Stupid Jeebot Questions: How Does Life Have Meaning If There Is No God?

As atheists, we’ve all been asked this question before. If there is no god, how does your life have meaning?

Aside from this question being a deep cutting insult to all humanity, it’s also completely absurd. It’s like asking, “How does your life have meaning without pants?” It’s just so fucking random and arbitrary. Who the fuck gave deists and gods a monopoly on doling out meaning?

Nonetheless, let’s tackle this nasty bitch head on.

Once again, this was triggered by me reading something I probably should have stayed really fucking far away from. I was just trying to figure out if I could find a blog post or an article that explained what, exactly, the thinking behind the question is. I had a momentary lapse of judgment in thinking that someone, somewhere, could make sense of the assertion that life cannot have meaning without god. I don’t know why, or how my brain decided to hiccup like this but it led me to this.

This article casually lulls you into thinking you’re not going to be brain fucked with desperate reaching, by making a bit of sense in the beginning. The author, James Anderson, examines what we mean by the word “meaning” and I say he gets it square on the head.

Meaning, he says, is broken down into 3 components: purpose, significance and value. Agreed. At this point in my reading of the article, I’m just shocked we haven’t talked about serving god, so I’ll take it. Purpose, of course, is what your life is for. Significance is all about our lives adding up to something greater than ourselves and of course, value is talking about what our lives add to the world and were they worth living.

All of these things are fair, and I fully agree. So far, Jimmy is making sense.

Jim-bob expands his definition of meaning, breaking it up into two sources: meaning from outside (objective meaning) and meaning from within (subjective). I am still in total agreement at this point, and my tensions are easing: maybe this article won’t be completely the fuck insane.

And then, Jimmy Jeebot spews this:

On the Christian view, it’s easy to see how human life in general, and individual human lives, would have objective meaning in all three senses defined above. Our lives would have a purpose, one defined and revealed by our Creator. One of the best summary statements ever formulated comes from the Westminster Shorter Catechism: “Man’s chief end [i.e., our highest purpose] is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.” Moreover, our lives would have significance as part of God’s wise and sovereign plan for his creation. And as creatures made in the image of God, designed to commune with God and with one another, our lives would have tremendous value.

What the actual fuck.

What the actual fuck.

I’m just going to go ahead and be brutally honest with you, I have no idea what the fuck this means. Our lives have value because we look like an old fucker we’ve never even seen? Our lives have value because we think we can talk to him? Our purpose is defined by the creator and yet he never tells us what it is? Sounds more like a test than a purpose… and doesn’t that absolve us of any responsibility for finding our own purpose? We are a significant part of his plan?


Let’s cover a few facts, ones that have been proven using the scientific method:

  1. The Earth is 4.5 billion years old.
  2. It is located in The Milky Way which is in the Local Galactic Group.
  3. The Local Galactic Group contains more than 54 galaxies like our own.
  4. Beyond our galactic group, is the observable universe, strewn with other galaxy groups, and reaching beyond 46 billion light years.
  5. Beyond the observable universe is the universe, potentially infinite.
  6. In comparison to all that is, I am but a microscopic speck.

And you want to tell me I’m part of the plan set in motion by some fucker who made all this? That’s like my kid having a plan for every piece of dust that settles in the lego castle he just built.

Jimmy genius thinks he has this shit in the bag, because he continues with his drivel by asking where an atheist could possibly get objective meaning from. Then, to prove his point, he brings up evolution and how evolution could not be the source of objective meaning. He quotes famous atheists as saying the universe is inherently purposeless  to really nail that shit home like christ to a cross.

Is evolution really the only option we need to talk about? I think there is purpose bestowed upon us through the process of evolution, and that is to do our part to help our species survive. This isn’t a conscious life choice, however, it is being done for us in the genes we carry around and pass on. But aside from that, objective meaning is meaning that comes from outside of one’s self. So it can come from anything that is outside of one’s self.

Prose Before Hoes

Prose Before Hoes

In my worldview, objective meaning for a person’s life is his legacy. Can you actually tell me that without god, Hippocrates’ life would have had no objective meaning? What about Michelangelo? Shakespeare? Carl Jung? Beethoven?

Of course they have objective meaning – they are long dead and we are still talking about them today. How much more objective does shit get? How much more meaningful can a life be? These people, and many more, have changed the landscape of human thought and culture. They’ve altered educational curriculums and added to our understanding of ourselves. They’ve instilled deep feelings of passion and creativity in generation after generation. They’ve saved lives and they continue to do all of these things, and as long as our current written record exists, they will continue to do so.

On top of this, to an atheist, there may not even be a reason to find an objective meaning for our lives. Why do we need some outside force to validate us? But should we desire that, an atheist can certainly find objective meaning on a vast scale like the men mentioned above, by making incredible contributions to the human collective knowledge and culture. We can also find meaning on a much smaller scale, leaving behind a family, or colleagues and friends who will carry on our work, our love, our teachings.

