Can atheism provide meaningful answers to life's most poignant questions of intentionality and purpose?

If so, convince me that these would be reliable. What say ye? Thanks.

Update:

Sam, I didn't ask for dogma. Thanks for trying, anyway.

Update 2:

Why are the atheists who actually tried to address my question missing the second part of it?

Update 3:

Coop, you are quite correct. Atheism provides me with nothing, as far as I can tell.

Update 4:

Cognostic, how exactly is a self-inflicted delusion such as atheism going to provide me with freedom from delusions? You make no sense to me. I am less convinced about any validity of your claims than I was before asking this question.

Update 5:

Pull my finger, good point. Why on earth would you rely on logic? If you are truly an atheist, doing so would equal insanity. You cannot prove that laws of logic are reliable when applied to reaching truthful conclusions.

Update 6:

Barking Toad, ask your own question. You are attempting to hijack this question with irrelevant arguments. See my question regarding Santa Syndrome leading to atheism.

Update 7:

Dani, you must have some reasoning behind the assertions you make. Otherwise, your statements would be statements of faith! Correct me if I'm wrong.

Update 8:

Ashnod, according to Dani, atheism comes with an entire worldview. Your scripts seem to conflict each other.

Update 9:

Triangulum, point taken. I would like to see you define beauty. Thanks.

Update 10:

The Wiz, if you have answers that represent the truth, explain how. This was the second part of my question that never got addressed.

Update 11:

Dani, if as you say there is no faith in your voice, why are you making statements of faith: "There is no "intention" or "purpose" to our existence?" This is called doublespeak. You know one thing, that you know of no evidence for God. Does it follow then that there is no God and does it give you the license to make statements of faith based on lack of evidence? Have you taken logic? Thanks.

Update 12:

Triangulum, thank you for trying. This is second time that you talk of subjective answers. If subjective answers are admissible, then it follows that my answers are as valid as yours. We are back to square one and I stand unconvinced as to atheist's having real answers to important questions of life.

20 Answers

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  • NDMA
    Lv 7
    7 years ago
    Best answer

    Yes!

    You are a fluke of the universe.

    You have no right to be here.

    Whether you can hear it or not the universe is laughing behind your back!

    Those are the atheist answers to the deeper questions - tell me do you find them very fulfilling?

    Sam: Congratulations, one of the few atheists who actually understands the underlying philosophy behind atheism... Of course the Philosophy of Materialism is not a fact but an assumption, an assumption that an increasing number of scientists assert is disproved by observations.

    LEGO Oberleutnant: The no hair cutting was part of a Nazarite oath and was voluntary.. OOPS.

    I must admit I find it amusing, Atheists in this forum insisting that atheists have no dogmas, no creeds and no common beliefs other than a disbelief in God! Yet if you go to the web sites of common non-believing organizations(American Atheists, Church of Freethought, Humanist Association of Canada, Student Freethought Alliance and/or the Council of Secular Humanism) they define the commonalities that all non-believers follow. Is that not the definition of a creed or dogma or common belief?

    Who is lying here the individuals on this site or these large, well established non-believing organizations representing thousands of members?

    Everhard: You do realize that fighting against, bashing, attacking (or technically even discussing) a being you believe to be non-existent is a symptom of mental illness!

  • Ashnod
    Lv 7
    7 years ago

    Okay, here's the thing. Atheism is not a religion. It is the answer to a single question. A religion is more than that; it is an entire worldview, with a variety of different parts. It includes not only the answer to the question, "Do any gods exist, and if so which one(s)?" but numerous other things: a moral system, an explanation of origins, a community or social group, etc. This is not to say that atheists do not have all these things -- we do -- but we get them from other sources. It's like the difference between buying a plug-and-play computer that's ready to connect to the internet straight out of the box, and buying all the parts for a computer and assembling it yourself. Atheism is only one part of the computer; all the rest are sold separately. "Meaningful answers to life's most poignant questions of intentionality and purpose" are provided by those other parts, like morality and philosophy. An atheist could give you those answers, but they are beyond the scope of atheism itself. It would be like trying to divine the meaning of life from the section of the Bible devoted to genealogies -- there are no great mysteries of life held in the "begat"s.

    Would an atheist's answers be reliable? That depends on the atheist you were asking, but it's at least much more likely that those answers would be rooted in something demonstrable and falsifiable, and that he or she could provide you with a clear rationale for why they hold such a view.

