Author Topic: Without God, Life Has No Meaning...  (Read 16959 times)

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Offline William

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Re: Without God, Life Has No Meaning...
« Reply #29 on: September 18, 2013, 07:47:05 AM »
It was no coincident that the dinosaurs were wiped out, mankind could not have survived as well with such large predators hunting them down. 

Junebug72, so what purpose did God have for the dinosaurs?  :) What was the meaning of their lives - of their appearance and extinction?
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Offline Add Homonym

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Re: Without God, Life Has No Meaning...
« Reply #30 on: September 18, 2013, 07:58:03 AM »
Then there is that added bonus $$$ fossil fuels.  I see no coincidences here at all these are things that could only be accomplished by a brilliant, compassionate and loving Creator/ the force that holds it all together. IMO

Pretty certain that a real God could have come up with better energy sources than stuff that fucks up the atmosphere.

Also that fact that we are here, sans dinosaurs, is totally anthropic principle.
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Offline screwtape

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Re: Without God, Life Has No Meaning...
« Reply #31 on: September 18, 2013, 08:28:39 AM »
If there is no God and our world ceases to exist at some point, then the value of whatever you contributed to the world is limited to only that existence and subsequently becomes meaningless.

Thanks for explaining.

If the xian propaganda is true and there is an eternal afterlife, then everything you do here - with the exception of accepting jesus H - is irrelevant as well.  Is that not what xians say themselves? 

And it does not change the point I made, that god-given pupropse is just as arbitrary as having your own purpose.  The only difference is who gets to choose.



It was no coincident that the dinosaurs were wiped out, mankind could not have survived as well with such large predators hunting them down.  We would be more like rats hiding underground to keep from being somebodies supper.  Then there is that added bonus $$$ fossil fuels.  I see no coincidences here at all these are things that could only be accomplished by a brilliant, compassionate and loving Creator/ the force that holds it all together.

I bet the dinosaurs thought the same thing about themselves for about 150 million years.  After humans are extinct, in about 150 years, the next dominant form of life will also think how wonderful god is to have wiped us out so they could flourish and how impossible it is to have been a coincidence...



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Offline Anfauglir

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Re: Without God, Life Has No Meaning...
« Reply #32 on: September 18, 2013, 08:36:39 AM »
And it does not change the point I made, that god-given pupropse is just as arbitrary as having your own purpose.  The only difference is who gets to choose.

Given the choice between determining one's own purpose, and submitting to a purpose decreed by another, I know which one I would regard as more laudable.

Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
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Offline wheels5894

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Re: Without God, Life Has No Meaning...
« Reply #33 on: September 18, 2013, 10:48:39 AM »
... IF WE COULD ALL ONLY SEE THAT OUR PURPOSE IS TO LOVE ONE ANOTHER SO THAT THIS PRECIOUS GIFT WE CALL LIFE CAN CONTINUE INFINITELY.  WE ARE HERE FOR A REASON.  Everything out there in here it's all one big part of everything!!! ....

love, jb

This is excellent, June, and really says it all. This is just what I think. Now, why, why, do we have to include a mythical character (god) to help us out? We could all do this together without  god(s) or religion getting in the way.
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Offline BibleStudent

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Re: Without God, Life Has No Meaning...
« Reply #34 on: September 18, 2013, 01:22:13 PM »
But this precisely misses the point being made. Why do we need meaning or value on a cosmic scale in order to have meaning or value at all? Your position seems to have assumed that your specific interpretation, of your specific theology, is required in order to have meaning or purpose. Why should we buy your definition of what meaning is?

Not sure how I am missing the point. You weren’t really making an argument. You just threw out the comments and asked what people thought.

Furthermore, no one (at least not I) is expecting you to buy into our definition of what meaning is.

I do not argue that life without God is completely void of any meaning or purpose. However, when you compare having a purpose that could potentially have eternal meaning with a purpose having non-eternal meaning, the value and meaning of the purpose becomes significant…..which is why you might hear certain theists make the comments you highlighted in the OP.

If you are certain that there is no afterlife, then enjoy making whatever contributions you decide to make while you are alive.

