Atheists In Kenya (AIK)

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How do atheists find meaning in life?


Most Christians are mostly of the view that our lives (the lives of Atheists) can have no value if we do not believe in their God. What is the point, they ask, of being kind or loving, caring about suffering or doing anything at all, if one day we just die?
It is true that in the absence of a divine plan our lives have no externally determined purpose: an individual is not born for the purpose of becoming a physician or creating a spectacular work of art or digging a well in an arid corner of some desert. But are the sick less cured, the pleasure to the art-lover less intense, simply because a man sought his own purpose rather than following some god? Do we really need a deity to tell us that a life spent curing cancer is more worthwhile than one spent drinking in the gutter?
Why should we not find satisfaction in alleviating suffering or injustice, just because we’re all going to die one day? The very fact that this life is all we have makes it even more important to do everything possible to reduce the suffering caused by poverty, disease, injustice and ignorance. To describe such attempts as meaningless is to say that avoidable suffering does not matter, hardly a moral stance.

Many Christians claim we, Atheists have no reason to care about others if there is no God. But this is itself a religious claim, arising from the theological concept of Original Sin, which declares humankind fallen and corrupt. We can safely ignore it, for in reality we do not need childish stories of eternal reward or damnation to coerce us into being good: research shows that the least religious societies have the lowest incidence of social ills, including crime and violence. Healthy humans have empathy built in, and the explanations for this lie in psychology and evolutionary biology: no gods required.

Life cannot be meaningless so long as we have the capacity to affect the well-being of ourselves and others. For true meaninglessness, we would need heaven.
In the state of permanent, perfect bliss that is the very definition of heaven, ‘making a difference’ is ruled out. If the difference made an improvement, the previous state could not have been perfect. If it made things worse, the result would not be perfect. In heaven, neither is possible. Even being reunited with loved ones could not add one jot to their bliss or yours, for heaven would be, by definition, a state that could not be improved on.
Just consider for a moment the hellish pointlessness of heaven. At least in our real existence our actions have an effect, for better or worse, and it is therefore worth trying to get them right. In an eternal life where we can have no effect whatsoever, we might as well be dead.

If you have ever claimed that your life would have no meaning if it weren’t for your faith in God, do you really believe your family and friends have no worth in their own right? Can you really not see the point in striving to protect and nurture your children, even if there is no eternal life? Really?
If you do, then it is you, not atheists, who debase humanity, and it is Christianity, not atheism, that diminishes the real value and meaning of life. We atheists find purpose in the world as it is, and in our real lives; we see living beings as valuable in their own right, deserving of our concern and compassion simply because they share our capacity for pain and pleasure. It is hard to imagine a position less moral, less conducive to empathy, than this inherently warped and uncharitable view of humanity proposed by Christianity.

Theistic religion reduces life to something that has no value other than as the creation of an imagined deity. It decrees that purpose and meaning can only be found in being that deity’s puppet, having no purpose but its purpose and no value other than as its handiwork. Theistic religion looks on all that is best and most noble in human impulse and endeavor and dismisses it as meaningless and worthless –or worse: corrupt –unless done in the name of God.

It is time to abandon this baseless worldview. It is time to reject theistic religion and start viewing ourselves and others with real dignity, as beings with value in our own right and not just as the distorted shadows of a fictional creator.

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3 comments on “How do atheists find meaning in life?

  1. Odanga Jamangula
    September 22, 2012

    Life, Harry I have always told you begins with the knowledge of God. The full impact of a persons purpose in life can only be realized after we have come to the full realization of deity as apotheosized in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

    All else would be futility as the fluff you have just spoiled our precoius minutes with above.

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    • makagutu
      December 29, 2012

      Odanga, there is no god. If life had meaning then we would be able to ask a child this question and they should be able to answer it. But me and you know they can’t for the simple reason we create our meaning as we go along.
      For the theist, I know you are looking for an ultimate meaning which would be something like being subservient to god, but then the question is how do you know yours is the right god and that is what it wants?

      Like

  2. j.w
    September 26, 2012

    “NOW ALL HAS BEEN HEARD;
    HERE IS THE CONCLUSION OF THE MATTER:
    FEAR GOD AND KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS,
    FOR THIS IS THE DUTY OF ALL MANKIND.
    FOR GOD WILL BRING EVERY DEED INTO JUDGMENT,
    INCLUDING EVERY HIDDEN THING,
    WHETHER IT IS GOOD OR EVIL.” ECCLESIASTES 12: 13-14

    “THEN I SAW A GREAT WHITE THRONE AND HIM WHO WAS SEATED ON IT. THE EARTH AND THE HEAVENS FLED FROM HIS PRESENCE, AND THERE WAS NO PLACE FOR THEM. AND I SAW THE DEAD, GREAT AND SMALL, STANDING BEFORE THE THRONE, AND BOOKS WERE OPENED. ANOTHER BOOK WAS OPENED, WHICH IS THE BOOK OF LIFE. THE DEAD WERE JUDGED ACCORDING TO WHAT THEY HAD DONE AS RECORDED IN THE BOOKS. THE SEA GAVE UP THE DEAD THAT WERE IN IT, AND DEATH AND HADES GAVE UP THE DEAD THAT WERE IN THEM, AND EACH PERSON WAS JUDGED ACCORDING TO WHAT THEY HAD DONE. THEN DEATH AND HADES WERE THROWN INTO THE LAKE OF FIRE. THE LAKE OF FIRE IS THE SECOND DEATH. ANYONE WHOSE NAME WAS NOT FOUND WRITTEN IN THE BOOK OF LIFE WAS THROWN INTO THE LAKE OF FIRE.” Revelation 20:11-15

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This entry was posted on September 18, 2012 by in Uncategorized.
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