There’s a worldview out there that suggests that we are basically alone in this universe. And if this is true, this dramatically impacts how we answer these questions. The fancy philosophical name for the belief that life is pointless and filled with meaninglessness is “existentialism” and it asserts that our existence cannot be explained. This world isn’t going anywhere. There is no larger story that hangs together. The material universe is all there is. Life really isn’t all that worth-while; in fact, it’s absurd. If we are the result of a chance collision of atoms in an indifferent universe, what meaning is there to life then? Your body and your world is just a machine. What is there to be passionate about?
Existentialism fuels the culture of cynicism and rebellion and indifference – existential despair. We have to make the best of life now because when you die, it’s all over. You cease to exist. There is no God or afterlife. This makes the human experience a very lonely experience, especially when you see those Hubble telescope photographs that show earth suspended in the vastness of outer space and to think that there is no one holding it all together. We live to overcome the nothingness, to create our own reasons to be alive. So much pessimism and so little hope, gives way to a life of despair. We do drugs, pursue pleasure, acquire wealth in an attempt to numb the ache of a true life purpose without God. Some call this “existential angst.” There’s no real meaning to all this and we despair as we do our own thing. As atheistic existentialist Jean-Paul Sartre put it, “On a shattered and deserted stage, without script, director, prompter, or audience, the actor is free to improvise his own part.” We become our own gods and write our own story without any larger story to be concerned about or overarching purpose to live for.