Why do Atheists think life is pointless?

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Ter
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Re: Why do Atheists think life is pointless?

Post by Ter » Sun Jan 30, 2011 10:29 pm

Jim_Jim_James wrote:Well, here is what I think atheism is. Modern popular atheism seems to be a modern incarnation of the 19th century principals of Popularism and Secular Humanism all based on a sort of crass materialism that has been driven to fever pitch which is now based around a series of Godheads like Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennett. Forming what I see as a sort of fundamentalist secular religion preaching the deification of man and his assumed dominance of the natural, and apparently supernatural, world.
So I see atheism as a competing series of religious beliefs as opposed to the diametric opposite of my faith in Christianity. And on that point I would like to say that I have generally found adherents of atheism to possess a far more small minded and bigoted world view than many of the most fundamentalist Christians I know, and I know some fairly literal Christians.
I consider myself to be more of an....agnostic Christian that a biblical literalist. I accept the standard Christian principal that there is a God in heaven and a opposite to God in a hell and all that goes with that but I don't dismiss all other religions as being worthless but instead see them as differing interpretations of universal God. In that sense, considering my definition of atheism, I consider your religion to have some aspects of a universal God even if those aspects are arrived at through a flawed reasoning that puts man before God which I consider to be untrue.
And there in lies the problem, I'm an atheist and I don't even recognise what you are describing, that is what you "think" an atheist is (i.e. your misconception). My life is not at all pointless, I love my Veronica, I love my family, I love my friends, I love my dogs, I love learning new things, I love the voluntary patient rights work I do, I walk this earth in boyish wonder at the beauty that is everywhere, and yes I could go on.

POINTLESS, NO !!! where on earth you get that from is beyond me, truely. :roll: I was a believer, then I asked myself some difficult questions and became a non-believer, my personal philosophy and attitudes did not change in the slightest. I mention this as you wrote earlier about "philosophical implications...", well the philosophical implications of my not beliving in god, are, NONE.

I short atheists don't think life is pointless, YOU think that atheists think life is pointless. And it would appear that you are unshakable in that mistaken notion.
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Re: Why do Atheists think life is pointless?

Post by Jim_Jim_James » Sun Jan 30, 2011 10:41 pm

"I'm an atheist and I don't even recognise what you are describing"
Perhaps you don't know what it is you believe exactly.
Dev
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Re: Why do Atheists think life is pointless?

Post by Dev » Sun Jan 30, 2011 10:45 pm

Jim_Jim_James wrote:"I'm an atheist and I don't even recognise what you are describing"
Perhaps you don't know what it is you believe exactly.
Well it's already been established you don't know what we believe. You thought initially that all atheists understood life to be pointless. Then you actually said you don't know what we believe:
I'm not an atheist I don't know what you believe
Here is the accepted understanding of atheism:
The rejection or lack of belief in God(s).

This doesn't mean there are no Gods it just means we don't believe in them.

You're clearly working off your own definition of atheism which defines it as a religion. Which is frankly nonsense because of the hypocrisy involved. You can't say atheism is a religion then accuse us of having no God. You must acknowledge that atheism is not a religion.

The accepted understanding of a religion is:
Belief in a God or some supernatural force.

Your definition of atheism:
Jim_Jim_James wrote:Forming what I see as a sort of fundamentalist secular religion preaching the deification of man and his assumed dominance of the natural, and apparently supernatural, world.
Secular means free from religion having a religion that is secular is . . at the very least impossible at the very best absurd. To satisfy the definition of religion there needs to be a deity, you say we deify man. Man is part of the natural world and can't be a deity. Go on a bit further and it actually say that atheists assume dominance of the supernatural world. What?

Christians assume dominance over the natural world:
Jim_Jim_James wrote: God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground."
Let me check what the atheist handbook has to say on the mans dominance over the natural world.
Ah, here it is.
The rejection or lack of belief in God(s).

Hmmm, not very helpful probably best to check with the individual concerned rather than his/her associated ideological label.
Ter
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Re: Why do Atheists think life is pointless?

