Here’s survey I’m taking to see whether a theory I have, which is mine, bears any resemblance to reality. Here are two questions I’d like readers to answer in the comments. Here we go:
If a friend asked you these questions, how would you answer them?
1.) What do you consider the purpose of your life?
2.) What do you see as the meaning of your life?
Now I know there are a lot of nonbelieving readers, so I don’t expect that many of the answers will involve “God.” I am not implying that either meaning or purpose must be conferred by some kind of deity—or even by forces of beings outside yourself. Further, you may consider the questions ambiguous or meaningless, in which case say so.
I got curious about this since yesterday Andrew Sullivan asserted that the last few centuries of human progress, showing big improvements in worldwide well being and material welfare, rob life of meaning, purpose, and spiritual sustenance. To claim that is to claim that people’s lives actually have those attributes. (You can also expatiate about what brings you “spiritual sustenance.”)
I’m trying to find out whether, in this audience, people really feel that there’s meaning and purpose in their lives, and, if they have some “spiritual sustenance,” where it comes from.
Sullivan also implied that atheists have no source of these attributes, so asking an audience comprising mainly the godless might be instructive. Please humor me and answer the questions.