Offline BibleStudent

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Re: Without God, Life Has No Meaning...
« Reply #35 on: September 18, 2013, 01:27:30 PM »
If the xian propaganda is true and there is an eternal afterlife, then everything you do here - with the exception of accepting jesus H - is irrelevant as well.  Is that not what xians say themselves? 

How could you possibly conclude that it is irrelevant? You could say that it might be irrelevant but not that it is.

Just as an example......
If somehow I manage to influence the path a person takes in life and that path ultimately leads to the glorious eternity God promises, then whatever influence I had is not irrelevant.

Offline BibleStudent

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Re: Without God, Life Has No Meaning...
« Reply #36 on: September 18, 2013, 01:30:44 PM »
If there is no God and our world ceases to exist at some point, then the value of whatever you contributed to the world is limited to only that existence and subsequently becomes meaningless.

"Eternal" and "meaningful" are not synonyms.  Why have you treated them as synonyms?

Did I do this somewhere else in the thread because I am at a loss as to how you arrived at that conclusion based on the post you quoted.

Offline screwtape

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Re: Without God, Life Has No Meaning...
« Reply #37 on: September 18, 2013, 01:45:49 PM »
How could you possibly conclude that it is irrelevant? You could say that it might be irrelevant but not that it is.

I mention suffering or tragedy and a popular answer is along the lines of "this life doesn't matter," or something like it.  They talk about how it's the next life that matters.  This one is just a temporary stop.  Then they turn around and talk about the sacredness of life.  I really don't get you guys.

Maybe that's just a completely different context than this question.  But it seems to follow the general discordance of xian ideas.  I don't see how what happens here in 70 years (give or take) is relevant compared to an infinite period of time. 

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Offline Azdgari

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Re: Without God, Life Has No Meaning...
« Reply #38 on: September 18, 2013, 01:59:32 PM »
If there is no God and our world ceases to exist at some point, then the value of whatever you contributed to the world is limited to only that existence and subsequently becomes meaningless.

"Eternal" and "meaningful" are not synonyms.  Why have you treated them as synonyms?

Did I do this somewhere else in the thread because I am at a loss as to how you arrived at that conclusion based on the post you quoted.

You were citing the temporal limitations of what we do in this world as something that makes our contributions meaningless.  Lack of eternal impact = meaninglessness, per your quote.

Please justify this.
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Offline median

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Re: Without God, Life Has No Meaning...
« Reply #39 on: September 18, 2013, 02:05:03 PM »
But this precisely misses the point being made. Why do we need meaning or value on a cosmic scale in order to have meaning or value at all? Your position seems to have assumed that your specific interpretation, of your specific theology, is required in order to have meaning or purpose. Why should we buy your definition of what meaning is?

Not sure how I am missing the point. You weren’t really making an argument. You just threw out the comments and asked what people thought.

Furthermore, no one (at least not I) is expecting you to buy into our definition of what meaning is.

I do not argue that life without God is completely void of any meaning or purpose. However, when you compare having a purpose that could potentially have eternal meaning with a purpose having non-eternal meaning, the value and meaning of the purpose becomes significant…..which is why you might hear certain theists make the comments you highlighted in the OP.

If you are certain that there is no afterlife, then enjoy making whatever contributions you decide to make while you are alive.

I don't claim "certainty" on nearly anything, and I was responding to your responses which were directed toward others who were making the distinction above (meaning vs. cosmic meaning). Then, I asked why we should think there is a "cosmic meaning" (i.e. - why we should buy the Christian definition).

However, this definition is somewhat pointless to the topic I was drawing upon in the OP b/c the Christians I know most often do not draw that distinction. They simply claim that if there is no God, then there is no meaning to life (no meaning in either definition). "Life has no meaning whatsoever without God. Anything you do is pointless" etc. I've even heard William Lane Craig make this argument (both when I used to agree with him and now). Thus far, I see no sound reason for thinking there is a cosmic teleology/meaning (mere appeals to religious texts don't cut it) and I'm wondering if your reasons for thinking there is one are sound. That is why I asked. Why should anyone think there is an eternal/cosmic "meaning" on your view?


