Monday, April 15, 2013

Your Life Has No Meaning

I remember as a kid having a conversation about "life's meaning" with my dad. Dad was raised a Catholic, and though he didn't practice the religion at that point, he carried the Catholic ethos with him through his life. He told me, with a certain fear in his voice, that our meaning of life was to get to Heaven. As a kid, Dad's fear of these larger issues really got to me. After that moment, I, too, was afraid.

It was that exact fear that kept me from questioning many things or from entertaining my many doubts for many years. 

Some of the questions that friends who are believers ask me, with a certain fear in their voice, are "But how can your life have any meaning?", "Isn't your life pointless," and "Why try? Isn't it just going to end anyway?" I know these are questions of fear and of seeking to avoid the feeling of "void" for them. I remember that fear vividly. My Christian friends insist that their faith provides them with a powerful sense of meaning and purpose and that they would be lost without it. I am generally content to take them at their word.

While I know I can never explain it adequately to them, my life is far more meaningful to me now than it was before becoming an atheist. As a Catholic, my "meaning" was all for the afterlife. My "meaning" wasn't even for this life! With my eyes on the afterlife prize, I was constantly missing today. Here. That which was before me. Because when a person is willing to believe in an afterlife, he becomes willing to sacrifice important things in this life. But that day I became an atheist, I realized that this life is the only life I get.  

THIS LIFE. This moment. These people. My decisions and my choices became far more meaningful. More care must be taken in this life to avoid causing pain and suffering. And when I became a parent, I began to see my place in it all. I am a part of a long line of LIFE longing for itself. My children, their children... 
All of those to follow come from me.

I believe that raising my children with good hearts, wise minds, and the desire to become better people will take them into the future. They and their children and their children's children are of me, will be descended from me.  

But there is more. There are things to be learned, beauty to experience, good deeds to perform. There are people to love, land to steward, books to read, happiness to spread, laughter to laugh, and sunsets to experience. The beauty of this life is sublime and I have chosen to make the meaning of my life one of increasing and sharing that beauty, expanding truth and reason, and being the best person I can be in this life.

We have this unlikely life. I find that worth celebrating.

If you enjoyed this post, you may also like:  
You Were Never a True Believer   
This I Believe


  1. I got involved in a homeschool co-op this year before I realized how Christian it was going to be, so I'm fairly certain we're the only non-religious people attending. It hasn't been a big deal, but this last meeting my 9-year old son blew the mind of another kid there (who's around 12) by stating we don't read the Bible in our house. She just couldn't understand how you could not read the Bible, and then when she heard we're not Christian, she was completely flabbergasted. It's likely my son is the only non-Christian she knows. I'm proud that my son's response to her comments was "Not everyone in the world is Christian, you know." That showed some great presence of mind, I thought.

    1. He sounds like a kid with a great heart and mind!

  2. Love this! You hit the nail on the head.

    That's been a long-running contention of mine, too--that organized religion has people focusing on the prize at the end, rather than paying attention to the here and now. It has people constantly looking up for their answers, rather than looking in and around themselves.

    Religion is the easy path, the low-accountability approach, the pat answer to life. Thinking for one's self has always been the more difficult and worthwhile path to take.

    To quote Wayne and Garth: "Live in the now!"

    1. My thoughts exactly.
      HEY, would you consider writing a guest post for my blog, B?

    2. Oh, wow! I'd be honored! Just let me know any specifics, etc.

  3. Yea for heaven is such a silly reason to have meaning. That said, if this life is all there is, then I do think life is meaningless for the people who are stuck in severe starvation and poverty, or locked in the brothal. Its like whats the point...there is nothing else in the future.

    1. Good reminder, Lana. People who are living in victimized positions do not have the luxury of enjoying this life...
      It is painful to think of their lives being such...

  4. Karen,
    Denying God exists offers similar profits as a person who denies gravity and jumps from a plane.

    The problem is that at some point in your life, when you had a choice between doing right or wrong, you chose wrong. That's called sin. Whether it was disobeying your parents, stealing, lusting after another person, or hating, you chose the wrong way. This means you personally broke God's law. We all have.

    Imagine you're standing in court. You've been found to have broken the law and evidence against you is conclusive. The judge announces your penalty -a $500,000 fine. You begin to sweat, when suddenly someone you don't know walks up to the judge and pays your fine in full.

    Your fine was paid when God sent his sinless son to die in your place and to pay for your sins. In fact, the bible says he would have died for you, had you been the only one. When you believe that Jesus is the son of God and died to set you free from the power of sin and death, you become legally justified before God. You can leave the courtroom free.

    You're right about the Catholic church. It only offers religion. But I am offering you Christ.

    For the invisible things of him [God] from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, [even] his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:Because that, when they knew God, they glorified [him] not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Romans 1:20-21

    And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. -Matthew 10:28

    1. Here's the thing `Matthew 10:28", is that your name?, not only do I not accept the Bible as meaningful or worth of honor, I don't believe in sin AT ALL. Nor am I impressed with quotes from a holy book. Neither do I believe in any single god. Or souls. Or an afterlife. or having someone pay my "wage of sin".

      Since sin has been introduced BY a god to be forgiven BY god for not loving god, I wouldn't embrace a god like that anyway.

      Very different from you, I do not believe in making honest choices that are "sinful". The "sins" you mention are completely HUMAN and I choose to celebrate my humanness.

      I DO NOT DEBATE. At all. Feel free to debate others. However, if you are simply posting this as a kindness, thanks. But no thank you. And I promise to not come to your blog and post atheist things.

      I am an atheist. That's what that means.

  5. Pardon my intrusion on your blog. I was under the impression that you LOVE to read comments. :-)
    But apparently you only love the ones that do not challenge your beliefs. May I ask you one last thing? Do you believe absolute truth exists?

    1. If you are here to enjoy my blog, please comment away.
      If you are here to play the debate game, I simply don't debate so I will be no fun for you.

  6. I am opposed to debate as well.I am just another homeschool mom who came across your blog while searching for something homeschool related. I saw your article saying that life has no meaning and I had comments and questions. This does not qualify me as a debater.

    I won't bother you anymore (unless you're open for a real discussion). But I do hope you will visit - even if only out of curiosity. I have no motive or agenda, just genuine concern.
    Take care,

    1. Thank you, Lisa, for leaving your name and blog address.
      I think you may have misunderstood my blog post, then, because there is no cause for concern.
      I say, in this post, that Christians ask me the question "How can your life have meaning without God?" and I reply, my life has a great deal of meaning!

      SO, you seen, nothing to worry about.
      I have no need to check out any religious site at all, absolutely no curiosity about that that site offers as "proof". Remember, the words from religions have no weight with me at all. I am an atheist. An extremely happy one.
      Peace, Karen


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