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Austin Cline

Is Life Meaningless for Atheists?

By May 5, 2005

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A common claim from evangelicals runs something like "without my God, there would be no meaning, beauty, or morality - therefore, if you want your pathetic existence to have any meaning, you should believe in my God you immoral heathen." They don't quite use those words, but that's what they communicate. Do they have anything approaching a point?

Joe Carter writes:

If the universe as a whole does not contain intrinsic meaning, morality, or beauty, then how can the parts be said to do so? The answer, of course, is that they can’t. Such talk is nothing but gibberish.

This is just the Fallacy of Division, stated in reverse. It's a fallacy to argue that if the whole lacks an attribute (intrinsic meaning and beauty), then the parts must also lack that attribute. Consider:

"If my car as a whole is not invisible to the naked eye, how can the atoms that make it up be said to be invisible to the naked eye? The answer, of course, is that they can't."

Such talk is nothing but gibberish — but Joe Carter really thinks that he is saying something insightful here. I can't even tell where Richard Dawkins claims that the individual parts of the universe have the characteristic of "intrinsic meaning and beauty," which would make this a straw man as well. Just how many fallacies can one pack into a single thought? Joe Carter does have a history of poor reasoning, so this isn't unexpected.

Neither is this:

An atheist like Dawkins must choose which he will believe – that the universe is meaningless, undesigned, and undirected or that we can speak meaningfully about beauty, intelligence, and the “quasi-religious feeling” of awe. He can’t have both. Once he accepts an atheistic hermeneutic for interpreting life, the universe, and man’s existence, he must follow the spiral all the way down to the abyss.

Like so many other evangelicals, Carter just asserts this as if it were obviously true — but he doesn’t make the slightest effort to support it. He doesn't even make the effort of pretending to support it by insisting that unless others prove him wrong, then he must be right.

I think it's clear why such evangelicals don't invest any effort into supporting their claims: they just aren't supportable. There are no logical or empirical reasons why "the universe is undesigned" must necessarily and logically lead to "there is no meaningful way to talk about beauty, intelligence, etc." Some people draw this conclusion, but that doesn't make it a necessary conclusion and that's what people like Joe Carter need it to be. If they can't claim that atheism leads to a lack of meaning and beauty, they will find it harder to keep pretending to be superior to atheists.

The only way to even begin to think that this argument is true is if one defines concepts like "meaning" and "beauty" from an exclusively theistic perspective — in other words, to use definitions that ensure that the concepts only make sense in the context of their god. That, however, would commit the fallacy of Begging the Question. You don't suppose Joe Carter is implicitly committing that fallacy, too, do you?

To put it simply, there are atheists who find meaning, beauty, and morality in the universe; there are atheists who find objective, intrinsic morality in the universe; there are theists (and Christians) who argue that meaning and beauty are subjective things we must personally commit to. All of this stands in refutation to the superficial and simplistic claims made by some evangelicals.

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Comments
November 22, 2006 at 4:54 pm
(1) john says:

so what is the meaning of life for atheists then? you dont have one. at best by your own arguments youre an animal no different from a cow or a dog. all an atheist is, is a coward too scared to have his own beliefs deciding to ridicule the beliefs of others for the rest of his life and not having to defend any of his own because he truly has none. in your view you are the random product of a random set of occurences which spawned yourself. so you will live out your random life and die your random death and no one will remember your random meaningless life. so what are you even living for then? so you can find stuff in the world around you pretty? so what? monkeys find stuff pretty so what? without a God, any attempt to find meaning in life is all useless conjecture. you will never find a meaning because you cannot, many many men better than yourself have tried and failed. only once you look at the meaning of life from the premise that a god exists does everything start to make sense.

November 22, 2006 at 5:19 pm
(2) Austin Cline says:

so what is the meaning of life for atheists then? you dont have one.

Atheists don’t have “the” meaning of life because there is no “the” meaning of life. Atheists have meaning in their lives, though, and no gods or religion is necessary for that.

at best by your own arguments youre an animal no different from a cow or a dog.

That assumes that all animals are the same and there are no differences between cows or dogs. That assumption is not one which anyone believes, so it’s not logical to conclude that if humans are animals then they are no different from any other animal. Of course, there’s no argument against humans being animals – it’s a simple biological classification.

all an atheist is, is a coward too scared to have his own beliefs deciding to ridicule the beliefs of others for the rest of his life and not having to defend any of his own because he truly has none.

Who said atheists don’t have beliefs?

in your view you are the random product of a random set of occurences which spawned yourself.

No one thinks that because true randomness doesn’t exist in our universe at the quantum level. I exist because of the non-random operation of natural laws.

It’s not a good idea to keep attributing views to people you don’t know and have never met. You keep getting everything wrong.

so you will live out your random life and die your random death and no one will remember your random meaningless life. so what are you even living for then?

I enjoy life. I don’t need an afterlife in order to enjoy what I have now and have meaning in what I have now. Do you? If so, why? What is so bad about life that it can’t be enjoyed for what it is?

without a God, any attempt to find meaning in life is all useless conjecture.

Really? OK, prove it.

you will never find a meaning because you cannot, many many men better than yourself have tried and failed.

Really? Please prove that, too.

only once you look at the meaning of life from the premise that a god exists does everything start to make sense.

Well, I’d like to see you prove this, as well.

June 23, 2011 at 1:12 am
(3) mia says:

“I enjoy life. I don’t need an afterlife in order to enjoy what I have now and have meaning in what I have now. Do you? If so, why? What is so bad about life that it can’t be enjoyed for what it is?”

