The Raving Theist

Dedicated to Jesus Christ, Now and Forever


September 12, 2005 | 89 Comments

What’s the best way to distract oneself from the soul-crushing realization that human existence is meaningless and one’s entire life has been wasted?


89 Responses to “How”

  1. Oz
    September 12th, 2005 @ 5:36 pm

    To not waste one’s life in the first place. I’m not.

  2. klick
    September 12th, 2005 @ 6:53 pm


  3. boywonder
    September 12th, 2005 @ 8:24 pm

    Dedicate whatever time you have left to giving your life meaning. Education is a process that only ends when you die. If more people realized that, then there would be a lot more happy and smart people.

  4. Mijae
    September 13th, 2005 @ 4:09 am

    Video games should work, they’ve always been able to distract me from almost anything.

  5. LucyMuff
    September 13th, 2005 @ 6:04 am

    best way to distract yous all is by spending hours on RA site talking about thing like of which you dare not dream, which make me v. sad. I wouod likes to be extending big offer to any atheist and it is this come to us church and let us show you the way. yous don’t have to take it, but at least yous can saty it haas been shown to yous’all. if yu prefer to burn in hell after that, it all be your doin and can’t be bitchin bout it no more.

  6. Thorngod
    September 13th, 2005 @ 9:35 am

    “What is the meaning of life?” What is the meaning of the question?
    There are a thousand meaningful things in every viable human life.
    We are born with a physical hunger and the will to survive. Our store of meanings grows, and then in old age diminishes. There is no over-arching “meaning.” But if you find none at all in anything, lie down and die.

  7. G
    September 13th, 2005 @ 10:36 am

    Reading Kurt Vonnegut.

  8. Thorngod
    September 13th, 2005 @ 1:39 pm

    Gee, G, what is the meaning of your assertion? You are reading K.V?
    May we anticipate a synopsis?

  9. HappyNat
    September 13th, 2005 @ 1:54 pm


  10. Sid
    September 13th, 2005 @ 2:21 pm

    Could always just drop more acid. Oh and smoking lots and lots of pot is a mandatory.

  11. a different tim
    September 13th, 2005 @ 2:36 pm

    Meaningless to whom?
    My existence means something to me. If you’re looking for cosmic meaning, you’re on the wrong site. In the absence of God or any other intelligences, humans are the only beings that can create meaning. The world is full of cool stuff. To expect more is churlish.

    Alternatively, drink heavily.

  12. leon
    September 13th, 2005 @ 6:13 pm

    enjoy life

  13. jujubee
    September 14th, 2005 @ 2:45 am

    all life has meaning, with or without purpose. do not confuse the two…

    September 14th, 2005 @ 6:36 am

    keep asking this question to yourself over and over again…

    September 14th, 2005 @ 9:51 am

    Kill yourself. Can’t do it? Guess it ain’t all that meaningless.

  16. agnostic america
    September 14th, 2005 @ 1:17 pm

    Life is not meaningless, that’s what the super danks is for. It’s if you do not do what you want to do that makes it worthless, regardless of what you accomplish….if that makes sense

  17. Grinchy G
    September 14th, 2005 @ 2:51 pm

    Do whatever it is that you want to do. Drop ya nuts and don’t look back. set GOALS

  18. onlooker
    September 14th, 2005 @ 3:31 pm

    Camus wrote, “There is but one truly serious philosophical problem and that is suicide.” If one is convinced that human existence is indeed void of meaning, why not just end it all?

    But even nihilists strive on. Are they just cowards?

    I don’t slash me wrists because I can find meaning, even if it is transient.

  19. onlooker
    September 14th, 2005 @ 3:31 pm

    Camus wrote, “There is but one truly serious philosophical problem and that is suicide.” If one is convinced that human existence is indeed void of meaning, why not just end it all?

    But even nihilists strive on. Are they just cowards?

    I don’t slash me wrists because I can find meaning, even if it is transient.

  20. Seth
    September 14th, 2005 @ 5:08 pm


  21. walt
    September 14th, 2005 @ 8:36 pm

    Suck-it-up and move forward.
    If there were any true meaning to our existence, other than perpetuation of the species, would you really live your life any differently than you already do?
    Even if there were a glorious Supreme Being, with a grand plan for all of our eternal souls, most of us would still sniff our fingers after wiping our asses.

  22. Fryan
    September 14th, 2005 @ 10:09 pm

    I guess scatology is what gives meaning to walt’s existence…

  23. Walt
    September 14th, 2005 @ 11:20 pm

    Only on the weekends, Fryan my friend! only on the weekends!
    Scatology, theology…, it’s all the same.

  24. Rocketman
    September 15th, 2005 @ 8:53 am

    Human existance is not meaningless. The meaning might just be a little smaller than the great cosmic truths promised by religions, but hey, in an analogy, being temporary and focussed never did any harm to music. The best song played sixty seven times is going to get on your nerves. It’s the super sized fallacy. It must be permanent and everlasting to have meaning—runs counter to the actuality, it’s the small, temporary things that have the greatest meaning.

    As for my life being wasted…don’t think that either. If my life has meaning it isnt wasted. If my ability to think is a sense for the perception and development of ideas then my personal existance has plenty of meaning to me. I don’t consider that a waste. I consider it precious. But then I value indivdiuality and like most people , rare things are precious.

    A sunset is not a waste of time, a thunderstorm, a cat hunting, a bird flying. None of this is a waste because it has no religious significance. So therefore, I ‘m granting myself the same validity.