Personally, I think Christians should instead say, "Without God, life has no cosmic/eternal meaning." To that I would say, "Yeah, and so what?"
« Last Edit: September 18, 2013, 02:23:29 PM by median »
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Offline median

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Re: Without God, Life Has No Meaning...
« Reply #40 on: September 18, 2013, 02:17:47 PM »
How could you possibly conclude that it is irrelevant? You could say that it might be irrelevant but not that it is.

I mention suffering or tragedy and a popular answer is along the lines of "this life doesn't matter," or something like it.  They talk about how it's the next life that matters.  This one is just a temporary stop.  Then they turn around and talk about the sacredness of life.  I really don't get you guys.

Maybe that's just a completely different context than this question.  But it seems to follow the general discordance of xian ideas.  I don't see how what happens here in 70 years (give or take) is relevant compared to an infinite period of time.


This made me think of something significant. How about eternal meaning without a God? When I read David Hume, Carl Sagan, Christopher Hitchens, and many other now deceased authors (or when I watch them on YouTube) their messages have meaning in my life. They affect, help, and benefit me - just as they benefit many others (and likely will continue for the unforeseeable future). What is enough when it comes to what is meaningful? Must their be "cosmic" meaning in order for meaning/deep meaning to exist?


Shelly Kagan debated Bill Craig back in '09 and had some poignant things to say about it:





We might also ask: What is the meaning...of meaning?
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Offline Astreja

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Re: Without God, Life Has No Meaning...
« Reply #41 on: September 18, 2013, 02:18:34 PM »
I do not argue that life without God is completely void of any meaning or purpose. However, when you compare having a purpose that could potentially have eternal meaning with a purpose having non-eternal meaning, the value and meaning of the purpose becomes significant...

BibleStudent, I actually see "eternal meaning" as an impossibility, and this is why:

Back around 1968 or so, when I was going through puberty and suffering from existential angst, I had a vision.  I "saw" the universal timeline, populating it with empires and planets and such.  I even imagined Myself into omniscience for a few seconds, viewing all this as a whole and trying to correlate dying worlds with the Big Picture and asking the biggest "Why?" I've ever asked in all My life.

After a few iterations, growing the timeline ever longer and trying to see beyond where the past and the future vanished into infinity,  I saw that the idea of an ultimate purpose was preposterous -- Because there was always one more moment, and no way to ever touch that ultimate destination.

And after the shock wore off and I grew up a little bit more[1], I started paying more attention to the here-and-now, because "meaning" can only exist where there is someone experiencing it.
 1. Which took another 30 years or so, give or take a bit.
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Offline BibleStudent

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Re: Without God, Life Has No Meaning...
« Reply #42 on: September 18, 2013, 02:33:39 PM »
You were citing the temporal limitations of what we do in this world as something that makes our contributions meaningless.  Lack of eternal impact = meaninglessness, per your quote.

Please justify this.

Don't you think you're wandering off a bit here? In other words, even if I say your contention is technically correct, so what ? What are you attempting to establish?

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Re: Without God, Life Has No Meaning...
« Reply #43 on: September 18, 2013, 02:35:47 PM »
You were citing the temporal limitations of what we do in this world as something that makes our contributions meaningless.  Lack of eternal impact = meaninglessness, per your quote.

Please justify this.

Don't you think you're wandering off a bit here? In other words, even if I say your contention is technically correct, so what ? What are you attempting to establish?

I think the best way to answer that question would be for you to do as he asked. I am also curious as to what your justification is.
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Offline Hatter23

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Re: Without God, Life Has No Meaning...
« Reply #44 on: September 18, 2013, 02:37:51 PM »
Well, unless the current human experience has an eternal future, whatever “meaning” or “purpose” the non-theist is motivated by seems to become rather limited in terms of value.

please explain this.  I know all these words, but the way you have arranged them has left me confused.

If there is no God and our world ceases to exist at some point, then the value of whatever you contributed to the world is limited to only that existence and subsequently becomes meaningless.

Yup. At at point it does, and not before.

So, despite my nihilism in the extended future sense, did not any positive act that I, or anyone contribute to the experience of humanity...actually help the humans that enjoyed its fruits while they were alive?

