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dunkin_donutz's avatar

If God does not exist, is life still precious?

Asked by dunkin_donutz (441points) November 26th, 2009

Most people assume life is precious and so you shouldn’t kill a goldfish or a human. Where does this assumption come from? Religion? So, if God does not exist, is life still precious?

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54 Answers

mattbrowne's avatar

Of course, it’s still precious.

laureth's avatar

Life is what you make of it, whether or not God exists.

But I don’t know too many people unwilling to kill another life form, because they need to eat – whether it’s a cow or a cucumber. Perhaps we most deeply understand the preciousness of life because it is so fleeting. We need to kill to live. And that is true no matter what else you believe.

dunkin_donutz's avatar

@mattbrowne Why “of course”?

ragingloli's avatar

I say it makes life even more precious.
Without “God”, life is an exceptional and rare occurance in the universe that requires the environment to match a narrow set of parameters.

With “God”, life becomes something that can be created anywhere and anytime by this “God” whenever it goddamn pleases. Which makes it rather ordinary.

So as with diamonds:
Rare = precious , produceable at will = not so precious.

laureth's avatar

If a belief in God is the only thing that makes life precious to some people, I’d rather not live next door to them, actually. What if they have a crisis of faith?

nebule's avatar

In my finest moments, I am scared and shocked and in complete awe of the world and the life that I have… even without God, even assuming it’s all a big accident, I still think it’s all pretty amazing…

One only needs to start studying the brain and how we are able to function in this world to get an appreciation of how magical this life is…. and that’s just one part of this beautiful place…

mattbrowne's avatar

@dunkin_donutz – Because the vast majority of religious and nonreligious morality frameworks value life.

janbb's avatar

Yes I say, yes it is, yes!

dpworkin's avatar

@janbb what are you, a Joycean scholar?

AstroChuck's avatar

It is to me.

“My precious.”

Blondesjon's avatar

Would you give yours up?

Judi's avatar

@pdworkin ; What are you, going around saying “what are you” to @janbb ? ~

skfinkel's avatar

Good news! Life is very precious. Just look at the sunrise, the sunset, a fabulous piece of art, read a great book. Feel in your heart the experience of love. All precious. Even in the darkest times, these things exist and make life grand.

Harp's avatar

Belief that God brings people back to life (in spirit form, at least) has in some cases had the perverse effect of making zealots less respectful of life. During the Albigensian crusade, the town of Beziers whose population was a mix of Catholics and “heretical” Catharis, was attacked. The Abbot of Citeaux, Arnaud-Armaury, spiritual advisor to the crusade, was asked who should be killed. His answer was ”“Kill them all. God will know his
own.” As a result, an estimated 20,000 people were burned or clubbed to death, with about 200 of these being Catharis.

Darwin's avatar

I know my own life is precious to me, as is the life of anyone I care about. I make the assumption, possibly false, that life is just as precious to other living beings, god or no god. Thus, unless I am being a total meanie, I would assume all life is precious to at least one living being, thus it is relatively precious to me.

Mamradpivo's avatar

Sure. Why wouldn’t it be? It may even be more precious since there’s no afterlife.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

even more so…

antimatter's avatar

Do you love your girlfriend, boyfriend, your wife or hubby or kids, your mother, your father, your pets and your self.
If you say yes to one of those than life is precious.

sakura's avatar

If life isn’t presious then it hardley seems worth living. If you do not hold your life and that of otehrs close you may loose them

Brenna_o's avatar

Life is what you make it out to be…
If you want your life to be meaningless then to you it will be meaningless.
I believe God does exist and He thinks your life is precious (wether you believe in Him or not)
But either way i dont think that you should kill a person. Why would you even want to take a persons life from them? How would you live with the guilt??

laureth's avatar

@Brenna_o – I am willing to bet that people on both sides of armed conflicts pray to God (no matter what they call him) to take as many lives as possible, all the time. Yet, the people on the other side of the war are just as precious to God, eh?

Brenna_o's avatar

@laureth what exactly do you mean “to take as many lives as possible”??

Siren's avatar

I think life is precious. Because we only have one, it is precious to us as individuals. We also recognize death all around us, from family and friends passing on (and the pain which comes with the loss) to losing family pets, to seeing a horrible accident on a street.

