How to respond to someone who tells you that life without god is not worth living
Life without God is meaningless, it is not worth living. This tends to be one of the main talking points I hear from religious people. It is one of the main arguments for defending a belief in God or a high deity in the first place. This is an issue certainly worth addressing, from a secular point of view.
To begin, we have to understand the framing of the issue. Life is meaningless without belief in God? Let’s understand that when they talk about not believing in God, the God they refer to is the Abrahamic god of monotheism. And, more often than not, the idea of the “meaning of life” is tied to believing in an afterlife.
This means that life is only worth living if there is an afterlife. This stems from mankind’s fear of death, and the idea of ceasing to exist. Obviously death is a scary thing, no doubt. No one, for the most part, would actively choose to die. However, does believing in an afterlife somehow give an extra layer of meaning to the life that you already have?
A core idea of fundamentalist religion is that life only has a purpose to it if an all powerful deity watches over us and commands our actions. Essentially, this life is only to be lived to prepare for the “next” life. Only the afterlife with God is the purpose of the one life you have.
When I am told that not believing in God gives no purpose to my life, it insults my intelligence to think that my life needs to have a specific meaning and that it can only have one with divine providence. This mindset is representative of people who fear life without dictated structure.
To me, life is not necessarily something we can automatically attribute “meaning” to, in every sense. What you do with your life can create a meaning, a sense of reasonable purpose. We need not automatically assume that life needs to have meaning in order to make it worth living. We only have one life on this earth, so we need to live it fully and not wrap ourselves in anchored fundamentalism over something that may or may not be true in the first place.
This video by Richard Dawkins sums up the idea of life’s meaning with or without God. Is life without God meaningless? Is it even our place to ask such a question?