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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Steph, I’ve been following the shenanigans of Rick Warren for years.  I even mention him years ago on my first video about the endmeme.  (By “following” I mean watching what he does rather than as a sheepish member of his flock.)  I said it then and I’m still saying it:  these pastors and holy men/women have too much power.  They’re opportunists taking advantage of human ignorance. 


Who are some of the atheists mentioned in your referenced book?  I hope Bertrand Russell is in there—a great man.  Ever since reading him in college, I’ve been a critic of Christian values and beliefs.  He was an ahead-of-his-time intellectual, mathematician and scholar; so they put him in jail.  Same goes for the eminent Alan Turing; is he mentioned?


Catch my other video also that mentions Gov Bobby Jindal of Louisiana.  While in college, he assisted at an exorcism of his girlfriend.  He declares he saw and smelled sulfurous fumes emanating from her body during the ceremony (ritual).  I couldn’t make this up if I tried and he’s the fuckin’ governor of the state. 






After all the scandals among the televangelists and megachurch preachers over the last decade, no one should be blamed for thinking they are all in it for the money and the power. The love of Jesus has nothing to do with it.

Sorry for the belated reply. I went on a birding trip to the coast. I just got back today.
I'll check your You Tube link.
Bertrand Russell is mentioned, however Turing is not. I would have included him myself.
There are so many Atheists mentioned it would be a very long list to type. Maybe you can buy the book sometime- it is very good.
I appreciate all your replies here. I've learned a great deal from you. Thanks so very much Richard.
The terms "meaning" and "purpose" need to be defined.

Meaning? To whom? Do you refer to some sort of symbolic meaning such as the "meaning" of someone's suffering in a novel, like the artistic meaning? Or, do you refer to is it "important"? Well, it is to me. It's very meaningful to a few other people, and somewhat meaningful to others I positively touch or do something for. It might even be negatively "meaningful" to some people who I either do harm to or somehow offend. I seriously doubt that my existence has been known to the readers here until now, so my life holds no "meaning" to them.

Life has got no cosmic purpose. My life had no overall purpose - just a series of little purposes.

In another 10,000 years, only a handfull of our contempories will have any influence on people then - should human kind survive that long. I am not so egotistical as to believe that I will be one of them. I doubt I will even be remembered 100 years from now - after all, how many of us know all of the biographies of all our great great grandparents? If we know their names, when and where they lived and died we're doing good.

We get told all the time of human purpose, and how can we "play god" by either preventing a conception or birth, or allowing a death to occur in its own time? The idea is that "life" is sacred, and quality of life has nothing to do with it. Or, is there some sort of purpose to having as many people as possible - sort of a cosmic game of "how many can we pack into a phone booth"? Does it mean anything other than the writers of scripture and religious leaders want to maximize their power? Does life for its own sake - stressing quantity over quality - serve some purpose? To whom? Not to those living such minimal lives, nor to those who are close to them.
Thank you Beth. You are correct that the terms need to be defined.
Thanks for your thoughtful reply.

Beth, I too like your putting so much well-stated thought in your reply.

I want to remark on your question "Or, is there some sort of purpose to having as many people as possible - sort of a cosmic game of 'how many can we pack into a phone booth'?"

It reminded me of the time I saw a full-page newspaper ad attacking the organization Zero Population Growth. It had been placed by THE major bank in Phoenix where I once lived.

"Why would a major bank attack ZPG?", I wondered until I did as investigative reporters do and followed the trail of money. Of course, with a population decline, the bank would finance fewer home loans.

Were I to see such an ad now, I would wonder if the bank is owned by the woman-hating Xians who these days also own the Republican Party.

It's sooo neat that you even ask this question, when the majority of people NEVER ponder it.  There really is a beautiful answer to it. Does life have a purpose?  The lack of having an answer leads to so many of the problems today.  "Life is misery, why get out of bed? why go on living? HEY, I'll smoke some crack and not care."

Orderism offers this. Your purpose in life is two fold.

1. Your evolutionary, animalistic purpose is to reproduce and rear the young until survivable.

2. Your marvelous mind is free. It's free to make up a personal life's purpose and follow it.

The trick is, your life's purpose doesn't have to be the ULTIMATE PURPOSE -it can be ANYTHING as long as it's meaningful to you.  If you follow your personal purpose you'll be happy. AND if it's for the good of all, it's even better.

Now, DID your life have meaning? Yes it did (or does) -but that's another subject

Hello John!

Orderism sounds very interesting - I notice you have a link to the website on your page. I will check that out.


 Atheists have been big achiever and served their purpose and they have mattered the most historically.  from ancient times the greatest achiever  Buddha and in Modern times Einstein.  Atheist are serious about the tasks they undertake and fulfill it with a great zeal and seriousness.

so what???


That's a good question and the answer to it will vary greatly from person to person. Individuality is the advantage atheists share in this regard. Unlike our theist counterparts, purpose in life is not mandated in scripture.

The only true purpose you have in life is to find and give meaning to it. After long periods of self-examination over a lifetime you reach your own conclusions. This position is one of the few that I have thought about where relativism seems to be an acceptable answer.

If relativism, in regards to the meaning/purpose of life, is not a sufficient answer then I can only think of two possible alternatives (then again, I haven't given much thought to the topic):

1) The purpose and meaning of life has a definite, undeniable answer. Any other meaning(s) you think you have discovered is misguided. [Theists and biologists might agree with this one, though for drastically different reasons]


2) Life has no purpose, any self determined "meaning" is only an illusion created by the individual (or masses) for personal benefit. [This one holds more ground but falls prey to this exception: at the very least, our purpose in life is to die.]

One thing to note is that I define "meaning" as something that one discovers through thought and leads to happiness. Also, it is not bound to morality. There are those who make it their purpose in life to benefit from the misfortunes of others, but that is an entirely different discussion.

So yes, an atheist can have purpose and meaning in their life. More so than their devote theist counterparts in my opinion.




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