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Is There Purpose In Life Without God?


EdwardAbbey
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Why do fundamentalist Christians think humans aren’t capable of deciding their own purpose in life?

 

Why do you think that the only way to have purpose in life is by believing in or relying on a God?

 

As a non-believer, I am fully capable of deciding my own purpose, meaning and happiness in life.

 

I don’t see the need to acknowledge something I perceive as imaginary and non-existent outside the mind in order to accomplish such a task.

 

So why do you as a believer find it necessary to believe in a God so you can have purpose in life?

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Why do fundamentalist Christians think humans aren’t capable of deciding their own purpose in life?

 

Why do you think that the only way to have purpose in life is by believing in or relying on a God?

 

As a non-believer, I am fully capable of deciding my own purpose, meaning and happiness in life.

 

I don’t see the need to acknowledge something I perceive as imaginary and non-existent outside the mind in order to accomplish such a task.

 

So why do you as a believer find it necessary to believe in a God so you can have purpose in life?

 

 

I think the arena is meant for formal 1 on 1 debates.

 

And it would be conducive to discussion if you were to define purpose, meaning, and happiness.

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Why do fundamentalist Christians think humans aren’t capable of deciding their own purpose in life?

 

Why do you think that the only way to have purpose in life is by believing in or relying on a God?

 

As a non-believer, I am fully capable of deciding my own purpose, meaning and happiness in life.

 

I don’t see the need to acknowledge something I perceive as imaginary and non-existent outside the mind in order to accomplish such a task.

 

So why do you as a believer find it necessary to believe in a God so you can have purpose in life?

 

 

I think the arena is meant for formal 1 on 1 debates.

 

And it would be conducive to discussion if you were to define purpose, meaning, and happiness.

 

Sorry about that. Is it possible for it to be moved by someone in charge?

 

As for defining the terms. I didn't think it was going to be that complicated. Is it really necessary to define the terms I listed? I didn't want to write a long post. I think everyone has some idea on what the definitions are. If not, then there are plenty of good dictionary definitions.

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Sorry about that. Is it possible for it to be moved by someone in charge?

 

As for defining the terms. I didn't think it was going to be that complicated. Is it really necessary to define the terms I listed? I didn't want to write a long post. I think everyone has some idea on what the definitions are. If not, then there are plenty of good dictionary definitions.

 

Ok, because I contend that based on the prime definition of purpose, we don't have any and we can't make any for ourselves.

 

Purpose is the reason for which something exists in an objective sense. Anything that does have purpose was created for an intended use. Purpose and intent go hand in hand.

 

In creating humans, God had a specific purpose for them in mind. If nothing created humans, we weren't created for an intended result, therefore we have no purpose.

 

You can't create yourself, so you can't give yourself purpose.

 

That doesn't mean you can't give your life meaning and happiness.

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I'd have to turn the question around and ask if there is any purpose to life if you believe in a god.

 

With a god belief it's the afterlife that counts and the life part is only a cruel game being forced on us by a god.

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Asimov put it well. We were not created by any being, and even if we were we obviously weren't given any guidlines from that being on what our point in life is, so there is no actual "purpose" to our existence.

 

We can give our lives a more loosely-defined "purpose" by simply deciding what's good and right and important for us. That's not the same as objective "purpose" but it'll have to do.

 

And as Dave said, with god-belief, only the afterlife is important, so that kind of life seems more pointless overall. When the afterlife is the most important thing, this one becomes trivial, except for how much it can prepare you for the next world. Which is still a pointless existence.

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I'd have to turn the question around and ask if there is any purpose to life if you believe in a god.

 

With a god belief it's the afterlife that counts and the life part is only a cruel game being forced on us by a god.

 

 

That really depends on the God, depends on the belief. Even God could have created us and not given us any purpose to fulfill.

 

Believing in God doesn't mean you suddenly have a purpose to life. If it's a fact that God created us to do a specific thing, then we have a purpose.

 

As Varokhar put it, we can give ourselves purpose, but it's not the same thing as I mentioned earlier...it's more of setting a goal for oneself type of purpose.

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The only things I would add those is that there is an actual minimal "purpose" to individual lives, whether it be plant or animal life, and that is to survive by consuming energy and reproducing. The question of the individual human life having some sort of higher purpose, as reflected in religious sentiments is more about continuing an ideal of the "specialness" of human beings in the world. The creation and power behind all mythology is a strong emotional drive to create a sense of "meaning' to appease the terror of our own self awareness in an apparently purposeless existence. People create God in their own image; an image that creates meaning. God is a painting.

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The only things I would add those is that there is an actual minimal "purpose" to individual lives, whether it be plant or animal life, and that is to survive by consuming energy and reproducing.

