Purpose Driven Life, pg 15-16

“I do not speak for all atheists. The subtitle of this book is “How an Atheist Finds Meaning,” not “How All Atheists Find Meaning.” Each atheist is an individual, not part of a religion or creed. We do not agree with each other on all issues, nor should we. Atheism is simply the absence of theism. Atheists do not have a religious belief; we lack a belief in God or gods, and that is the only thing that unites us. (We might possess beliefs about other things, but we don’t have a belief in a god.) but I am certain that the views I express in this book are shared to a very large degree by most atheists on the planet. I have talked with thousands of them. I have read the writings of many hundreds more. To be sure, a small handful of atheists (including some well-known philosophers) are existential nihilists who think life has no meaning and ultimately ends in despair and emptiness. My religious opponents like to quote those pessimists, pretending that they speak for all of us. The cheery Schopenhauer, for example, said that the only thing better than suicide is never to have been born in the first place. I don’t share that view, and I don’t know any atheists who do. The atheists I know, virtually all of whom are happy and mentally healthy, might more properly be called anti-nihilists. We are mainly optimists who love our lives and find them to be full of meaning and purpose.”


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