Saturday, March 12, 2011

Atheism and the Void

I can almost feel comfortable with saying it now: I am an atheist. I described my belief (or lack thereof) to someone a few months ago and the response was, "Oh, so you're an atheist?"

At first, I resisted. "No," I said, "Not an atheist. An agnostic."

But the truth is, the part of my brain which was sometimes flirted with the idea of theism, of the existence of a god, has become gradually less and less powerful, until I am where I am today: as close to pure atheism as I've ever been.

And alongside the growing atheism has emerged this increasingly powerful sense of a void, of a meaninglessness in the world and in my life. Perhaps as some have told me before, I think too deeply into things, but lately I just look at my life and all my efforts to make something of myself, to enjoy life, to form strong bonds with people, and I think so what?

Perhaps it's the fact that I grew up religious that I have these expectations -- that life should mean something, that there should be a purpose that is more than a daily purpose. Or perhaps I'm just not thinking of it right: maybe there is a way to get real, meaningful purpose out of life as an atheist that I just can't see right now. (Hey long-time atheists, any advice?)

As it stands, I feel suddenly bombarded by this feeling that I'm putting in all this effort for naught. If my life ends at death, if there's no larger picture, if it's all just a giant chaotic universe, then what is the meaning of this one tiny life within it all?