    Edit: As you may have noticed, I am not Dani. She is speaking from the perspective of her worldview, of which atheism is a part, but atheism itself implies nothing more than that there is no reason to suppose any gods exist. Where you go from there depends on what you imagine the existence of gods or lack thereof would imply. For the record, atheists are not obligated to agree with one another on all points, any more than theists are obligated to agree with one another on all theological matters. I imagine that there are a number of points on which you differ from a Hindu theist, or a Wiccan theist, or even theists within other denominations of Christianity. Does that make your beliefs false, or imply that you need to get your "scripts" straight?

  • brian
    Lv 4
    7 years ago

    Probably not, but then again it doesn't purport to do so.

    It is you who define life's most poignant questions as being intentionality and purpose but that is just your personal opinion. My opinion is simply that life is for living and there is no deeper meaning or purpose - why should there be. There is no absolute requirement or logical necessity for life to have any meaning - it makes perfect sense without and is much more enjoyable; this is it, it is not a dress rehearsal for some 'after life'; there are no second chances so just get on with it and live it.

    NDMA has got it exactly right, although he/she probably doesn't realise it.

    We are the result of a complete random act of the natural creation of life and its evolution by natural selection etc. to its current form.

    The only connection between the existence of gods and human kind is that humans have invented all sorts of gods throughout history in order to try and explain this simple fact.

    Humans are the most intelligent species on Earth (and in the universe as we know it) and they strive for explanations for everything around them, hence our intellectual evolution to the way we are today. In the and past (and, for some people, still today), belief in an all powerful creator god was a way of trying to explain and understand these difficult questions.

    As science and human knowledge advance, the belief in these supernatural forces recedes and is gradually replaced by scientific truths.

    Religions will eventually die out because, as human knowledge increases even further, they will no

    longer have any use in purporting to explain what is already known and what will become known.

    Source(s): Thinking - try it, it works if you do it properly.
  • Dani
    Lv 6
    7 years ago

    The answer is no. There is no "intention" or "purpose" to our existence and there are no answers to these mysterious "poignant questions" you didn't elaborate on. Whether or not this is a sad answer doesn't matter. If "atheism" isn't comforting, so what? It's the truth. If I were told I had a terminal disease tomorrow, so what? It's the truth, it's not comforting, but at least I know to fight and maybe even start appreciating life more. It's better than the doctor telling me everything is fine and giving me a lollipop and keeping me deluded.

    I'm so sorry that you don't find atheism comforting. But who cares about your comfort? Grow up and get real.

    EDIT:

    Okay, not you're just spewing talking points without any idea of what you're really talking about. There is no "faith" in my answer. What exactly is the faith that you see?

    I only know ONE thing. That there is no evidence for God. That is the ONE thing that I know when it comes to this topic. My knowledge in that one fact is not "faith". If I am wrong and there is a God, then that would be the "truth". And that is the only thing I am interested in.

    EDIT:

    I say that there is no purpose or intention to our existence because there is NO evidence to the contrary. Don't you see that? That is not faith! I could be wrong, but there is NO evidence to say otherwise.

    For example, that's like going into my backyard with a friend and my friend says that there is a unicorn there. I say, there is no unicorn because I do not see one. I also don't hear any grass rustling where it could be walking, I cannot put my hand out to feel a unicorn. I don't see any evidence for a unicorn standing in backyard and yet my friend insists that there is one.

    I am not putting my FAITH into a unicorn not being there,

    The definition of faith is "Complete trust or confidence in someone or something."

    I am NOT putting my trust into ANY of it. I am not putting any trust into saying that there is "no intention or purpose" to our existence. I am simply saying there is no evidence to say otherwise. Could evidence be shown one day? Yes. But that day is certainly not today.

    To sum it up for you. Could there be a God? Could there be a reason and purpose for existence? Yes. But I don't want to believe in one until there is evidence. I am not making any "statements of faith."

    I am SO sorry that you do not understand this. But I can't make you see reason even if I keep updating this post for the next few hours. Some people are just unreachable. Some people refuse to look at reason. And you are one of them.

