Life does have a purpose
This is what Christian propaganda material tells us.
Among the many life forms that evolved on the earth, human beings have done rather well for themselves. We have truly acted as the vice-regents of the earth and utilized most of earth’s resources for ourselves. The purpose of every common man is to seek as much happiness as he can find. This couldn’t be said to be the purpose of our lives. A few of us do go beyond personal happiness and lead a relatively more purposeful life, but this is again purely in the interest of the humans only. Mahatma Gandhi, George Washington, Edison and Einstein are all important to us, not to the universe.
If a creator god has created us with a purpose, then our existence should be important to the universe. Leave aside the universe, are we relevant to at least the earth? How much difference would it make to earth if we were not existing here? Are we more important to the earth than the earthworms? The universe is full of wasted material and space. How much more relevant are we to the universe compared to the wasted material? Are we glorifying ourselves by saying that our life has a purpose?
As for being relevant to the earth ...
I'm pretty sure that as far as the Earth is concerned, it would be better off without us, unless you count the vague possibility of us eventually spreading its biosphere to other planets. I guess you could look at it as reproduction on a planetary scale.
That's assuming we can manage colonization of other planets before we wipe ourselves out.
The basic properties of life is replication, metabolism, organic matter & brain. The brain calculates the difference between the estimated future and the required future, which is the actions that we should take (if possible). As individuals we define what our purpose or purposes can & will be. It is important to me that future technological advances in the sciences are essential to our survival. Colonization of other planets & space exploration should be one of those purposes.
We as atheists do not believe that god has created us with the purpose of replication. We are entirely the product of the nature on the earth, not even of the universe as a whole. The earth certainly hasn't produced us for replication, what then is the purpose of our existance in relation to earth or the universe?
Our existance is certainly very important to us in more than one respect. The universe does not recognise any one of them.
The meaning of life,the purpose if you will, is to live consistently and in harmony with Nature. As far as glorifying ourselves. that is a christian thing to do. We are relevant to the earth as temporary caretakers. We are more relevant to each other.
You find your own purpose in life. What gives you a sense of purpose? What most profoundly gives you a high excitement?
There's a poem by Stephen Crane:
The sole, purpose of the universe is to create stars, and everything else is a by-product -- including life. And as has been well said, the purpose of life is to create life, regardless of the lofty goals we set ourselves. Since we are really no different from other animals (we have to eat, drink, eliminate waste and are consumed by sex) it is vanity to think we are more "important" than the nematode or the worm or the bacterium. If they disappeared the soil would lose much of its fertility. If man disappeared, I can thnk of nothing catastrophic that would occur.
To argue that there is too much wasted space and material in the universe is a homocentric attitude that the universe was made for us. The universe is hostile to life. If the earth should lose its magetic polarity during a reversal, we will lose our atmosphere and get fried by radiation - or a direct hit by a large comet could destroy us. Life is short and very tenuous, and the universe wouldn't miss us.
Can you tell me the difference between a life without purpose and freedom? They both seem to be expressing the same thing only from different perspectives. Purpose requires obligation, obligation infers limitation, limitation constrains freedom.
Philip, I'm a nuts-and-bolts type and find philosophy too slippery and unconstrained, so this question may be more suitable for someone else.
On its face I could agree with your arguement, but, since I believe that every living thing has a purpose -- to stay alive -- our freedom is always constrained. So in that case are freedom is limited from the outset.
I hope that made some sense.
every living thing has a purpose -- to stay alive as an individual
and to reproduce to stay alive as a specie.
That's true, Amer. The reason I didn't include the preservation of the species is because it's a result of the second most poweful drive in the animal Kingdom -- sex -- and not a driver in itself.
Thats what species are doing, reproducing their copies. Sexually reproducing are doing it on one step higher level. Reproducing better copies. Coming to orignal discussion, it is a purpose in itself. Leave behind better generations, better earth and a better universe.