The Question of Life's Purpose is Meaningless

Is life meaningless? Just a series of random occurrences, chance meetings, with no real design or purpose? At the start of his best-selling book The Purpose Driven Life, author Rick Warren quotes:

Unless you assume a God, the question of life’s purpose is meaningless.

The most interesting aspect of this quote is that while Warren quotes the Bible extensively in his book, this quote is not from the Bible. It was said by celebrated atheist Bertrand Russell.

People of faith look to God to find purpose and meaning in life, and once found use that to drive them on in their life’s pursuits. So what about people without faith? What on earth are they here for (to paraphrase the subtitle of The Purpose Driven Life)? Even the atheist understands the truth that without God, life has no design or purpose.

I find it interesting that Rick Warren, a dedicated Christian minister, has found a point of agreement with Russell, a devout atheist. Is Bertrand Russel correct, or can we have purpose without God? What do you think?


The Question of Life's Purpose is Meaningless — 7 Comments

  1. I think Russell’s quote has to do with the “questioning” of life’s purpose. I seem to think he believes that one may feel their life has a purpose without God. just that they don’t wonder about or seek it. that it’s all just a happenstance-y kind of thing.

  2. Fundamentalists believe the problem is eating from the Tree of Knowledge. Atheists believe the problem is cutting it down

  3. I beleive that man can have a purpose to live without god. And i think that Russel knew that too. What he meant was that without the assumption of god mans purpose would become self-evident. Men instinctively want to be powerful, creative, joyous and free. And without the guilty concience of sin they are aloud to live a life towards these goals unfettered and without remorse. I think that Dostoyevski’s character Ivan Karimizov said it best. “Without god anything would be permissable”.

  4. Having not read the works of Bertrand Russell I could not begin to know what exactly he meant, but given that Russell was a devout atheist you are probably right. I prefer to take on Rick Warren’s perspective though that when you believe in God then the purpose of life is fuller, richer and more meaningful. Sounds like you’ve read alot of Dostoyevski – perhaps i should pull in some quotes for the blog and the game.

  5. Ive read most of dostoyevski’s works. Ive been studying several russian authors over the last few months. Not as fluent or as easily comprehended as french or english novelist, but well worth the read. If you need any help finding some quotes to post i’d be glad to help. Just message me on here or email me @

  6. If am to ask any human to prove the existence of air (oxygen, carbon dioxide etc) the answer I presume wil be the fact that u feel it. Also If I ask someone to prove that the scent of a rose flower is good, it wil be the satisfaction they derive from the wonderful smell. But no one can ever deny the existence of air or the sweet fragrance of a rose flower, same with God and the fact that you don’t believe in Him does not mean He does not exist. Finally if there is no God explain how healing of the sick is possible by a simple prayer to God and the believe in the existence and power of God.
    Maybe the day I see an atheist heal the sick with any scientific knowledge but by a touch and the believe in the non – existence of God I wil believe that there is no God

  7. Azariah – In fact, oxygen and fragrance can be scientifically detected, measured, and thus proven. Not so with God. As for healing, the immune system and medical science are to be given the credit. Just because you don’t understand how healing (or any other so-called “miracles”) happen, is not evidence of God. And in fact, there is no evidence of God. None. “Faith” is not evidence. You have the right to believe in God. Just don’t impose your beliefs on those of us who rationally believe in science and evidence, and not the ancient writings of superstitious and pre-scientific men. Thanks.

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