Newly agnostic. What's the meaning/purpose/point of life ? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 05-14-2011, 06:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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In the past few months I've shifted from being a born again christian to an agnostic.  Well, in reality, it was more of a long gradual shift, but I wasn't exactly aware of it.  Now I constantly find myself feeling sort of lost and confused by big questions like, "well, what is the meaning of life then?"  "What is my purpose on earth?"  Christianity gave me an entire worldview and framework on which to base decisions, on what to value, and just in general "how you should be."  I don't agree with those things anymore but I still feel like I need some answers to my questions to find peace.

 

I would love to hear thoughts, possibly from agnostic or atheist viewpoints (or similar) and maybe some book or website recommendations to help me in my search.

 

Thank you.

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#2 of 10 Old 05-14-2011, 09:31 PM
 
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I have made a similar transition in the past few years, and the advice I would offer is to not put too much pressure on yourself to have answers to these questions right now.  You will find answers that satisfy you, but it will take time.  I personally found the essays in Parenting Beyond Belief to be useful both as a parent and as a person on a spiritual journey exploring non-theism.  I now identify as an atheist, but it took me a while to feel comfortable with that label.

 

 

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#3 of 10 Old 05-15-2011, 02:08 PM
 
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Originally Posted by readermaid View Post

I have made a similar transition in the past few years, and the advice I would offer is to not put too much pressure on yourself to have answers to these questions right now.  You will find answers that satisfy you, but it will take time.  I personally found the essays in Parenting Beyond Belief to be useful both as a parent and as a person on a spiritual journey exploring non-theism.  I now identify as an atheist, but it took me a while to feel comfortable with that label.

 

 

Yup yup. Don't worry about "figuring it all out" right now. Take it slow, take it easy, and have an open mind at all times. I've gone from being a Jehovah's Witness to an atheist and I feel like my beliefs and ideas are still evolving and probably will always be evolving.
 

 


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#4 of 10 Old 05-16-2011, 05:46 AM
 
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I agree with the pps in that you don't need to figure this all out today.

 

But to anywer your question... I'm an atheist, raised RC, tried a few Protestant denominations, and UU.

 

I don't think there is "a purpose" per se.  I think we are biological organisms, the result of evolution.  Now, the human race does have a greater awareness and intelligence that we can use for any number of purposes.  Personally, I think that making the world a better place for the next generation is a better and more productive goal than religion ever provided for me.

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#5 of 10 Old 05-17-2011, 05:34 AM
 
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I agree about what EFmom said about the environments care is a great cause for living. I went from mormonism to what I am mow and I am not sure. I sometimes question a God, but I have felt the strength of him/her so I still pray as it brings me peace. I guess I am not agnostic, but I am sure questioning my beliefs and I am finding that I am going through an identity crisis. I was always defined by my religion and what I was living for and now with that out of the way, I realized I actually have no idea who I am and what I am living for. I am now trying to find myself all over again like I am newly born adult. I have found it helpful to write things down in this time of exploration. So although I am not agnostic, I can kind of relate.
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#6 of 10 Old 05-17-2011, 05:49 AM
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by EFmom View Post

I agree with the pps in that you don't need to figure this all out today.

 

But to anywer your question... I'm an atheist, raised RC, tried a few Protestant denominations, and UU.

 

I don't think there is "a purpose" per se.  I think we are biological organisms, the result of evolution.  Now, the human race does have a greater awareness and intelligence that we can use for any number of purposes.  Personally, I think that making the world a better place for the next generation is a better and more productive goal than religion ever provided for me.


This is pretty much my view of our "purpose" in life. I was raised Jewish but always identified as atheist, so there was no transition for me. We are a product of evolution, but feel that as humans, we should act in good faith as the stewards of our planet and fellow humans. As for the meaning of life, I see it as a very individual question - what brings meaning to your own life and those around you? How can you contribute to that in a positive way?


 

 


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#7 of 10 Old 05-20-2011, 08:18 AM
 
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I agree with all of the above. I was raised agnostic/atheist, went towards Christianity in college, and am now back. In my opinion, the purpose of life is very individual - but generally, to make the most of the short time we have on earth while respecting all living things (all are equal, deserve their time to live and thrive, etc.). How someone interprets that may vary - working to better life for other humans, protecting the environment, raising healthy, happy, conscious children, etc. I also feel very strongly that because we have one life and no afterlife, it's important to enjoy life - laugh, play, spend time with friends and family. Live in the moment. Of course, I don't embody all of this all of the time by a long stretch - but it helps me focus my values.


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#8 of 10 Old 06-10-2011, 07:47 PM
 
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The purpose of life is to live. Corny yet simple?

 

Nothing external can tell you what your greater purpose is, you get to define it yourself. The only external definition of right and wrong is the law, and even that is worth questioning and changing. Nothing external can give you your values, you have to search for them within yourself. Something happens, what does your gut say about it? Is that visceral reaction based on biases, even ones you didn't know you had or ones that are holdovers from your time as a believer?

 

I've always been an atheist, so I don't really have the perspective of looking for something to tell me right and wrong. I strive for fairness and I take responsibility for my own actions. This has rarely ever landed me in a moral crisis.


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#9 of 10 Old 06-10-2011, 08:26 PM
 
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For me..

to love and be loved

to have a book in my hand and a song in my heart

to help my fellow humans whenever possible

to help planet Earth whenever possible

to seek new experiences, to grow in thoughts and deeds and to live well
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#10 of 10 Old 06-16-2011, 12:10 PM
 
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I was raised RC with a dose of WELS, started self-identifying as agnostic at age 14 (triggered, I think, by the conflict between the RC and WELS believers in my life), and only became comfortable identifying as atheist in my 30's. I agree with what everyone here has said, especially that you can't go wrong with striving to be respectful, enjoying your life, and working to make your corner of the world a little better, however you define that. For me, there are a couple community groups and political causes that are near-and-dear to my heart, and which I spend any free time I have on - but I think you'd need to answer for yourself what mark you want to leave on your world, you know?

 

ETA: I recently listened to a story on NPR about "dark green religion". The guest was Bron Taylor, who has recently written a book on the subject. It was thought provoking, and fit with what some of the others have mentioned about finding wonder and amazement in nature, and meaning in the quest to take better care of the earth. You might find it interesting.

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