What is the meaning of ‘pants’?
An online random noun generator inspired the above profundity.
Does the question demand an answer? If atheism can’t ascribe meaning to my trousers, aren’t we warranted, perhaps even required, to turn to God for the answer?
These are admittedly stupid questions. Posed by an admittedly Stupid Atheist. But is the query any LESS nonsensical when we change the noun in the question to ‘life’, ‘existence’, or even ‘everything’?
Insisting that ‘life’ demands a meaning– and worse, a third-party ordained meaning, is no less absurd. That’s not to say each of us can’t assign our own, or even that some of us can’t co-opt the meaning[s] offered to us by religion[s], but it’s certainly not required. Why?
Because the accusation that a life without an explicitly pronounced “meaning” makes it somehow “meaningless” is unsubstantiated. “Meaning” might be absurd in relation to “life” as I’ve mentioned, or if that relevance exists, it might be entirely subjective. And even IF life were meaningless, we could only conclude that meaning was absent, not missing.
That’s an important distinction, and it’s one that I’ve made when I quarrel with the definition of ‘atheism’ as being the lack of religious faith. I prefer to say “absence”, because “lack” suggests something that SHOULD be there is missing. I don’t, as I’ve often said “lack” antlers.
Nor does my life “lack” meaning, even if you, your god[s], or even I might consider it meaningless.
I don’t, for what it’s worth, consider my life meaningless even though yes, it will end, and that will be that. Good movies end too, but I still find some of them meaningful. Dinners and other occasions spent with family and friends don’t go on forever, but they still have intrinsic value: a worth and meaning unto themselves.
We don’t consult restaurant rating services to evaluate how much we enjoyed lunch with our loved ones, nor do we need to implore the ethos to impart meaning onto our lives from on high. Especially since, if it turned out the authority we were appealing to FOR the dispensation of meaning didn’t exist, our lives really WOULD be “meaningless”…