[ExI] No gods, no meaning? (was: Re: Existing as stored data)

SR Ballard sen.otaku at gmail.com
Tue Apr 21 18:53:34 UTC 2020

Well, I think some people need (psychologically) to have something external which gives their lives meaning. I find myself to be that kind of person, but it’s okay.

A lot of people want to be part of something bigger than themselves. And it can be hard for people to understand that it is possible without God.

SR Ballard

> On Apr 21, 2020, at 6:52 AM, Ben Zaiboc via extropy-chat <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
> On 21/04/2020 01:01, Spike wrote:
> "I had an experience that may be relevant, a commend made by the bride of my friend from Washington who lives near Mount Peak.  She was well aware of my philosophical path.  Her comment went along these lines:
> If atheism is right, then the things we do in this life are irrelevant for they all lead to the same place in a short enough time.  Even if we think of our children and how to improve their world, that too is irrelevant for they too face the same short time in a meaningless existence with no real destiny, and so on with their children.  The notion that all of our existence is all perfectly meaningless is not acceptable.  Therefore, we assume there is a point to it all."
> I would take issue with the idea that atheism can be right or wrong. It's not asserting anything, it's just a lack of belief. It may lead     to assertions which may be right or wrong, but I don't think it can be right or wrong in itself.
> Apart from that, the statement "then the things we do in this life are irrelevant" is a bit of a stretch (actually I really object to it, see below). I remember when I was young, and my dad was keen to show me the stars, and get me to understand just how damned many of them are up there. We had a pair of powerful binoculars, and I saw a mind-boggling number of stars. And I knew that what I was seeing was just the teeniest tiniest fraction of what was actually there. That was a really humbling experience, and made me think just how utterly insignificant, tiny and fleeting everything we are and know is. The funny thing is, I didn't find this at all depressing. I found it enormously liberating, and felt kind of buoyed up by it. I really think I discovered the meaning of life at that moment (My meaning of life, I should say): "You Decide". That was a real revelation to me, and I still feel exhilarated and even uplifted by it now, decades later. Such a contrast to the dreary oppression of christianity and its bedfellows!
> That's my answer if anyone ever asks me what the meaning of life is. You Decide. It works on a couple of levels, and it reinforced my atheism which was developing around that time (I was reading a great big fancy old leather-and-brass-bound bible, which was an enormous help. I thoroughly recommend actually reading the bible (and the koran, etc.), for anyone who has a tendency to think there might be more to all this than a bunch of people making things up).
> The reason I find the 'things we do are irrelevant' remark objectionable is that it assumes that if there are gods, the things we do are not irrelevant and meaningless, but if there aren't, they are. Why should that be? Even if gods exist, they are just another kind of being. What makes our actions meaningful if they exist, but not if they don't? It sounds kind of stupid when you think about it.
> There's only one person who has the right to decide if my life, my decisions and actions and thoughts, are meaningful or not. And it's not some beardy insecure bully who lives in the sky (even if such a being really does exist). I long ago decided that if this much-touted god turns out to be real, it doesn't deserve even my respect, much less 'worship'. In fact, it needs a bloody good talking-to, at the very least.
> "Therefore, we assume there is a point to it all". What point would that be? Just think about it.
> -- 
> Ben Zaiboc
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