Author Topic: Without God, Life Has No Meaning...  (Read 8830 times)

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Offline jdawg70

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Re: Without God, Life Has No Meaning...
« Reply #58 on: September 18, 2013, 04:22:39 PM »
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.
Quoting epidemic here as it's the post that made me think of it, but really intending this question for all:

In the context of this thread, are the words value, meaning, and purpose all interchangeable?

Offline Azdgari

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Re: Without God, Life Has No Meaning...
« Reply #59 on: September 18, 2013, 04:27:58 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?

I asked a very direct question, BS.  As direct as your own question was when you worded it.  Why the evasiveness?

But since you asked, I'm trying to see whether your hypothetical (all life ending) has anything to do with the meaning that would supposedly be lost.  Presumably, without all life ending, it will carry on.  Otherwise your own question makes no sense, right?
« Last Edit: September 18, 2013, 04:29:51 PM by Azdgari »
Unless you are Scarlett Johansason or something.  lol  i'd like to punish her with  my baby.  lol

Offline nogodsforme

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Re: Without God, Life Has No Meaning...
« Reply #60 on: September 18, 2013, 05:56:32 PM »
A baby does not know whether there is a god, but can still enjoy life, laugh, be comforted and sleep happily by being close to mama. What meaning does that baby's life have? It is like nothing matters if there is no belief in the supernatural.

It almost seems like the question is trying to equate non-belief in certain supernatural gods with a kind of "just give up on everything" nihilism.  So they attribute this to us atheists, because if you can live a normal, happy, fulfilled life without god, what is the point of god? There is fear behind this, for the god believers. They fear that if they stopped thinking there was a god out there, they would have to give up on life.

Like, there is no reason to get up in the morning, eat breakfast, play with the dogs, take the kid to school, enjoy the sunshine, smell the flowers, etc. etc. without a supernatural being in the picture. Can a person not eat a bowl of ice cream or watch a movie or have sex without a supernatural meaning attributed to the action? I don't get that at all.

Human beings are only one of a zillion living species. If human beings disappeared tomorrow, life would keep on churning along for most of those species. Some might even be better off without us. Mammals are better off without the dinosaurs. We don't miss the dinosaurs and cockroaches won't miss us. No cosmic meaning necessary.

We only know about such things as gods if some other person tells us. So anyone not aware of gods, like the all-atheist Piraha tribe--their lives must be worthless. They should all commit mass suicide. And the wrong gods don't count, isn't that right? You can't practice just any old religion to give your life meaning. Nobody's life in Canada, New Zealand or Samoa had any value or meaning until the Christian missionary showed up.

How insulting. :P
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

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Offline Boots

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Re: Without God, Life Has No Meaning...
« Reply #61 on: September 18, 2013, 08:24:48 PM »
Just because a question can be formulated, does not mean there's a satisfactory answer.  What color is a symphony?

The OP's question brings to light something that I've believed for some time but haven't examined fully or dug for research for: the only thing that *really* differentiates us from animals is language.  With language comes abstract thought, the ability to label things that are intangible. Once you label them, you can think about them.  And with the inception of abstract thought, come, well, abstract thoughts.  "How did we get here?"  "Why are we here?"  "What happens after we die?"

We can perceive things and think about things on a level no other creature can.  It makes us special.  And, it makes us WANT to be special, so we invented words like "soul" to describe what makes us different from animals.  Because we're special, we can think of abstracts like "meaning," we figure out questions like "why are we here/what is the meaning of life?"

ppfft.  The meaning of life is to live.  We're here due to chemical reactions and natural selection.  But because we have abstract thought, we can actually CHOOSE what we do with our lives (to a lesser or greater extent, situation dependent).  I'm fully aware that I shall become worm food when I die.  I have two awesome children, so hopefully my memory will live on with them, until they die (maybe they'll pass on stories of Grampa, but my memory will likely not live through more than 2 generations after me).  My legacy of having raised my kids as best I could, to improve the lot of our species in whatever paltry way I could through them, is the only thing that will be left of me.

and I'm OK with that.  So, THAT'S my meaning.

god takes away meaning in this life.  Everything here is a stepping-stone, a dress rehearsal, a shadow of what is (supposed) to come.  You do what you do, if you believe in a god who grants an afterlife, to get in that deity's good graces (if there's anything you CAN do, depending on what flavor of that god you subscribe to)
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Offline ParkingPlaces

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Re: Without God, Life Has No Meaning...
« Reply #62 on: September 19, 2013, 12:50:32 AM »
In the context of this thread, are the words value, meaning, and purpose all interchangeable?

