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Do All of Us Long to Know the Meaning of Life?

meaning of life

Listen to notable Evangelical apologists and you will think that all eight billion people on Earth “long to know the meaning of life.” This line is repeated over, and over, and over again. No one ever asks apologists what evidence they have for this claim. They assume that, because they long to know the meaning of life, everyone does.

.his may be true for many people, but not all of us. I, for one, don’t waste my time pondering the meaning of life. There’s an assumption made by apologists that searching for meaning means looking for someone bigger than us: namely God. In their Bible-addled minds, mere mortals cannot have meaning and purpose in their lives without acknowledging the existence of God. And make no mistake, when they speak of God, they are talking about the Evangelical God of the Bible.

My advanced age, poor health, and love of family lead me to focus on the present, the here and now. Sometimes, I might even think about next week or next year, but to sit around pondering life’s meaning? I simply don’t have the time or ambition to do so.

Several months ago, an Evangelical tried to goad me into a debate about the existence of God; about what happened before the Big Bang. His balloon quickly deflated when I said to him, “I don’t care.” And I don’t. I don’t criticize others who do, but, for me, I am content to live in the present.

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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    I don’t think about the meaning of life though I do often think of the coincidence of being this person in this place of all the people in all the places I could have been. If that has any meaning I’d be curious to know what it is.

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      Your comment refers to something I often reflect on. Here I am, occupying a tiny space on a planet that seems to be enormous, yet is relatively small for our solar system. Our solar system appears vast. We are just able, with massive effort and expense, to land people on the moon, which is only 250000 miles away. We have no way presently of safely reaching even relatively near planets, never mind the outliers like Neptune or Uranus. In short, it’s almost impossible to comprehend the size of our solar system. And yet the solar system is just one star system in the Milky Way galaxy, and the Milky Way contains some 400 billion such star systems! Then take it a stage further and look to the observable universe which contains an estimated 2 trillion galaxies, many of which are larger than the Milky Way!

      I scare myself thinking about it. There are more stars in the universe than there are grains of sand in the world. It’s one good reason that I don’t believe in a creator. What god in their right mind would want to create something so vast?

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        Yulya Sevelova

        On the shores of Santa Barbara one summer’s night, in 2015 I saw the Milky Way/ Silver River without a telescope, for the first time! It was awesome. At the water’s edge, street lights couldn’t interfere with starlight. Photos don’t do it justice, there’s nothing like seeing these things directly.

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      Yulya Sevelova

      The meaning of life, that’s a hard one, because of the circumstances regarding why someone is born in the first place. At least in America, if you have some stability, especially financially, and your have a family that really loves and cares for you- THAT is the meaning of life. In the earthly sense, anyway. And Happy Father’s Day,Bruce ! Good times and fantastic food !

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    Referring to the meaning’ of life is a word deliberately perpetrated so as to be unanswerable. Douglas Adams said it was 42, and that actually was the best answer ever provided. It was a stupid answer to a stupid question.

    Referring to meaning in any context other than language is…..meaningless. It’s like asking what smell is red, or what flavour is tasteless. It’s what philosophers call category error, something that people like David Tee positively revel in. Words have meaning: everything else must be referred to as purpose. Now what’s the purpose of life? To my mind it’s nothing more than striving for the wellbeing of others, but including yourself. If you think about it, every single thing we do, from work, to shopping, to travelling, is about improving our ability to enjoy our lives. Of course war and conflict generally is maybe seen as something of an exception, but even this can be explained in the sense that it strives to improve the wellbeing of one group over another, misplaced and counterproductive as it is.

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      Geofft, this site attracts some intellectual thinking.(like yours) Naturally so, since rejecting orthodoxy in favor rationality is a temerous exercise often involving abandoning the comfort of the herd. It gets cold and lonesome finding your own way but we prefer it to thoughtlessly following leaders around in circles or over a cliff.

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    I side with Epicurus, we are wired to seek pleasure and to do what we can to avoid pain. My life is not very complicated: a part-time job, a guy who has been my comfortable companion for close to 44 years, good friends, lots of books to read and the time to enjoy them. This life is full of pleasure and that’s all I need. I spent way too many years longing to find “meaning”, but finally coming to the conclusion that there is no divine person behind the scenes pulling the strings has allowed that desire to wither and fade away. I am an infinitesimal dot in this vast universe that has very little influence to do much of anything to “make a difference”, but that’s OK! A smile, a helpful attitude, a willingness to be there for those in my small circle of family and friends, that’s enough of a life of meaning for me.

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    I have never ever cared about “the meaning of life”. Even as an evangelical Christian, it bothered me that there was a meaning and purpose and that was supposedly to glorify and worship God. I thought that sounded revolting, boring, and I despised being considered a tool or instrument of a deity. Ugh.

    I am married to someone who constantly thinks about his purpose in life and gets deeply depressed if he feels he doesn’t have a purpose. I just can’t understand that because, frankly, I couldn’t care less about having a purpose.

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    Heidi in Montana

    There is absolutely nothing that drives me more insane than the assumption that “we all” want or need the same things. I love gray, rainy days and hate the sun. My favorite temperature is around 40 degrees. I am indifferent to the music of Taylor Swift. And I really could care less about the meaning of life. People have needs, desires and tastes that not only vary, sometimes they are inconceivable to others. Yet evangelicals seem to think we’re all supposed to approach life the way they do. What a dull world it would be if we were all like them! (It would also be even more ignorant, backwards and cruel than it already is, but that’s another subject.)

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