Death is not grand.

laureth's avatar

@Brenna_o By “take as many lives as possible,” I mean “kill people.” You know, there are some people that believe that if they kill as many of the other team as possible, God will welcome them straight to heaven and give them X number of virgins as a door prize. Then, there are people that, instead, pray in a Church to be valiant and brave and save America from the “terrorists.” Either way, what’s going on is killing – causing the deaths of people precious to God.

LKidKyle1985's avatar

Even if you think god doesnt exsist, there is still this natural sense of morals engrained in us. Killing seems imoral to us even if we have no concept of god. So yes life is still precious.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

Yes, definitely. The assumption that life is precious doesn’t come from religion. The assumption that life is precious comes from the fact that we all value our lives. Most of us enjoy being alive, so naturally, we assume everyone else does too. No individuals want to be murdered or have their life cut short, because life is already short, so why would be do that to someone else?

richardhenry's avatar

What an excellent quote:

“The assumption that life is precious comes from the fact that we all value our lives.” – @DrasticDreamer

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@richardhenry Are you making fun of me? :P

markyy's avatar

@DrasticDreamer That, or it is a desperate cry for attention. Don’t do it Richard! We value your life! The holidays will soon be over and you’ll feel all better. For the love of God, don’t do it! ~

Pazza's avatar

Life to me is precious, if God does exist life is precious because its short compared to eternity, and one could only assume that there are things in this plane of existance that we will loose when we cross over. If God doesn’t exist then life is precious because again it is fleeting (though ultimately pointless!).

@Harp – Totalt agree, although, I thing so far, in this century atleast, the non religious killings have far outweighed the religious ones.

I’ve always had an internal battle between wether life is more or less precious without an afterlife, I know that was not the question, but religious people kill because of religious interpretation, non religious people kill because everyone elses life is irrelavant to theirs, so the question is do these two balance out?

All I really know is that in my heart as I look at all four of my beautifull children, I realise that they are the most precious things in my life, and without them my life would be empty. And as I look into their eyes and hold them I know in my heart that they are not just pointless biomechanical computers.

JLeslie's avatar

Life could be considered more precious without God or an afterlife, because this is your one shot, your chance to experience; well, to experience life, the world, emotions, physiacl pleasure, and more. The religions most obsessed with the afterlife seem to to value life less from what I have observed. Look at the extremist fundamental muslims blowing themselves up with the promise of 72 virgins.

Pazza's avatar

Thats allways confused me that…..surely the first martyr done in all the virgins, hense they’re no longer virgins, or are you telling me theres that lady garden internal surgery stuff that de-cherrypopificates girlies on the other side?????

Anyway, I wouldn’t worry about freedom fighters blowing themselves up, there plenty of western governments willing to blow you up for no particular reason, well I say no reason, but oil and global dominance can’t really be classed as ‘NO REASON’ can they?

But hey, don’t worry Barack Hussein Obama is going to save the world.

JLeslie's avatar

@Pazza I don’t mean to pick on the Muslims there, could be any religion obsessed with the afterlife and willing to die in the name of God. Certainly in the US we have seen people in cults follow leaders to their deaths.

I am an atheist and don’t think there is life after death, and I think life is precious. One of the best ways to discover it is to come close to or “brush” death, those people tend to appreciate life in a different way. Not that I recommend a near death experiene of any kind.

Pazza's avatar

Its not really ‘picking on’ on the entire Muslim comunity its more like ‘picking on’ the consept that its the greatest sacrifice to give your life to an intangible ultimately un-knowable entity when you have no real idea what that entity wants of you, whilst simutaniously wiping out a load of innocent people.

I will say this though, in my opinion, there would be a hell of a lot less suicide bombing if western and european governments left these people alone. These people are sovreins on their own land, and we have no right to interfere.

Also a lot of us innocent people have lost our innocense by being ignorant to what the people we ellected are getting up to. This is why religious extremists see us as legitimate targets. Afterall we are the ones who allow our public servants to be puppits to the global corpratocracy.

gemiwing's avatar

Let’s say you have an antique chest reportedly owned by Caesar. Inside the chest is a ruby. The chest turns out to be a fake made in China circa 1967. Does that mean that the ruby is now worthless as well? Or should the ruby be evaluated on it’s own merit?

