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“If God isn’t real, what's the point of living at all when one day you’re just going to die?”


Because of the wording, I assume you are referring to the Abrahamic version of a god and the flavor is most likely Christian, although it could be stretched to include the Islamic flavor.

As an atheist/evidentilist/rationalist, I put no credence in supernatural things of any stripe. I am as aware of my mortality as anyone and I am creeping up on that final day now. Hopefully it will be later than sooner, but we never know, do we?

You asked, “…what’s the point of living…”, and I am somewhat surprised that you don’t seem to know what the point of living is. There is only one point to living and that is to reproduce to perpetuate the species, everything else is survival.

The difference between us and many of the 'lower' animals is that we can contemplate the future, reminisce the past, and count our days, knowing that the clock is ticking down. There are several other animals on this planet that I suspect are able to do the same in varying degrees, so we may not be all that unique.

Sometime in our ancient past, one of our more clever members figured out a way to explain everything by applying agency to things like wind, rain, fire, lightning, thunder, birth, sickness, and death. The first gods were born. We’ve been living with these notions so long that they have become ingrained into our psyche. It is indeed a sad thing that those clever folks back then didn’t realize what damage they would do to our species.

It wasn’t much of a leap from the first gods to inventing souls, heavens, hells, and holy reward systems in an … afterlife. Fear of the end was not eliminated, but it was alleviated to some extent. All one had to do was believe in this or that, obey a usually convoluted set of rules, use certain jargon/handshake/moves, pay their dues, and WHAM!, they were off to collect their rewards and live forever and ever in a land of no pain, strife, need, and whatever else our clever members could create to entice new members to pay their dues. It is interesting that most of this has a decidedly masculine content. One must wonder why that is.

At any rate, most of the various reasons/meanings for life that are expounded by members of our species are human inventions because we have creative minds and far too much time on our hands. Morals and ethics are not the property of the myriad religions we have infesting our world. They have come to us through experience over deep time and have become a part of us. Good and evil are not an invention of any god or gods, but the result of hundreds of thousands of years and the fact that we are a social animal which makes things like that important to the survival of the species. Remember: You are born. You mature. You propagate. You assure your offspring get to maturity. You die. In order to accomplish all of that — except the last — you must survive. All the mental constructs we have conjured do not change the order or the meaning of life one iota. This is the only way your question can be answered realistically. The constructs we use to give meaning to our lives are as numerous as there are people on this planet. Each answer is personally tailored for the person who gives it. It is part of the beauty of being alive — deciding what to do with it and how to value it. How to make the best of it and do no harm in the process.

Oh, and 42.

evidentialist 8 Apr 30

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If life has no meaning without afterlife, why don't you cut corners, commit suicide today and go straight to the real thing, heaven!


I get pleasure out of making change in the world and as that change occurs the more pleasure I have and my quality of life improves. We're alive now. We don't know what's around after death. Might as well make the best out of our situations.


"If there's no great glorious end to all this, if nothing we do matters.... then all that matters is what we do."

 Joss Whedon, *Angel*

Always LOVED the writing on that one no matter how over the top it got.


If this life is just a waiting room for the afterlife, why don't you jump the queue and kill yourself?

I was told at age 10 that if you did that God would not approve and He would immediately cast you into Hell. And yes, my instructor was a Liar for Christ!

@SeaGreenEyez . . . just an fyi :



@SeaGreenEyez Welcome to the hypocrisy machine that is organised Christianity.


why does there have to be a point? just so Humanity has an excuse to exist? if you need a point, try to do something you like, but realize it's a self-imposed purpose. I don't see any point at all. except perhaps the consumption and appreciation of Pancakes.

My response to the question is just that, though not quite so frank. Oh, except I left out the pancakes and bacon. You left out the bacon. 😛

@evidentialist i did. foul.


"Life" is a temporary chemical process that has been gaining in complexity over time. However, it will eventually die out.

It really is an anomaly working out it's entropy

@AndrewBelcher -- I don't know about the anomaly, but entropy is definitely cool.


I've always felt this underlies the very idea of the question.


There is absolutely no 'point' in living.
Just relax & enjoy it while it's here !

You say it much more succinctly than I.


I do three things. I work hard, help people, and have fun. In no particular order.

