The Purposelessness of Atheism

Steven J. Gould, the late evolutionary biologist and paleontologist, of Harvard University said that humanity has no purposeful origin and thus there is no objective purpose to our existence.

He wrote: “We are here because one odd group of fishes had a peculiar fin anatomy that could transform into legs for terrestrial creatures; because comets struck the earth and wiped out dinosaurs, thereby giving mammals a chance not otherwise available (so thank your lucky stars in a literal sense); because the earth never froze entirely during an ice age; because a small tenuous species, arising in Africa a quarter of a million years ago, has managed, so far, to survive by hook or by crook. We may yearn for a ‘higher answer’—but none exists”.

If there is no God who created us, then Gould is right. Life has no meaning or purpose. We call this naturalism or secular humanism.

Woody Allen sums up his view of life in his film Annie Hall with these words: “Life is divided into the horrible and the miserable”.

Artists Paul Gauguin wrote on his last painting shortly before he tried to commit suicide: “Whence come we? What are we? Wither do we go? The answers are nowhere, nothing, and nowhere”.

In 1965 John Lennon wrote the song Nowhere Man. Here’s part of the song:


He’s a real nowhere man

Sitting in his nowhere land

Making all his nowhere plans for nobody


Doesn’t have a point of view

Knows not where he’s going to

Isn’t he a bit like you and me?


Sadly he is like many people but not us who are believers. People yearn for purpose for their lives.

The Atheist Association in London several years ago placed prominent signs on buses which read: “There is probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life”. How can you enjoy life with no purpose that comes from God? Naturalists yearn for intrinsic value  and purpose for their life.

The psalmist said in Psalm 139:13, 14: “For you formed my inward parts; you covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well”. The psalmist is telling us that because of God we are precious and that God created us for His glory. Ecclesiastes 3:11 states: “God put eternity in the hearts of men”. As Augustine said our hearts are restless until we find rest in Thee.

Michael Horton in his book The Christian Faith says:

“Who am I? I am one who exists as a result of being spoken by God. Furthermore, I am one of God’s covenant children whom He delivered out of Egypt, sin and death…Because human beings are by nature created in covenant with God, self identity itself depends on one’s relation to God. It is not because I think, feel, experience, express, observe, or will, but because in the totality of my existence I hear God’s command and promise that I recognize that I am, with my fellow image bearers, a real self who stands in relation to God and the rest of creation.

No one can escape the reality of God in his or her experience, because there is no human existence that is possible or actual apart from the ineradicable covenant identity that belongs to us all, whether we flee the summons or rather we reply, ‘here I am’ (Page 405, 406)”.


This is the answer to anyone who asks you who are you?