What a world without God means

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    (Original post by SunnysideSea)
    It struck me today just what a world without theism really and truly means. It means, simply, that what anyone does in life is intrinsically devoid of all purpose. Whether I die this very second, or live another 80 years, becoming the most successful person in the history of mankind, the net outcome is the same. I will forget everything I ever did; I will be unaware of having ever done anything; “I” won’t even remember having ever existed, and it will be as if I never did. Everyone who I ever saw or spoke to will also rot away into the soil, and when the universe grows cold or the sun expands, so will all humanity. No one will remember anything, because ‘we’ won’t even be capable of thought, let alone memory – everything any human ever did will be completely gone.

    You might think that since you only get one shot at life you have to make the most of it, or else you’ll regret all those things you never did. But once you die, you’re not capable of regret. You will feel exactly the same regardless of what you do in life. Now you might think that even if you don’t remember, you still want to be remembered by everyone else. Surely that’s worth striving for. But again, these people will all rot away into the earth, and forget about their own existence, let alone yours. Ultimately your contribution makes no difference (this extends even to the great figures of history, when humanity dies out, their achievements do too). You may also say that life is simply what you make of it: if you want your offspring to be your purpose in life, then they are. This, however, is no more than a delusion – essentially conning yourself into thinking you have a purpose. Your offspring will rot away, and so will theirs, and so will theirs, and so on, until all humanity is gone, and it’s exactly the same as if no offspring had ever existed.That’s not a purpose, that’s utterly pointless.

    Not only, then, is life purposeless if you’re unhappy or in pain (simply, why bother going on?), but equally purposeless if you’re having a great time, as, once you’re dead, you won’t ever remember that you had a great time, or even what a ‘great time’ is. Some people don’t worry about this though – they’re perfectly happy in their self-made fabrications of purpose in life. If this works for you, then fine. But I know it’s a lie, and so do you. There is only one possible escape. I can’t know for sure if there is any truth in theism, but even if there were the faintest chance, it would be worth taking a million times.


    Please post your thoughts below!
    why are you assuming that if a god did exist that it would be a theistic (specifically abrahamic) deity? you've jumped from the god assumption to the christian (I assume) god assumption. that's like me assuming that not only are there vampires in my attic, but they are also specifically flamboyant and don't like cheese...without any proof for me predicting this reality within my attic...
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    (Original post by sleepysnooze)
    why are you assuming that if a god did exist that it would be a theistic (specifically abrahamic) deity? you've jumped from the god assumption to the christian (I assume) god assumption. that's like me assuming that not only are there vampires in my attic, but they are also specifically flamboyant and don't like cheese...without any proof for me predicting this reality within my attic...
    The point I'm making is that that without some kind of theism objective purpose is impossible.

    Whether or not particular types of theism lead to particular types of purpose is an entirely different question.
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    (Original post by SunnysideSea)
    The point I'm making is that that without some kind of theism objective purpose is impossible.

    Whether or not particular types of theism lead to particular types of purpose is an entirely different question.
    yes but in order to have that desired objective purpose (purportedly, at least) you have to believe in things like adam and eve, moses parting the red sea, jesus walking on water, etc - is objective purpose really that necessary that you'd believe in such obvious fantasies?
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    (Original post by SunnysideSea)
    This is such a silly argument, but I can give an alternatie example if you wish:

    The 'dictionary defintion' of tall doesn't mention being over 5 foot 10" in height.

    But if you're a guy who isn't over 5 foot 10" in height you aren't tall.
    Of course it's not a silly argument.

