[Ultimate meaning here! Believe in my religion and your lives will have divine purpose! Divine purpose, I say!]
This series was inadvertent on my part, at least initially, but I think the results were good.
- In "Materialism and All There Is," I seek to understand why the notion of materialism draws opponents into convulsions. I also look at one of the common ID arguments about materialism: that if it's true, then our minds cannot be relied upon to know truth. This is supposed to be a winning argument for the IDers, who of course wouldn't go after materialism using evidence and empirical data. I talk about why their argument fails.
- "What Gives Meaning to Human Life?" begins my specific engagement with materialism and ultimate meaning. In this post, I try simply to define the key issues and the problems to be solved.
- In "What's Better Than Ultimate Meaning?" I connect the dots from materialism to the question of gods and the natural origins of humanity. I also bring in ideas of happiness and significance because the question of ultimate meaning is also a question of what to do when personal happiness conflicts with a sense of universal purpose.
- "Is a Meaningless Life Worth Living?" discusses the sad story of Mitchell Heisman, an apparently brilliant man and a nihilist who committed suicide.
- I wrote "Understanding Ultimate Meaning" to focus specifically on the meaning of meaning. My thesis is that ultimate meaning refers to God's purposes for individuals in the context of his plans for humanity as such. People who worry about a lack of ultimate meaning are concerned that their lives are not part of a grand mission in the universe for all humanity.
- In "Ultimate Meaning Is Not the End of the Story," I talked about why some might find materialism and its implications undesirable. Such people reject the idea that human lives really matter if they are not the special products of a divine being.
- Finally, "Life Has No Need of Ultimate Meaning" strips importance from the idealistic and ethereal concept of ultimate meaning. It's just not a good or useful idea. I assert that "we don’t need the existence or the supervision of any gods for our lives to have meaning, purpose, value, and worth."
- Update: See "Information Doesn't Get You God; The Bible Doesn't Get You Science" for a significant challenge to materialism. However, as I had written before, there is no necessary connection between Atheism and materialism:
Nevertheless, there's no necessary connection between either Atheism and materialism or Atheism and knowledge (i.e., epistemology). One can reject a god (any god) and not be a materialist. Similarly, whether one admits the possibility of deities is separate and distinct from how that person learns and knows with her/his mind. The human brain works, biologically and neurologically, regardless of any deity's state of being.Thus, although anti-Atheists like to conflate atheism and materialism, it just ain't so.