Is life meaningless if God doesn’t exist?


Philosophy of Religion blog

If God doesn’t exist, then is life meaningless?

But, what do we mean by “life”? Does that just mean my individual life? Does that mean humanity as a whole? The universe? All of the above?

The simple truth is that it doesn’t seem logically impossible (i.e. no contradiction) that meaning can exist without God existing. In fact, it seems implausible to suggest that it would be impossible for meaning to exist without God. However, for theists like Thomists, they would say that meaning is related indirectly to God because the cosmos is dependent on God, but this is quite a different point than saying it’s logically impossible that meaning exists without God. Thomists would be in agreement with my thesis that there is no contradiction in asserting the existence of meaning without God.

Still, a theist could try and argue (and probably would argue) that God is a better explanation…

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4 thoughts on “Is life meaningless if God doesn’t exist?

  1. Meaning cannot exist without consciousness, but it can exist even if there is no Divine consciousness.

    Meaning is connection between two or more things, a connection performed by a consciousness of some kind. When people talk about “the meaning of life,” they’re wondering if their lives can be connected to something beyond themselves: to God, to their children, or to their ideals, for instance. Relationship with God is one way to have meaning in life, but it is not the only way.

  2. I’m not sure most people quite mean connectedness when they speak of God’s role in meaning. I’ve found most people mean something like ‘structure’, with an implication that God-based structure just feels more secure to them.
    And for many, at the bottom of it all lies the sentiment, “I’m afraid to die”.

  3. The basic question is whether meaning comes from without or from within. From cases in which people are entered in a joint effort and the participants have different ideas as to what the effort stands for, I would say that meaning comes from within.

    Of course, socially we can channel meanings into praised and condemned streams, but that doesn’t prevent people from holding to meanings in either category of their own thinking.

    At the core of Christianity is the idea that the Christian god created us to worship Him, which makes such a god a needy and pathetic being who creates conscious entities to pump his own ego. So, the challenge I extend to all theists is “what is this meaning that your god provides for you?” I have yet to get an answer I found sensible.

  4. Neel

    If life without God was meaningless then eithists would be living lives with no direction and purpose, but of course they live life meangfully. I think one of the hardest thing about life is finding one’s purpose. A lot of people cannot make up their minds, internally, what their primary purpose for living is. Then then compels them to rely on the external for meaning and purpose of existence, thus “to serve a living God” suffices. This gives people a sense of purpose and brings comfort/consolidation to the thought of death. It is also a mechanism, i’d say, for filling in the missing peices of the great puzzle that is life. Where the mind fails to comprehend, then it is the work of an intelligent design.

    The key is to realise that people give meaning to God instead.

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