I think they are to BibleStudent, but they aren't to me. Value is something I do when it comes to various aspects of life. I value friends and family and freedom (well, I used to value freedom. That's gone.) Purpose is a word when looking at things from the outside, I suppose (people eat because they get hungry, and they get hungry because their body needs food, therefore, the purpose of eating is to refuel the body). But meaning? Not necessary. Any meaning attached to life is made up. Because there isn't one. And we don't need a "meaning". That is vanity at its finest.
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Offline median

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Re: Without God, Life Has No Meaning...
« Reply #63 on: September 19, 2013, 01:01:07 AM »

In the context of this thread, are the words value, meaning, and purpose all interchangeable?


Not necessarily, for some though yes, others no. The OP is more of an "opening" of the discussion regarding teleology in life and what significance particular answers to questions pertaining it may have.
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Offline Anfauglir

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Re: Without God, Life Has No Meaning...
« Reply #64 on: September 19, 2013, 02:35:31 AM »
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.

The finite aspect is what gives it meaning.  To me, eternity is meaningless.

We live on this world as preparation for the next - but once IN the next, what meaning do we have then?  What is the purpose of our lives once dead?  Once ten billion years have passed, and our lifespans here are a long forgotten memory, then what?  If the "purpose" in this life is "get to heaven", then do we have no purpose in heaven?  By your terms, does that make heaven a pointless and meaningless state of existence?

Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?

Offline junebug72

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Re: Without God, Life Has No Meaning...
« Reply #65 on: September 19, 2013, 04:45:06 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...

You believe dinosaurs thought .  lol  So we only have 150 years left,you have no proof of that.  IMO,When humans are done here only bacteria will be able to survive and I doubt they do much thinking either.
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Offline Azdgari

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Re: Without God, Life Has No Meaning...
« Reply #66 on: September 19, 2013, 08:32:00 AM »
Kind of misses his point there, JB...
Unless you are Scarlett Johansason or something.  lol  i'd like to punish her with  my baby.  lol

Offline BibleStudent

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Re: Without God, Life Has No Meaning...
« Reply #67 on: September 19, 2013, 09:19:21 AM »
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?

I asked a very direct question, BS.  As direct as your own question was when you worded it.  Why the evasiveness?

But since you asked, I'm trying to see whether your hypothetical (all life ending) has anything to do with the meaning that would supposedly be lost.  Presumably, without all life ending, it will carry on.  Otherwise your own question makes no sense, right?

I am truly not attempting to evade your question and I apologize if that is what you felt I was doing. I simply needed to understand what you were driving at in order to frame an answer that would appropriately answer your question.

The answer to the question you flipped back to me is, from a Christian point of view, none or extremely limited. In a never ending world, it seems meaning or value would be completely naturalistic and would consist of preservation and advancement of the species or some such thing.

I have doubts that everything I do has eternal meaning or value. Much of what I have done in my life and will do may become meaningless at some point.

If it helps, I am aware that my point of view is merely my opinion based on my Christian beliefs and that it may contain errors. Identifying the properties of things such as meaning, value, and purpose can be difficult to do.

Offline screwtape

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Re: Without God, Life Has No Meaning...
« Reply #68 on: September 19, 2013, 09:21:48 AM »
You believe dinosaurs thought .  lol  So we only have 150 years left,you have no proof of that.  IMO,When humans are done here only bacteria will be able to survive and I doubt they do much thinking either.

Of course I have not idea whether dinosaurs thought.  If pressed, I'd say they had thoughts like chickens have thoughts.  And of course I have no proof that homo sapien will only take another 150 years to eradicate itself.