    I mean, if you tally up the entirety of all of the mass and energy in the universe, how much of it can daydream, or play an instrument, or have an orgasm? Or give an orgasm? ( Okay maybe more than can have an orgasm…but vibrator jokes aside…)-it doen’t need to have a monument built to be valid.

    Oh. Was this topic actually a joke?

    Forget it then.

  25. Sean
    September 15th, 2005 @ 11:08 am

    Smoking pot, while on 6 hits of acid. When the high starts to pass, eat an ounce of shrooms. I’m sure this will make one happy for a while. Beware of those self loathers though, it may make it worse.

  26. markm
    September 15th, 2005 @ 11:41 am

    In the words of an old song, “Cigarettes and whiskey and wild, wild women.” If that’s not distracting enough, you’ve got a problem.

  27. Shatterglass
    September 15th, 2005 @ 1:51 pm

    I would imagine taking a middle-management position in which one spends one’s day crushing other people’s souls could prove a viable distraction from one’s own meaninglessness. Just ask my boss.

    That or watching a Zamboni.

  28. Joel
    September 15th, 2005 @ 3:11 pm

    If I must find or create or assert meaning in my life for myself, then by definition it is localized meaning. Suppose I find meaning in helping little old ladies across the street. This may mean nothing at all to those who find meaning in mushrooms.

    With no overarching, externally set value or meaning, we are each essentially alone. Some of the commentors in this thread understand that, and they are the ones who talk about distractions rather than meaning. If there is no God, then video games, drugs, masterbation or even middle management represent the more insightful approach to life.

    Those who say there is no God, but are resolutely determined to “make a go of it,” to instill into their lives nice meaningful things (like helping little old ladies across the street) are either not smart enough to see the need for distractions, or have merely chosen more socially acceptable distractions. It’s all alienation, despair and death, either tack you take.

    Long before I was convinced there is a God I realized there simply was no way for me to empirically prove the question one way or another. In the absence of clear evidence I chose the option which is more interesting. If there is no God we spend our lives like tadpoles in a drying puddle. If there is a God, who knows what that could mean?

  29. Rob
    September 15th, 2005 @ 6:52 pm

    The problem with that logic, IMO, is that it implies that in order for god’s “life” to have any meaning, he must serve a meta-god, otherwise, he himself, is merely “making a go at it” as you said, creating a universe for his distractions, and of course the meta-god in turn, must serve a meta-meta-god.

    Delegating your meaning to a higher power does not resolve your dilemma.

  30. Joel
    September 16th, 2005 @ 2:56 am

    Certainly it resolves my dilemma. It becomes his problem instead of mine.

    And I don’t agree that it is “delegating” in any case. To use that word is to assume that the task of imbuing my life with meaning is my job, and that I may choose to let God be the one to be the one who imbues. This would be arrogant nonsense. If God exists, he either had a purpose when he created me or he didn’t. I don’t have any say in what his intentions were before he created me.

    It is difficult for us to avoid the tendancy to think of God as some sort of deluxe human who ultimately would face the same set of philosophical dilemmas we face. But this is not necessarily so; in fact it is more likely not so. There is a universe of difference between man created in God’s image, and god created in man’s image.

  31. Tomek
    September 16th, 2005 @ 3:02 am

    So God exists because some people can’t handle reality and create their own purpose in life. Many people have made a big positive change in history and thus the world. Even if not, some ‘localised’ meaning in helping someone could mean the world to them. It could even set a godo example for them to help others who knows?

    In any case, to answer the question I don’t see how because human existence has no cosmological meaning, that my life is somehow wasted. To exist for the generous amount of time we get to exist is infinetly better than not existing. As Edward DeBono wrote, “Life is a holiday from non-existence”. We only get around 80 years of life-time and even if for argument’s sake, this is meaningless and wasteful, the very fact that I personally don’t see it that way and am not bothered by such a gloom worldview makes my life a whole lot more meaningul and useful than the next person’s.


  32. Tomek
    September 16th, 2005 @ 3:11 am


    Ayn Rand nicely describes thid meaning which a God gives people…

    The purpose of man’s life, say both, is to become an abject zombie who serves a purpose he does not know, for reasons he is not to question.
    ~Ayn Rand


  33. Joel
    September 16th, 2005 @ 3:27 am

    To exist for the generous amount of time we get to exist is infinetly better than not existing.

    Tomek, I’m intrigued by your use of the word “generous.” How can that word make sense here if there is no giver? Not trying to nitpick, I’m just curious as to why you chose that word. It seems like you’re saying something along the lines of “we should be grateful.” Grateful to whom?

    As Edward DeBono wrote, “Life is a holiday from non-existence”.

    As we all know from previous experience, non-existence is a real drag. I respect and admire your sentiment vis a vis living a meaningful and useful life. But I’m intrigued by the fact that you value meaningfulness and usefulness over say, senseless destruction. If all there is is nature, then who among nature’s subjects ought to say how nature should behave? If none of us can say how nature should behave, then the very minds of the self-aware is nature’s harshest blow.

  34. Joel
    September 16th, 2005 @ 3:36 am

    Not familiar with that Ayn Rand quote, but it seems like more of a critique of the meaning which religion gives people. How would it follow from the mere existence of God, that we must become abject zombies?

  35. Steve G.
    September 16th, 2005 @ 9:13 am

    Even if not, some ‘localised’ meaning in helping someone could mean the world to them.
    It could even set a godo example for them to help others who knows?
    To exist for the generous amount of time we get to exist is infinetly better than not existing.

