Without God, life has no reason to be, there is no ultimate goal?
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28-05-2011, 09:14 PM
 
RE: Without God, life has no reason to be, there is no ultimate goal?
(28-05-2011 03:24 PM)Maumin Wrote:  ... "Without God, life has no reason to be, there is no ultimate goal"

... that exact sentence has been revolving over my head so much I tend to belive there has to be a God.

How do you guys handle with the "ultimate goal of life" if there is not a God within your belief systems?

Thanks for asking. (This is my first post at this forum, by the way.) First, please understand that imagining a supernatural creator/ruler/sustainer deity doesn't really answer the question of purpose or "ultimate goal", but just pushes the issue aside. The theistic approach is really just saying "Don't worry, there really is a purpose, and there's this supreme entity that knows what it is, because He set it all up."

But try to pursue that further, and the trouble starts. If the evidence you've seen for yourself seems impossible to reconcile with any sensible sort of purpose bestowed on mankind by a deity, the theist will tell you: "Oh, but God works in mysterious ways. We mere mortals can't really know His deeper purpose..." In other words, sure there's a purpose, you just can't know what it is. (And how is that different from there being no externally imposed purpose at all? I'd say it's no different.)

And of course it gets worse: the theist who manages to convince (that is, con) others to accept what he says will pretend that he DOES know what God's purpose is, and if you ask him, he'll be happy to convince (con) you to accept it. (Hint: it includes giving your money to his church, and obeying without question his doctrine to control your actions.)

It's strange that the same theists are able to play it both ways ("The clergy know what God's purpose is" / "No one knows God's true purpose"), depending on the situation. I think that sums up theism as an answer to "the meaning of life".

As for non-theism, if you really aren't comfortable with the idea that there is no "ultimate goal", if you feel compelled to assume that all the inanimate stuff of the universe is there for some reason, maybe it'll help to consider that the emergence of life carries with it an emergence of purpose.

Personally, I'm comfortable with the following: Where there is no life, there is no purpose. Where life exists, life creates purpose. As life becomes more pervasive, more varied and more complex, so does purpose become more all-encompassing, more subtle and more profound. The emergence of consciousness in life brings with it the new notion of willful purpose: the ability to conceive a goal, even something that has never yet happened or existed, and actively work to make it happen or exist.

That's the reasoning behind the name I chose for my user account here. We have within us the purpose of our existence -- it is not imposed on us from "outside" (wherever/whatever "outside" might be).

I see no problem in concluding that life emerged from purely natural causes, and that Earth is probably not the only place in this universe where life has emerged. You can call it an accident, or call it inevitable. Either way, imagining some deliberate supernatural causation is just a waste of time that doesn't really get you anywhere in trying to understand.

One other point: If Earth were really the very first place where life began, this would mean our universe lacked purpose for about the first 10 billion years (presently about two-thirds) of its existence. Should it bother us that a universe containing no life has no purpose? Well, in the absence of life, there can be no perception about the presence or absence of purpose, so the question is pointless.
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28-05-2011, 11:21 PM
RE: Without God, life has no reason to be, there is no ultimate goal?
"Where there is no sentient life, there is no purpose. Where sentient life exists, sentient life creates purpose."

"I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason and intellect has intended us to forego their use." - Galileo

"Every man is guilty of all the good he did not do." - Voltaire
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28-05-2011, 11:37 PM
RE: Without God, life has no reason to be, there is no ultimate goal?
(28-05-2011 11:21 PM)daemonowner Wrote:  "Where there is no sentient life, there is no purpose. Where sentient life exists, sentient life creates purpose."

Where there is no sentient life there is nothing at all.

As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
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29-05-2011, 03:29 AM
RE: Without God, life has no reason to be, there is no ultimate goal?
(28-05-2011 06:51 PM)daemonowner Wrote:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PuN7pmtsZww

Good stuff. Thanks for sharing.

“Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing?
Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing?
Then why call him God?”
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29-05-2011, 04:38 AM
RE: Without God, life has no reason to be, there is no ultimate goal?
(28-05-2011 11:37 PM)GirlyMan Wrote:  
(28-05-2011 11:21 PM)daemonowner Wrote:  "Where there is no sentient life, there is no purpose. Where sentient life exists, sentient life creates purpose."

Where there is no sentient life there is nothing at all.

Nothing? So when no sentient life existed, nothing existed?

"I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason and intellect has intended us to forego their use." - Galileo

"Every man is guilty of all the good he did not do." - Voltaire
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29-05-2011, 10:29 AM
RE: Without God, life has no reason to be, there is no ultimate goal?
I cannot wrap my head around the theists' perception that there is no reason to be or to live without a god >.< I've grown up my whole life without ever believing in "God" (or any god for that matter), so I have no idea where theists are coming from here.

