The Dallas Atheist Examiner is addressing some email questions she’s getting from believers and recently addressed nihilism, specifically the issue of atheism necessitating nihilism. I felt compelled to add something to the discussion…
Nihilism isn’t the conclusion of atheism because THERE IS NO CONCLUSION OF ATHEISM.
Atheism is the conclusion, reached by individuals after considering the claims of the existence of gods. Likewise, any other conclusions reached after that such as nihilism, humanism, Buddhism, or any other kind of ism are also reached by individuals by very individual reasons. In other words, a conclusion of atheism doesn’t necessitate any other ism; therefore, the debate over nihilism being a conclusion of atheism doesn’t make sense.
On the question of nihilism, I’m not sure which nihilism you’re referring to. The nihilism which says that there’s no inherent purpose or meaning to life and no inherent morals or value is one thing. The nihilism which is despair and pointlessness in light of the above is another. Just as atheism doesn’t necessitate nihilism, that first nihilism doesn’t necessitate the other nihilism. One can easily find the realization that there’s no inherent meaning, purpose and value as empowering, for now it is for each of us to assign meaning, purpose and value to our lives and everything in it.
Importance is subjective. It is for each of us to assign meaning, purpose and value to our lives and everything else in them. There doesn’t appear to be any inherent meaning or purpose to life or reality and although we take as true inherent value of say the air we breathe, again, that too is subjective. I mention this in order to clarify your statements, Kacey, concerning the importance of church or worshipping a god. Such activities may not be inherently important, but individuals can decide to make them important, just as I make my Sundays watching football important.