Nobody denies that there are some people who don’t find life to be meaningful and/or purposeful. But if God exists, why is this the case? Wouldn’t God be concerned with us wanting to find purpose and meaning? Wouldn’t God want us to think that there really is purpose and meaning? (1)(2)
On classical theism, meaning and purpose start with God.
Apart from the question of ‘objective’ meaning and purpose, we’d still expect the perfect love of God to help people find purpose and meaning. Just like a parent, God would want what is best for God’s creatures. But, what we find in the world is people who feel like they don’t belong or don’t see any objective or subjective purpose/meaning to life.
However, the problem is not just limited to human animals. The problem also extends to non-human animals. There are many animals that find life not worth continuing, and (one way) we know this is because animals, like humans, can commit suicide. The issue, on theism, is not whether animals will have a richer life in a possible afterlife (i.e. a reward is not the same as a justification). Rather, the issue is why God would have animals in this situation at all.
O1: Many humans find life to be meaningless and purposeless
O2: Many humans find life not worth living and continuing
O3: Many animals find life not worth continuing
Formal Statement of the Argument
1. It is a known fact that many people find their life and journey to be meaningless, purposeless, and many humans/animals find life not worth living/continuing
2. (1) is very surprising on the hypothesis of classical theism, but not surprising on the hypothesis of indifference
3. The intrinsic probability of indifference is much greater than that of classical theism
4. Therefore, other evidence held equal, classical theism is very probably false
It is important to notice that premise one isn’t so much concerned with objective values. In other words, perhaps every life really does have intrinsic value and purpose. Nevertheless, some people don’t see this.
It might be tempting for some to try and reduce this argument to being just an instance of the argument from evil. But however tempting this may be, one should resist this temptation. That’s because there are (quite obviously) possible worlds where people don’t experience suffering but don’t find life meaningful or purposeful, etc. In addition, there are worlds where some people suffer a lot but still find life meaningful and purposeful.