Furthermore, despite my nihilism in the extended future sense, does the toys I contribute to Santa Claus Anonymous somehow constitute evidence that Santa exists?
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Offline BibleStudent

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Re: Without God, Life Has No Meaning...
« Reply #45 on: September 18, 2013, 02:40:55 PM »
This made me think of something significant. How about eternal meaning without a God? When I read David Hume, Carl Sagan, Christopher Hitchens, and many other now deceased authors (or when I watch them on YouTube) their messages have meaning in my life. They affect, help, and benefit me - just as they benefit many others (and likely will continue for the unforeseeable future). What is enough when it comes to what is meaningful? Must their be "cosmic" meaning in order for meaning/deep meaning to exist?

If all life evaporated from planet Earth tomorrow never to return, where is the value or meaning of anything you did or said or learned or contributed? It ceases to exist. It was all for naught. That is the point theists are making when they say that life without God is meaningless and without purpose. Whatever meaning or purpose you have as a human being is temporal. At some point, it will evaporate into nothing.

Offline Tero

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Re: Without God, Life Has No Meaning...
« Reply #46 on: September 18, 2013, 02:45:59 PM »
Part of the problem is that theists do works of charity and feel good. They feel good when helping loved ones. They ascribe the good feeling, and feelings in general, to their god.

Atheists have no feelings and no empathy, by their reasoning. Their "sharing" becomes real only through imagined god.

Offline BibleStudent

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Re: Without God, Life Has No Meaning...
« Reply #47 on: September 18, 2013, 02:50:23 PM »
You were citing the temporal limitations of what we do in this world as something that makes our contributions meaningless.  Lack of eternal impact = meaninglessness, per your quote.

Please justify this.

Don't you think you're wandering off a bit here? In other words, even if I say your contention is technically correct, so what ? What are you attempting to establish?

I think the best way to answer that question would be for you to do as he asked. I am also curious as to what your justification is.

That is not possible because I do not agree with his conclusion that I am using "eternal" and "meaningless" as synonyms. He may feel he's reading my comments in such a way that suggests I am but "meaningless" in the context that I am using it in is a consequence on non-eternity. It's a simple "if-then" analogy.....with non-eternity being the "if" and "meaningless" being the "then."

mean·ing·less adjective \?m?-ni?-l?s\ :
having no meaning:
having no real importance or value

His contention still baffles me because I fail to see the purpose in it.

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Re: Without God, Life Has No Meaning...
« Reply #48 on: September 18, 2013, 02:53:45 PM »
If all life evaporated from planet Earth tomorrow never to return, where is the value or meaning of anything you did or said or learned or contributed? It ceases to exist. It was all for naught. That is the point theists are making when they say that life without God is meaningless and without purpose. Whatever meaning or purpose you have as a human being is temporal. At some point, it will evaporate into nothing.

So what?
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Offline Azdgari

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Re: Without God, Life Has No Meaning...
« Reply #49 on: September 18, 2013, 02:57:23 PM »
Don't you think you're wandering off a bit here? In other words, even if I say your contention is technically correct, so what ? What are you attempting to establish?

If temporary meaning is "meaningless", as you say, then that supports your point about our lives being meaningless without an eternal component.  If temporary meaning is not "meaningless" then that undermines your point.

I am asking you for justification of the former.  If you have none, then it would be honest for you to admit that it's just a random opinion you like.  But if you have some, then I (and possibly others) might concede that your argument has merit and seriously consider it.

It's up to you, and why you're here.

That is not possible because I do not agree with his conclusion that I am using "eternal" and "meaningless" as synonyms. He may feel he's reading my comments in such a way that suggests I am ...

You say you don't agree, but then...

but "meaningless" in the context that I am using it in is a consequence on non-eternity. It's a simple "if-then" analogy.....with non-eternity being the "if" and "meaningless" being the "then."

...you go and agree with my interpretation anyway.  Not precisely synonyms, but in this context they substitute for each other, within your argument.

Anyway, care to justify it?
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Offline Azdgari

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Re: Without God, Life Has No Meaning...
« Reply #50 on: September 18, 2013, 03:01:15 PM »
If all life does not evaporate from planet Earth tomorrow never to return, where is the value or meaning of anything you did or said or learned or contributed? ...

