Just some random thoughts about the old, quite honestly, boring, argument, that for every atheist, life has to be completely meaningless and if we (the atheists) were clever enough to realize this, we would die out of despair (yeah, sure)… This goes into the same direction as my previous posting „Absolute Morality„, but has some merit of its own…
Let’s, just for a moment, accept the idea that any meaning of your life can only come from some kind of divine being, which defined this meaning before creating you. While this sounds really horrible, the important point is simple:
Reality doesn’t change just because we don’t like it. So the answer to the question „Is there a divine being“ does NOT depend on the conclusion that we would draw from one answer or the other. It doesn’t matter if you prefer the idea that there is a divine being – or the other idea, that there is not, because your preferences don’t change anything.
So, if there is NO divine being, then – according to the premise above – life is absolutely meaningless, true. But that doesn’t imply that there must be a divine being, it just tells us, that it would be – as long as we accept the premise – preferable if there was one, but not that there is.
So, simply put, for a rational atheist it doesn’t matter if life would be meaningless without a god, because this doesn’t lead to the conclusion that there is a god. An atheist would have to accept that conclusion, but nothing else. What would be the alternative? Lying to yourself, convince yourself that there must be a god, just because you don’t like the implications? You can’t choose reality.
But, of course, we don’t really accept the premise at all. Yes, there is probably no absolute meaning of life, but that doesn’t mean that your life has to be meaningless. If you measure „meaning“ only by looking up to some kind of absolute judge, ok, then it will be meaningless, but atheists don’t do that. Instead they realize that you have to find your own meaning and have to accept the simple fact, that it will never be an absolute meaning, that very likely, in 10.000 years, nobody cares about you anymore (for most people, even much earlier than that). But that doesn’t imply that your life cannot have meaning – just that this meaning will not be be absolute or even a „meaning for the whole universe“. It’s a meaning for you, for the people you share your life with, for the people you influence.
So, the whole „argument“ of a missing (absolute) meaning fails on more than one level. Firstly, it simply doesn’t matter if there can be meaning without god for the question „Does god exist?“ and secondly, the fact that there probably is no absolute meaning does not imply that your life has to be meaningless.