One problem people seem to have with the lack of belief in God is that it renders what we do meaningless. What purpose can our actions possibly have if they’re not part of something bigger than us? Bigger than reality? Part of a cosmic plan?

Sure there’s the whole idea that, “oooh, well it just means that what we have *now* is more important…” hedonistic approach that claims that only the present has value, (which, however valid, I will be ignoring for the purpose of this post), but I’m talking grand scheme of things, millions of years from now grand, when all traces of our actions are gone. The sun has burnt out.  Eternity.

Just work with me here, and let’s think under the concept that if there is no God, what we do is null.

Let’s give our actions some weight, then. Add God. Now we’ve got an omnipotent Judge that gets to decide what our actions are worth. Unfortunately for us, God likes to send those of us He doesn’t like down into the fiery depths of hell. It’s kind of a bummer. For those claiming that an empty universe is unjust, I’d argue that being infinitely punished for sins committed in a finite world far more unjust. Who is to say that if some horse thief from the Wild West lived a thousand more years, he might have cured all the STDs, finally allowing the world as much unprotected sex as it desired. A virtue well worth entry into heaven. But unfortunately our horse thief is mortal, and he died terribly of syphilis well before they started inventing cures for things that didn’t involve leeches. Given an eternity, who is to say what kind of people we would be? But we only have a short time, and punishing us over the course of eternity for *any*thing committed in that short amount of time is unbelievably cruel.

The other option is that everyone gets the happy ending. Everyone gets into heaven, everyone achieves nirvana, everyone gets that sweet slice of eternal bliss, no matter what. That final phrase there is what I’m driving at. The “no matter what” stipulation of a heaven entry suggests that again, what we do is meaningless. If we accept that inevitable oblivion makes what we do invalid, then we have to accept that inevitable salvation leads to the same conclusion. If the ending is always the same, no matter the path chosen, then it doesn’t matter which path we choose.

The only option I can think of where our choices have eternal weight is the concept of reincarnation without the option of nirvana. We would just be stuck in samsara (the life cycle) forever, with no hope of escape. Our actions would dictate our upcoming lives, forever and ever.  No end.

So everyone is either going to have to find some way to accept that our actions are inherently meaningless, or convert to a confused version of Buddhism.