The Nihilism of "Purpose"
Atheists believe in what I call a cosmic democracy, a bottom-up process of interaction, competition, cooperation, co-option, construction, and and destruction. Religious believers start with an omniscient dictator (albeit a “benevolent and merciful” one) who demands that we love Him and obey him. For some reason, the former worldview is considered “negative” by those who adhere to the latter worldview, despite the fact that the latter worldview grew out of fear and ignorance, whereas the former embraces science as the best way of knowing (and of accounting for how we know what we know). For some strange reason, the former worldview is considered “nihilistic and without purpose” by those who inexplicably need to have their own life’s purpose handed to them without learning about themselves or the world.
Well, all I can say is, if this is the meaning of life, give me nihilism any day! I am happier, more independent, and less prone to anxiety than any follower of any religion that I’ve ever met. What is the purpose of this so-called divine purpose?
It’s worth noting, too, that religious addicts like George W. Bush talk about how God gave everyone “freedom,” not democracy, and not even our Republic (something you’d think a Republican would extol). The emphasis is on seeing ourselves as having a longer leash than all of the other animals, not seeing ourselves as participating in a process. That is key, I think, to understanding what is happening in America today; whereas our democracy was inspired by direct observation of the natural world by naturalists and deists (many of whom rejected the doctrine of the resurrection of Christ), now we talk of “freedom” as a mere gift that we receive. Americans speak of their “calling,” and talk about Revelations and the Rapture as if this were a purpose that was anything but meaningless.
To me, it’s all gobbledygook. It’s pathetic. Why should I need a purpose, anyway? What can’t life be it’s own purpose?
(via Red State Rabble)