    But getting back to your original point, you have made a baseless jump from implying that not serving God means someone isn't humble. Now that is a silly argument.
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    I went to a religious society at uni and one thing that struck me is that the speaker said " Don't base your happiness on something that can be taken away from you".
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    (Original post by sleepysnooze)
    yes but in order to have that desired objective purpose (purportedly, at least) you have to believe in things like adam and eve, moses parting the red sea, jesus walking on water, etc - is objective purpose really that necessary that you'd believe in such obvious fantasies?
    The vast majority of Catholics do not believe in Genesis as literally true (the fact there are two separate interpretations in the Bible suggests it's not meant to be a scientific description). I have no problem believing in miracles like Jesus walking on water, it honestly doesn't bother me. You may think it's nonsense, and that's obviously fine, but I see no reason for not believing them.

    I'm not sure I could live without any purpose. I just wouldn't bother. I know I wouldn't. Why bother getting 12A*s at GCSE when it's all for nothing anyway? To become a dirty rich lawyer for a bit? Nah, I'm fine where I am
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    (Original post by SunnysideSea)
    The point I'm making is that that without some kind of theism objective purpose is impossible.

    Whether or not particular types of theism lead to particular types of purpose is an entirely different question.
    Yet no atheist has claimed life has objective purpose without God. Are you ignoring the numerous people on this thread who have repeatedly said that they can give their own subjective purpose?
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    (Original post by Plantagenet Crown)
    Yet no atheist has claimed life has objective purpose without God. Are you ignoring the numerous people on this thread who have repeatedly said that they can give their own subjective purpose?
    No, I've called them out for what they are: delusional. I just can't do it to myself. I probably would if I could.
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    (Original post by SunnysideSea)
    The vast majority of Catholics do not believe in Genesis as literally true (the fact there are two separate interpretations in the Bible suggests it's not meant to be a scientific description).
    I don't really know how you intended this to sound. obviously if there's a religious text, then you're meant to believe in what it says, so saying "I don't even believe in my own holy book's statements" isn't a defence in any sense

    I have no problem believing in miracles like Jesus walking on water, it honestly doesn't bother me. You may think it's nonsense, and that's obviously fine, but I see no reason for not believing them.
    yeah but it *is* nonsense - it literally doesn't make mathematical sense - a man cannot mathematically weigh so little that he can walk on water, especially without going at a substantial speed. if jesus could walk on water, then 2+2 might as well equal 5.

    I'm not sure I could live without any purpose. I just wouldn't bother. I know I wouldn't. Why bother getting 12A*s at GCSE when it's all for nothing anyway? To become a dirty rich lawyer for a bit? Nah, I'm fine where I am
    how about just be happy with your life and who you are? that's kind of what is expected of you psychologically, surely? what do you really expect the universe to be? magic? why would it be magic just so you can feel more special?
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    (Original post by SunnysideSea)
    No, I've called them out for what they are: delusional. I just can't do it to myself. I probably would if I could.
    I think that's a bit rich considering they could consider you delusional for believing in something with no evidence.

    Moreover, how is accepting the purpose you give your life is subjective, delusional?
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    (Original post by SunnysideSea)
    No, I've called them out for what they are: delusional. I just can't do it to myself. I probably would if I could.
    are you basically then saying that you can't have a purpose for living without the knowledge that your deeds on earth are going to be part of a big score chart regarding where you go (heaven or hell)? what if I just came ot your house with a big stick and said "I am your god now - do what I say or I'll poke you"? that would give you some purpose, surely? to avoid the stick, right? what if I changed "do as I say" to "jump through a hoop like a performing seel"?
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    (Original post by sleepysnooze)
    I don't really know how you intended this to sound. obviously if there's a religious text, then you're meant to believe in what it says, so saying "I don't even believe in my own holy book's statements" isn't a defence in any sense
    The book of Genesis was never meant to be taken literally. As I said, the Bible authors included two completely different accounts, which share the same central themes. If it were meant to be taken literally, there would have been one account.

