Six questions to ask an atheist: Part 2

If we reject the existence of God, we are left with a crisis of meaning, so why don’t we see more atheists like Jean Paul Sartre, or Friedrich Nietzsche, or Michel Foucault? These three philosophers, who also embraced atheism, recognized that in the absence of God, there was no transcendent meaning beyond one’s own self-interests, pleasures, or tastes. The crisis of atheistic meaninglessness is depicted in Sartre’s book Nausea. Without God, there is a crisis of meaning, and these three thinkers, among others, show us a world of just stuff, thrown out into space and time, going nowhere, meaning nothing.

I don’t relate to this question at all.  I’m sure some atheists have a crisis of meaning.  I don’t.   I also don’t think this crisis of meaning is unique to atheists.  I think it’s common among religious folk too.  I don’t think it has anything to do with being religious or not.  Some of us are just more (or less) content with what is than others.  At one time, I was more concerned with the meaning of life and my life specifically.  At that time, I was pretty depressed.  Later, both the depression and the desire for meaning both disappeared, although I didn’t discover meaning.  I find that interesting.  That is not to say my life is meaningless, it’s just that I don’t feel a need to look for meaning beyond the here, now, and plans for the future.  Sometimes, I do wonder what I’ll think about my life when I’m in my old age, looking back.  I hope I will feel I led a good life, that it was satisfying, that I gave to others, but I’m not looking for meaning beyond that.

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One Response

  1. I remember feeling that i HAD to know “what comes next?” This is so not important to me anymore. I have this very moment and this is all. When people cite having a crisis of faith they often express doubt in the future and in an All Emcompassing Being. They fail to recognize that living in the present is all that any of us are guaranteed. As long as I know that I am living fully at this very moment I’m okay with what tomorrow may bring. I may not like it but I can accept that it’s never been within my control. I don’t think I need “meaning”. But then, I had a budgie named Nietzsche too.

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