What is the Purpose and Meaning of Life For an Atheist

About a year ago a evangelical Christian wrote to me and wanted to know how my life could have purpose or meaning without God

He writes:
“Hey, I have a question for you. What is the purpose and meaning of life?”

A big part of my purpose is to love and support my family and friends.

I think my purpose in life is kind of Darwinian…to pass on the knowledge of the past and present and to further the dispersion of the species, and to work to insure the survival of not only my offspring, but all of humanity. Further I think it is incumbent on all of us to work to alleviate pain and suffering in our world, to help those in need, to continually be learning and working to make our world safe for all of us.

We have only this life and we need to make the best possible use of it. We as a people need to learn that life is a fragile and beautiful thing and needs constant reinforcement and support from all of us from the greatest to the most vulnerable. We must learn to treat our world and environment with greater respect and do our part to stop the degradation of our only home in the cosmos.

I can tell you what it is NOT…”Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.” Just how egotistical is your God anyway?

If it were all up to Christian and Muslim religion we would be setting around on our butts waiting for Armageddon or some such crud. Research and learning would be a thing of the past…why research anything…God did it. We would enter another dark-age and the spirit of mans intellect, that glow in the dark vastness of the universe, would be extinguished forever…all for nothing…as there is no God.

I truly fear for this world as there are forces afoot conspiring to end civilization as we know it, and there is serious effort behind this plot. If religion is allowed to stand we are doomed as a people.
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Science…True…God…Not?

I have fielded lots of questions about beliefs in God and science. One person in particular had some questions that were similar to ones I hear all the time and that intrigued me. I thought I would make a column.

He writes:
” What do you do with the flaws in your faith-system? Is it adequate to you when the dogma of the last decade is replaced by the new and improved dogma of this decade? Not being negative, just asking. I am curious about how the new knowledge supercedes the old knowledge. And what about those who choose to cling to the old knowledge and call the new stuff heresy? ”

Like all inquiry of a scientific nature, if you put a theory out there, expect an immediate attack by your fellows…in your field. Those that have heavy intellectual baggage in one theory or another will probably give you grief. Those that don’t have hard opinions on your methodology yet OR are investigating something not quite on your target will wait till more evidence comes in. But, ultimately your stuff has to stand up to very close examination, and be repeatable by others, or many leaders in the field need to agree (not an easy thing to achieve). As a scientist you cannot just throw something out there and expect it will immediately be believed as true.

The reasons you are seeing sooo much change nowadays, is that investigational tools, new methods, computer technology, and the shear number of new investigational people is exploding. Like all scientific exploration, new work will have to stand-up to many people critiquing it before it is widely accepted in the community of science. Dating methodology for example has been put through the wringer, and is proven many times over…even though evangelical fundamentalists don’t believe it, and stand on their head trying to prove it wrong, and have been known to lie about the science.

He writes:
“I know the modernization of knowledge is inherent in the scientific inquiry process. If this is the foundation of your belief system, does it sometimes feel like you are standing on shifting sand? (Serious question).”

To the contrary, I feel pretty safe in believing what I do. I have been following science for about 50 years and I have seen the progression of science in the archaeological, and other earth sciences, from immediately disturbing and collecting of everything in sight; to today’s careful, methodical work that returns infinitely more information.

I have seen and followed the combining of different disciplines to attack old problems, people from widely divergent cultures unite and share information and life’s work. In short, I have been witness to an unbelievable explosion of knowledge and unity.

Even when governments and religions are at odds with each other…the scientists of each country and religion continue to work with each other. If anything the scientists are the ones setting the good examples of how to behave towards each other. Differing religions are continually at odds with each other unless science mediates

I feel that the believers in that old Hebrew God myth are the ones standing on quicksand. The basis (old myths and stories that are proven untrue) for their faith is being eroded day by day.

He writes:
“And I am curious about the flaws you have found in the Bible. Is there something I should know about? (Another serious question).”

Well over a hundred inconsistent stories or verses contradicting each other. Some stories being proven totally untrue, known manipulation of the contents of Scripture and the Bible, many anachronisms, wrong interpretations, Paul probably ‘inventing’ the religious theology behind Christianity. I found some independently, but most were found by Biblical scholars.

Jesus was probably a true historical person, but was he magical?

If we’re talking about a real God…the logic that should be evident…is missing. And yes, I can define the logic behind a God. Anyone can…as long as it is real logic.

There are no supernatural or magical forces in the world or universe today. Everything you see follows physical laws, even if we don’t quite know what they are yet.

Probably the most serious flaw is the religion itself. It lacks logic. The belief that a God–that created the whole universe–chooses to only reveal himself only to a wandering tribe of Hebrews, many tens or hundreds of thousands of years after humans evolved, and not tell the rest of the world, and stays mostly hidden to millions of people for such a long time is just silly and illogical. And yes I can define the logic of it.

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