How to miss a point entirely, jb.  There is literally no trace of my point in your reply.  My point was you were making your conclusions from a very specific perspective.  You think all of history pointed to us, because this is where you/ we are.  But you are not grasping that your perspective is so dependent on this moment, as if there is no future.  As if nothing will ever change.  As if the story has ended.

If you could have interviewed a dinosaur, it would have said pretty much the same thing about dinosaurs you said about people.  "We are the pinnacle of evolution," it would say.  "All those other creatures before us that failed are just evidence that the universe wants us, needs us, planned for us.  It cannot be a coincidence.  Praise the Holy Pteradactyl!"

Of couse, that dinosaur would have had no idea what was in store for them.  Just like you have no idea what is in store for us.  The story is not finished.  It doesn't end until the sun explodes or the heat death of the universe.  Dinosaurs ruled for 150 million years.   We have only been around for a couple hundred thousand.  For all you know we are just a stepping stone for the next awesome organism, which, if it could talk, would be able to say :

Quote
It was no coincidece that the humans were wiped out, our kind could not have survived as well with such smart predators hunting them down.  We would be more like rats hiding underground to keep from being somebody's supper.  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.

And of course, your perspective assumes we are the Chosen Species and not some more robust creature like a tardigradeWiki.  Maybe Adam was a waterbear and we were just one of the animals he named?

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Offline YouCantHandleTheTruth

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Re: Without God, Life Has No Meaning...
« Reply #69 on: September 19, 2013, 09:22:06 AM »
I think the theists that make this claim are trying to convince themselves that there MUST be meaning to this life.  This CAN'T be all there is!  If there's no God, then there's no afterlife.  It's the whole "eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die" argument.  It argues that you should just be able to do anything you feel like doing, because there are no consequences (when in actuality, we know we're responsible for caring for 7 billion people on this planet).  What drives this argument?  Our strong desire to survive.  We can see how badly humans (and other species) fight for survival and do anything they can to extend their lives.  So it would make sense that we would try to convince ourselves that, knowing death is inevitable, this isn't the end - we never truly die.  This is just mankind's steadfast refusal to accept death, and desire to survive.  Imagine what it must have been like for some of the earliest humans, when they lost loved ones - particularly children?

Offline Azdgari

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Re: Without God, Life Has No Meaning...
« Reply #70 on: September 19, 2013, 10:41:40 AM »
Here's the flip-question, for reference without a crazy nesting of quotes:
Quote
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? ...

The answer to the question you flipped back to me is, from a Christian point of view, none or extremely limited.

If you have no answer, then say so, but if your answer is extremely limited then I'm still interested in hearing it.

In a never ending world, it seems meaning or value would be completely naturalistic and would consist of preservation and advancement of the species or some such thing.

Maybe it would, maybe it wouldn't.  That's not what I was asking.  I'd added emphasizing text formatting to the key part of my question earlier, and I've re-inserted it into the above quote of the question of yours that I've flipped.  The wording of that part is your own, so I feel it's fair to ask it of you in return.

I have doubts that everything I do has eternal meaning or value. Much of what I have done in my life and will do may become meaningless at some point.

If it helps, I am aware that my point of view is merely my opinion based on my Christian beliefs and that it may contain errors. Identifying the properties of things such as meaning, value, and purpose can be difficult to do.

That's great and all, but BS...this sort of thing is why I accused you of evasiveness earlier.  You still havn't answered the question I posed to you.  So...why the evasiveness?
Unless you are Scarlett Johansason or something.  lol  i'd like to punish her with  my baby.  lol

Offline jaimehlers

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Re: Without God, Life Has No Meaning...
« Reply #71 on: September 19, 2013, 10:46:59 AM »
^^Yes.  But that strong desire to survive doesn't have to manifest itself as a belief in gods or an afterlife.  It can manifest itself as the desire to protect, in order to continue the human race as a whole instead of our own individual human existences.  Indeed, I personally feel that this is the better way for it to manifest, since it ensures the greatest chance that there will be humans in the future.  Individual survival can sometimes imperil the group.
Worldviews:  Everyone has one, everyone believes them to be an accurate view of the world, and everyone ends up at least partially wrong.  However, some worldviews are stronger and well-supported, while others are so bizarre that they make no sense to anyone else.