 

Those are the functions we perform, not purpose. We weren't designed or created to do this specifically because there was no intent in our creation. Unless something or someone actually created us to DO those things, we still have no purpose, even minimally.

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The only things I would add those is that there is an actual minimal "purpose" to individual lives, whether it be plant or animal life, and that is to survive by consuming energy and reproducing.

 

Those are the functions we perform, not purpose. We weren't designed or created to do this specifically because there was no intent in our creation. Unless something or someone actually created us to DO those things, we still have no purpose, even minimally.

Wouldn't you call animal cells organizing together into a machine that serves a function of consumption, purpose? The cells organized into an animal for a purpose, to better survive. I suppose the existence of life in and of itself is simply a result of natural processes, chemical energy by-product or whatever. But the individual animal's existence has a purpose. It's an organized army of cells working together to survive. Is there a better way to look at this?

 

Edit: To add, in this sense we actually are designed or created for a purpose. Not a top-down design of course, rather a bottom-up natural design.

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Wouldn't you call animal cells organizing together into a machine that serves a function of consumption, purpose? The cells organized into an animal for a purpose, to better survive.

 

Now you're using a different definition of something having purpose (created for a specific reason) and doing something for a purpose (having a goal). Not to mention that cells do not do so intentionally, they do so through evolution and mutation.

 

Edit: To add, in this sense we actually are designed or created for a purpose. Not a top-down design of course, rather a bottom-up natural design.

 

Design implies purpose as well, which then implies intent. I would contend that there is no such thing as natural design, as natural implies the causal working of natural laws, which aren't conscious.

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The purpose or goal of every human life is to die with as little regret as possible.

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The only things I would add those is that there is an actual minimal "purpose" to individual lives, whether it be plant or animal life, and that is to survive by consuming energy and reproducing.....

Might you be conflating 'purpose' and 'reason'? Life has no purpose. It just is.

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Ok, because I contend that based on the prime definition of purpose, we don't have any and we can't make any for ourselves.

 

Purpose is the reason for which something exists in an objective sense. Anything that does have purpose was created for an intended use. Purpose and intent go hand in hand.

 

In creating humans, God had a specific purpose for them in mind. If nothing created humans, we weren't created for an intended result, therefore we have no purpose.

 

You can't create yourself, so you can't give yourself purpose.

 

That doesn't mean you can't give your life meaning and happiness.

 

Asimov, Don't get me wrong friend but I don't mean this in the wrong way but I think I'm beginning understand your purpose in life and it's so obvious. It's playing semantics with words.

 

Like I said, as humans we are perfectly capable of deciding our own purpose in life.

 

Since you asked for a definition, here's one for you:

 

an anticipated outcome that is intended or that guides your planned actions

 

Using this definition I'd like to ask you a question: Are you saying you have never anticipated an outcome that was intended or that has ever guided your planned actions?

 

That said, I appreciate your comments and have a happy new year.

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The only things I would add those is that there is an actual minimal "purpose" to individual lives, whether it be plant or animal life, and that is to survive by consuming energy and reproducing.....

Might you be conflating 'purpose' and 'reason'? Life has no purpose. It just is.

I said as much in the following post after this one above, "I suppose the existence of life in and of itself is simply a result of natural processes, chemical energy by-product or whatever. But the individual animal's existence has a purpose." What I was looking at was more life-forms, since after all the question is "what is our purpose", and not specifically the purpose of life itself.

 

Our "design", to use that word in the same sense as one would speak of the "design" of a snowflake, or an arm, or a neck, or any "body-plan", serves a purpose (or function). I understand and appreciate the objections that Asimov is raising, but the language is a valid one that is used in science all the time. There is a point to be made for a confusion of terms, separating out the mythical from the natural in using terms like design and purpose, but I generally try to qualify the use of them.

 

The context of this discussion is the more sweeping use of "purpose" in life, in other words what is our existence "for", does it serve a purpose? For the human species the answer is singular: surviving. For the individual we serve that first purpose by two things: consuming energy and generating offspring. Everything after that is psychological appeasement. We serve something, like Dave says, that just exists. The bigger question is did life in the universe come into being for a purpose, like functionality of our body has a purpose to serve us in our survival. This is where theology and mythology kick in. Unless we can show that the existence of life in all its many and varied forms serves some greater purpose in the existence of the universe, then I would have to say that life is just one more natural thing that happens in the universe. The cool mystery of it is in how it developed in such as way as to consider and examine itself under a microscope. That's the fuel for mythology.

 

Ok, so what words am I using wrong? :wicked: BTW, I am open to using different words if you can show them used by others in the same contexts. I just have heard these terms used in the context of evolutionary science and so feel safe to use them this way.