Now, I get it that cult leaders, like the one from whom the original quote came, don't like that very much. I neither help prop up their Ponzi schemes nor give them any sort of opening to exploit. No money, no resources, no impressionable little minds.

But that is not my jungle, and those are not my primates


But day you are going to die with or without a silly belief in a gawd!


I prefer knowing that I am just the result of random events rather than the intended creation of some needy god who, despite its perfection, created tiny imperfect beings to worship it--or else!

I don't mind so much the god of deism, that doesn't know or care about what it creates; but I have no reason to think that even that kind of god, or any other kind of god, exists.

Although I absolutely think there is other life in the universe, life in the universe is rare. And, I would say life that can contemplate its own existence and create meaning for itself is even more rare. This in itself is a reason to appreciate the simple fact that we are here, that we exist, if even for only a wisp of a moment when compared to infinity.


Well, that was one hell of a deep thought. Got to give it to us in smaller bytes though. And by the way ... Achoo! God Bless you.

Right. I forgot we live in the 30 second soundbite today.


The opening is religious bullshit. A person needs to realize that they are not alive "looking for their god" and if they could not find him or have him being alive meant nothing. This sounds like a kid throwing a fit for an ice cream cone. A person makes their own purpose in life by doing and following what they want to do.

@DenoPenno -- Well, yeah, it does. The question, which apparently is all you read, was one posed on Quora. What comes after is my answer to the OP that says essentially what you did, only with less frankness.


Didn't read because way too long, but the opening sounds like religious bullshit to me as it reeks of stupidity coupled with egocentrism and a total lack of scientific knowledge.

I like the way that you have put it.

@Mofo1953 -- Well, sorry you have a short attention span. The question was posed on Quora and the too long part that follows is my response to the OP. Yes, the question is religious bullshit that reeks of stupidity coupled with egocentrism and a total lack of scientific knowledge.

@evidentialist i do have a very short attention span. I try to keep my rebukes to bullshit short and sweet, direct and to the point. Somehow, being brief, as Shakespeare said, is the soul of wit.


"Good God! And exactly to which God do you refer?" (Slaps the imbecile about the face with a wet fish.)

In the eighties, am atheist was crossing from Ireland proper into Northern Ireland. As he reached the checkpoint for entry into Belfast, the guard began his customary screening, concluding with standard "religious preference?" to which he speedily and confidently replied "atheist", which elicited an even quicker and authoritative "Protestant or Catholic atheist?!"
I've always loved that one cause there's a ring of Truth to how our early religious instruction informs each of our skepticisms subjectively.

@anglophone This is the only proper reply to your comment.


@Paul4747 classic. Now go away before I taunt you a second time.

@Paul4747 Yes, that is exactly what I had in mind! 🙂


Very good food for thought and, while agree with what you said, I cannot totally agree with your reason for living. I personally have not fulfilled my "obligation" to perpetuate the species. If that is true, it unfairly leaves out all those who are not physically, or psychologically, able to do that. I don't think in the history of mankind anyone has really come up with a better reason, but it's not good enough for me. It presupposes that it is of some consequence that our species remain on Earth. Perhaps a better reason would be, for the sake of playing "devil's advocate", that we are here to change the face of the planet for however many millions of years until, when we have succeeded in destroying it for ourselves, if not for other species, Earth will be free to begin a new cleansing and regeneration. Do we really have to have a reason?

@fishline79 -- You missed the point, my friend. The only purpose that relates to the mechanics of evolution is propagation -- perpetuating the species.

Any other reason or meaning is a part of the human mind. If one needs reason or meaning in their life, it is up to that person to invent meaning or purpose that is satisfying to the self. This is something far more elegant than basic mechanics.

@evidentialist Whatever you say, or don't say.

@fishline79 -- Both.


Nature (the physical laws) has given us a wonderful gift of life. So, do we throw it away because it isn't gift wrapped?

