Living as an Atheist

After addressing the meaninglessness of “spirituality,” what could be better than a discussion of that which inspires?

The messages in this video represent ideas that inspire me to live—not just to be alive, but to truly live in that carpe diem sense—as an atheist. I often hear believers say, “Well, if you’re an atheist, what do you have to live for? Ultimately, it’s all futile, so why care about anything?

This is exactly backwards. You could not be more wrong in your thinking. This is all you get, so if you don’t care, you’re wasting your time.  If there is no eternal existence, then time is the most precious resource of all. If eternity exists, then nothing you do in this world matters—no matter how long you live or what you accomplish, this brief flicker of life is completely meaningless.

Think about it: eternity.

What is eternity? Time neverending. It just goes on. And on. Think about the mathematics of that. The time you spend on Earth is exactly 0% of everything you will ever experience if life continues on forever after death.

ZERO PERCENT.

In all that zero, where’s the room for living?

No, I don’t have nothing to live for as a result of being an atheist; I have everything to live for. My life is not meaningless from my nonbelief; it is only meaningful because of it.

“Reason, Observation and Experience—the Holy Trinity of Science—have taught us that happiness is the only good; that the time to be happy is now, and the way to be happy is to make others so. This is enough for us. In this belief we are content to live and die. If by any possibility the existence of a power superior to, and independent of, nature shall be demonstrated, there will then be time enough to kneel. Until then, let us stand erect.”
—Robert Green Ingersoll

Damn right, RGI. Damn right.

 
My thanks go out to TheThinkingAtheist for this video.
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Spirituality and the Politics of Language

In today’s language lesson, we’ll be looking at words—specifically the meaning of words. When most people want to find out what a word means, they turn to the dictionary. This is an excellent resource, and it should go without saying that you should turn to it any time you find a word you’re not familiar with, but the definitions you find in the dictionary don’t tell the full story. There is meaning to words beyond these entries.

There are two kinds of meanings to words: denotation and connotation. I suspect more people will have experienced the latter word far more frequently than the former, which is kind of ironic because they will have spent far more time thinking about the former than the latter. Dictionaries are lists of words with their denotational meanings. (See, they both start with d, so you can use that to help you remember the difference if necessary.) Connotation refers to the emotional impact of a word, and even when two people share a mutual denotational definition of a word (as is common when both of them own dictionaries), they may not share the same connotation. Here’s an example:

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