A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to dialogue with a few atheists about the meaning of life, morality, and so on. The person who brought the conversation together began the discussion by saying atheism doesn’t imply nihilism and that she was becoming rather impatient with those who imply such a thing, wagging her finger at theists, saying her life without God has been very happy—very happy, indeed. I took the opportunity to respond and say how I don’t think any theist who’s thought deeply on the matter would suggest that to be exactly the case. I said what most theists would say is that an atheist doesn’t haveto be a nihilist, but also has no good reason not to be a nihilist. She asked me to explain what I meant.

I said it starts with an understanding of what the atheist worldview implies, and that starts by being clear on the definition of atheism, which she agreed is the notion that there is no God. So, this was no mere agnosticism, no appeal to ignorance on the matter, but a claim to the end that nature is all there is—no supernatural entities, no transcendent all-powerful Polenta Loaf, no God of any kind. I was happy to have the initial clarity around this, since many of my discussions with atheists often devolve into semantic quibbles about what exactly a person means when they say they’re an atheist. But not this time. So, that was nice.

Read more at Word on Fire.