One of the strongest supports for the existence of religion is its ability to provide hope and meaning. Even I will admit that religion’s ability to provide hope and meaning is quite good. Religion provides answers to philosophical and existential questions, it provides moral support and social needs too. Many supporters of religions do rightfully ask unbelievers ‘How does your life have meaning?(although sometimes asked quite smugly). There are many ways unbelievers find hope and meaning. This blog will explain some of the ways I and other unbelievers find hope and meaning. It will be in 4 parts:
Part1: Secular Immortality
Part 2: Causes
Part 3: The Arts
Part 4: The Natural World
Part 1: Secular Immortality
Some time ago I saw a video in which senator Al Franken reveals Thomas Minnery’s deceit in his testimony before the senate. Minnery had submitted the testimony as part of an effort to fight the potential repealing of the Defence of Marriage Act. Minnery is the Vice President of Focus on the Family a strong anti-gay hate group. After watching the video I wished I could tell Minnery ‘You’re legacy will be one of hate. You will be remembered as someone who stood between people and their right to be happy. You will be remembered as a hate-monger. Mr.Minnery is this really how you want to be remembered?’ I can’t imagine anyone honestly wanting to be remembered this way.
There are only two known ways in which we can live forever: through our kids (in DNA) and in people’s memory. Atheists, humanists and other secularists take pride in knowing that by living an exemplary life now that after we die our immortal life will be a good one .
Your immortal life could live on in people’s memory for many generations through pictures, videos and word of mouth. After you die you will be there in someone’s memory doing the things they remember you for. What that is is up to you. Would you want your legacy to be one like the Thomas Minnery’s of the world will be?
In our children our immortality is both physical and non-physical. Not only do our children provide us with immortality through their memory of us but through DNA. A physical part of us can and very likely will be passed on for generations.
In conclusion, Humanists take strength from knowing that being kind, caring and all of things that often take great courage and strength will not go to waste. Through other people’s memory’s you and all of the great things about you will live forever. An exemplary life leads to the kind of immortality that not only do we know is possible, but is one worth having.