JLeslie's avatar

@Pazza They trust God, or trust the person who is telling them to believe in God? I guess in the end the individual decides for themselves, well maybe not, it is a form of brainswashing in some ways. I remember once watching a movie where a flight was hi-jacked and one of the men hid he was Jewish somehow, I don’t remember what it was, maybe he took of a religious symbol or something. Anyway, later he is shown ashamed and saddened ans stressed about hiding or denying his religion. Like it was sin against God. A person comforts him by telling him God would want you to live.

I have said for a while that of the religions of Abraham, Muslims seem obsessed with life after death, Jews never discuss it and dwell on life on earth, and Christians seem somewhere in the middle.

You say the people are sovereign on their own land. But, what if they are killing women for just looking at another man? Not allowing them to be educated? Should we do something for those women? Is it any different then slavery? I actually am not sure of my answer, but I suffer thinking about how some of these women are treated. When it comes to Iraq, Saddam had gassed a bunch of his citizens, but that was long ago, and he and his sons still did some horrible thing, but for the most part he ran the country in a secular way and women could wear western clothes and get an education. He also would have been on our side against Iran. That war is very questionable for sure. Afghanastan is more worrysome to me in terms of womens civil liberties and health. But, as I said, not sure if it is a reason to go into a country or not. Being Jewish I am glad other countries came into WWII, but mostly I think they went in because Germany was trying to take over Europe, not to save the Jews and others being killed and enslaved.

ratboy's avatar

If everyone believes life is precious, why are thousands of people dying preventable deaths daily? Maybe nearby life is precious.

Anonymous523's avatar

Life is precious no matter if you believe in some mystical being in the clouds or not.

jeanna's avatar

Life is precious with or without “god”. People take advantage of life because it’s easy to do, because living is a lot fucking harder than dying. I can kill myself and not worry about what happens after; I wouldn’t be the one living with the consequences. We’re selfish. We’re narcissistic. We’re greedy. We mostly only consider our own lives precious, or the very few family/friends closest to us.

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

Why is God the only thing that makes life precious? Many people don’t believe in a higher power and still believe their life is important. I do. God doesn’t make my life special or precious…my family and friends do.

HippieGirlie's avatar

Life is precious as long as love exists.

ninjacolin's avatar

Everything is what it is regardless of whether or not there has ever been a God involved in it.

ninjacolin's avatar

@dunkin_donutz said: “Where does this assumption come from? Religion?”

yes. which came from the hearts of men.

mattbrowne's avatar

@JLeslie – It’s my impression that the average Muslim is not more obsessed with the afterlife than the average Christian or vice versa. The Protestants in East Germany greatly helped bringing down the Berlin Wall. If the whole life is just about waiting for an afterlife, what would be the point? There are no walls in heaven. Supposedly. Queen Rania of Jordan – a Muslim – is focused on getting kids in the Arab world a better education. If she were just waiting for an afterlife why bother? And I don’t think suicide bombers are good example for the average believer.

pinkparaluies's avatar

Whether or not God exists doesn’t change the preciousness of life. Its so fragile, every moment counts.

antimatter's avatar

All living things are precious, regardless what you believe in. You don’t need God, Buddha, Allah or any other entity that you wish to believe in to make life precious. I agree with @mattbrowne and perhaps we should rather wonder why we need to live and wait for after life. There is no proof that there is an afterlife, only a theory based on on books such as the the Bible, the Koran and other books.

mattbrowne's avatar

No, there is no proof. Only a belief – for example based on religious texts. I wouldn’t use the word theory here, because it’s a scientific term referring to an explanation of a set of empirical observations.

JLeslie's avatar

@mattbrowne I agree with you, good you clarified. I meant the more fanatic/fundamental religious Muslims. I think the average Muslim, Christian and Jew are more similar than different when it come to life and almost any subject you can pick.

mattbrowne's avatar

@JLeslie – I think so too!

richardhenry's avatar

@DrasticDreamer No honestly, I think it’s a great quote that sums up the answer to this question perfectly.

RAWRxRandy's avatar

Yes, we still live right? so let’s live to the fullest!!! All the better that no one is there that tells us what to do (god)
Im an atheist so i im free already!! XD

zookeeny's avatar

We are alive with or without a God and so we will die with or without a God. The God aspect is irrelivant to whether life is precious. The very fact that there is life and you are alive automatically makes it precious – it is something fragile you do not want to loose.

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