    (Original post by sleepysnooze)
    yeah but it *is* nonsense - it literally doesn't make mathematical sense - a man cannot mathematically weigh so little that he can walk on water, especially without going at a substantial speed. if jesus could walk on water, then 2+2 might as well equal 5.
    Welcome to the word 'miracle'. I think you've just given a good definition of it, actually. These are events which go against science, that's why they're *miracles*

    (Original post by sleepysnooze)
    how about just be happy with your life and who you are? that's kind of what is expected of you psychologically, surely? what do you really expect the universe to be? magic? why would it be magic just so you can feel more special?
    I don't need to be special, but I can't be lost, or delusional. I'm happy for you that, despite being so, you don't care.
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    (Original post by Hippysnake)
    I'd post my thoughts on this topic but why should I bother? It won't really make a difference anyway.
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    (Original post by SunnysideSea)
    The book of Genesis was never meant to be taken literally. As I said, the Bible authors included two completely different accounts, which share the same central themes. If it were meant to be taken literally, there would have been one account.
    if they're both based on falsehoods then what is the point of them being featured in a holy text? isn't a holy text meant to account for reality? it's practically a science book in that sense (without the evidence) - why would you put falsehoods in a science book? I'm only comparing it to a science book because obviously a science book has substantial descriptive authority, and surely so does a holy text?

    Welcome to the word 'miracle'. I think you've just given a good definition of it, actually. These are events which go against science, that's why they're *miracles*
    yes but you can't just say something is a miracle if something makes absolutely no sense. how can a miracle, for instance, make a circle have 3 sides? if god makes a circle have 3 sides, it's no longer a circle, which is a shape which does not have 3 sides...so you can't just appeal to magic

    I don't need to be special, but I can't be lost, or delusional. I'm happy for you that, despite being so, you don't care.
    how are you lost by simply understanding that the universe isn't a toy for human beings? how are you lost for simply comprehending that human beings are only 0.000(to the power of billions or trillions) of all the matter in the universe? do you not accept at least this much? so why would the universe be here for *us*? surely we're here for *it*? you know how human beings came into existence, right? so why are you looking for a reason for our existence other than physicalities billions of years ago? why can't you be a little more existential in your thinking?
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    (Original post by SunnysideSea)
    It struck me today just what a world without theism really and truly means. It means, simply, that what anyone does in life is intrinsically devoid of all purpose. Whether I die this very second, or live another 80 years, becoming the most successful person in the history of mankind, the net outcome is the same. I will forget everything I ever did; I will be unaware of having ever done anything; “I” won’t even remember having ever existed, and it will be as if I never did. Everyone who I ever saw or spoke to will also rot away into the soil, and when the universe grows cold or the sun expands, so will all humanity. No one will remember anything, because ‘we’ won’t even be capable of thought, let alone memory – everything any human ever did will be completely gone.

    You might think that since you only get one shot at life you have to make the most of it, or else you’ll regret all those things you never did. But once you die, you’re not capable of regret. You will feel exactly the same regardless of what you do in life. Now you might think that even if you don’t remember, you still want to be remembered by everyone else. Surely that’s worth striving for. But again, these people will all rot away into the earth, and forget about their own existence, let alone yours. Ultimately your contribution makes no difference (this extends even to the great figures of history, when humanity dies out, their achievements do too). You may also say that life is simply what you make of it: if you want your offspring to be your purpose in life, then they are. This, however, is no more than a delusion – essentially conning yourself into thinking you have a purpose. Your offspring will rot away, and so will theirs, and so will theirs, and so on, until all humanity is gone, and it’s exactly the same as if no offspring had ever existed.That’s not a purpose, that’s utterly pointless.

    Not only, then, is life purposeless if you’re unhappy or in pain (simply, why bother going on?), but equally purposeless if you’re having a great time, as, once you’re dead, you won’t ever remember that you had a great time, or even what a ‘great time’ is. Some people don’t worry about this though – they’re perfectly happy in their self-made fabrications of purpose in life. If this works for you, then fine. But I know it’s a lie, and so do you. There is only one possible escape. I can’t know for sure if there is any truth in theism, but even if there were the faintest chance, it would be worth taking a million times.