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  • 7 years ago

    I consider purpose to be subjective, therefore it is not within the confines of religion to give meaning, nor is it unique to atheism. This isn't even necessarily a religious question. Think about the night sky.. particularly the Andromeda galaxy, one of my favorites. It takes the photons, (the particles of light) from this naked-eye galaxy 2.5 million years to reach us, it goes on this trek of 14,500,000,000,000,000,000 miles, just to end its unimaginably long journey inside your pupil and do something to your brain so that you may acknowledge its existence. That is the beautiful purpose of that photon, if you will. My personal purpose is to learn about the universe in which we reside. To dwell on the magnificent facts, the unfathomable distances and timescales of the cosmos, the complexity of human relations, and the general beauty of nature in all its splendor. Whether or not somebody finds purpose in the same things that I do is irrelevant. I am an atheist, but more importantly, I am a strong advocate of science. If you find purpose in the concept of a god, so be it. Just don't try to impose your views on public policy, and we can be great friends.

    --------

    Edit:

    Defining beauty.. that would be a tough one for me. This, to me, should again be subjective. Beauty for one may be a flower, a nice painting, a sunset, etc. Another would find beauty in the way that their god created this world and carefully planned everything with intricate detail. I find beauty in science, and how outstanding nature always tends to be. Just the indifference of the universe is beautiful to me. Nobody has a concept of beauty that is any more valid than another, so defining it would be difficult, I can only express how I experience it.

    ---------

    Well, yes. I'm kind of arguing the same point. We don't need any individual mindset to find purpose, we all find our own. I am giving examples to the example of what you consider to be important questions. The importance of particular questions is even subjective, is it not? Regardless of the facts that are present, say, the origin of life, I will openly admit that I don't know yet, and that science has not uncovered (or may never uncover, though I find that arguable) the answer. It doesn't leave religion to be the correct option. On the same token, you will likely say (don't let me speak for you) that the origin of life had a causal agent, such as God, who began the process of evolution. Though I disagree with that view, your opinion is certainly as important as mine. I would never attempt to say that you are undoubtedly wrong in that view, because there is no evidence to show that you are wrong. I would say, however, that there is also no evidence to support your view, either.

  • Tropos
    Lv 7
    7 years ago

    Intention and purpose aren't questions. "Purpose" is used to refer to an observed result that came about due to a brain that preconceived that goal. Our brains constantly use the information we have tacitly gathered throughout our lives about what cause gives what effect. In an attempt to predict how things will change given the same cause again. So we can take action to form something, intending that it will give a desired result in the future. That degree of predictive capability, no matter how inaccurate, when acted upon gives a result that we would label "purposed."

    There are many processes in existence that interact with many more to create a wide range of circumstances, which have nothing to do with agency or the concept of "purpose." Just because something wasn't intended by an agency process(purposed) doesn't devalue it.

  • 7 years ago

    No, atheism is the lack of belief in a god or gods. It carries no other philosophical assertions.

    You're looking for philosophy. Reasoning is the tool we all use, but theists have decided that reason can justify accepting philosophical package deals that have nothing but cultural authority to recommend them. Atheists have to go through the difficult work of trying to justify our positions on their own merits.

    ***Added: You want me to convince you that logic is reliable? No. Take a class or read a book. Symbolic logic ought to convince you that the method is pretty reliable, and an informal logic class (usually called "reasoning" or "critical thinking" or some combination thereof) ought to show you how induction is an attempt to follow similar lines using partial or imperfect information, rather than concrete premises.

    ***Added 2: Any attack on the efficacy of reason using reason to do so is self-defeating. If it is true that reason cannot be relied upon at all, there is no more basis for you to think you can justify your religious beliefs either, and the debate is pointless. Anyway, logic is demonstrably reliable - that's why I'm suggesting that you educate yourself instead of just making unsupported claims. If you think that logic has no reliable basis whatsoever, a symbolic logic class should change your mind. If it doesn't, odds are it's because you don't understand the material.

  • 7 years ago

    Can the absence of belief in the tooth fairy provide meaningful answers to life's most poignant questions of intentionality and purpose?

    I hope this question will aid you in seeing how silly your own is.

    Source(s): Agnostic atheist
  • Anonymous
    7 years ago

    Jack, Jack , Jack... how many times do you need to be told?

    Atheism is a position on the belief in god/s... ONLY.

    It offers NO doctrine... NO rituals... NO trinkets... NOTHING...

    Exactly like theism it is a position on BELIEF... ONLY...

    Why am I bothering with this?

    You've been TOLD this too many times.

    Obviously you don't have the capacity to process knowledge...

    That's sad ;(

    ~

  • 7 years ago

    Your problem is that you think the answers provided by theism have meaning when in fact they don't.

    The only human institution that can provide any objective meaning is science.

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