Hi I am newly discovering a name for what I believe or better yet not believe. I just wanted to know if anyone is having the same doubts as I. I just am at odds with knowing what the meaning of life is. what is there to look forward too. I have a small obsession with things like apocalypse scenarios. Just wondering if someone could just give some thoughts. I so far have really like this site and hope to make some new friends. There is noone to talk to about any of my beliefs. Husband is Catholic. Parents are Christian and never talk to coworkers about religion or politics. I am at odds with myself right now!
Have you thought that you might be depressed? Apocalyptic fantasies are a common preoccupation of depressed people.
Hello April. I live in MS and trust me I know how hard it is to be anything other than Xian down here. Of course the meaning of life will be different for everyone, but understanding where we come from and how life evolves and flourishes kind of removes the mystery as to giving a reason or a purpose. We are alive because our species just so happened to evolve and survive to be at the top. But that being said, isnt it fantastic? The fact that you were born into a species of life that is self-aware? Understanding how scarce life is in the universe (at least to our knowledge thus far) really makes me appreciate life all the more. As a xian I almost lived for death. Everything was try to score Browne points essentially for when I reached the pearly gates. But now that I have rejected those beliefs, I live for the moment, knowing that life is fragile and we are never guaranteed the next minute. It is scary, but amazing at the same time. Welcome to TA. And we here will be happy to answer any questions you have. ^_^
I agree with Nate - the "selfish gene" theories of Richard Dawkins, and other science, have informed my view of what it means to be alive and of the meaning of life. I.e. there is no innate meaning of life apart from to reproduce, because that's the defining chemical property of genetic molecules.
For me, the meaning of life is to be as healthy and full of life as I can be, and just enjoy trying to achieve that. And not to waste my life if I can help it - to spend it doing worthwhile things, which includes doing things I enjoy, and trying to make the world a better place in whatever way I can. Just as importantly, it's to take care of my "sweet heart" and my niece for as long as I live.
Welcome to the site.
Meaning of life - I guess it's what you make of it.
For me, and I would imagine most, if not all of those here, it is much better without a religion and a god to complicate it (and make it more painful than it really needs to be).
Some books I enjoyed as I was getting rid of the god virus -
Atheism, A Short Introduction
The Portable Atheist
God Is Not Great
The God Delusion
The New Atheism
The Evolution of God
The Religion Virus
The Christian Delusion
The Rejection of Pascal's Wager (also a website)
God: The Failed Hypothesis
Why The Religious Right Is Wrong About Separation of Church and State
Freedom From Religion Foundation
American Humanist Association
Why Won't God Heal Amputees
Rejection of Pascal's Wager
Americans United for Separation of Church and State
And, some new "commandments" to "believe in" and possibly replace any you may have had forced upon you previously:
1. Enjoy life
2. Strive to do no harm
3. Try to make things better
April and anyone else from Louisiana are welcome to join us here:
For others, not from LA, come join the fun here:
There are also Meetup groups all around if you want to hook up with people in person. This is the one nearest you April: Capital Area Atheists and Agnostics.
I haven't read through any of the replies yet, so I may be repeating some things.
Everyone seems to want to know the meaning of life, and are discouraged if they find it doesn't have a specific purpose built in. But why?
My feeling is that we each assign meaning to our own lives; we can live for whatever cause we feel is most important, and make an impact on lives in the way we feel will be most beneficial to those who come after us. I feel the "Christian" purpose for life is dull and unimaginative. We all follow this narrative written before we were born, and our sole purpose in life is try to make this one guy look good... we get to look forward to an eternity of telling him just how awesome he is. Lame.
Without religion--without a concrete destiny--we have a choice. Is it more of a challenge? Absolutely. Is it frightening? Of course. No one can tell us the right answer; in fact, there is no right answer. It's a lot of trial and error, but it's exciting... and the possibilities for you are endless.
When I was a Believer, I felt limited; I felt I had to find my "calling". Everything I did would have to somehow bring glory to God, but how could my passion for art do that? Especially since my style was not even remotely religious. So many things seemed forbidden.
Losing my faith caused the world to open up to me. Everything was exciting and new! I was just simply astounded by the beauty of life, and just awe-struck how unlikely it all is... and how amazing it is that I have the chance to witness it. ME! Of all the combinations of sperm and egg... of all the people that could've died before me... of all the narrow escapes from death or simply non-existence... here I am! How lucky! And I have all these options? And i get to CHOOSE the meaning my life will have.
Don't despair that life has no meaning. It does have meaning... if you want it to. It's up to you. It's in your hands. That's incredible. Embrace the blank canvas! <3
April what types of resources are you looking for? A lot of the stuff people are recommending are books about why religion is bad, not if it is true or not.
I would recommend the following if you want a scholarly and well thought out opinion on Christianity and its validity.
Bart Ehrman's Jesus Interrupted
John W Loftus's (ed) The Christian Delusion
Hi April, welcome to the site!
As far as a 'meaning' to life, there is no overarching meaning as far as we can tell. What meaning our lives have is that which we give them. Likewise, what we look forward to is what we want to achieve/see/do.
The meaning of life?
If death is the end of everything, then living is everything.
That, to me, means depth of experience. You're not going to get much depth from religious dogma. But you can from your relationships and work and curiosity. And you don't need to be religious to volunteer or contribute to charities: many atheists find great satisfaction in helping others.
Everybody dies. But not everybody truly lives.