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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Richard, do you have any guesses for why they were sexually repressed?

Besides their having no Viagra?

Tom, this is a complex question with many variables affecting the social behavior.  In a little digression, I’m a strong admirer of Carl Sagan.  Dr. Lester Grinspoon of Harvard Medical School (whom I brought into A/N) was Carl’s best friend and the two actually turned on together, but that’s another story. 

The relevant point is that Carl impugns St. Augustine of Hippo as the culprit for much of the church’s deviant beliefs.  After reading Carl’s writings, I’d conjecture St. Augustine did more damage to the human condition than any of history’s great dictators and tyrants.  Carl’s says that St. Augustine more than anybody brought on the Dark Ages by stifling human curiosity and instilling in his followers unquestioning obedience, servitude and humility.  In the City of God, the saint claims the lower part of the body is “the devil’s workshop” and associated the healthy and natural reproductive process with sin and evil.  A philosophical controversy over “dualism” ensued.

I’m pretty heavy into memetics in spite of its being considered a pseudoscience.  To me it answers a lot of questions.  From the point of view of the Christian memeplex, vertical transmission (father to son) is the surest and most efficient way to replicate over the long term.  In other words, indoctrinating children keeps the memeplex alive generation after generation.  So a tight knit family with tightly controlled sexuality is the way to go.  Notice the church prohibits all non-reproductive sex (oral, anal, not just adulterous as in the ten commandments) as sinful and abomination.  In Catholic school, I remember being told masturbation was a sin as well as a risk to health.  Also, this may sound shocking but it’s true, I was there:  I remember distinctly Brother George telling his all-boy religion class that women receive no pleasure from sexual union but do it only to obey God’s will to continue the race (i.e., Be fruitful and multiply).  I was 14 years old at the time and the deceitful misconception stayed with me a long time, although I never really believed it.

Another possible answer is sexual repression is a strong means of control, as in Islam.  Imagine being a male teenager growing up in Teheran.  The Koran says a female must “not reveal her beauty” except to her husband.  No wonder these kids are willing to commit suicide or run in front of tanks like mine sweeps.  Their own body becomes their worst enemy.  They never get to see a female body until they’re married. 


Capitalism greed is good me me  Friedmanism exploit the weak

much the same mind set ....slavery built the modern world 

arseholes  pontificate  from ivory towers 




Dirty sex 

Richard, it's a no-brainer to people whose minds are functioning as nature intends and are happy. People whose minds religion has damaged are unhappy and have to reason their way to health.

Here, in a list, are the four options in the reasoning process.

1. A god exists and I obey the rules. I deny myself pleasure, die, and win heaven.

2. A god exists and I disobey the rules. I have pleasure, die, and lose heaven.

3. No god exists and I obey the rules. I deny myself pleasure and die.

4. No god exists and I disobey the rules. I have pleasure and die.

Believers (on line 1), wanting to win heaven, will renounce pleasure.

Nonbelievers (on line 2) will maximize pleasure.

A logician might show the reasoning in a 2-by-2 table. I use hyphens for spaces so A/N software won't compress them and make the table unreadable.

-----------------------I obey--------------I disobey

A god exists-------I win heaven---------I lose heaven

No god exists----I win/lose nothing----I win/lose nothing

Religion requires people to be unhappy so a desire for a post-life happiness will confuse their reasoning.

Does all that make sense?

There's an irony in this. If your motivation is heaven, then you're not a true believer. It's a lose-lose proposition.

But I will disagree that religions require people to be unhappy.... not any more so than a nation requiring you to follow its laws, or a fraternity requiring you to take part in its traditions... or a father requiring you to follow his rules of the house. Any kind of social commitment contradicts freedom.

Jonathan, Any kind of social commitment contradicts freedom.

That goes without saying, but I'd use "limits" freedom rather than contradicts.



Anarchy of the jungle ??

"It is with government as with medicine. Its only business is the choice of evils. Every law is an evil, for every law is an infraction of liberty."

—Jeremy Bentham




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