So I think something that Atheist movement in America really lacks is an outlet or expression of what makes life beautiful or worth living.

In many ways, we can't have one big platform, because its different for every person.

For some people such as myself in my early 20s, you can really have trouble living without feeling like there is a meaning.

I know there is no "objective" meaning in life. The only meaning possible is always from a subjective point of view.

I've seen skeptics (actually usually more often the cynical reductions) try to reduce love and everything in life to sex and reproduction. I totally believe in evolution and that we were something that happened by chance.

I remember something my Biology teacher said. In Biology the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Sure a cell is a mitochondria and nuclei and some other stuff but it is not *just* that, it makes up a cell.

At some point in my life I started thinking why should people celebrate things about me that are something I did not choose? I did not choose to have the level of intelligence I do, I just had the capacity, so I felt like it was unearned and that I should not be praised for it. At some point I realized, that this line of thinking was flawed. No I didn't have a choice in my brain capacity but I *do* have the choice of what to do with it and that what you do is who you are.

The joy of friendships and relationships and even music is super important to me. We can try to explain away that this is an evolutionary trait of altruism for your species, being willing to die for what you believe in, for justice, for those you love but it doesn't take away the social/personal meanings of these things if the have a biological origin or cause somehow.

It's like a friend of mine and a few people tried to explain "love" as a biological thing and nothing more than serotonin and dopamine rushing your brain. well that is the biological aspect of love but thats just the parts not the whole. No one ever tells you, oh you just had a really great time dancing, but that was just a biological plan to ensure reproduction somehow, so it doesn't *really* matter, you'd stare at them like what is wrong with you if they said that out of the blue.

These are just my musings.

I think its difficult for people who have a solid foundation to understand the troubles of meaning sometimes. I had none of these sort of doubts as a teenager even though I was already an atheist, but when I put together my lack of beliefs in the supernatural plus the logical conclusions of naturalism in my college years, I realized I had to rebuild my foundation over again which is not easy :( I mean there are somethings that are simple and you accept, like we should be good to one another because you feel pain too, and I need you as much as I need myself.

What worries me I guess is that I don't know HOW you could force or convince someone that wants to be totally selfish to be a good person [You really can't do it even if they think the all-mighty God is after them]. In the end though I just have to have more trust in my fellow people. Most people want to do the right thing and they want to be good to other people. [Despite the ranting of Hobbes, people really do want to, otherwise human beings would have gone extinct thousands of years ago.]

I read in Good without God, where Greg Epstein was kind of upset that Richard Dawkins didn't know what to tell a young man who was thinking of committing suicide because he couldn't see the meaning in life. Its like what kind of human being doesn't have anything worthwhile to say in a situation like that. Similarly, I think its difficult for those who are well-adjusted and mentally normal, to understand the need for meaning that people who struggle inside their minds have (like people with PTSD, intense anxiety, panic attacks, bipolar disorder, depression have etc)

Not only am I an atheist but I'm also a humanist in that I have a positive value system in which I want to help other people (and other living things while we're at it).

Sometimes I wish there was a place I could go to look for like ideas that inspire you or comfort you when times are tough. Not all of us have good friends we can talk to about everything. So while I'm totally not for the supernatural, and I totally see the positive benefits of going to therapy and support gorups. I just wish there was more resources/or a place dedicated to helping people who are suffering because they don't know how to go from here forward. I think thats a huge thing that draws people to church. Somewhere to go when you've lost hope, someone to talk to that won't (hopefully) charge you a bunch of money, somewhere to regain your strength. I just wish the modern secular world had more resources for this sort of thing. Why do the religious people have a monopoly (well except for the Unitarians) on the part of us that yearns for connection and meaning?

That's something I think atheists sometimes miss (although some specifically do a great job of noting) how important connection to each other is to most of us. I think this is my deepest desire, to connect with other people and share something with them.

Oh btw the most "dangerous" idea I ever encountered was solipsism. It actually scared the crap out of me until I realized it was up there with woo and some ridiculous stuff. There's no point in being unsure of the most basic tenants of reality when they've been really really consistent throughout one's entire life. (It would be incredibly arrogant to think you're the only conscious being in the universe or that somehow it was all made for you?). So yay to skepticism which teaches us that falsifiability is key to knowledge. Otherwise I'd have to believe in silly crap like The Secret, or that I live in the Matrix or that theres a tea pot floating around Uranus or some crazy stuff and wouldn't know what to believe. I mean if one just gave up on life, and didn't eat, or drink, then one would die, and well you wouldn't know it obviously because you'd be dead but then you'd find out that everything was real after all cause you actually died and that you were just being paranoid. As Descartes famously said, I think therefore I am (totally smart words, I can't be 100% that my sense are true) but I can deduce that we all exist somehow and Occam's razor tells us its probably exactly the daily mundane complex reality we currently experience.

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Comment by Rocio Hernandez on September 15, 2010 at 10:45am
Hmm I tried to save this as a draft as this was a late night creation but for some reason it published it :O

Ah well, its out there, I can add more later. Just confused as to how that happened!
Comment by Bill on September 15, 2010 at 12:13pm
It's a sign! It must have happened for a reason :). Anyway, thanks for sharing!!

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