    Please post your thoughts below!
    lol. I think the key issue to understand here is that we are not special and we are not existing in a universe designed for us. Of course our lives have no intrinsic meaning or worth, except for that which we ourselves bestow on it.
    We are the result of a freakishly lucky combination of chemical reaction and 3.6 billion years of evolution, which were in turn the result of our planet being suitable to host carbon based life.
    Life is a very amazing thing, but it has no purpose. For sentient beings such as ourselves, the meaning of life is basically whatever we choose to make it.
    This is basically a variant on the theme of 'life is what you make it' - but with admitting you are right. Life has no purpose, it simply is - humanity is unlikely to survive throughout the aeons, but there is nothing to stop us trying. I would also argue that even though we are likely to all die out at some point and along with us all our technological and social developments, that doesn't make them devoid of value - because we have assigned value to them. It comes back to the idea that the universe doesn't exist for us, value is not a concept in the universe, neither is whether something is 'meaningless' or not, that is for humans to decide.
    Finally, to the point of theism - just because the universe has no purpose and humanity is likely to be wiped out, which is a fairly depressing thought, it doesn't mean god exists. Clinging desperatiely to the idea of a god just because you don't like the alternative, which is backed up by objective evidence, is conning yourself to a far greater extent than having children and dedicating your life to them.
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    (Original post by SunnysideSea)
    Being able to remember your life isn't what gives it purpose per se, the 'purpose' most thiests would assign to life is to love and serve God and each other. Remembering it is merely an added bonus, if you will.

    As for what heaven is like, if you want to know what Catholicism says about the afterlife, please do some reading. You're asking quite a standard theological question, do I really have to spend my time being your secretary finding the relevant piece of Church teaching? Learn how to use a search function, thanks.
    There is as much purpose as being Gods b*tch as there is in any other purpose a person makes for themselves.

    I don't care enough to research specific interpretations when I know they're going to be as equally laughable.


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    (Original post by SunnysideSea)
    Suppose humility isn't your style then
    So you're saying that without believing you serve a God, any God. You can't be humble?

    And how do baseless attacks on people's characters work out for you in debates, usually?


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    (Original post by Cremated_Spatula)
    So you're saying that without believing you serve a God, any God. You can't be humble?

    And how do baseless attacks on people's characters work out for you in debates, usually?


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    It was a flippant comment, though I would assert that arrogance and egocentrism are two hallmarks of many vocal atheists.

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    (Original post by sleepysnooze)
    if they're both based on falsehoods then what is the point of them being featured in a holy text? isn't a holy text meant to account for reality? it's practically a science book in that sense (without the evidence) - why would you put falsehoods in a science book? I'm only comparing it to a science book because obviously a science book has substantial descriptive authority, and surely so does a holy text?



    yes but you can't just say something is a miracle if something makes absolutely no sense. how can a miracle, for instance, make a circle have 3 sides? if god makes a circle have 3 sides, it's no longer a circle, which is a shape which does not have 3 sides...so you can't just appeal to magic



    how are you lost by simply understanding that the universe isn't a toy for human beings? how are you lost for simply comprehending that human beings are only 0.000(to the power of billions or trillions) of all the matter in the universe? do you not accept at least this much? so why would the universe be here for *us*? surely we're here for *it*? you know how human beings came into existence, right? so why are you looking for a reason for our existence other than physicalities billions of years ago? why can't you be a little more existential in your thinking?
    No, it isn't designed as a scientific text. The two creation stories both tell us that we were created by God, we were created out of nothing a finite time ago, we were created in God's image, we have a purpose etc. By providing two parallel accounts we can cross reference them to work out the true meaning of the text.

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    (Original post by SunnysideSea)
    It was a flippant comment, though I would assert that arrogance and egocentrism are two hallmarks of many vocal atheists.

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    I could assert a lot of things about Catholics, doesn't make it true or add any value to the discussion. It would just make me sound like an aggressive bigot.


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