See, this is the problem here… What if you can’t enjoy your life, because you are dealing with tragedy? That is the problem with atheist.
I m non religious, but my life turned very tragic. And I have no where to turn to. It seems empty meaningless suffering.
What I mean ,I wish if life would have a meaning even when it sucks like hell….

June 23, 2011 at 5:20 am
(4) Austin Cline says:

See, this is the problem here… What if you can’t enjoy your life, because you are dealing with tragedy?

You learn to get past the tragedy and realize that there is more to life

That is the problem with atheist.

It’s no more a problem for atheists than it is for theists.

I m non religious, but my life turned very tragic. And I have no where to turn to. It seems empty meaningless suffering.

Have you sought counseling?

What I mean ,I wish if life would have a meaning even when it sucks like hell….

Life has the meaning you create and only that meaning.

November 22, 2006 at 6:25 pm
(5) John says:

Atheists don’t have “the” meaning of life because there is no “the” meaning of life. Atheists have meaning in their lives, though, and no gods or religion is necessary for that.

Because you yourself cannot find a “the” meaning of life you assume that there is none? do you do this with all aspects of life? when stumped by a math problem do you say “well gee I cant figure it out there must be no answer at all!”

That assumes that all animals are the same and there are no differences between cows or dogs. That assumption is not one which anyone believes, so it’s not logical to conclude that if humans are animals then they are no different from any other animal. Of course, there’s no argument against humans being animals – it’s a simple biological classification.

this goes beyond biology. the difference between humans and animals is that humans have an eternal soul. by saying that humans do not possess a soul you are classifying them as animals.

Who said atheists don’t have beliefs?

I say you dont have beliefs. you can say “well I believe in enjoying life and living it to the fullest.” is that a belief really? my dog believes in sleeping all day and eating treats whenever possible, does that qualify as a belief? thats just you doing what your body is telling you it likes doing.

No one thinks that because true randomness doesn’t exist in our universe at the quantum level. I exist because of the non-random operation of natural laws.It’s not a good idea to keep attributing views to people you don’t know and have never met. You keep getting everything wrong.

And who made these “non-random operation of natural laws”? either someone designed them to be that way or they evolved randomly over time. so by your own argument they are still utlimately random.

I enjoy life. I don’t need an afterlife in order to enjoy what I have now and have meaning in what I have now. Do you? If so, why? What is so bad about life that it can’t be enjoyed for what it is?

I spoke nothing of enjoying life. I spoke of having meaning in life. the title of your article is “Is Life Meaningless for Atheists?” in case you forgot. what is your meaning then? raise your kids properly and have fun and then die? I see no meaning there, thats just living.

Really? OK, prove it.

If you werent created by God for a specific purpose then why are you here? no reason in particular? if there is no reason or intent behind your own personal creation then there is no underlying purpose to your life.

Really? Please prove that, too.

Find me one philosopher who found a meaning behind it all without accepting that there is a God. Should be easy enough for you it’s an age old question thats been debated since the beginning of time. And yet the answer put forward still seems to be in essence “yea we dont really know why were here so lets just enjoy the ride”

Well, I’d like to see you prove this, as well.
If you accept the premise that there is a god who designed and created you for a specific purpose then you know your purpose in life is to serve God. Everything else can then be seen through that context.

November 22, 2006 at 7:09 pm
(6) Austin Cline says:

Because you yourself cannot find a “the” meaning of life you assume that there is none?

No, I conclude this because meaning is based on values and there is no single value for all humans; ergo, there can be no single meaning for everyon.

the difference between humans and animals is that humans have an eternal soul.

Prove it.

I say you dont have beliefs.

I don’t think you are in any position to make such declarations about me. So, prove it.

And who made these “non-random operation of natural laws”?

No one that I can tell.

either someone designed them to be that way or they evolved randomly over time.

Prove it.

I spoke nothing of enjoying life. I spoke of having meaning in life.

You asked why I am “even living then” and that was my answer.

If you werent created by God for a specific purpose then why are you here?

A sperm and an egg joined together, leading to me.

if there is no reason or intent behind your own personal creation then there is no underlying purpose to your life.

Prove it.

Find me one philosopher who found a meaning behind it all without accepting that there is a God.

Not my job. You claimed that “many men” better than I “have tried and failed.” If you can prove this, you shouldn’t have claimed it.

If you accept the premise that there is a god who designed and created you for a specific purpose then you know your purpose in life is to serve God.

This doesn’t support your claim.

November 22, 2006 at 9:57 pm
(7) John says:

AHAHHAHAHAHA

nice way to dodge all my points and not address them at all. “prove it” “prove it” “prove it” “prove it” why should I prove anything when your whole profession is based on discussion of topics which are all in the end essentially unprovable? Since you are obviously not willing to discuss my points intelligently I will leave you alone. You just another wanker regurgitating the words and thoughts of others anyhow.

November 22, 2006 at 10:58 pm
(8) Austin Cline says:

nice way to dodge all my points and not address them at all.

It’s not a “dodge” to expect you to support your claims.

“prove it” “prove it” “prove it” “prove it” why should I prove anything

Because you are making claims.

when your whole profession is based on discussion of topics which are all in the end essentially unprovable?

Prove it.

Since you are obviously not willing to discuss my points intelligently I will leave you alone.

Making a claim is not the same as making a point. Supporing a claim is making a point.