Post by Ter » Sun Jan 30, 2011 11:33 pm

Jim_Jim_James wrote:"I'm an atheist and I don't even recognise what you are describing"
Perhaps you don't know what it is you believe exactly.
Hmm, perhaps you'd be so kind as to tell me what I believe, oh no wait, your already doing that. :lol:
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Re: Why do Atheists think life is pointless?

Post by Globi » Sun Jan 30, 2011 11:51 pm

Jim_Jim_James wrote: My question is quite simple. Atheism seems to me to preach that life is utterly pointless and totally devoid of meaning and that suicide would be the most rational option given the circumstances. Is this what you believe and if it is how do you justify being alive at all?
To bring suicide into this debate is insensitive, ignorant and, to be honest, absurd. It is also a reflection of your mindset.
Sadly, suicide is a reality in society, but not for the reason you propose. May I suggest you do some reading on the subject before going public on your ignorance?
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Re: Why do Atheists think life is pointless?

Post by Jim_Jim_James » Mon Jan 31, 2011 1:01 am

"Secular means free from religion having a religion that is secular is . . at the very least impossible at the very best absurd."

I will take Jon Gray's opinion on that over yours any day.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2008/mar/15/society

You are getting hung up on the words an ignoring the implication. Atheism takes on all the characteristics of a religion just without the happy ending or the truth of Gods word. And secular doesn't mean being free from religion it is defined as "of or pertaining to worldly things or to things that are not regarded as religious" not being free from religion.
Dev
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Re: Why do Atheists think life is pointless?

Post by Dev » Mon Jan 31, 2011 1:38 am

Jim_Jim_James wrote:"Secular means free from religion having a religion that is secular is . . at the very least impossible at the very best absurd."

I will take Jon Gray's opinion on that over yours any day.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2008/mar/15/society

You are getting hung up on the words an ignoring the implication. Atheism takes on all the characteristics of a religion just without the happy ending or the truth of Gods word. And secular doesn't mean being free from religion it is defined as "of or pertaining to worldly things or to things that are not regarded as religious" not being free from religion.
i.e. not religious. I don't see how that definition conflicts with mine at all.

Ok so you'll take Gray's opinion over mine. It only shows your opinion is formed on the basis of perceived authority and not the merit of an individuals argument.

It doesn't matter if atheists decided to meet up every Sunday to read Dawkins in pues. It doesn't change the fact that atheists don't believe in a super natural entity which is required for the definition of a religion.

This notion that atheists can't organize themselves without seemingly being hypocritical is complete rubbish. Individuals organize themselves for many causes and reasons. This phenomena does not belong to the religious.

Tell me what characteristics other than a groups organizational faculty does atheism have in common with religion?
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Re: Why do Atheists think life is pointless?

Post by nozzferrahhtoo » Mon Jan 31, 2011 9:51 am

Jim_Jim_James wrote:My question is quite simple. Atheism seems to me to preach that life is utterly pointless and totally devoid of meaning and that suicide would be the most rational option given the circumstances. Is this what you believe and if it is how do you justify being alive at all?
It seems you are not happy with your interpretation of how genuine people are being in giving you their answers to your OP. So I will endevour to answer it as honestly as I can.

Stamp collecting is also pointless, yet people do it. It is true what they say: Philately will get you nowhere. :)

The error you are making is to miss the subtle, but massively important difference between finding a point in something, and something having a point in and of itself. Atheists are generally saying that life does not have the latter. They are not saying it does not have either.

Like stamp collecting people find their own reason(s) for and point(s) to it. They establish their own personal goals in life and are very much happy to do so.

I once moaned a little to my girlfriend who wanted to go for a long walk up a hill. I pointed out that there was no destination, so what is the point. She quite rightly pointed out that... and I say the same thing as an answer to your questions here... "The journey itself IS the destination" and I think if you understand that one quote then you will understand the point atheists find in their life.

The difference then of course is that atheists can find such a point in life. You yourself however are left inventing something based on literally no evidence that you have presented in order to base a point to life on. So I am afraid when you state "I honestly don't understand the idea of a pointless life." I am afraid the only reply I can give is "I honestly don't understand the idea of a life based on self delusion and lies".
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Re: Why do Atheists think life is pointless?