I love life. I enjoy my life. I want to make the most of it before I die. I want to learn; explore; teach; create; etc. I want to contribute to the collective knowledge of the species so that one day someone will learn from me. I only want immortality through the material information I leave behind after I die. I do not want to live forever after I die. I want peace and quiet Tongue

Evolution has equipped humans (and all living species) with the desire to survive and live. If we did not have this desire, we would have died out because we would not have protected ourselves (collectively) from threats. Why do scientists work so hard to try and find cures for cancer, AIDS, etc.? Because we have a desire to live, to extend life. We do not need a supernatural explanation for this. We have a natural one.

"Remember, my friend, that knowledge is stronger than memory, and we should not trust the weaker." - Dr. Van Helsing, Dracula
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29-05-2011, 01:24 PM
 
RE: Without God, life has no reason to be, there is no ultimate goal?
(28-05-2011 11:21 PM)daemonowner Wrote:  "Where there is no sentient life, there is no purpose. Where sentient life exists, sentient life creates purpose."

Yes, I see your point, and it's a good one: when we're talking about "deliberate" or "intentional" purpose, as demonstrated by sentient species, I agree. Now, how should we describe the behaviors of non-sentient species?

Should we say there's another kind of "purpose", which lacks "deliberation" or "intention"? Or should we use some term other than "purpose" to describe the impetus that pushes these life forms through their paces?

And: while I don't think there are any insurmountable problems that prevent us from coming up with a useful definition for "sentient", should we look for a solid line dividing sentient life from non-sentient life, or should we expect to find a continuum or other type of "fuzzy boundary"?

I still think it's okay to say that, once some form of life has emerged, this creates a purpose: to continue living, and to expand. Conscious awareness, which has turned out to be one of the side effects of life's expansion, is not a prerequisite for making this work. But once it has emerged, it does complicate the issue of "purpose" quite a lot.
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29-05-2011, 03:58 PM (This post was last modified: 29-05-2011 04:07 PM by GirlyMan.)
RE: Without God, life has no reason to be, there is no ultimate goal?
(29-05-2011 04:38 AM)daemonowner Wrote:  Nothing? So when no sentient life existed, nothing existed?

Yup. Nothing but probability waves until there's an observer. Now what's "sentient enough" to qualify as an observer is a different matter.

As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
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29-05-2011, 08:04 PM
RE: Without God, life has no reason to be, there is no ultimate goal?
I think life is what you make of it. I don't feel there is any higher purpose and I don't see how there needs to be. For me, life is about enjoying my friends and my family for as long as I'm lucky to be here and they to be here with me. I even enjoy every moment with my dog that I can. I am completely cognizant that I am one of the most fortunate people in the entire history of the human race. I was born in in a time of relative peace and tranquility, in a country that affords me relative freedom to do as I please, and into a situation which allowed me to become probably in the top 5% richest people on the planet. I've got pretty much nothing to complain about (and yet I manage to find something on most occasions) so I thank my good fortune and do what I can to take care of the people around me and to provide for my family and make sure my sons are good and humble people who will pass on what I taught to them, and my father taught to me, and so on and so forth. With luck I"ll know my grandchildren but within 3 generations almost no one will remember who I was or probably even that I lived. That is the way of things. We make use of the time that we have and than we make room for the next generation.

As for the idea of a special purpose or meaning provided by a deity, up until very recent history life was very, very difficult for humans. We faced plagues, wars, hunger, natural disasters, etc. The average life span was half of what it is today and the percentage of children that lived to the age of 5 was very low. If there is an all knowing, all seeing benevolent deity up there providing us with a higher purpose, he's either got a funny way of showing it or has one seriously warped sense of humor.

Shackle their minds when they're bent on the cross
When ignorance reigns, life is lost
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30-05-2011, 07:02 PM
RE: Without God, life has no reason to be, there is no ultimate goal?
I had this issue hard as a kid trying to kill herself. I attempted many daring feats in an attempt at assisted suicide to make it less painful for my mother. Unfortunately everything I tried not only failed, but I never got even a serious injury. So of course I screamed at myself why must I exist? And the answer to that question was simple, because beyond any philosophy or god. Without any superstitious mindsets or higher thinking. Life itself is a purpose. If I'm alive I need to live or I will not have a good life. It's not that simple to choose not to live so live well. That was my little 8 year old answer.

The world became less bleak after I got a bit older and learned to properly focus on others. I always put others before myself, but now generally actually can realize what a self is =p.
The most amazing thing about purpose which exists only because we desire for it to exist. (purpose is an abstract more than a constant, for instance the cells in our body are performing tasks that comprise their lives not for the sake of making up a human but because it is their life.) The great thing about greater purpose is that the meaning is best described as dreams. Your dreams of your future successes are the greater purposes of your life. Succeeding in those dreams in many cases will aid others in great ways along with allowing you to feel fulfillment.

And I definitely feel sentience is a fuzzy barrier, because everything exists and existence mean in some way thought. We can't measure everything so on many I continue to hold personal views rather than just leaving it at unknown or accepting half answers that so far "seem" right.

I'm not a non believer, I believe in the possibility of anything. I just don't let the actuality of something be determined by a 3rd party.
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