    If no transcendent purpose exist, statements like localised meaning, helping others, existing being infinetely better are all gibberish. These are simply conventions that you’ve assumed. Why is existing ‘better’ than not existing? Why is helping others ‘good’? Using this kind of obfuscation to pretend at meaning won’t work. Any such meaning is annihilated at death, the end of planet earth, the end of the universe, whenever, but at some point it dissappears. At that point, the meaning is proven empty.

    Ayn Rand nicely describes…

    Ahh, you are in your insufferable Ayn Rand phase I see. Theist, or Atheist, I hope you’ll move past that unfortunate reality very soon.

  36. Tomek
    September 16th, 2005 @ 9:53 am


    I am not actaully into Ayn Rand. that quote is the only reading that I’ve ever done which came from her.

    Anyway, picking on my “generous’ word is nit-picking. I use it because most ppl say taht life is short and I agree with Seneca on the assertion that it’s long enough to achieve many great things and only short to those who don’t use it wisely.

    As for why existing is better than not? Well I’d say that is so simply because feeling something good is better than feeling nothing..which is kind of neutral.. This is my opinion of course and its open to debate. However, why helping others is good is simply because making people’s existence positive is a very rational thing to do IMO as it creates more cumulative happiness and allows more people to experience a positive life experience before their oblivion.

    See.. to me.. existence cant be meaningless and wasteful because if it were.. then it wouldn’t matter if somebody got tortured.. but if taht does matter..then its surely a good thing to live well.

  37. Steve G.
    September 16th, 2005 @ 10:25 am

    See.. to me.. existence cant be meaningless and wasteful because if it were.. then it wouldn’t matter if somebody got tortured.. but if taht does matter..then its surely a good thing to live well.

    But if oblivion of all things is our end, it really DOESN

  38. Tomek
    September 16th, 2005 @ 10:52 am

    I don’t see how you can equate a meaningless universe with ultimately meaningless human beings.. with the idea that suffering does not matter. A purpose implies a goal or mission. Suffering is bad because it causes bad experiences in the here and now.

    Additionally, a universe with a purpose made by God is not a very coherent system since not only are we totally unaware of what thatpurpose could be.. but a purpose implies a possible resolution and ending.

  39. Alex
    September 16th, 2005 @ 10:59 am

    Ok non of this theological shit, questioning the question, in the perticular contexts etc…

    We dont need to distract our selfves from this ‘realization’, most people dont make one, therefore turn to god…

    I’ve realised this shit ages ago and i’ve just turned 17, best thing to do is be happy and accept that we are another un-important creature in the world.

    Just because our life means nothing then that we were the most inteligent species, dosnt mean our life has been wasted… if we make the best of our short time on the planet.

    what a stupid fucking question anyway, some pethetic individual cant accept the way of life, and thinks life is wasted, then again could be worse and think he/she will go to heaven / ‘after life’…

    For Fuck SAKE : When you walk around town, or around home / yard, and you see an ant do you go, you know what buddy, that ant right there is going to heaven, you see because it provided food for its master (queen / god), and did its best to help others. its more morally correct then humans…

    but no we dont think that shit, there is never a mention of a seperate animal and insect heaven i’m fairly sure. Therefore we look at an insect or dog , cat, shark and think its life is not wasted, or meaningless, but its part OF THE WORLD WE LIFE IN, PART OF THE FOOD CHAIN! there just like us, trying to live in the world, eat, crap, possibly re-produce etc. Humans are no different to an ant other then the fact we are more complex.

    I conclude if you are mentally unstable enough to beleive in god, or agree with the petheticness of the question:

    Be happy, live life to the fullest, like every day is your last, accept that your not above or below anyone or anything else, and accept you will die just like thoese many ants you crush whilst walking to work, to schoo, home, to the shop.
    You get one life, make the best of it, experiment with drugs, (but dont get addicted), have sex, have children, get a job, be successful, then ur life wont be wasted, your existance is as meaninful as the ant, the dog, the shark, and each other…

  40. Joel
    September 16th, 2005 @ 11:12 am

    “And you, my father, there on the sad height,
    Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
    Do not go gentle into that good night.
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” –Dylan Thomas

    picking on my “generous’ word is nit-picking.

    Fair enough. But to describe non-existence as “kind of neutral” is surely innacurate, because neutral is a value judgement every bit as “really great” and “miserable.” To say non-existence is neutral is to suggest, if life were described as a graph, that the line becomes flat at that point. In actuality, non-existence isn’t like a flat line, it’s more like the edge of the paper. Anyone who doesn’t exist cannot write a book or appear on Oprah to talk about the experience. All we can do is sit here within the state of existing and observe that. Speculating on what it would be like for me if I didn’t exist is absurd.

    We, as a species –with our conscious, self-aware minds so skilled at imagining things that have not happened yet– are not well suited for death. Even athiests cannot help but try to stare through it to some form of after.

  41. Steve G.
    September 16th, 2005 @ 11:51 am

    I don’t see how you can equate a meaningless universe with ultimately meaningless human beings..

    Logic demands it. If the first premise is that the universe is without purpose and meaning, each subsequent effect of a purposeless and meaningless first cause by necessity is also

  42. Thorngod
    September 16th, 2005 @ 3:47 pm

    With a little more thought, and another semester or two in English grammer, Alex will be philosophising rings around you other guys.

  43. Rocketman
    September 16th, 2005 @ 4:21 pm

    So does the fact that meaning comoes from chemical reactions remove it’s validity?

    Who declares what is meaningful or not anyway?

    Define meaningful?

    Meaning is only determined by one who can experieince and then attribute meaning to it.

    Therefore if it is meaningful to me, then it has meaning. Nothing more or less.

    You can reduce it down to it’s all meaningless shit that isn’t going to matter in a 1000 years, or you can accept that meaning doesn’t have to be an american definition…

    you know bigger, longer, permanent, objective, loud and better than you.