You just another wanker regurgitating the words and thoughts of others anyhow.

Prove it.

November 23, 2006 at 12:38 am
(9) John says:

It’s not a “dodge” to expect you to support your claims.

prove it.

Because you are making claims.

prove it.

Prove it.

you’re proving my point with every dumb response you post, instead of arguing logically you simply dodge.

Making a claim is not the same as making a point. Supporing a claim is making a point.

prove it.

Prove it.

look in the mirror.

November 23, 2006 at 6:46 am
(10) Austin Cline says:

It’s not a “dodge” to expect you to support your claims.

prove it.

When you make an empirical claim, you obligate yourself to support it.

Because you are making claims.

prove it.

I doubt that you are unable to recognize the empirical claims you have made.

you’re proving my point with every dumb response you post, instead of arguing logically you simply dodge.

An argument is a series of connected statements designed to support a conclusion. You are making claims that you aren’t supporting, which means that you aren’t making any arguments, logical or otherwise. Expecting you to support the claims you make isn’t a “dodge.” Why? Because unless you are able and willing to support your claims, there’s nothing to “dodge.”

Anyone can make a claim. All it requires is sufficient knowledge of English to string together a grammatical sentence. A person who makes a claim, and who only does that, isn’t making any points or arguments that merit substantive engagement. It’s only after their claims are supported is there any chance that they are saying something worth dealing with.

November 24, 2006 at 3:38 pm
(11) David says:

Since you are the one that is making claims that there is a God you are the one that must prove it.It’s a simple question.Since you are probably willing to die for your beliefs you must,therefor,have some great answers to shut up those non-believers and show that God exists but not by calling them names,thats rather juvenile.Or you might want to READ your Bible a little more throughly.

November 26, 2006 at 5:28 pm
(12) Bobby says:

Is it cowardly to accept that we are chance beings in a chance universe and will cease to exist on our death, or is it cowardly to refuse to accept this and to run out of fear into the arms of religion –which has been the most murderous destructive force in history? And as for being animals, non-human animals are far more “ethical” (because natural?) than humans. Other animals do not massacre one another by the tens of thousands and millions like humans. They rarely kill members of their own species, and when they engage in primarily symbolic combat with other members of their species it is only over the protection of their food supply or their sex partners. Unlike humans, other animals do not kill for stupid things like religion and nationalism. If there were a heaven it would be filled with non-human animals and few if any humans. We humans would do well to aspire to the behavior of our fellow animals.
Also, what’s more ennobling, to embrace somebody else’s “meaning of life” –most likely some mentally disturbed person who claims to be the spokesperson for some supernatural being –, or to invest our lives with meaning that each of us creates for ourselves?

November 28, 2006 at 11:51 am
(13) tuffy says:

you are wrong. not only do atheist have opinions but they require courage. if we really are animals, so what. should one kill oneself because of that. but, there is no evidence for the existence of god and you are taking the easy, wishful thinking ideas that have been presented to you all your life without really reflecting on them. you are the coward. we have nothing to save us, as there is nothing to be saved from. you seek salvation because of a cultural and traditional heritage with means nothing, other that it is human nature for 90% of us to do that. if you think that you could be wrong, you’ll see what straws you are grasping for that do not even exist.

July 21, 2007 at 2:20 pm
(14) Nathan says:

I challenge you to find one honest Christian who says, “if you want your pathetic existence to have any meaning, you should believe in my God you immoral heathen.” Rather than playing the “I’m an atheist and I’m a victim of the Christian bigots,” why don’t you legitimately answer the actual question?

July 21, 2007 at 6:56 pm
(15) Austin Cline says:

I challenge you to find one honest Christian who says, “if you want your pathetic existence to have any meaning, you should believe in my God you immoral heathen.”

Every Christian who says that life can’t have meaning or morality with their god says just that, though in different words.

Rather than playing the “I’m an atheist and I’m a victim of the Christian bigots,” why don’t you legitimately answer the actual question?

1. If Christians are bigots, why not say so.

2. As I explained, the question is a logical fallacy. Did you not understand the explanation?

July 2, 2008 at 3:49 pm
(16) Chad says:

Let me start by saying, WOW. Now I have lived on both sides of this “Spiritual” Fence. Currently, I am an atheist; however, was raised a Christian Baptist. Also, I am not going lie, I lack courage to an extent, I am 24 and have yet to tell my family I do not believe in “God”. I do this because I am afraid of their reaction, but more so, I can not stand to see my family suffer with worry. Yet, though I may be cowardice in some aspects in my atheism, I am far from coward. I choose to live my life for myself, taking responsibility for not just my life, but the lives of all those around me. Please explain to me in a valid argument, how one is cowardice, when they take the weight of life off the shoulders of a fictitious “God” and bear the weight and hardships of life upon yourself. Please explain to me the cowardice in this.

On to the point of the bigamist, closed minded view of Christians/Catholics. Before we delve into this point, let me first mention, I have lived amongst the Christian, live currently with a Muslim roommate, and my best friend (along with many others) are Jewish. I get the rare opportunity to experience religion from a most interesting view. As for Christians saying that there is no meaning to life without “God,” please sirs, walk into any Catholic, Evangelistic, or (I forget the actual term that encompasses Baptist, Methodist, etc.) church service and tell me that is not exactly what is preached. As for bigamist. I would like to see any modern day “Christian,” not Muslim or Jew, give their life for their religion. You have faith, as my Jewish friend points out, that is all you have. You have no proof in your beliefs, just faith. You carry on your lives living upon the “moral wings” of one or two Isolated incidents, of which their were no more than “12” witnesses. You follow a book written over hundreds of years, that follows like a story, and at times never making sense, in which each chapter is based on the word of “1” man who claims “God” spoke to him. I ask you to please prove that the events in the Bible are true as they say. I challenge you though, where evolution and the big bang has many scientist and documented varying viewpoints, you must look beyond the bible to prove your point that there is a “God”.