The other way to look at objective meaning, is the meaning of life as a whole. Why do we exist at all? What is the meaning of this? In answering these questions, I will concede, life has no meaning. The Universe went on for billions of years before us and it will for billions of years after. I’m okay with that. Why does there need to be meaning for why we are here, collectively?

So now, Jimmy Jeebot tries desperately to tackle subjective meaning. An atheist usually believes that subjective meaning chosen by oneself, for oneself, he insists.

Well, of course an atheist believes that – it is the very definition of subjective.

Mr. Anderson takes issue with this though, because, as he says,

If the meaning of life is subjectively determined, then anything could become the meaning of life depending on one’s personal preferences and predilections. Sitting around all day eating donuts and playing video games could just as well be the meaning of life as finding cures for illnesses. A suicidal person would be entitled to make the meaning of life the destruction of his life. Worse still, a homicidal person would be entitled to make the meaning of life the destruction of other lives.

Of course, subjective meaning means we determine it ourselves. That is, as mentioned previously, the goddamned (no holy) definition of the fucking word. It does mean that anyone can say that anything is the meaning of life. That is the nature of subjectivity! Jesus Christ on a bumper sticker. Just because you don’t like the meaning someone else has chosen for their own lives, doesn’t mean it’s not subjective meaning. And just because someone asserts that something is the meaning of their life, it doesn’t mean that we must allow them to follow through with their meaning (homicidal, suicidal).

Moreover, if we go back to evolution for a moment, perhaps a suicidal person killing themselves is eliminating a suicidal gene from the human race and over time, no more humans will be suicidal? Is self-sacrifice not the ultimate in meaning (I’m looking at you, Jeezy)?. I mean, I personally believe suicidal tendencies come from personal trauma and hardship, but who’s to say there isn’t a way evolution can eliminate it all together eventually? It’s a cold way of looking at things, but no one said life is warm and fuzzy. We are all adult enough to know it’s anything but.

James, apparently, does not understand this:

Once we recognize that the meaning-from-within view requires us to treat Osama bin Laden’s self-ascribed purpose on an equal footing with our own, that position seems considerably less appealing.

Oh, motherfucker, no. It doesn’t put it on equal footing. All it means, is that Bin Laden considers his meaning of life to be something that is morally wrong. Just because someone asserts that something is their meaning of life, doesn’t mean we have to like it, respect it, or let it happen. All it means, once again, is that is the meaning Bin Laden has given his life. Lest we forget, he chose this meaning through god.

Another objection Jamie-cakes has to subjective meaning is :

If your life is meaningless to begin with, how could any of your choices be meaningful or meaning-creating? How could meaningful choices arise out of a meaningless life? Can you get things off the ground by simply choosing that your choices be meaningful?

How did he even type these questions out? I mean, really, was he paying attention to what he was saying? How does meaninglessness in the beginning force meaninglessness on us for eternity? It doesn’t. Especially in the case of subjective meaning. He’s just blathering nonsense now.

At this point, it appears James has decided to choose comedy as the meaning of his life because he says, “I don’t deny for a moment that your life is very meaningful. But that’s true in spite of your atheism, not because of it!”

Who ever said meaning came from my atheism? Atheism is simply, not believing in god. That really has no affect on how I live my life, my actions, outside of not going to church, not praying and not being a general dunce.

this argument against atheism is nonsensical at best and it honestly hurts my brain to have to read what these people suggest. Honestly, I sometimes think that deep down inside, these people know how fucktarded the shit they say is, but they do it anyway because they are either in denial or holy fucking antagonists.

What’s your take on meaning? Where does the meaning of life come from?

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Category: Debate, Jeebots | Tags:
  • Well, according to the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the meaning of life is 42. So maybe, inadvertently, the meaning of life comes from math. Seriously though, I think meaning comes from wherever we want it to come from (minus religion, fuck that). I think the meaning of life is to just live it and be happy as much as possible myself. We’re all gonna die one day and death sure as fuck won’t care whether we were happy or not, so you may as well enjoy it while you can. Death’s gonna take you regardless, so seek happiness while you have the chance.

    • I agree. An atheist lives for this life, a theist lives for the next.

  • I understand your frustration, but is your argument helped at all by heaping ridicule on these people? Did anyone ever change their mind on account of being insulted?

    I’m not sure myself, just asking.

    • I’m not trying to change anyone’s mind. I’m writing about my personal world view, in my own personal style, on my own personal site. As indicated in my FAQ, my writing style can be described as Doug Stanhope getting a rim job from Jack Kerouac. I like to have fun with it, and frankly if someone wants to assert that my life can’t have meaning without sparkly fart dust in the heavens, it is clear they’ve cast the first stone.

  • Instead of:

    “Man’s chief end [i.e., our highest purpose] is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever. Moreover, our lives would have significance as part of God’s wise and sovereign plan for his creation. And as creatures made in the image of God, designed to commune with God and with one another, our lives would have tremendous value.”

    I prefer:

    Man’s chief end [i.e., our highest purpose] is to exemplify humanity and to enjoy it for as long as it is deserving of glory. Moreover, our lives would have significance as part of Humanity’s continuing existence. And as creatures made in the image of our progenitors designed to commune others and do unto them as we would be done by, our lives would have tremendous value.