    It can be personal and yet meaningful.

    If a tree falling is witnessed by one man who is moved by it then who are you to say either way that that meainign isn’t as valid as the overarching GREAT ONE MEANING OF LIFE!!!…

    It is as valid.

    So quit with the fools choices please and consider option c.

  44. Joel
    September 16th, 2005 @ 4:43 pm

    …Alex will be philosophising rings around you other guys.

    I mean no disrespect to you, Alex, but your philosophy reflects the Prussian-inspired assembly-line education system which is the flavor-celebe of Western culture this century. It is designed to produce good workers who duck their heads, stay out of trouble, reproduce more workers, consume products and vote within acceptable tolerances. Above all, don’t waste time with “stupid fucking” philosophical questions. “Go along, get along, don’t buck your spot in the food chain.”

    Sorry, but that view is just not for me.

  45. Steve G.
    September 16th, 2005 @ 5:14 pm

    >>If a tree falling is witnessed by one man who is moved by it then who are you to say either way that that meainign isn’t as valid as the overarching GREAT ONE MEANING OF LIFE!!!…
    This type of meaning is without any inherent value. It

  46. Lukas Abrhm
    September 16th, 2005 @ 8:06 pm

    i suggest LSD. or psylocibin. or mescal.
    they sure opened my eyes.
    you are god.
    you are the ultimate factor in your life.

    “Today a young man on acid realized that we are all merely energy condensed through a slow vibration…that there is no such thing as death, life is just a dream in which we are the imagination of ourselves….here’s tom with the weather.”
    -bill hicks.

  47. Tomek
    September 16th, 2005 @ 9:27 pm

    I was wasn’t denying that humans are ultimately meaningless. Only in the cosmological sense which is kind of irrelevenat anyway. I was saying that I don’t know how you can equate meaningless existence with the assertion that suffering is unimportant. So what if suffering is meaningless in teh cosmological sense? It seems to me that for you, something either has cosmological meaning or it has no meaning or value at all. Thus, it seems to me that I as an atheist do not need to distract myself from this soul crushing thingy as I obviously do not have an issue which requires belief in god to resolve.

    I’d like to know how god gives meaning anyway. If you goto some heaven and everything is perfect (except for the knowledge that many good people are being tormented in hell which would probably make any chrsitian happy since they believe in it) then ur just a brain in a vat. Constant pleasure without anything else..for eternity.

    All in all, the fact I find life meaningful without kissing having to kiss an evil god’s butt, makes my life all the more proud and free. I will not be wasting any of my precious minutes of life-time on fasle belief. Even though this may not seem to matter after my death, the fact that it matters now, makes it matter anytime.


  48. Steve G.
    September 16th, 2005 @ 10:21 pm

    I was wasn’t denying that humans are ultimately meaningless.

    So we

  49. Tomek
    September 17th, 2005 @ 4:18 am

    This is such a game of semantics for you. Your ‘meaning’ is either aboslute or non existent. All the while you fail to explain how an infinte existence in heaven has any “meaning” anyway. You also fail to even say what this meaning you think your certain god gives. In a way, you are securing your own victory by setting a definition for meaning which only your superantural beliefs can associate with.

    Just because something does not have the cosmological meaning.. which of course, you have no idea how to define or find out any details of.. you think that someone sufering now is totally irrelevant because they will die in the future. I see no rationality behind such reasoning. And for someone who has no coherence in their core cosmoligcal meaning which they so much support, I don’t expect to.

    And in any case… for arguments sake, lets say ur specific meaning defintion is the onyl type of meaning ppl can have.. A good person would opt for no meaning rather than give their life away to some cruel god and sit there in heaven in a euphoria knowing and uncaring for people who are burning in hell for eternity.

  50. rocketman
    September 17th, 2005 @ 7:27 am

    THank you,

    Once again fool’s choice. You Say it’s meaingless Steve G. I don’t. I say it has meaning. Meaining is not constrained by your definitions. Which are quite frankly , really quite the hollywood picture show version.

    Tell you what. I would rather have a happy child who lives for 10 years, than a monument to a war I’ve started that lasts a thousand.

    That is one of the metaphorical suvbtexts of religious thought that the god squad can’t wrap their tiny little heads around.

    But then again they think that ” By their fruits yue shall know them” is a support for capitalism.

    meaning will never be anything more than a subjective observation.

    Perhaps it isn’t the size or duration that validates the meaning.

    Just because you postulate a greater being with a larger and more permanent meaning does not indicate that that meaning has anymore validity than my personal one.

    Life isn’t a contest you boob, its a painting.

  51. Alex
    September 17th, 2005 @ 10:10 am

    Joel… and everyone else, no offence taken, i dont think i’m a philosopher, i turned 17 like 13 days ago… My little philosophy as you call it, reflects little on 0 to no schooling… i say what i feel and think, and yes i intergrate this with knowledge from school…but dont we all…

    I dont care for my education system… anyone who takes it seriously wouldnt be sitting here expressing his/her idea’s, my school system has nothing to do with inteligence or knowledge its to follow the sylubuss because aparently it teaches you to get ‘smart’ get a job etc…

    also, i do the most useless subjects which i’m generall shit at, e.g ( chemistry / software design and development / general maths / visual arts etc…) other then visual arts, i’m very un-intrested and below average at the subjects…

    i dont follow my ‘western cultured education system, non of my subjects give me any of these ‘philosophys’ on life…
    the school system is curupt, i dont care or try in school i accept it means shit all, and people who go well in the world arnt smart at all, they are ‘book smart’, wow anyone can sit on their arse and read up over a few notes, then bam awesome job…

    and yes u try and talk about simple philosophys , Marxism, Anarchy, Capitalism, Socialism, politics / life in general, and you get looked at like your some degenerate ramboling fool…
    prime example wore an anarchy shirt to school 2 days ago (causal dress-day) i got all these people coming up…is that the simble for avril lavigne?, is it a band? (they look on the back of the shirt (anarchy) ” what is anarchy? a band right?”…

    You got the wrong idea on me… i’m yes still a teenager with lots to learn, but DONT come to the conclusion i mindlessly follow rules, study, worship the currupt pethetic government systems.

