How “Ultimate Meaning” robs and enslaves the vulnerable

As a non-theist I am often asked how I can live in a world without meaning and that without a greater purpose any meaning we try to say we have is unimportant. I have more than once been sent an article written by William Lane Craig titled “The Absurdity of Life without God“. You can look it up if you would like to, but basically his argument comes down to the idea that Immortality and God are required for any “Ultimate Meaning”. Right away I have issues with the very idea of an “Ultimate Meaning” and I have come to the conclusion that the very idea of it robs us of meaning we would otherwise make ourselves and can be used to enslave the vulnerable.

Before I was a Satanist and simply an atheist I would move right to talking about how meaning is what we give to life and how we want to live it, I would barely give a thought to the idea of “Ultimate Meaning” as it seemed unimportant and devoid of actual meaning. However, while I was sitting looking at news, as I seemingly like to depress myself, I read about Trump talking at a “Hope for Prisoners” graduation ceremony. He stated they can look to god to give their lives meaning. I don’t know what it was, maybe it’s because everything that comes out of his mouth I find in the most sinister light, but I thought about this idea of god offering meaning in ones life more deeply than I have before and I feel it’s more manipulative than I have thought. This idea of meaning that comes from god is used in so many different ways, some are harmless, encouraging and others greatly manipulative.

Lets take someone who has been fired from their job and is told by friends that it happen because god had a greater purpose for them somewhere else, that doesn’t sound that bad and honestly might be uplifting. While I don’t have too much of a problem with this one, I do know some who rather than try for their goals do not go after them as they believe that if god wanted them to have it, they would.

Let’s take someone who does a job or maybe even a hobby that those in their faith do not approve of, the idea that they living a life that goes against god’s purpose for them is one hell of a guilt trip. It could be powerful enough to get them to conform to what ever norm is wanted out of them. I have seen the later used in not so many words on cousins who wanted to try and start a business based on a hobby, I can only imagine the sort of guilt about having a “meaningful life” sex workers get. This isn’t the worst that comes out of the idea that one needs to have “Ultimate Meaning”.

Lets go to the Jehovah’s Witnesses which shows the the extremes. It started with a blog post I read a while back called Why Do the Religious Rich Need to Beg for Slave Labor” by Alexandra James , this blog which you should look over, talks about how the JW church used members to get free labor saying “Jehovah will somehow provide for them down the road”, which makes sense if you believe you are serving your god in some greater purpose. This a manipulation and the leadership seem to know it, the blog talks about how “Properties are sold for a tremendous profit”. A more well known example of this Scientology which has for a long time known to do this sort of thing.

The thing is god doesn’t give meaning to anyone, but god can used to force meaning on to those who might not want that particular meaning or used as an excuse to do something that might be other wise be unacceptable.

You might wonder how I can say god doesn’t give meaning to anyone when many people cite belief in god as a source of meaning in their life. When you ask most people what they mean when they say god gives their lives meaning, they offer something like, I am here on earth to serve him, do his will, live life by his word. Trying to get beyond that much of the time can cause the person to stumble or say something they have heard before or say something on the spot. There are those who do say something like to help their fellow man or something along those lines, to those people I say give yourselves credit for that desire. For the former, this nebulous meaning feels more like a way not to think about how to give life meaning and that is fine, not everyone needs to think deeply about what they feel the meaning of their life is, but it’s at least healthy to understand you feel that way.

For those who have god’s purpose forced on to them, the hardest hit by this I find are women. Those in the quiver-full who are forced into having as many children as they can with out concern on how to raise or feed any of them are some of the most abused by this forced meaning, never mind their children . I could write blog posts till the end of time on just the harm caused to woman by “Ultimate Meaning”. I don’t even need to get into talking about those who use it an excuse for their actions as you only need to pull up a news site to see examples.

“Ultimate Meaning” isn’t more important than what ever meaning you could come up with for your own life. You could find meaning in eating a pie from every country in the world and it would be better than a so called “Ultimate Meaning”, because your eating pie does not rob or enslave those who hate pie. Without “Ultimate Meaning” we are free to find something that truly means something to us without feeling that it is unimportant. A life without “Ultimate Meaning” means whatever you find meaningful in your life is good enough and you can change that meaning at anytime without needing to prove anything to anyone.