- Life can be meaningful, even if it is temporary. We can find meaning in the here and now.
- Life can be meaningful, even if it does not form part of some higher purpose or greater scheme.
Richard Carrier, in Sense and Goodness Without God, also discusses how an unbeliever can find meaning in life. He argues the above points on page 161, and then writes:
Nor do we need to be some superbeing’s creation for our lives to have value. After all, believers seem comfortable with the fact that God was not created, yet his life has value. Just as theists understand God’s love as giving God himself and the universe value, so naturalists understand our love as giving ourselves and the universe value. Even if I were the accidental by-product of a giant rubber tire machine, my life would not be meaningless. It would be meaningful to the precise extent that I endeavored to make it so, to imbue my own life with meaning and purpose, to make it valuable, to myself and to others. But if I did nothing to make my life meaningful, even being created in some god’s image would add no meaning to my life. I would be nothing but a pawn or lab rat, a mere homunculus cooked up in some divine kitchen, if I did nothing on my own to make myself into more than that.
Richard Carrier is adding the third point to the above list: atheists create their own meaning and purpose. Meaning and purpose are elements that can be formulated from within, not necessarily from something outside of one’s self.
What do you think?