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How Shall We Live Without Reward and Punishment?

Since there is no Mad Skydaddy reading our minds and tracking our desires, how shall we live?

I have met some on here who chose Nihilism, a desperate conviction that nothing matters.

Still others have chosen a life of getting stoned and playing video games (feel-good Nihilism).

Many others value helping others. This is the idea that since there is no God, it is up to us to make the world a better place.

I myself have chosen the path of the warrior, which combines the above altruism with protection, offering to defend the defenseless and weak. I recognize myself as my own moral authority.

So among those who have given thought to what living a good life means after the realization there is no god, what are your choices?

What explorations are you making? Are you monogamous, sober, an addict, a crusader, a dreamer, a thief, an anarchist?

anonymous 7 Dec 17

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René Descartes I think therefore I am. We know a lot of people refuse to accept personal responsible. Blame this person that person for the mistakes and errors life brings. So instead of looking for a solution to the problems they do as they were taught to escape into mind altering substances just as a parent or older sibling even a friend does. It stems to the monkey in a cage theory. Put a monkey in a cage hand a banana in the cage if it tries to get the banana slap its hand after doing a few times. Introduce a second monkey hang the banana the first monkey will slap the new monkey's hand when it goes for the fruit. A learned behavior, just as a substance abuse victim encounters. We have learned a punished animal will turn on it owners more often than the animal that is rewarded for good behavior. Hence humans are animals.

I think most people it is stressed caused by relationships, jobs and finances. To a lot it is every day some stay inhabited all day. Jesse Ventura had the right idea with this one make all drugs legal tax the heck out of the drugs and use the money for good. Unfortunately blame is driven by society people with money get better health care, healthier food, safer living conditions, better educations. This cause all sorts of emotional reactions in many people that do not have luxuries.


Here is the best (IMHO) definition of the moral, meaningful, and purpose-driven life:

To dream the impossible dream
To fight the unbeatable foe
To bear with unbearable sorrow
To run where the brave dare not go
To right the unrightable wrong
To love pure and chaste from afar
To try when your arms are too weary
To reach the unreachable star

This is my quest
To follow that star
No matter how hopeless
No matter how far

To fight for the right
Without question or pause
To be willing to march into Hell
For a heavenly cause

And I know if I'll only be true
To this glorious quest
That my heart will lie peaceful and calm
When I'm laid to my rest

And the world will be better for this
That one man, scorned and covered with scars
Still strove with his last ounce of courage
To reach the unreachable star

...from Don Quixote, Man of la Mancha. One of my favorite songs. The lyrics have been an idealized goal for me; not that I will ever attain them, but it still is something worthy to at least aim for.


We all chose our own morality, just many hide behind excuses to try and justify what they do, even to themselves. Following a religion is a choice, these days many people use their religion as an excuse to murder, I guess it has always been this way. Consider the crusades. I think those of us who take responsibility for our moral choices are the better people.


I find myself wrestling with this at the very moment. I have been on a long journey attempting to analyze who I am, who I want to be, what changes I need to make, and how to get to where I want to be. Ideally, I would want to leave my portion of the world in better shape than what I found it in, but I am still becoming who I am going to be. Eventually, I would like to find a like-minded woman to be my partner for a long term monogamous relationship. I do not use drugs or drink. I think I have always been a dreamer, perhaps too much at times.

Kevin Johnston, Thank you, but Identifying the one with true character is the real challenge, and one that i have failed several times before. At least I have those experiences to look back on. I hope I have learned enough to make the right choice next time.


There is NOTHING wrong with getting stoned and playing video games.
We are all addicts, just some addictions are more unhealthy than others.

Are you saying you don’t do things on a regular basis? Do you drink caffeinated beverages? Do eat sugary foods? Do you go on the Internet?

Addiction does not always mean negative side effects. Your attitude shows you are an addict to negativity.


Everyone has to find their own meaning in life. Since no God exists, meaning is dependent on the individual.

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