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I have to disgree with you all on here--I believe we were created and my observations, starting as a child, shows me that there must be a God because he protected me many times in my life. Does he have a son? is he christian, etc? I think not, but I do feel there is a creator. And our purpose in this world would be to come to the highest knowledge--greatest sense of awareness and love that there is. Love for ourselves and for all others.

 

my 2 cents :scratch:

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Ok, because I contend that based on the prime definition of purpose, we don't have any and we can't make any for ourselves.

 

Purpose is the reason for which something exists in an objective sense. Anything that does have purpose was created for an intended use. Purpose and intent go hand in hand.

 

In creating humans, God had a specific purpose for them in mind. If nothing created humans, we weren't created for an intended result, therefore we have no purpose.

 

You can't create yourself, so you can't give yourself purpose.

 

That doesn't mean you can't give your life meaning and happiness.

 

While we, as indiviuals, do not have the capacity to create ourselves, humanity, as a whole, has created itself. My parents recognized traits in each other they found desirable, and so they created me. I recognized traits I found desirable in my wife, and with her created a human. On a macroscopic level, we have been, either knowingly or unknowingly, been our own creators since the first amino acids joined to form the first proteins.

 

Looking at humanity macroscopically, we see there is indeed purpose to our existence: We want to make our existence easier and better for ourselves. That is the natural purpose people will pursue without the interference of religion; even then, all religion does is shift that purpose to some mythical afterlife. It is for this purpose that I do all that I do.

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I said as much in the following post after this one above, "I suppose the existence of life in and of itself is simply a result of natural processes, chemical energy by-product or whatever. But the individual animal's existence has a purpose." What I was looking at was more life-forms, since after all the question is "what is our purpose", and not specifically the purpose of life itself.

The only "purpose" an individual has is to reproduce and pass on their genes to the next generation. Any purpose other than that is what the individual adds.

Our "design", to use that word in the same sense as one would speak of the "design" of a snowflake, or an arm, or a neck, or any "body-plan", serves a purpose (or function). I understand and appreciate the objections that Asimov is raising, but the language is a valid one that is used in science all the time. There is a point to be made for a confusion of terms, separating out the mythical from the natural in using terms like design and purpose, but I generally try to qualify the use of them.
Some feel their purpose is to argue and they really add nothing to the conversation. The words you used were just fine. Our "design" has been refined by nature.
The context of this discussion is the more sweeping use of "purpose" in life, in other words what is our existence "for", does it serve a purpose? For the human species the answer is singular: surviving. For the individual we serve that first purpose by two things: consuming energy and generating offspring. Everything after that is psychological appeasement. We serve something, like Dave says, that just exists.

I don't think we "serve" anything. That's just a bit more anthropomorphizing that I want to get into. The theists, well most of them anyway, believe that our purpose is to serve some kind of egocentric god that demands admiration. They are lost if you take away their gods.

The bigger question is did life in the universe come into being for a purpose, like functionality of our body has a purpose to serve us in our survival. This is where theology and mythology kick in. Unless we can show that the existence of life in all its many and varied forms serves some greater purpose in the existence of the universe, then I would have to say that life is just one more natural thing that happens in the universe. The cool mystery of it is in how it developed in such as way as to consider and examine itself under a microscope. That's the fuel for mythology.
Seeking a "purpose" to the Universe entails inventing a god or some such being that would be the end, or cause, of the Universe. A teleological argument.
Ok, so what words am I using wrong?

Universe. I think it should be capitalized.

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I have to disgree with you all on here--I believe we were created and my observations, starting as a child, shows me that there must be a God because he protected me many times in my life. ......

 

Since these gods and creators do not exist, it must have been something else.

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I still assert that the goal of every human life is to die with as little regret as possible.

 

Who can refute that?

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Since these gods and creators do not exist, it must have been something else.

 

Yes - never be so quick to assume a god is looking out for you, because when shit happens (and it does) it'll wear on your nerves and any happiness you derive from that belief and leave you disenchanted and angry. There are many possibilities (from chance to the self-induced paranormal) that can perhaps explain your life experiences, and do so more logically than referencing a god.

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I still assert that the goal of every human life is to die with as little regret as possible.

 

Who can refute that?

Not enough regrets = not enough fun. :wicked:

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Yes - never be so quick to assume a god is looking out for you, because when shit happens (and it does) it'll wear on your nerves and any happiness you derive from that belief and leave you disenchanted and angry. There are many possibilities (from chance to the self-induced paranormal) that can perhaps explain your life experiences, and do so more logically than referencing a god.

 

Also, why would this god protect her yet let horrible things happen to others?

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