    Abolish capitalism :)

    you can agree or dissagree, my comment was the abstract interpritation of the question there is no right or wrong answer.
    So yeah your opinon dont care, but just dont think i’m one of thoese fucking stupid ‘book smart’ sheep of society, who follow the rules, etc all the shit you mentioned…


  52. Steve G.
    September 17th, 2005 @ 1:45 pm

    For the third time, I haven’t mentioned God, or my cosmological understanding at all. You are importing that onto me. The discussion is about the question TRA posed, and it assumes that meaningless is real and is what’s being discussed. You haven’t addressed that.

    ditto. I haven’t postulated anything. I am only addressing TRA’s question and the disconnect between it and your and Tomeks responses.

    Despite you insults, if you’d actually read what I’ve written, you’d see that, and you’d see that the point that my suppossed incoherent position (which I haven’t even proposed) doesn’t make your’s any better. From that perspective, the one who accepts the utter meaninglessness of things has us both beat hands down. That’s my only point thus far.

  53. Steve G.
    September 17th, 2005 @ 2:47 pm

    addendum: And the only reason I am trying to point this out is because it is you, not I, who regularly claim rationality and evidence as the highest criteria. From what I can see, you are violating that proposition. Since I don’t hold to that standard in the first place, you may think I am wrong, but at least I am not violating one of my basic principles to find meaning. The bottom line is that you admit that life is ultimately meaningless, and at least for most human beings, that IS a rather soul crushing reality.

  54. markm
    September 17th, 2005 @ 3:06 pm

    If someone can fill whatever void causes people to search for “the meaning of life” by pledging themselves to an imaginary being described as having vicious habits (consider what He did allegedly did to Job’s family and servants) and dubious sanity, are they to be envied or pitied?

  55. Iremon
    September 17th, 2005 @ 4:33 pm

    Spend your days reading other peoples opinions on the internet ;-)

  56. starstuff
    September 17th, 2005 @ 5:06 pm

    Life is what you make it. If you’ve made any difference whatsoever in the lives of people who will live beyond you, your life has not been wasted.

  57. Tomek
    September 17th, 2005 @ 10:27 pm

    So you win because you carefully avoided mentioning your own opinion? Nice :P
    What do you mean by meaning? or paper? or life? etc….. Cheap suff.

    (btw u disagreed with my idea taht tehre is no god).

  58. Xianghong
    September 18th, 2005 @ 2:04 pm

    Well… continue wasting away your life since suicide is kinda troublesome, not to mention painful.

  59. Steve G.
    September 18th, 2005 @ 2:32 pm

    So you win because you carefully avoided mentioning your own opinion? Nice :P

    I didn

  60. Tomek
    September 19th, 2005 @ 12:23 am

    Well, I don’t believe in God because there is no evidence which suggests that there is one. Quite rational.
    Basing some cosmological meaning which no-one seems to be able to really define or know anything about on some God for which no evidence exists is quite irrational.

    To have eamning in one’s life just comes down to smenatic games. If one defines meaning as cosmological or nothing then of course everyone loses. However, meaning is something for which gives my life fulfillment and purpose while I am conscious and so I have that. TO feel that your actions can have some positive influence even after you are dead gives meaning to me while I am alive too. Even though I shall vanish in the long future doesn’t take away from my life unless I think that meaning can only be cosmological. SUch meaning has nothing to do with helping or benefiting anyone but some absent God who if he is the Chrsitian one, ain’t worth serving anything but the finger :P

  61. Steve G.
    September 19th, 2005 @ 9:01 am

    Well, I don’t believe in God because there is no evidence which suggests that there is one. Quite rational.

    From your paradigm, I can see that

  62. Rocketman
    September 19th, 2005 @ 9:18 am

    Steve G:

    You are wrong; it

  63. Steve G.
    September 19th, 2005 @ 9:53 am

    Denigrating a line of arguement by calling it semantics doesn’t invalidate the argument Steve.

    You are correct and I should have left that comment in parenthesis out altogether. But please realize that it was Tomek who has repeatedly accused me of playing semantics, not vice versa.

    In this case, if one person finds meaning in something, personal meaning-then the statement there is no meaning is false.
    So therefore your statment that there is no meaning is false.
    Our major difference is that you need a point. A reason for it all. This is why we see the phrasing of the statement in win or lose terms.

    OK, your points are valid, but then I

  64. LJK
    September 19th, 2005 @ 11:27 am

    Like many atheists I have struggled with accepting that there is no overarching purpose to human existence. There is no enlightenment, no common goal, and no grand path that leads to understanding. Does this mean that the events in our lives and the lives of others are without meaning? In the grand scheme the answer is yes. No achievement of the human race will ever matter. Still, we move on and try to lead our lives. We even enjoy our lives despite our understanding that none of our accomplishments has importance.

