One of the many objections we as Christians bring up in opposition to an atheistic worldview is that life cannot have purpose. If there exists no creator, no one that created humanity with a specific design with a specific purpose then we cannot go on to say that life has any real purpose or meaning. In the end we must simply eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die and there is nothing left after that.
Atheists object to this point saying that they can create purpose themselves. They can create purpose by creating their own goals, their own wants and achievements. But does this really amount to anything?
In the end, no. Atheists creating a purpose for themselves is like a wolf dedicating his life to vegetarianism. He could promote it within his species, perhaps even successfully, but where does it lead in the end? Is the species really any better off? Even if wolves figured out some way to survive on vegetables could we really say they were any better off? Would they be more moral then before? Perhaps, but that assumes an absolute morality that only can be routed in theism. Would wolves have created a better society for the world altogether? A basic study of ecology would prove no. Wolves as carnivores provide a balance to ecology that would be rocked if they abandoned the practice. Finally, if this one wolf died as well as the ‘movement’ it had created could we say that the world was worse off without him? The preceding questions would resound a clear no. I realize this is a slightly odd analogy.
Perhaps a better analogy could be the following. If a child decided his purpose in life was to gather every grain of sand from his sandbox into his bedroom one grain at a time by the end of his lifetime. I can hear the atheist already objecting to say that this is useless or could be done more effectively. But what can they base that upon? What makes this purpose that a child decides any more or less meaningful then anything else? To say that it has more or less meaning assumes there exists a standard by which purpose is measured as bad, better or best. A man could dedicate his life to ending racism, sexism, genocide, or anything else but what good is it? To say that the world is better for it assumes an measure of improvement and improvement can only be made if there exists a standard of best or a perfect good. If happiness is the ultimate good perhaps the child’s purpose gives him that greatest joy and you cannot say it is less than what you have purposed for yourself.
It sounds harsh but in the end it’s true. Atheists can create no real purpose or meaning for their own lives.