I think all would benefit from an answer to this flip of your question above, BS.  A literal, direct, comprehensive answer.  Where is the value of these things?
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Offline median

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Re: Without God, Life Has No Meaning...
« Reply #51 on: September 18, 2013, 03:01:44 PM »

If all life evaporated from planet Earth tomorrow never to return, where is the value or meaning of anything you did or said or learned or contributed? It ceases to exist. It was all for naught. That is the point theists are making when they say that life without God is meaningless and without purpose. Whatever meaning or purpose you have as a human being is temporal. At some point, it will evaporate into nothing.

Well first, if you watch the video I posted you can see that your statement isn't quite accurate regarding the statement of theists. Many theists do not take this attitude. Their attitude seems to be, "If God doesn't exist then who cares about anything?! Nothing matters at all!" This is the attitude I'm responding to and I'd like to know why we ought to think there is a cosmic meaning? I'm actually completely fine with granting that there is no cosmic meaning - just like I'm fine with granting that there are no unicorns, fairies, or "magic" abilities. But then really, all I'm granting is that I'm fine with reality as is, and whereas I can certainly understand why many in the world are not (i.e. - perhaps due to the fear of death or the unfortunate nature of life's temporality) I'm very interested in whether or not my beliefs are true. Therefore, I'd like to know the rational justification for thinking there is some divine teleology.

Furthermore, this idea about, "If all life evaporated..." doesn't really have any meaning or significance for me. I live in the here and now, not in the "what if we all die tomorrow" bubble. To me, that just sounds like fear talking (which is an emotion) and I don't think emotions are very reliable for separating fact from fiction - especially when it comes to claims of the supernatural/cosmically teleological. What it seems you're really saying is that meanings require minds. Ok, and? I still don't see how this makes the Christian attitude/worry of, "It's all just meaningless!" any more plausible. It isn't meaningless to me or the people with whom I come into contact (including this forum). Why should we need more?


ADDITION: I might be able to further illustrate my point with an analogy. Little Tommy asks his mom what Santa is going to bring him this year under the tree. But Tommy is getting older and his mother decides that it's time to break the bad news to him (i.e. - expose the harsh reality that Santa is imaginary). So, when Tommy's mom tells him there is no Santa Claus he says, "But that means he won't bring me presents anymore!" But Tommy's mom assures him that even though Santa won't bring him presents, his dad will :)

Likewise, even if we grant that there is no cosmic "meaning" this is no way affects whether or not there is meaning, at all.
« Last Edit: September 18, 2013, 03:16:28 PM by median »
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Offline ParkingPlaces

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Re: Without God, Life Has No Meaning...
« Reply #52 on: September 18, 2013, 03:10:10 PM »
If all life evaporated from planet Earth tomorrow never to return, where is the value or meaning of anything you did or said or learned or contributed? It ceases to exist. It was all for naught. That is the point theists are making when they say that life without God is meaningless and without purpose. Whatever meaning or purpose you have as a human being is temporal. At some point, it will evaporate into nothing.

I find the importance you (and other believers) place on meaning rather perplexing. It seems to be a requirement without which life would be insufferable.

Why?

We humans can say "Oh gosh, life has to have meaning, so I'll give it some..." I can see that, though it is not one of my  higher priorities. But we don't even have a good definition of what "meaning" is, in this context, so how can it be so important? Why, if meaning is such a central part of the god stuff, can't a believer tell us in a phrase or two why that is the case? Why can't any two given believers give us identical versions of what "meaning" really is?

Its made up. Lots of human things are made up. Including truth, something none of us can know. We can inch our way to "truthiness" in some areas, but outright truth is not available. So right now on the forum we have one believer in one thread talking about how important truth is, and we have you here talking about how important meaning is, and neither of you can describe it in any useful way. You can't even tell us why it is important, other to say that life would be meaningless without meaning.

Life doesn't have a meaning. It has a biological purpose, to procreate and continue the species, and life in general. It has functions, such as to fill biological niches and provide food for other critters once we die. It includes processes, like eating and walking, and it includes biological imperatives, which most of us think we ignore. But there are no genes for meaning, no cells for meaning, no needs for meaning.

A lot of us make up meanings. Which explains in part why it is so hard to define them for others. Because in your case, you are trying to tell us you meaning is more relevant that whatever it is that we atheists have made up.

I understand the concept. I accept that it is faulty. I don't understand why some insist that it is a requirement.