Now I believe someone said my life had no meaning. Well, actually I have dabbled with this for many years. As a Christian I attempted suicide 4 times. Each time an event in my life was hitting a wall I turned to “God”. I had truly found no “Meaning” to life as a Christian. When I turned from “God”, for reason I will explain in the next paragraph. That is when I figured out what my meaning of life was. The meaning of life is quite simple, and I feel is common amongst all humans. Quite simply it is to exist and to evolve. Not evolve into something else but evolve intellectually, as a people, and as a species. It is to exist in a world of turmoil and survive and conquer all odds. As I stated before, the meaning of life is “To Exist, To Grow, To Evolve!” Note: before you have a chance to rebuttal that claim of evolution, I ask you to look it up. Evolution simply put is to change. Evolution is present and exist in the simple process of a child “learning” to talk. That my friend is evolution, in a simple form, though instinctual, still evolution.

And on to the fact of how I came to “believe” how I believe. First and foremost I have a problem with any being “creating” something with free will, simply to worship or serve it. Note I said creating, I have never created, nor has any human created, a horse. Also, I realized long ago how cowardice it was for me to rely on a “God” to answer all question and solve all problem, after all I have an IQ of 132 +-10. I can solve these problems myself. As for other reasons, well I guess you may just have to wait for me to become a writer. No I am not out for hire for free.

Little P.R. = For those who like the comment or content of this article, feel free to email me at Hollandc02@hotmail.com. (use Atheist article, in the subject) And you, bless yourself, because “God” isn’t going to.

~Chad

November 11, 2008 at 8:30 pm
(17) Sal says:

Come on people, how can you say “prove to me that there is a God”. Then in all my right I could say the same to you “prove to me that there isn´t”. Anyways as I have always said… I would rather live believing there is a God only to die and find out there isn´t, that beleive otherwise only to die and find out there is”

November 18, 2010 at 3:21 pm
(18) Wiggidy says:

You sound like a coward.

November 11, 2008 at 10:21 pm
(19) dooley says:

pascal’s wager is dead. those that adhere to it only betray themselves as individuals who need some kind of fabricated fear in order to behave.

also i’d like to point out that, john, you actually said,
look in the mirror
as some sort of comeback. it’s time to stop. enough said.

November 11, 2008 at 11:36 pm
(20) Austin Cline says:

Come on people, how can you say “prove to me that there is a God”. Then in all my right I could say the same to you “prove to me that there isn´t”.

No, you can’t, because the burden of proof lies with those making the claim.

You should expect people who claim that elves exist to prove that they exist; they cannot demand that you prove the elves don’t exist.

Anyways as I have always said… I would rather live believing there is a God only to die and find out there isn´t, that beleive otherwise only to die and find out there is”

Pascal’s Wager, already refuted here and many other places.

November 14, 2008 at 4:33 pm
(21) John Hanks says:

Psychosis is a direct experience of god.

November 14, 2008 at 6:12 pm
(22) Charly says:

I think you have the wrong question/answer.
The real question is: What evidence is there that any God is concerned in our affairs or guiding our lives? Any God by any name!

November 14, 2008 at 7:21 pm
(23) Daffy says:

Dear John, If atheists do not believe in God then they will not have everlating life in Heaven. Only way for people to go to heaven they have to believe in God and trust that there is a God. I do not know of anybody that would not believe in God because he is the way the truth and life of all individuals. If everybody would believe in God then everybody would be better off. God made everybody on earth. We do not have to believe in him everybody has their own opinion. I think that everybody should believe in him because without him nothing would be possible.

November 14, 2008 at 7:25 pm
(24) Daffy says:

Another one for John What do you mean there is no difference between cows and dogs? There is a big difference They are both animals but animals in a different way. Cows you milk twice a day and dogs you do not. Cows are not lap animals and they do not eat dog food. They both are also different in size and shape , they do not eat the same food and they act in the same way. As far as Humans they are not animals they are mammals because they are from the same species but they do not act like animals. Humans do not live in the same way as Cows. Humans and dogs both go to heaven . Dogs do not have to believe in God . Humans have to believe in God only way for them to go to heaven. If humans do not believe in God then they will go to hell. When your dog believes in sleeping all day long, it is not the same as believing in God.

November 14, 2008 at 7:29 pm
(25) Daffy says:

Dear Whoever, What does bobby mean that humans kill animals for nationalism and religion. This does not make any sense. People kill deer ,and etc. for food not because of nationalism or religion. What are these people talking about it does not make any sense at all.

November 14, 2008 at 7:50 pm
(26) Daffy says:

To John,

Reply to the message Ahhhhhhh

You need to get a life and stay out of peoples business.

You should worry about your own beliefs intead of judging someone else.

MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS AND GET A LIFE.

November 14, 2008 at 8:28 pm
(27) Tom Edgar says:

Daffy.

What an appropriate pseudonym.

Humans are not animals they are “Mammals?”