    We give emotional meaning to life, even if we logically we realize its pointlessness. The knowledge that I will die and be forgotten in a few generations, even the knowledge that the human race will crumble and be forgotten by an uncaring universe does not decrease my enjoyment of events I perceive to be

  65. Steve G.
    September 19th, 2005 @ 12:01 pm

    Like many atheists I have struggled with accepting that there is no overarching purpose to human existence. There is no enlightenment, no common goal, and no grand path that leads to understanding. Does this mean that the events in our lives and the lives of others are without meaning? In the grand scheme the answer is yes. No achievement of the human race will ever matter. Still, we move on and try to lead our lives. We even enjoy our lives despite our understanding that none of our accomplishments has importance.

    First, I want to commend you on your honesty and candor. It

  66. Rocketman
    September 19th, 2005 @ 12:25 pm

    Actually what I’m saying is, becasue there is not external meaing, the only meaning that exists is the meaning you build.

    And once again confusion in scale does not invalidate the fact that any meaning in completely valid.

    The point is that beyond my life I will have no awareness of anything. After I die, i will not know of anything. That does not invlidate my life. I’m rather enjoying it actually.

    There are plenty of reasons not to kill another person that have absolutely nothing to do with morality.

    And if we have adapted to value our internal emotional state derived from being social animals to the place where we can empathize with others great, good, be human.

    The contention always comes back to the premise that we could not be moral without god. That isn’t true.

    We can only be moral without god. We can only be moral beings without the extended cosmic meaning.

    Like I said-time is a function of this reality. That something exists at all is meaning enough as it stands.

    You can’t even get a single planet to agree with the contradictions in your beleif structure and this planet is less than a grain of sand on an infinite shore.

    faced with that enormity, it is laziness to concieve of a greater reality just to make yourself more comfortable.

    By recognizing you are less, you become more.

  67. leon
    September 19th, 2005 @ 12:29 pm

    On the humous side (or is it?):

    For men: Have sex with as many women as possible.
    For women: Reject as many men as possible.

  68. Steve G.
    September 19th, 2005 @ 1:01 pm

    And once again confusion in scale does not invalidate the fact that any meaning in completely valid.
    It does mean that any confused system, regardless of scale is equally invalid under your paradigm. I

  69. Joann
    September 19th, 2005 @ 1:17 pm

    We must not focus on ourselves, but focus on others. Those who are dying from starvation in other countries and right here at home. Also, those who have lost their homes and family in the hurricane and other disasters, they need our help. When we learn how to give to others, then our lives become meaningful. We are not here to work toward making our own lives meaningful, but to make the lives of others meaningful. When we feed hungry children, and help to provide homes for those who are homeless, then we have meaning in our own lives.

  70. Rocketman
    September 19th, 2005 @ 3:03 pm

    No once again you miss the point.

    My meaning is rational because I can support it.

    Your meaning is irrational because you depend upon:

    a) faith in an unsupported belief system that postulates a greater meaning. You have no idea what that meaning ultimately is beyond telling me that you believe.You trust in a greater meaning that there is no support for.

    b) you view the fact that my meaning is subjective and impermanent as a lack of meaning, I view your insistance that my meaning is invalid as an invalid statement. You declare it irrational whereas I find it exceptionally rational. I believe in nothing greater than what I can rationally consider and percieve.

    c) you seem to believe that consensus means correctness.

    Here’s the difference, you need a single way of thinking, a single meaning to be valid, wheras the multiplicity of meanings and disagreements as a sign of health. Get it Believer? Different is good.
    Dogmatic adherence to a religious text that most of the believers in your own sect can’t agree is not healthy.

    I agree that it is a far far easier thing to do than to give up the questions, to make some sort of comparison and leave the hard questions to ignorance and god, and a far more difficult thing to do than figure it out for yourself, but you know that’s okay.

    I could never sport a woody as big or for as long a period of time as your invisible special friend, so therefore I guess mine doesn’t count. Oh but wait a minuit, I actually have a child who exists, so I guess just because she isn’t going to save the world through dying on a cross she isn’t as important as his kid…but wait a minute, she does to me. She matters to me and has meaning to me and maybe if I do a good enough job she’ll grow up and end up helping some people, and making their live a little better, and you know what believer?-maybe that’s as good a meaning as anyone needs. maybe that is the point. The entire point. Full stop.

  71. Thorngod
    September 19th, 2005 @ 3:13 pm

    Joann- As someone other than I said, We are all here on this Earth to save others. What all the others are here for, God only knows.

  72. Woody
    September 19th, 2005 @ 3:55 pm

    Interestingly enough, I imagine the statement life is meaningless has meaning to the person that stated the comment. If life was completely meaningless, saying, “life is meaningless”, is simply saying nothing at all.

  73. Anonymous
    September 19th, 2005 @ 4:12 pm

    “As someone other than I said, We are all here on this Earth to save others. What all the others are here for, God only knows.”

    To exploit the naive?

  74. Steve G.
    September 19th, 2005 @ 4:45 pm


    You know nothing about what I believe, haven

  75. LJK
    September 19th, 2005 @ 11:51 pm

    Steve G,

    The reconciliation of rationality and emotion has always eluded me. On an intellectual level, I know that no event has any meaning, but I admit that I do not live my life in accordance with that view. Nobody does, it is an impossible state of mind. Even the Buddhists who claim to transcend all perception of

  76. Joel
    September 20th, 2005 @ 12:36 am

    I’m trying to figure out what all this dogma means. Several times in the comments above, various commentors have said something along the lines of, “belief in god is irrational, because there is absolutely no evidence he exists.” Rocketman said, “If I make a statement that all crows are black, and someone demonstrably shows me that there are white crows in the universe, then I am wrong.” But the truth of the matter is that Rocketman could go his whole life and never see a single white crow and still be wrong. The subset of all available evidence of white crows to which he has access is infintesimal. There could be white crows huddled in the extinct calderas of Io, and Rocketman might never know it. And if he said, “There are no white crows” every day until he died, he’d be wrong. (I’m not picking on Rocketman in particular, it’s just that he introduced this delightful concept of white crows.)

