I am currently working my way though the podcasts and I have to admit I am enjoying them quite a bit. I also have to admit that sometimes I get terribly frustrated when listening to them because there are times when it can take a whole lot of time to explain a whole lot of nothing.
The two shows I just got done listening to were part 1 an 2 of "An Atheist's meaning of life" and it prompted me to actually sign up and voice my views.
To an Atheist such as myself the meaning of life can't always be argued using "human" thought process. Emery talked about finding your place in this world and where you belong, but I don't fully agree with that.
Humans are animals just like any other animal on this planet. Sure, we have different ways of reasoning and different abilities, but when you break it down to the most basic elements we fall under the exact laws of the animal kingdom. The meaning Atheist's give to their lives is no different in some respects as Christians give to theirs. Both through processes involve projecting human emotion and reason onto basic elements of life in order to make sense of it all.
Norton loved the idea that Emery was talking about "purpose" and "destiny" but this frustrated me greatly because this terminology is misleading. The simply fact is that no human on this planet has a "destiny" past eating, sleeping, breathing, breeding, and procreation. As with animals, we have the same basic needs in life to fulfill in order to keep the species going. The problem is however is that we have a lot of down time. Our brains love to fill that "down time" with a plethora of thoughts and emotions. We have a relatively long life span on this planet, so naturally we're going to fill a lot of that time trying to come up with reasons why we're here.
I realize this is quite vague, but I am trying to not make this a novel. The point is that Christians latch onto god as the reason for living. It is a very quick, and very convenient way of giving meaning to why we are here. The "plan" is all laid out before them and so they can spend time doing other things without having to ponder why they are here. Of course many of them still struggle with "what is god's plan for me?" but this is simply due to the failure of the bible to provide anymore than vague answers.
As an Atheist however, my meaning is basically what I make it. I have no pre-determined plan. I have no destiny. I simply exist and therefore I am. My meaning can change daily depending on the situation, but in the end my "goal" is to live as long as possible, and to pass on as much of my knowledge and accomplishments as possible to that future generations of humans and animals can continue as long as they possibly can.
I think Emery was trying to get this point across if I'm not mistaken, but so much of the show focused on irrelevant personal reflection (not that I don't care, but it just doesn't give a lot of insight). Why I found it frustrating was that many Christians were probably listening and thinking, "Wow, that sounds horrible to just be floating through life without meaning!" and that is NOT an accurate reflection of the average Atheist mentality in my opinion. In fact, because Atheists believe that this is our one and only life, it makes it much more important and special to do the best we can with it. There are no second chances for Atheists.
Anyway, my personal thoughts on the show is that Emery should consider bringing more science into the show. Much of what is considered great counter arguments to Christianity is the cold hard facts of science. Why are we here is not the question, we are here because we are...the question is, what do we do with the time we're here...do we spend it kneeling before a stained glass window, begging for eternal life, or do we spend it out in the world making it the best place we possibly can for ourselves and others....simply because it's the right thing to do?