A Mammal is an animal that suckles its young.
A cow is mammalian animal as are humans. From Mammary, or if that is puzzling, your lactating breasts. Some animals are ovarian. In Australia we even have one that is both ovarian and mammalian. Guess it got mixed up in the evolutionary stage.

As for your childish belief in “Heaven” Where exactly in the universe is it, or is it just a
creation of the mind as is the non existent soul?

tomedgar@halenet.com.au

November 15, 2008 at 1:59 pm
(28) Larian LeQuella says:

@Sal,

As Mr Cline says, the burden of proof is on the person making the claim, however, there are some rather damning items that would bear against your god(s).

- The basic foundation of your religion is the bible, correct? You really don’t have any standalone things that serve as the basis of your belief (i.e. all other writings and philosophical discussions stem from that one book).
- The bible is deeply flawed on thousands of items. Take slavery. Nowhere does your god(s) say that slavery is immoral. Even in the New Testament is slavery endorsed wholeheartedly (and here translation isn’t that big a gray area since the Greek word for slave is rather clear).
- Recognize the fables. The bible is full of tales that are fables just like those of the other religions you so casually dismiss. Todays religions really are tomorrows fables.
- Understand human psychology! The tales you depend on are written so that a small segment can control a large segment. It’s a basic function of our brains, and these “unprovable” fables are a great medium for that control.

If you really had a shred of intellectual integrity, you would actually examine these few items (and the thousands more) and see the pattern that makes christianity no different from the Greek, Roman, Norse, etc. myths. All it takes is some basic understanding and a willingness to look beyond lies that have been told to you for years. It’s rather refreshing actually.

November 18, 2008 at 9:13 am
(29) MikeC says:

Wow Daffy.

You need to get a life and stay out of peoples business.

You should worry about your own beliefs intead (sic) of judging someone else.

MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS AND GET A LIFE.

Considering you showed up out of nowhere near the end of the thread, never addressing which John you were referring to, spout your beliefs, and then go on some tantrum, I hope you can take your own advice.

March 16, 2009 at 1:10 am
(30) mics says:

i can see where everyone’s coming… it really is hard to just believe and have faith. those who came came to believe on Someone who can’t be seen are blessed… and that Someone promised love, and not set of rules… is it really a dumb thing to do, to live for someone who died in your place? one thing that people who don’t read the bible assume that Jesus Christ is a lunatic, He claimed that He is God, in the flesh. Note- Mohammed was merely a prophet; Buddha, from his own admission, was an agnostic; Confucius was an ethical teacher- but Jesus claimed to be God. if you would read the bible, you would find that there are no inconsistencies in it. all what was prophesied in the old testament were realized in the new testament. you can’t find anything like the bible for those letters and books combined were written hundreds of years apart… now, if Jesus claims were true, it’s either you accept Him or not. God does not force people. He loves people whether they like it or not.

March 24, 2009 at 5:09 pm
(31) Paul says:

mics,
What you say is false in almost every sentence (those which can be read anyway). Nowhere in the Gospels did Jesus say he is God. He spoke of God as his FATHER. He was not saying he was his own father. He said he and his father were one, by which he meant they were in agreement, not singular in number.
You also say that the Bible is not inconsistent at all. Well, let’s take Jesus again and ask who he was, in order to look at one of the Bible’s most striking inconsistencies. Luke and Matthew offer what evidence they had available to tell us who Jesus was. They provided genealogies. 1. Those genealogies disagree with each other about who Jesus’s ancestors were, starting with his grandfather. 2. They disagree about which son of David Jesus came from. 3. Both genealogies omit names of ancestors from Old Testament times that show up in Numbers. 4. Both genealogies add in names for the OT ancestors that are nowhere in the OT. 5. If you take Matthew’s statement that the generations from Adam to Jesus count out in 3 groups of 14-14-14 and make that count yourself, you’ll find that Matthew (or is it the Holy Spirit) cannot count.
Five contradictions in the Bible concerning the so-called central figure of the OT & NT.
If that’s not enough proof of the inconsistency of the human writers of the Bible, look at another disagreement of Matthew and Luke: their different accounts of the end of Judas, in which there are 4 more contradictions.
But, then, the Bible BEGINS with a moral contradiction. What was it that Adam and Eve acquired from eathing the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil? What, then, did they lack before they ate that fruit? So, they ate that fruit in a state of fundamental innocense, which simply means that they did not yet have the knowledge of good and evil. So, to condemn them as sinners (and all their offspring ever after) is to judge them for an act they could not know was wrong. Whoever did condemn them for this “sin” was morally wrong to do so. That’s a moral contradiction that condemns Judaism and Christianity and Islam to their roots. Morality requires free choice of actions known to be right or wrong.
Good thing Jesus never claimed to be the God who made THAT mistake, eh?

March 24, 2009 at 5:38 pm
(32) Todd says:

“God does not force people. He loves people whether they like it or not.”

Which Bible are you reading? The Bible i’ve heard so much about insists that if i don’t accept Jesus as my personal savior that i’ll go to hell for eternity, even if i’m a good person.

March 25, 2009 at 1:49 pm
(33) George says:

If the Adam and Eve story is just a story, which it is, then what need for a Jesus to die for me or anybody else?

March 26, 2009 at 3:01 pm
(34) Lemmy Caution says:

if you would read the bible, you would find that there are no inconsistencies in it.

That was the best laugh I have had all month. Thanks !