    What has actually happened throughout most of athiestdom™ as nearly as I can tell is something like this: 1) a religious dude claimed some connection to a revealed God, 2) a questioning dude examined religious dude’s claims, and found them disappointing. His claims were shallow, inert, contradictory or even mendacious. 3) The questioning dude may or may not have repeated step two several times, experiencing disappointment each time. By this time he has developed a strong emotional reaction to religion or to any dudes who claim to be hooked in with the Almighty. 4) the questioning dude decides to believe there is no such thing as god, and thereby becomes our hero, Atheist Dude™.

    My point is threefold: 1) atheism seems to exist mainly not as a avenue of new discovery so much as a reaction to religion. 2) This reaction seems very often to have a strong emotional basis rather than being based purely on cold logic as is popularly implied or claimed. 3) When Atheist Dude™ has examined 17 major religions including eight flavors of Evangelical Post Tribulation Ecumenicalism, he has not nearly borne the burden of proof necessary to be able to say, “I have proved there is no god.” We can look inside a cookie jar, see no jelly beans there, and then reasonably claim we have proven there are no jelly beans in the jar. But the universe isn’t as small or as simple as a cookie jar, and God, if he exists, would probably be a bit more complex and mysterious than a jelly bean.

    My point is that the question of God’s existence has exactly nothing to do with what the religions of the world can or cannot prove. Suppose for the sake of argument, that we could demonstrably prove that each and every single religious person on the face of the earth was mendacious in as much as he or she believed or claimed to believe in the existence of God. This still does nothing to disprove the existence of God. So it is ironic to me that in this thread Steve G has repeatedly had to remind his worthy opponents that he hasn’t said diddly-smack about his own religious flavor. The only thing he’s revealed is that he is un-atheist. In this way he has given his worthy opponents a taste of their own medicine: atheism is un-relion-ism, and does not, cannot offer real proof that God does not exist.

    This un-religionism makes the problem of meaningfulness problematic. If your credo is “I don’t know what we are, but we’re not like them,” you still haven’t answered the question of what you are like. All I see in the comments above are sentiments; appeals to emotional concepts like “helping others,” and “the good of society.” These are mostly just virtues exported from major world religions, dressed-down and rinsed out and dudded up like Darwinism so you can claim they are morality free. But the only atheists who bring anything original to the table are the intellectually honest, clear thinking ones who realize that if their goals could be furthered with a steep murder rate, then let us have murder. You atheists come in two flavors: wolves and sheep. If there is no god, and all the world’s religions go down to dust, it will be the wolves who prevail, for they are not encumbered by vestigial moral sentiments like “helping people.”

  77. Curt
    September 20th, 2005 @ 3:52 am

    If the solar system was brought about by an accidental collision, then the appearance of organic life on this planet was also an accident, and the whole evolution of Man is an accident too. If so, then all our present thoughts are mere accidents

  78. Rachael
    September 20th, 2005 @ 4:08 am

    Sex, Music, Food, and Broadband internet.

  79. Rocketman
    September 20th, 2005 @ 8:27 am

    Good points all. But back to Steve G- who after all is said and done I need to thank for an interesting diversion.

    To put the point to bed for me I’ll simply explain it to you like this-without unfairly attributing anything to you–

    If there is no greater cosmological meaning-and I beleive that there is no greater cosmological meaning-then all we are left with is personal meaning.

    It is not a fairy tale-it is what we know inside-as opposed to any concept of a god driven one.

    The end result either way is that the only meaning that can have any attributable basis for action or life is the subjective one.

    There is a further misperception that because there is no greater meaning that the individual meaning is pointless. All that you have done is simply ignored my contention that there is meaning.

    You can call it a fairy tale, an illogical assumption, or keep expressing that there is no ” meaning” all you want–but you haven’t expressed a single rational reason why my personal meaning is of any less significance than a great cosmic one.

    You have discarded it out of hand. Simply saying something is immaterial does not actually make it immaterial.

    The other contention that I have read which is actually more disturbing than a headlong rush to discard “meaning” is the contention that we are incapable of moral behaviour without religion.

    It would be my pleasure to see someone attempt to justify that position with more than a strong avowal that it is true.

    Dr. Ravi makes a humerous statement, however, he fails to take into account that no one eats their own children unless they are starving.



  80. Kate B.
    September 20th, 2005 @ 9:16 am

    “It is not a fairy tale-it is what we know inside-as opposed to any concept of a god driven one.”

    Quick questions, because I don’t quite understand:
    1) does “what we know inside” need to have a rational basis, and if so, does it remain completely subjective? I’m assuming that rationality could be based on objective facts. Would the inner belief not therefore be an objective belief, accessible by more than just the person in question?
    2) if “what we know inside” need not be rationally provable, what separates it from fairy-tale?
    I’m not trying to lead you into a rhetorical trap; I ask because I don’t know.

    “in short to place meaning in their life-then you have created your own internal universe, with it’s own internal meaning.”

    This one’s from farther up, and it seems to suggest that the subjective meaning becomes somehow objective, and in its aspect of communal meaning, almost religious. If meaning is only subjective, how can it be put into the life of another subject?