Offline BibleStudent

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Re: Without God, Life Has No Meaning...
« Reply #72 on: September 19, 2013, 11:48:33 AM »
That's great and all, but BS...this sort of thing is why I accused you of evasiveness earlier.  You still havn't answered the question I posed to you.  So...why the evasiveness?

I have answered you to the best of my ability based on my understanding of your question. Apparently it is not to your satisfaction so if you want to try and re-phrase it, I would be glad to respond.

Offline BibleStudent

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Re: Without God, Life Has No Meaning...
« Reply #73 on: September 19, 2013, 12:03:38 PM »
If the "purpose" in this life is "get to heaven", then do we have no purpose in heaven?  By your terms, does that make heaven a pointless and meaningless state of existence?

How do you arrive at the conclusion that any purpose we may have on Earth precludes us from having a purpose in Heaven? I'm not saying that we do or don't have a purpose in Heaven, I just don't see how you could interpret anything said in this thread to suggest that.

Offline Azdgari

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Re: Without God, Life Has No Meaning...
« Reply #74 on: September 19, 2013, 12:07:46 PM »
I really don't know how the question could be more straightforward:
Quote
If all life does not evaporate from planet Earth tomorrow, where is the value or meaning of anything you did or said or learned or contributed? ...

"Where" indicates location (be it in terms of geography, or in terms of what "things" it's in).  You asked "where" meaning would be, if life were extinguished tomorrow.  Well, where would it be if it wasn't?  Where is it now?

Getting an honest and straightforward answer to a really, really simple and straightforward question is like pulling teeth sometimes.
Unless you are Scarlett Johansason or something.  lol  i'd like to punish her with  my baby.  lol

Offline epidemic

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Re: Without God, Life Has No Meaning...
« Reply #75 on: September 19, 2013, 12:53:09 PM »
With God, life has no meaning.

God created me he set my path in place, it is like a cosmic game of "The SIMS" The fact that my sim had a big family and lived to a ripe old age has as much cosmic significants as my life. 

Significants is judged by the person measuring the actions and outcomes.  For me the significants of my existence is felt by those who I interact with, those whom I affect, and myself.  When I am gone from this world I may either have made an impact on others and changed the course of history in some way or not.  And on a cosmic scale when the universe experiences heat death, or compresses back to a singularity rebounding wiping all my accomplishments big and small I don't see this as a problem.

In some ways I would like to be eternal because I don't want to cease to exist but this is really kinda a silly thing to worry about.  If I cease to exist I ultimately will not care because I won't be any longer..

Offline BibleStudent

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Re: Without God, Life Has No Meaning...
« Reply #76 on: September 19, 2013, 01:34:08 PM »
"Where" indicates location (be it in terms of geography, or in terms of what "things" it's in).  You asked "where" meaning would be, if life were extinguished tomorrow.  Well, where would it be if it wasn't?  Where is it now?

That would depend on the nature of the meaningful thing that occurred. What meaningful activity would you like me to assign a "where" to?

Offline Azdgari

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Re: Without God, Life Has No Meaning...
« Reply #77 on: September 19, 2013, 01:37:24 PM »
I am not talking about the activity itself.  I am talking about the meaning attached to it.  Where is the meaning?

For example, let's say I'm eating a bowl of cereal right now.  It comes to mind because I'm actually eating a bowl of cereal right now.  This activity is meaningful to me, for a couple of reasons, namely enjoyment and ease of hunger.  Where is that meaning (to be clear:  not the activity, the meaning), and does it, indeed, continue as long as life exists on Earth?
Unless you are Scarlett Johansason or something.  lol  i'd like to punish her with  my baby.  lol

Offline BibleStudent

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Re: Without God, Life Has No Meaning...
« Reply #78 on: September 19, 2013, 02:39:13 PM »
I am not talking about the activity itself.  I am talking about the meaning attached to it.  Where is the meaning?