June 9, 2009 at 11:50 am
(35) Ceri says:

Everybody has a reason to live, regardless of whether they are a theist or an atheist. Just because atheists don’t believe in a God, this doesn’t mean they don’t believe in love, achievment, happiness…

July 5, 2009 at 9:47 pm
(36) someone says:

There is no such thing as the meaning of life. The human existence is insignificant. Our own existence and life are the fruit of a incident, created by a set of random circumstances at the precise moment in history. All existence has no point, goal or purpose. There is no such thing as religion, or supreme being. The world we human beings live in is made up, artificial and fake. True nature is the absence any kind of animal existence, and is only governs by the established physical rules of the elements. The concepts of life, death, religion or any kind of beliefs related to our miscroscopic existence within the history were created to ensure the stability of modern society, and as soon as the creatures we are began to realize and understand we were alive. If there were to find our existences a meaning, survival it would be, and nothing else.

August 5, 2009 at 8:01 pm
(37) Brad W. says:

“Dear John, If atheists do not believe in God then they will not have everlating life in Heaven. Only way for people to go to heaven they have to believe in God and trust that there is a God. I do not know of anybody that would not believe in God because he is the way the truth and life of all individuals. If everybody would believe in God then everybody would be better off. God made everybody on earth. We do not have to believe in him everybody has their own opinion. I think that everybody should believe in him because without him nothing would be possible.”

This is why many religious people are very scary. They have no evidence for anything they say, but are completely convinced in it. It is simply primal fear and irrationality defined.

August 5, 2009 at 8:07 pm
(38) Brad W. says:

“Come on people, how can you say “prove to me that there is a God”. Then in all my right I could say the same to you “prove to me that there isn´t”. Anyways as I have always said… I would rather live believing there is a God only to die and find out there isn´t, that beleive otherwise only to die and find out there is”

That doesn’t even make sense. There is a two-headed dragon under my bed and it disappears every time you look under the bed. The onus of evidence must be on proving that something DOES exist, not that it doesn’t. If you can’t prove something and you have no evidence for it, YOU HAVE TO ASSUME IT DOESN’T EXIST. Unless of coarse you simply believe it because mommy and daddy and Pastor Bob told you to. Because then it would make perfect sense to believe it. (clears throat, rolls eyes)

October 25, 2009 at 3:40 pm
(39) hostergaard says:

Atheist can only find contextual meaning never true meaning because a higher meaning requires a a higher order to allow it exist wich is is the very thing that atheists are trying to disprove.
(to few commas or something… i know…)

November 10, 2009 at 3:10 pm
(40) John Hanks says:

Most of life consists of a search for meaning. Religion doesn’t matter.

November 10, 2009 at 3:11 pm
(41) Todd says:

Atheists aren’t trying to disprove anything. A few atheists might be. Most aren’t.

Why does existence need meaning? My cats seem happy without it.

Why can’t we give life a meaning w/o superstition? Who says that a higher order is needed? You? Why should i take *your* word for it?

Too few commas are just one of the many flaws in your post. Is English a second language for you? i hope so.

November 11, 2009 at 6:35 pm
(42) AtheistGeophysicistBob says:

John (3). Could you please explain for what specific purpose your god “created” each of the human babies that were conceived but spontaneously aborted, born dead, died of natural causes in early childhood, etc.? Were they those for which your god was incapable of finding a specific purpose for their lives?

November 12, 2009 at 6:57 pm
(43) AtheistGeophysicistBob says:

John (3). Did you preach and run? Seems to be the standard operation procedure for Fundies.

Maybe those listed in (39) were not designed and created for the specific purpose of serving your god, so he disposed of them. If designed, they were insufficiently Intelligently Designed to be capable of surviving.

November 13, 2009 at 7:47 pm
(44) Zayla says:

so glad my 11 year old already decided he is an atheist.

whew!

December 10, 2009 at 2:39 am
(45) Craig says:

Dear John and other Christians.
Here is why we ask you to prove there is a God before we believe there is one.

Because that’s how this world works. If you say to me, “There is an elephant in the back of my Car,” I will ask you to prove it before I believe you because that is a slightly outrageous claim. If you then claim that your car is 100km away and the elephant will be out of your car within 5 minutes, I cannot disprove your claim. Just because I can’t disprove it, does that make your claim a fact? No.

It’s the same with God. You believe that one exists on the basis that someone else told you He exists. You have no evidence to support this. It has not been proven or disproven. You still believe that He exists though. Whether it be because you’ve been “brainwashed” into believing by your parents, friends, family etc or because you simply want to out of guilt, or fear, or whatever reason.

Well us non-believers choose not to believe in God for the same reasons that I wouldn’t believe you had an elephant in the back of your car.

Think about it. There is no real reason to believe in a God. There are plenty of reasons to not believe; however. I’ll just quickly name a few:

Rape, incest, murder, genocide, war, animal cruelty. And before you go on about “God gave us free will;” according to you, God made the entire Earth and everything that lives in it in 6 days. I’m pretty sure if He was that powerful, he could stop a simple act of murder, rape etc if he wanted to.

December 24, 2009 at 11:37 pm
(46) love says:

you seem to forget about a little called FAITH…..if you don’t know what that is then you should do some research. btw….i have a beauitful watch but i don’t see the watchmaker. i guess he doesn’t exist

December 25, 2009 at 7:43 am
(47) Austin Cline says:

you seem to forget about a little called FAITH…..if you don’t know what that is then you should do some research.

I have done research — enough to know that no Christian can provide any good reasons to choose their faith over any other.

btw….i have a beauitful watch but i don’t see the watchmaker. i guess he doesn’t exist

You can see watchmakers if you want. So, show me your god in the same way. What, you can’t? You mean your analogy completely falls apart that quickly?

