generic meaning or purpose to life that you think you have to have is imaginary. You don't need a deep mind blowing profound meaning or purpose. Certainly there is no such thing as a deep profound meaning which is just "out there" which you can "discover". If you want, for all it matters, you could study philosophy and make up some mind blowing, fancy, profound meaning, or adopt somebody else's ideas. Mainly you just need to find fun hobbies and activities you like to do and you need to find a life which does not revolve around the fact that many people around you are infected with religion and you are not. You need to be time efficient and fit in a good amount of experiences and activitied before you get too old. You need to have peak experiences that come from activities or experiences which do not involve drugs or eating or drinking or any religion-like or trance-like state where the function of parts of your brain are inhibited. A peak experience could be anything from getting a strike in bowling to visiting some spectacular archaeological site to announcing to somebody that religion is bogus. In general the more base, banal, stupid, and vulgar the answers you get to your question are, the more true or useful the answer will be.

Michael, I agree that evolution dances with DNA to create a string of ever-changing life-forms. I also agree there is no god who assigns purpose or meaning. Because there is no evidence of god existing, and because Homo sapiens is a part of a DNA string, and although we are human and think of ourselves as superior to other apes, the reality is, humans are only 3% DNA different than the nearest ape. If there is no god, there is no assigned meaning or purpose. If there is no assigned meaning or purpose, it is the opportunity and responsibility of each human to define his or her own meaning and purpose. 

Too many people let life just happen to them instead of choosing how they live. When you raise the question of purpose, everyone begins to think of big overarching questions, but often the mistakes we make are on a much more mundane level of not living deliberately every day.

Frittering away time on social media, even Atheist Nexus, does not always contribute to my well being. Spending money and time carelessly hurts you in the end. Letting friendships lapse and neglecting your health are common errors. If you can't handle the little things how can you expect to tackle larger issues in your life?

A good exercise is to try, just for one day, to do everything you do deliberately, consciously, intentionally—beginning with the smallest things in life. It may sound silly, but my day begins with making my bed, a thing I learned at home as a child and have done almost all my life. I do it deliberately so that it's neat and straight. That's a good start to the day.

Good advice Doc! 

My god is music. I cherish it just like any Theist would cherish a crusifix. I fully believe your life is what you make it. Just because there isn't a god above looking down on you doesn't mean you life is worthless. Every one of us is stacked, completely chalk full of reasons to live. Don't let people tell you that you have no purpose. Those people are blinded by their so called god. I swear sometimes the most judgemental people are the ones sitting front row at their churches Sunday Mass. They pray to a god for guidance and peace, but yet they lash out on others because your ideals colide. 


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