TNT, my purpose is to enjoy life. As surely as you jest, I enjoy your jest.
The only difference between having a purpose and not having a purpose is whether you've arrived to a conclusion through deliberation of your actions. A purpose is to be sought, then discarded, but not avoided; a problem should be tried even if it shall end in necessary failure, but giving up without trying is tantamount to ignorance. And if ignorance is accepted, then why bother deliberating at all?
This response just about covers it. I feel privileged to have stumbled upon it put so well. Printing it out for future reference.
Yes! Even when I believed in gods, I believed that people were responsible for finding their own purpose or meaning. Purpose bestowed on you by another person or authority is just you becoming a servant.
That said, I don't think life needs to have a purpose or meaning to be happy. I figure as long as you're happy, healthy and generally not being a dick to people, it's all a matter of style. If your life is better and more productive with meaning, that's fine. If you think questions like, "What is the meaning of life?" are silly and meaningless so lets go to the water slides, that's fine, too. I fall a bit more into this latter category.
My feelings are mostly like Sarah's.
The answer is YES. Well, that is what most atheists I know will say (including myself). You build and make your own purpose, you can do it by doing the things that give your life meaning, and what is important to you and the people you love. Remember, we only have one shot at this, so we better be prepared to "face reality in reality's terms". I will dare to say this is something that many theists do as well, although maybe the rationalization is different.
It is a good thing not to be hindered by superstition when you try to live a purposeful life, don't you think?
I question the claim that most theists make that without god, there is no purpose or meaning. If we take christianity for example (and yes, that is a lowercase "c"), the idea is that you are living this life based on god's plan for you, and you must accept this. When you look at this closely, you realize that if you are going to get your "purpose" and "meaning" from the plan that said god has for you, you are nothing but a "player" in a game (mind you, some theists think this is a grandiose game). Doesn't this way of thinking cheapen life? What kind of purpose do you get by falling into "god's plan"? Purpose and meaning become nothing more than a script to follow.
Just my two cents.
According to the believers, without their god, there's no purpose, no morality, no meaning ... and probably no hot fudge to go over your ice cream! The level of dependency on their deity that they exhibit is as staggering as it is frightening.
Besides which ... who really wants to have the purpose and/or meaning of their lives handed to them, take it or leave it? Not me, nor any other atheist I know.
...and probably no hot fudge to go over your ice cream?
Loren, I consider it one of my purposes to tell believers that hot fudge and ice cream were both created by the progeny of cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae or pond scum.
As for believers, their leaders need followers. We non-believers will do well to keep them out of high public office. It's one of our purposes.