Post by aZerogodist » Mon Jan 31, 2011 1:07 pm

It was my father's first anniversary a few weeks ago, my mother died 12 years ago both were church goers, as an atheist I have to accept that I will never see them again, they are apart of me, if anything is pointless it's death without a value for life.
Life is the most valuable thing I have, if anything life has more of a point/purpose now as an atheist, if I can help others, my family friends etc, (irrespective of their beliefs) and when it comes to my own death look back over the life I had with pride, I'll die with a smile on my face.

If anything is pointless it's wasting life, what benefit does praying on your knees once a week and living by some rules from what can only be called a fantasy-book? All the selfish wasted hours spent in the pursuit of a better afterlife for yourself, rather than pursuing a better life for yourself, the people you know and even the one’s you don't, in this one life.

If anything is pointless it's living a devout religious life, because not only is it a wasting hours of your only life, but worse cause you know its “living-a-lie”. I pity nuns and priests giving up their only life for a myth, what a pointless life, we should break their shackles and set them free. :D

Jim_Jim_James: I challenge you to give up religion for two weeks and instead of “Holy Holy Holy”, kneeling/bowing/praying. Spend that time with your family, painting their house, digging the garden, and more important just chat with them or just go and feed the ducks in a local pond, and see does life without religion seem pointless, it will be the best two weeks of YOUR whole god- damning-life.
But I suspect you have no real interest in engaging with us and here just to post hateful declarations, while of course, as a loving-christian.
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Re: Why do Atheists think life is pointless?

Post by oldrnwisr » Mon Jan 31, 2011 1:17 pm

Jim Jim,

A very short and very simplified history of the universe may help to see the point of life when you don't believe in a god (not God, but any one of the 2800 deities invented by humans over the last 100,000 years or so). The universe was created 13.5 billion years ago, give or take in the Big Bang. This event may or may not have been triggered by the destruction of a previous universe (see Roger Penrose's book - Cycles of Time). About 4.5 billion years ago the earth was formed and in a relatively short (geologically speaking) period of time life arose on the planet. The early forms of life were simple unicellular organisms. Through processes such as the division of labour, however, these organisms co-operated to survive and in the subsequent time evolved into the life we see around us today. The "point" of human life as it is today is to survive, to ensure that the modern form of those ancient organisms, our genes, survive into the next generation and the next and the next and so on. The mechanism by which this "point" is achieved is sex. You may consider this to be hedonism as you stated but without it none of us would be here. Quite simply the "point" of life is to grow up, find a partner, have children and care for those children as best you can to ensure the survival of your genes.

I hope that gives some insight into a naturalistic view of your question but as for your opening post and subsequent replies there are some strange comments.

You say that you are not a biblical literalist and yet use an argument from incredulity that you cannot understand how all this life got here without God. Well simply put, either you believe accept evolution, be it theistic or otherwise or believe in a literal interpretation of the bible.

Secondly you said that the point of faith is faith. Well yes it is. If you believe in something on faith alone then we can't touch you. Faith exists in the absence of proof or in the presence of contradictory proof. It exists despite a lack of proof. If you're going to make a case for proving your faith then expect to get a smackdown from people with real evidence. In the last 2000 years, the people with true faith have retained an intact argument while those attempting to prove their religion have been reduced to feeding on the scraps from the table of science, inventing half-baked theories to fill the gaps that science can't yet explain.

Finally, to go back to your argument from incredulity you said:
I refuse to believe that something as perfectly ordered as nature could come to exist by accident
The argument about random chance and the probability of the "perfect order" of nature is a very weak one and one that has been torn apart from many different perspectives. In fact, if you want to disprove it for yourself, it can be done very simply. Get five friends and have a game of cards. Shuffle the deck randomly and then deal six hands of cards. Then calculate the probability of those specific cards being dealt in that order. In case, you don't feel like going through all that math, the chances are 1 in 7x10^46. To put that number in context the total number of atoms in the universe is 4x10^79. If you were to look at that card game objectively at some future time you would have to conclude on a probabilistic basis that the chance of those cards being dealt in that order was so small as to be impossible, and yet you did it.

By the way, if there are any more fairy stories propping up your faith then I'm sure we'd all like to explain them and tear them down for you.
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