    • I, too, prefer that. I also like what Carl said, that we are a way for the Universe to know itself. That’s a pretty amazing purpose.

  • Dawndee Nicole

    In the beginning (hahaha), I think god said to Adam, “name all the animals”. Check. Then he said “go forth and fill the earth.” Check. Now what? According to this person glorify god. Our purpose, and to bring meaning to life is to glorify god. What the fuck. I swear these people never think about the crap that flows from their numb brains and out their mouth. This myth tells us that god creates us to worship him and him alone. Satan came along and said of course man will worship you, you give him everything. So hence, the pissing match started. So this all knowing god didn’t see THAT coming. This all powerful god fell into the trap of peer pressure. So, in essence, to give my life meaning, I am supposed to worship this invisible egotistical, jealous, manipulative, homicidal bully? No wonder the Christians think they are the best, the chosen and get so angry when someone doesn’t believe this kind of shit. They were created in gods image and certainly follow his traits. I guess they mean how can my life have meaning without god is denying my true self. I think I have meaning in that I have broken the religious “gene” in my family and have helped free people to find their own purpose rather then a regurgitated 6,000 year old myth that has been handed to us.

    • Well said. One of my biggest problems with religious babbling is that it literally does not have a meaning. Glorify god? What does that look like? Do I want to know?

  • John Dodds

    Hi.I’ve been reading almost everything you’ve written. Loved it all. Seldom reply to anything on the ‘net. Just thought that I’d bring up: “I don’t deny for a moment that your life is very meaningful. But that’s true in spite of your religion, not because of it!”

  • Twoolf

    Just one minor correction. 4.6 billion, not 46.

  • Enjoyed this post. Thanks.

  • Jerry SEXTON

    Well done. My question for believers that are concerned about life having meaning…. “Why do you think life has to have meaning?” Animals live their lives with desire to live and be happy, but there is no contemplation about the meaning of life. In my opinion, meaning of life is an illusion that the ego has manufactured to make sense of something that just “is”.

  • Tony

    I tend to see philosophical questions of meaning as, well, pretty meaningless. It’s just something for intellectuals to sit around doing to stroke their own egos.

    Does life have any meaning? I would say “no” in a universal sense. If humanity cannot find a way to escape Earth, then the entirety of our existence will have come & gone without any real impact on the universe. The most we’ll have is a few satellites or probes that we sent hurtling away from here many years ago (ie Voyager).

    Does an individual life have any meaning? To itself, probably. To others around it, probably. But whether or not any meaning exists, it doesn’t say or prove anything about spirituality or religion. It just means that co-existing organisms decided to relate to each other in some way. More advanced life forms create societies with rule of law. Less advance life forms simply live by their instinct (which is likely ruled by evolutionary motives). “Meaning” doesn’t really matter to 99% of the living organisms on Earth.

    My “meaning of life”? Bacon. Sex. Getting wet (ocean, lake, river, rain, shower, pool, jacuzzi). Laughter. Kissing. Beauty. Music. Smiles. Love. Legos. 🙂

  • Keri Masse

    Funny how so many christian sects have to “CHOOSE” to let god into their hearts and make him their “purpose” in life. Wtf was your “purpose” before that? Is god now so much apart of your purpose that it’s no longer necessary to care for your children and home, go to work, pay bills, attend family gatherings, take a vacation, see a movie, watch a sporting event, visit a sick relative/friend, comfort a grieving friend/relative, see a Dr. when your sick, hear a concert, I mean the fucking list goes on and on!

    My point is this, if our only purpose in life, the only reason we were put here, were to praise the creator that put us here, even the sects that “choose” to follow god are not doing it. They should be on there knees until sickness and starvation takes them to the awful, boring, mundane place they call heaven. Our most primal purpose is to survive and reproduce. We have to eat, give ourselves shelter from the elements, and care for our children. If our only purpose is to praise and thank god then why even do these most basic things? Shouldn’t god have allowed us to never hunger or tire, or age and expire?

    This blogger is so fallacious in his reasoning he doesn’t even realize he himself doesn’t follow his own logic. I’ll bet even his ridiculous blog gives him purpose, he just doesn’t understand that it’s self given not god given!

    As for me I don’t think there is any sort of “purpose” or “meaning” to my existence. But I appreciate that because there isn’t I’m free to do what I want to fill my time on Earth, however short a time it may be. I have loved my husband and children so much I will never doubt that they loved me back. I know when I’m gone my children will love how I taught them to. I take comfort and pride in my childrens interests, manners, and personalities. I help my struggling community in many ways, support those in power who I know are trying to make this world a better place and last a little longer, I feel comfort and stress free in my gardens that I work so hard on and my painting that adds beauty to the world I hope.

    Rant over, hopefully I’ve made some sense here. Sorry for the longevity of my comment! ~Peace

    • Haha, yes, I agree. It doesn’t make any sense at all.