How To Debunk The “Only Religion Gives Meaning To Life” Argument

The Argument

Without religion, there is no purpose or meaning to life—we’re just matter, energy, molecules and waves in motion. We’re just stuff. Only religion can give life meaning and purpose.

How To Debunk It

  1. Meaning and purpose are subjective feelings. There’s no such thing as objective meaning, just like there’s no such thing as objective fear, love, awkwardness, fun and discomfort. These are ideas that are perceived by the individual.
  2. Different people from different religions, and even from the same one, have come up with wildly different ideas about what the meaning and purpose of life is. These ideas have always been subject to change over time and to differences across cultures, communities, social status and economic standing. All of this just demonstrates the point above—that meaning and purpose are subjective feelings.
  3. Your claim about god or religion giving meaning and purpose to your life is perfectly in line with the two points above. They give meaning and purpose to your life, subjectively and personally. The fact that many people might share this feeling doesn’t make it any less subjective. Many people also share an admiration for their local sports team, politician, etc. Many people find meaning in capitalism, socialism, science or the Star Wars movies. But these are feelings that each individual subjectively brings to the situation. It comes from you, not from the thing you apply it to. It works exactly the same way with religion.
  4. It’s one thing to find subjective meaning in an objectively true thing like, say, the sun or the ocean or nature. But religion isn’t even an objective thing. It’s a subjective, human idea. Just consider all the thousands of religions you don’t believe in if you disagree. You’re finding subjective meaning and purpose in subjective inventions. It’s about as far as you can get from the idea of universal meaning and purpose, even if such a thing existed.
  5. If you think that there’s such a thing as objective purpose, let alone that there’s an objective purpose to life and the universe, then by this line of reasoning you must also think there’s a purpose to god. And if you think this idea is ridiculous—that you can’t think of god in such a way and that mere humans can’t know such a thing even if it were possible—then I would contend that you can just save a step by applying this to life and the universe.
  6. Life means what you want it to mean. You create your own purpose. This is all the more reason to cherish it and to take personal responsibility rather than defer this responsibility to an imaginary father figure in the sky.

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3 thoughts on “How To Debunk The “Only Religion Gives Meaning To Life” Argument

      1. I don’t believe Life either has or needs an inherant/built in reason, meaning or purpose. Life just Is. I once did as a Christian, but I’m not a Christian anymore

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