Unintelligent arguments on behalf of a faith merely reveal that the faith itself is unintelligent, and thus unworthy of any serious adult.

March 8, 2010 at 8:31 pm
(48) Schubert says:

I have also been on both sides of the gradient that is theism and atheism. I feel it’s not as black and white as some people take it. Currently, however, I have struggled to form beliefs on what I view as life. I find it very difficult to believe that there is not some force (not a god, per se, but an intangible, bigger picture) that is so far above human life that we cannot conceptualize it. I do not believe that this greater picture has a will that it imposes on us, but I believe that human will endlessly pursue this bigger picture in search for truth, and meaning.

I believe humans have meaning in life, through love, friendship, emotion, and thought, but of which, are relative to their own singularity, and the humans around them. I can imagine that death of a human would bring grief to his/her friends, and family, and have effects on bigger constructs in life like politics, and the economy, based on what you had accomplished during your life. However, I believe that these meanings in life only matter to us. Our meanings in life only matter to us, and nothing more.

The way I see it, if the entire human species can be wiped out by an asteroid, a pandemic, the ill intentions of a terrorist releasing all of the world’s nuclear war heads, we are not the almighty. We cannot hold ourselves as the alpha, the omega. We should be open to the idea, that whatever it is we are involved with is far beyond us. At the same time, I find it slightly arrogant when I hear ideas like how humans could one day reach the almighty, come in contact with it, make it tangible.

That’s the problem. What’s bigger than us is not tangible. What’s bigger than us could be infinite, or bigger. We will never know. And ultimately, it will never matter, because the meaning and purposes of our lives are relative to ourselves, not to the bigger picture. We don’t matter in the bigger picture. But we matter to ourselves.

May 25, 2010 at 2:59 am
(49) Liz says:

I guess we’ll never find out until we die, but:
either:
there is a god, we were created by this so-called god, and their is a heaven
or:
there is no god, we were created by the big bang, and there is no heaven and we just die.

there will always be a god if someone believes in it. I don’t believe in god, so there is obviously no god and heaven for me. still, i know that one day i’m going to die. of course, i still feel like there is a meaning in life, and that is to live it out to the fullest. yep, it’s my meaning, and i don’t care what other people say about it.

i actually might not have been born, because my parents had one boy before me but he died in the womb; it would have been their second and last child. by chance i happened to be born. i don’t belief it was god. why would god kill that boy and let me live? because he works in “mysterious ways?”

i think that it is fine to believe in god, as long as others don’t force their beliefs on others or fight in the name of religion and god.

August 23, 2010 at 5:01 pm
(50) matt says:

Some may think life has meaning. I dont think it does, and i dont think theists lives have meaning either, even if they do believe in an invisible man who loves them and judges them. my opinion may change in the future, but this is what ive always thought, and i dont speak for other atheists because most of them would probably disagree with me.

December 17, 2010 at 10:08 pm
(51) Jav says:

the people who believe in god is just trying to find a reason to live, because they cant accept that we are just a random creation of nature… that happened with all the other religions… human cant explain their creation and they create a god… thats all… whoever said that atheists dont have a reason to live is just stupid… just because some people believe in a god and they are afraid because if they do something wrong theyll go to hell is just cowardness, yeah thats ur meaning of life, follow the mass do whatever the pope says and ull go to heaven… enjoy ur life.
I dont believe in god but i know what is good and wrong, not because bible says that but because we are rational animals.

January 20, 2011 at 8:03 pm
(52) Sean Tait says:

Austin Cline and John, i find both your arguments immature and rather childlike to be honest.

If someone is depressed to the point of commiting suicide but find help through a religion who are we to stop them.

If a Christian is taken hostage and be-headed, can you judge the family for dropping any religious beliefs they once had?

There is no middle ground and no true ansewers towards “the meaning of life” so making a mockery of someones beleif on both your behalfs is not mature or clever.

The best way to live life, is to raise a family who you love and cherish, make friends, laugh and have fun. You will find you do not worry about death like John or Austin, you simply embrace life to its full and smile all the way until the final curtain bow.

“ALWAYS LOOK ON THE BRIGHT SIDE OF DEATH” – Peace and quiet, cannot be matched! haha

January 20, 2011 at 9:59 pm
(53) Austin Cline says:

Austin Cline and John, i find both your arguments immature and rather childlike to be honest.

Feel free to show how, if you can.

If someone is depressed to the point of commiting suicide but find help through a religion who are we to stop them.

Who ever said anything about “stopping” anyone from being religious? Straw man…

There is no middle ground and no true ansewers towards “the meaning of life” so making a mockery of someones beleif on both your behalfs is not mature or clever.

So Mark Twain, one of America’s great writers and satirists, is neither mature nor clever because he mocked beliefs he found ridiculous?

You will find you do not worry about death like John or Austin

It’s pretty arrogant to assume that I worry about death, despite not knowing me and never having met me. In fact, I’d say it’s far less mature and far less clever than anything you’ve tried to attack.

February 13, 2011 at 9:05 pm
(54) Atheist says:

I’m an atheist and i can tell you that for most of us there is no meaning to life or existence, we don’t believe what we want to or what brings us the most comfort, otherwise we would be Christians and not atheists.

