I've been waylaid with a pressing question that needs answers.

I was watching a video and again confronted with something that has bothered me for years. So I wrote the maker of the video in the hopes they might have an answer. I'll leave the letter here as well, maybe someone can finally answer my question.

Hello, I recently watched your video "Countering the Moral Argument part" 1 and 2 and was reminded of a question that has been bothering me for many years. I sincerely hope you see this message, can respond, and hopefully give me some clarity.

 

I heard in your reply the mention of Nihilism, in fact I've heard the topic come up countless times before throughout debates on morality. I've looked in to Friedrich Neitzsche's work, though I have not read all of it. I have also sought out any other work I can find, and yet either through some failure on my part or some other unknown factor, I have seen very little on the topic of Nihilism itself.

 

This bothers me on several levels for several reasons. Before I explain let me give a short description of what I understand Nihilism to be, essentially at its core that life, and the universe are meaningless. Or to put it another way that there is no intrinsic meaning in anything. This strikes me as the default position for a person to have. Ever since I was first exposed to the word Nihilist and discovered its meaning I automatically accepted that I am in fact a Nihilist. What troubles me is while I openly embrace this fact every time I hear the word Nihilism brought up in any setting its tied to concepts like Anarchy, depression, moral depravity. Yet I have never considered myself to be an Anarchist, or depressed, and although I admit openly I'm a fucking pervert, I have ethics I hold to that I think are reasonable to have and desirable and worthy to uphold. Why if the universe, government, our lives, and in everything else if there is no inherent meaning, must people become depressed, destructive, or debauched? No one has ever even proven to me that a meaningless universe is somehow a bad thing to begin with, the point is simply assumed by everyone. At least that's how it seems from my perspective.

 

My personal background on this and why I see things as I do starts with the moment I was "saved" and baptized, which is the exact moment I became an Atheist incidentally. Before then I assumed supernatural things must exist after all no one would have a reason to lie to me correct? I was only like 6 or 7 years old when it happened. As soon as I got home from church I reflected on what had just happened and realized one of two things, either god didn't exist, or god didn't want me. Why? because when I became saved nothing happened. I felt nothing. I asked my mom how one knows they've been saved. She said "did you pray and accept Jesus? yes, then you are saved" this was patently absurd to me. I realized instantly she didn't know if she was saved either. I spent the rest of my life living as an Atheist hiding within churches, which created a host of problems for me not relevant to this topic.

 

Once I accepted that god likely did not exist (or at least no one even knew or could prove he existed) the next logical conclusion was that there was no intrinsic meaning. I never bought into the notion of an afterlife as there was no reason to think such things as heaven or hell existed and often contemplated my own death. Early on this concept terrified me, yet I continued to ask myself why it should scare me. I eventually realized that though I was not afraid of being dead (after all I won't know I'm dead so why should it bother me), my fear was that I had so many things I wanted to do, and not nearly enough time to accomplish all my desires and dreams. In that realization, I found my raison d'etre, to fulfill any and all potential I may have within me while I yet live. Admittedly I've sucked at accomplishing much of anything despite my best efforts. However, wallowing in self-pity will accomplish nothing, so I simply reflect on my mistakes analyze the situation and press forward. I find most justifications and standards for secular humanism, and secular morality to be quite agreeable. More importantly I've never seen any evidence at all that Christians do not choose their morality any differently than I do, except for their hanging onto a rather reprehensible book to justify some really shitty ethical standards.

 

So, my question is this, why is Nihilism a bad thing? Am I mistaken in assuming I am in fact a Nihilist? Am I a bad person for thinking the way i do?  Why is the stance on Nihilism not better explained? I can't think of any further questions at this time, I'm just a lowly computer science major without the qualifications or tools needed to fully answer these questions. It seems you have studied these topics at length, so I hope you can help.

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Comment by BenGee on February 28, 2017 at 4:44am

Correction "Well said, and thank you Gwen" its 3am here >.>

Comment by BenGee on February 28, 2017 at 4:44am

Hehe, well thank you Gwen. I have heard people say "at least I'm not a nihilist" and I challenge them a bit. I mean what makes nihilism a bad thing? All negative connotations are assumed. I have been pretty open about being a nihilist. Then again my little brother is an Anarchist, maybe it's some weird genetic trait lol.

Thanks Bertold, I am too :)

Comment by Gwen on February 28, 2017 at 4:39am
I just think about the big Lebowski when people talk about nihilists. Dude atleast its an ethos.
Comment by Bertold Brautigan on February 28, 2017 at 12:24am

To the extent that nihilism means believing in nothing, I'm an adherent.

Comment by BenGee on February 27, 2017 at 11:06pm

Agreed, though you make the meaning in your life. It's not something to be found outside yourself but inside.

Comment by Compelledunbeliever on February 27, 2017 at 8:39pm

I care about people. I like to help them and animals,nature etc this gives me purpose.... The universe does not care it will exist when mankind, the earth, and our star is forgotten. In this since life can seem meaningless. In this since it is. None the less I still can find meaning in my life here and now. It is not stupid or rash to accept reality. I have no problem accepting both meaning in my life and no meaning in possibly trillions of years.

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