For example, let's say I'm eating a bowl of cereal right now.  It comes to mind because I'm actually eating a bowl of cereal right now.  This activity is meaningful to me, for a couple of reasons, namely enjoyment and ease of hunger.  Where is that meaning (to be clear:  not the activity, the meaning), and does it, indeed, continue as long as life exists on Earth?

The meaning is in your mind and if other present and future people find the same meaning when eating a bowl of cereal and it continues for as long as life exists on earth then ,yes, that form of meaning can continue.

Offline Azdgari

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Re: Without God, Life Has No Meaning...
« Reply #79 on: September 19, 2013, 02:51:11 PM »
Other people eating other bowls of cereal have other instances of meaning, and I'm not talking about them.

So we agree, it's in my mind.  When I forget about having eaten the cereal, a few days to a week from now, that meaning will have vanished from my mind, because I won't be thinking about it.[1]

That means that even without life on Earth ending - heck, even without my life ending - meaning still disappears with time.  And not even a lot of time.

Why is it important to preserve that meaning eternally?
 1. Well in the case of this specific bowl of cereal, I might remember it because it became the subject of an online debate.  But in general, I think we'd both agree that its meaning to me wouldn't stick around.
Unless you are Scarlett Johansason or something.  lol  i'd like to punish her with  my baby.  lol

Offline BibleStudent

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Re: Without God, Life Has No Meaning...
« Reply #80 on: September 19, 2013, 03:04:46 PM »
Why is it important to preserve that meaning eternally?

I would not say that it is important to preserve that meaning eternally.

Offline Azdgari

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Re: Without God, Life Has No Meaning...
« Reply #81 on: September 19, 2013, 03:24:31 PM »
Me either.  Does that apply to all meanings, or just the cereal ones?
Unless you are Scarlett Johansason or something.  lol  i'd like to punish her with  my baby.  lol

Offline neopagan

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Re: Without God, Life Has No Meaning...
« Reply #82 on: September 19, 2013, 04:24:57 PM »
If the meaning of eating those bowls of goodies dies off eventually, I'd call someone a cereal killer.
If xian hell really exists, the stench of the burning billions of us should be a constant, putrid reminder to the handful of heavenward xians how loving your god is.  - neopagan

Offline Azdgari

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Re: Without God, Life Has No Meaning...
« Reply #83 on: September 19, 2013, 04:28:03 PM »
Boooooooooooooooooooooo.
Unless you are Scarlett Johansason or something.  lol  i'd like to punish her with  my baby.  lol

Offline jdawg70

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Re: Without God, Life Has No Meaning...
« Reply #84 on: September 19, 2013, 04:41:19 PM »
If the meaning of eating those bowls of goodies dies off eventually, I'd call someone a cereal killer.
Yeah this one deserves this too: http://instantrimshot.com/

But now I'm remembering an old ad I used to see on some trade magazines I received back in the long long ago.

"What's universal cereal, and why is it on a bus?"

Awful yet strangely hilarious at the time.

Offline nogodsforme

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Re: Without God, Life Has No Meaning...
« Reply #85 on: September 19, 2013, 05:04:58 PM »
Is that the kind of cereal that comes in data packets?  :angel:
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

Offline Anfauglir

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Re: Without God, Life Has No Meaning...
« Reply #86 on: September 20, 2013, 03:27:36 AM »
If the "purpose" in this life is "get to heaven", then do we have no purpose in heaven?  By your terms, does that make heaven a pointless and meaningless state of existence?

How do you arrive at the conclusion that any purpose we may have on Earth precludes us from having a purpose in Heaven?

Because your point has been that meaning must be eternal to be relevant - a temporary meaning, you have implied, is meaningless. 

If what we do here is "get to heaven" purposed, then once we are IN heaven, that meaning is completed.  It is therefore only temporary, and therefore meaningless, surely?  Or are you agreeing that some actions can have a meaning and purpose that is time-limited?
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?