  81. Thorngod
    September 20th, 2005 @ 9:43 am

    I’d like to address a brief comment to all parties to this dispute. It appears to me that the greater part of these arguments are
    owed to differing personal meanings of the term “meaning.” The
    very fact that one is taking part in this dispute is evidence that he
    or she finds some meaning in the world. You may prefer to
    characterize your participation here, as well as all your other
    activities, as “purpose” and to reserve “meaning” to denote
    something of value. In any case, if you actually found no value,
    or meaning, in anything, you would be utterly lacking in purpose
    and you would cease all volunteer action and you would wither
    and die.
    The atheist’s “meanings” or values in this only life we can verify
    are patently evanescent, but are nevertheless as meaningful as
    the same values are for one of the spirit faith. The latter, of
    course, holds that there is a “Meaning” of ALL, and whether he
    is right or not, tha belief seems to comfort him and presumably
    lends greater purpose to his life than most non-believers would
    claim for theirs.
    Nevertheless, I have looked into many tomes, recent and
    ancient, and I have yet to discover a reasonable explanation
    for the necessity of a Prime Mover or a sensible explication of
    that reat enigma called “the meaning of life.” Life does not
    appear to me to be in need of an outside motivator or of an all-
    encompassing “Meaning.” It proliferates madly on its own hook,
    devouring everything in sight. It is certainly finding a lot of
    meaning somewhere, and I can only surmise that it is driven to
    do so by the very nature of us all. The guiding light of all is
    “Do or die!”
    This soul’s rebirth confounds me; I would trade
    It’s Heaven for this lesser life He made,
    Would He but deign to cancel it’s worst woes,
    And just extend the length of it a shade. (c)CTW.
    P.S.: I still maintain that Alex–who’s only 17 and has probably
    not yet read Socrates and Democritus and Spinoza and Hume–
    needs only time and thought and a little study to be able to
    dispute with considerable authority.

  82. Steve G.
    September 20th, 2005 @ 11:27 am

    The best I can say is that I

  83. Bull
    September 20th, 2005 @ 1:46 pm

    Hello all,

    Rocketman, good to see you again on Saturday. Thanks for turning me on to this site.

    I have read the last 82 postings with great interest. There is a lot of information to digest, so if I miss something, my appologies up front. I agree with something that everyone has said. I agree with Steve G. that the question has been misinterpreted. In trying to answer this question, one must presuppose that human life is meaningless and one’s entire life has been wasted. You simply cannot answer the question without accepting this beforehand. In trying to debate the value of meaning, the depth of meaning, one has already rejected the basic premise of the question.

    If one believes in atheism, poor wording I suppose, then one (like me) would look at the question and see that it is irrelevant. I need not distract myself from something that I already accept as true. Yes, my life, in the grand scheme of the universe and how it will look in a thousand years, is about as meaningless as anything can be. I accept this. It isn’t soul-crushing at all. I kind of take a perverse pleasure in this realization. So, in this instance, the question becomes moot.

    But now one (like me) would have to question the premise behind the question. It is a little cut and dried, a little too over the top. I would like to believe that my life has some meaning and that it has not been wasted. I can’t, but I would like to. Thusly I search for meaning in my life and in others. Someone had to write the bible. Because that person/persons is/are now dead, does this mean that his/her/their lives had no meaning? I would argue against this. Look at the number of people who have read/interpreted/misinterpreted/based their lives on/killed/died for this work. I guess to these countless thousands of people the life of whoever wrote the bible has some meaning.

    Look at Davinci, Descartes, Moses, Mother Theresa, Vlad, Hitler, a thousand thousand other great names through history. Did the lives of these people have no meaning? Did their lives not matter? Were their lives wasted? Well, quite frankly, yes. In the same way that my life is wasted and has no meaning according to the original question. To millions and millions of people through the ages of human history, they did matter.

    I go to work and help people. I have saved a couple of lives and even helped bring one life into this world. I would like to think that these actions, and thus me, matter to someone. This degree of value, this amount of meaning gives me a little comfort as I realize that my entire existance is pointless to almost everyone except myself and perhaps my wife and family.

    My life matters TO ME. It has meaning TO ME. I have spent 36 years on this planet and believe that some of that time has been wasted, but not all of it. Some of it has been spent helping others, bringing joy and happiness to others, trying to do good (as I see it). When I am dead and gone, will any of that meaing remain? I think other people’s memories of me will help them lead better, more productive, happier lives to some small degree. It will matter to them. But, as the original supposition states that their lives don’t mean anything either, then no, my life is meaningless (to everyone and everything except myself, since I am the one living it).

  84. qedpro
    September 20th, 2005 @ 3:33 pm

    Who said anything about it being soul crushing. the realization is not soul-crushing, its enlightening.

  85. hillary
    September 21st, 2005 @ 2:31 pm

    why, to fly my little 150
    to see the sky so huge. And me, so insignificant but with so much wonder. then to get back to earth & bitch about the price of avgas.

  86. Prayertulip
    September 21st, 2005 @ 4:51 pm

    Psa 107:23 They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters;

    Psa 107:24 These see the works of the LORD, and his wonders in the deep.

    Psa 107:25 For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof.

    Psa 107:26 They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths: their soul is melted because of trouble.

    Psa 107:27 They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits’ end.

    Psa 107:28 Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses.

    Psa 107:29 He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.

    Psa 107:30 Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven.

  87. Anonymous
    September 21st, 2005 @ 5:19 pm

    I hear that even the devil can quote scripture.

  88. prayertulip
    September 21st, 2005 @ 5:42 pm

    So, quote some.

  89. Anonymous
    September 21st, 2005 @ 8:25 pm

    No need. Someone beat me to it.

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