And why the "fruitlessness" of it all once life ends? Why look at it that way? Why is that in any way relevant? If we choose to assign value (not meaning) to our lives as we live, and if some of us also take into consideration future generations as we live this life, that is about all anyone can hope for. We don't have the biology to do much else. We don't genetic rules to follow that require that we consider the far future. We all know that life won't go continue on this planet forever. But fretting about what will happen when we're gone (in the philosophical sense) is of no use. The American Indians were kind enough to consider the next seven generations when they made major decisions about their environment. We modern humans tend to consider only what the price of gas will be this weekend, and that only if we're taking a trip. Most of us have no long view of anything other than our favorite TV shows, and we suffer interminably when we find out that the next Harry Potter movie will not be released for another eight months. So why this one, and only one, concern about the future? That our lives have meaning?

Life has no meaning. Other than what we self-assign for our own convenience. Live with it. There is no way to die with it.
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Offline BibleStudent

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Re: Without God, Life Has No Meaning...
« Reply #53 on: September 18, 2013, 03:12:47 PM »
If all life does not evaporate from planet Earth tomorrow never to return, where is the value or meaning of anything you did or said or learned or contributed? ...

I think all would benefit from an answer to this flip of your question above, BS.  A literal, direct, comprehensive answer.  Where is the value of these things?

If I were say that any temporary meaning that exists becomes meaningless when our world no longer exists, would that satisfy you?

I wish I knew what you were trying to demonstrate here with your contention. What don't you understand?

Offline BibleStudent

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Re: Without God, Life Has No Meaning...
« Reply #54 on: September 18, 2013, 03:18:55 PM »
BibleStudent, I actually see "eternal meaning" as an impossibility, and this is why:

Back around 1968 or so, when I was going through puberty and suffering from existential angst, I had a vision.  I "saw" the universal timeline, populating it with empires and planets and such.  I even imagined Myself into omniscience for a few seconds, viewing all this as a whole and trying to correlate dying worlds with the Big Picture and asking the biggest "Why?" I've ever asked in all My life.

I think that most of us have had a similar "Why?" moment. Some of us are satisfied that we cannot find all of the answers while others create answers.

Offline epidemic

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Re: Without God, Life Has No Meaning...
« Reply #55 on: September 18, 2013, 03:39:54 PM »
OK, speaking as a theist, what meaning does your life have in the grand scheme of things?

Most non-theists have a good understanding of the Bible and Christianity....even though they dismiss it as being representative of a real god. Assuming you possess even some basic knowledge about the God of the Bible, I doubt you need me to answer this for you. If I'm wrong, though, and you are unfamiliar with God then some simple research will reveal what God's purpose for us is.

Please humor me and tell me your take on it.  Because the only meaning I can find to life is that we worship god.  Or is my purpose in life to worship god and fulfill my destiny?  I was born and my purpose was to save a little old woman in my 47th year and in between I was to be an atheist and live out eternity suffering a fiery torturous existence.

What purpose does my suffering eternity in hell accomplish?  What purpose was there in saving that little old lady?  What purpose did my atheism serve?

Please I can read the bible till I am blue in the face and not determine a purpose to human existance that makes any sense.

Offline Dante

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Re: Without God, Life Has No Meaning...
« Reply #56 on: September 18, 2013, 03:40:12 PM »
I think that most of us have had a similar "Why?" moment. Some of us are satisfied that we cannot find all of the answers while others create answers.

Which one are you?
Actually it doesn't. One could conceivably be all-powerful but not exceptionally intelligent.

Offline jdawg70

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Re: Without God, Life Has No Meaning...
« Reply #57 on: September 18, 2013, 04:19:36 PM »
I think that most of us have had a similar "Why?" moment. Some of us are satisfied that we cannot find all of the answers while others create answers.
You forgot the third type of person - the ones who seek out and find answers.

Some of those people screw up and find answers by asking people who have merely created answers, never figuring out that just because someone (or some book) says the answer is X doesn't mean that the answer is correct.
"When we landed on the moon, that was the point where god should have come up and said 'hello'. Because if you invent some creatures, put them on the blue one and they make it to the grey one, you f**king turn up and say 'well done'."
- Eddie Izzard