March 22, 2011 at 11:51 pm
(55) Chris says:

Without God, life is meaningless. You cannot argue that life has some meaning and still be an atheist. (I am not attacking atheist beliefs, atheists don’t have beliefs to attack). Atheism means that there is no higher purpose, no God, no divine calling. An atheist makes of life whatever they can. At the end of it all though, they are just a random accumulation of particles, brought together for no particular purpose, with no particular direction. Ultimately, when the galaxy we live in dies there will be nothing left to ever say that the atheist/theist/agnostic ever existed. Life is meaningless.

You know what will really bend your mind though? THE BIBLE SAYS THAT LIFE IS MEANINGLESS TOO! Evangelical Christians shouldn’t be arguing that life has meaning, they should be arguing the opposite. Shame on my Evangelical brothers and sisters for claiming that life has meaning. Just like the atheist we also should believe that we are nothing but dust! I actually agree with Dawkins, that the Christian thinks too highly of himself, Christians could do with some humility, we are nothing. (Though we also believe that God is everything and that Jesus, not quantum theory, is responsible for our creation). Atheists are right about something for once! How about that? Quantum theory is a cop out. It’s the explanation for everything unexplainable. It is not observable, and thus far no dark matter has bounced off any of those receivers buried deep in the Canadian Shield. Though, maybe our friends in Switzerland and their fancy new toy will prove me wrong? That takes faith though.

Science has actually proven that life is meaningless.

You may have noticed: With or without God, I believe life is meaningless… Only in Christ is there any meaning at all.
He is the way the truth and the life.

March 23, 2011 at 6:59 am
(56) Austin Cline says:

Without God, life is meaningless.

Prove it.

You cannot argue that life has some meaning and still be an atheist.

Prove it.

(I am not attacking atheist beliefs, atheists don’t have beliefs to attack).

That’s a falsehood, and demonstrates that you are too ignorant of atheism and atheists to have a credible, educated opinion about either.

I actually agree with Dawkins, that the Christian thinks too highly of himself, Christians could do with some humility, we are nothing.

Yet you aren’t humble enough to recognize your ignorance about atheism and atheists. Instead, you make baseless proclamations about others and presume to know them better than they know themselves.

Atheists are right about something for once! How about that?

Oh, I can just feel your humility shining through your words.

Quantum theory is a cop out.

Prove it.

Science has actually proven that life is meaningless.

Show how.

He is the way the truth and the life.

Prove it.

July 1, 2012 at 8:24 am
(57) Nemoque says:

The idea of whether or not life has meaning is something that only human beings worry about. The fact that we are asking the question makes us different than other creatures. You certainly do not have to find a meaning for life in order to exist. Humans strive for meaning regardless of whether or not you believe there is one. If you look at things from an exclusively empirical way, life has no meaning other than what you imagine it to have. Everyone and everything in our universe will become star dust. There will come a time when “no one” will ever know that the Earth existed, much less that you or I ever existed. Nothing we do has any eternal significance. The best that an Atheist can do is say that his life has some meaning because I want to believe that it has meaning. That is nothing more than wishful thinking and self-deception. Which is what Atheists accuse Theists of being.

April 21, 2013 at 9:16 am
(58) Agnostic says:

Honestly you direct your life. Saying god doesn’t exist is a controversial subject and I question both Science and Religion. I find it hard to believe the whole world and universe is meaningless such as a animal or human and that everything happens by itself.

I view humans as children in a library who look confused and do not know whether each book Pagan or abrahamic or Scientific do not know which is the truth whereas the less intelligent one will choose the pagan/abrahamic one and the skeptical yet intelligent one will choose the scientific one while the still confused child still does not know what to believe.

if so we are just yet another meaningless lifeform then why have we been spawned when your mother was pleasuring herself with your father’s **** and learn later on that everything was made out of nothing and that the big bang is still debated about what caused it? or in the christian way you learn that the entire universe was created in 6 days? I view religion as a lazier way of explaining morals and value but I object that everything is meaningless.

I’d say just determine the path set for you but know that it cannot be proven or it can still be unknown

and Austin you rather sound like someone who isn’t supporting his claims and John you are worse then a crazy fundamental with psychosis issues

April 22, 2013 at 6:53 am
(59) Austin Cline says:

Saying god doesn’t exist is a controversial subject

Which god, exactly?

and I question both Science and Religion.

Your capitalization of them makes me question what, exactly, you think you’re talking about.

I find it hard to believe the whole world and universe is meaningless

So, your position is based on a fallacious argument from ignorance?

I object that everything is meaningless.

No, what you object to is the idea that meaning isn’t being imposed by some being from the outside, as if that were even possible.

Nothing is “meaningless” to you unless you make it so or let it be so. Things can always have meaning to you.

and Austin you rather sound like someone who isn’t supporting his claims

Yet you cannot point to a single claim that I’ve made but haven’t supported when asked to.

November 21, 2013 at 9:35 pm
(60) Ella says:

To all of you Believer, it is much easier to live in La-la-land and believe in an afterlife and any type of GOD, than not believe and look at the world as it is. We live and we die, period, Believers need somebody to blmae for their madness and somebody to give credit to if they behave. They are to weak to admit that they are the ones who do bad things, (not the devil) and they are the ones if they behave themselves.
I personally do not care if you are a Believer or not, that is your business, but I also want the Believer to stay out of my business and do not dare to tell me I am wrong. Just think about this, if the Believer is right and there is an afterlife he will know. If the Non-Believers are right and there is NO afterlife, unfortunately NOBODY will know about it, because all will not exist and therefor cannot know. Problem solved. Be what you want to be, who cares.

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