Quote fight: meaning in life

On Sunday, Andrew Sullivan quoted this from an essay by Jennifer Fulwiler about becoming Catholic:

If everything that we call heroism and glory, and all the significance of all great human achievements, can be reduced to some neurons firing in the human brain, then it’s all destined to be extinguished at death. And considering that the entire span of homo sapiens’ existence on earth wouldn’t even amount to a blip on the radar screen of a 5-billion-year-old universe, it seemed silly to pretend like the 60-odd-year life of some random organism on one of trillions of planets was something special.

This is a woman who was an atheist until she married a Christian and had a baby. She was always racked with worry about the meaninglessness of life, so she read some Christian books and decided their standard arguments for Christianity were good enough for her.

Then yesterday, I read this post from Matt Haughey. He has a benign brain tumor and recently lost his mom to cancer.

I feel like the tumor scare has taught me to appreciate all the people, experiences, and things in my life and I’ve done my best to live a fuller life while I can. In 2012 I’m going to be doing a lot of things I’ve always wanted to do, and they will mostly involve travel to places all over the world (planning on Hawaii, New Zealand, Belgium, Yosemite, Italy, all in the first six months). A tumor taught me that life can be brutal and short and to relish our time here.

Of all the ways to demolish Fulwiler’s arguments against atheism — and most of them are pretty lame, if you read the whole article — I think this nails it best. If you can’t handle that a lifetime is all you get and that, yes, eventually your accomplishments will be washed away by the vastness of space and time, then I think you ask for too much.

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One Comment

  1. Posted December 10, 2013 at 8:19 am | Permalink

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