I go through this all of the time with my religious friends, God bless 'em. I keep trying to tell them that we are carbon based life forms just like every other form of life on Earth , and that when we die, we go back to the earth to return our materials which will be used to create more life forms, be they plant or animal. We don''t go to heaven or hell which don't exist but are man-made to give people a sense of security and hope. I'm not afraid of death, but I don't look forward to dying as that may be painful and take a while. Just let me go back where I came from. That's the last part of my time here. Tell people how you feel about them now instead of waiting to see them again in Heaven. Just how would that work, anyway?? How many gazillions of people are in heaven by now?? This is my first posting and I could go on and on as I don't really have anybody to talk to honestly here at this time. Kinda lonely, actually, so I hope I was more effective when teaching for 35 years. I've always felt that teaching was why I was put on this planet. I'm 75 and it has been an interesting trip thus far. How about you?

@Madge We're on the same page. To my mind, the worst damage these idiotic religions have done is to divorce humans from the natural world.


Too too many are so hung up on spirituality and the nothingness of the end of their lives that the reality we live in takes second stage to realization that we are just animals that think, talk, over build, and then destroy everything in our way!!!

We have no meaning, just like all life on this planet always comes to and end!!!


mostly 42 imo


At the beginning:

“If God isn't real, what's the point of living at all when one day you're just going to die?”

Ok... On the other hand -- If God is real, what's the point of living at all when one day you're just going to die (and very likely be sent to hell(tm) )?

How much difference does Dog's existence make? He/she/It supposedly created us and knew exactly how we would each behave.
It seems to me to be a pretty pointless question.


the purpose of life is living the purpose of a species to procreating continuing of the species there is no divine purpose! It is simple the continuing of the species.


Always with HGTG... lol



the individual reason for living may have nothing to do with reproduction even though that is the species' raison d'être . however, just because it is hard or even impossible to answer a question (the one about an individual reason for living) that doesn't mean someone's ridiculous answer must do. "i don't know, so, you know, god!" doesn't work, right? it is natural to wonder. it is also natural to make up a nice, comforting answer, regardless of reality. but 42 is indeed as close to an answer as we will ever come, and meanwhile, the existence of any gods (be they abrahamic, olympian, aztec or unimaginable to mere mortals) is sufficiently unlikely that i feel i can safely aver that not a single one exists without fearing a huge surprise from some lurking deity.


p.s. i sure wouldn't want to go to any afterlife -- heaven, for example -- unless i was in charge of the music and the menu.

@genessa -- Gads, can you imagine a lifetime of elevator style Christmas music and a diet of fish and bread?

@evidentialist yes, and that is what makes me shudder at the idea of a heaven! and think of this: all your loved ones are gathered together. but what if everyone you loved didn't love each other? heaven would be hell! i mean, i am shakey on the image of heaven anyway, having been raised jewish. heaven and hell exist in the folklore but not in judaism itself (we don't even have a devil!) also... what age is everyone? what if your idea of heaven is a return to your childhood and your dead spouse's idea is when you were young and randy? it just wouldn't work, nononono, it's ridiculous.



I likewise don't agree with the god mumbo-jumbo, but I don't believe it necessitates nihilism. I believe we are awareness and not simply part of this body. I have a great many reasons for believing this way but I'm not here to argue that.

Unless someone is using their view to push you I see no reason to not let them be so to speak. It just makes my time a big conflict in the real world and if my time is indeed short I don't need that. I'd rather live it out in a passive manner. But I haven't always been this way. I was once mad and lashing out at them too. I think it fades for many when they find their path.

Interesting. I am not a nihilist. I am not angry. I do not lash out at anyone -- well, unless it is damned well deserved and that is exceeding rare.

Quora is a question and answer forum (usually statements of opinion, as in the above), so the OP asks a question in expectation of a range of answers.


Very good great overview. I would however say that the line. "Fear of the end was not eliminated, but it was alleviated to some extent." Is perhaps less than half the story. Since you could also add. "Fear of the end was also exacerbated to a large extent." Those who pretend to control the god/supernatural, use both the stick and the carrot, the stick perhaps more so. They love to say that religion is about moderating the fear of death, because that makes them sound benign, and ignore the fact that the small natural fear of death has been vastly exacerbated by thousands of years by them, pedaling scare stories that have seeped into the fabric of our cultures.

@Fernapple -- You're right, of course. Shame on me for leaving out that nuance. I consider the folks who are looking to the afterlife/reincarnation of their being in some imaginary otherworld as being death whipped. Well stated, my friend, and sorry (and a little embarrassed) that I left it out.

@evidentialist No don't be sorry, only happy to contribute a bit.

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