Monday, May 6, 2013

Atheism and Minecraft

Minecraft: screenshot of cliff at sunset
It's not unusual, as an atheist, to invoke questions from the religious about how life can have meaning or purpose without a god or afterlife. We have some cliche answers, but I think the religious already know.

Why? Atheists aren't the only ones who play Minecraft.

Minecraft is a sandbox game, where the activities are up to the player. Experiment with Redstone circuits, build castles, or just plain explore.

But why?

I've lost track of how many worlds I've created, worked on, and eventually lost into the void, never to exist again. Here I am, at it again.

Minecraft: Stairs to cloud city

I'm working on a floating city in the sky in survival mode, knowing full well that one day, it will be gone. All my effort and time will vanish in a puff of electrons.

So why bother? If, ultimately, my work won't amount to anything, and I won't get to enjoy the fruits of my labor for eternity, why even bother?

Minecraft: Council chamber

Theists know the answer - because of the Joy of the Journey. The end result isn't the point. It's not even the goal, oddly enough. The adventure along the way - the experiences and living, are the point. The point is to live life.

Now, the extent of this philosophy extends beyond the shallow.

Minecraft: Someone else's castle

This is someone else's castle, in progress, on the same server. We're mostly introverted, keeping to ourselves, but we do rub off on one another. We influence each other - share ideas, increasing the knowledge and quality of each others' lives as a whole.

I can only hope that in my efforts, someone else is encouraged to investigate reality, generate technologies and solutions, derive solutions and cures - that ultimately help everyone.

I have my life to live... and so do others. It adds meaning to my life to help others live theirs.

As a typical sentient being, I fear death, but every time I donate time, energy and money to help others, that fear diminishes. It's like we're being chased by ravenous zombies, and I turn to the others and say, "Go on without me! I'll hold them off", knowing full well that I've sealed my own fate - but I'm fine with that.

I'll continue on, however, in the ripples I've caused in other peoples' lives. That's the only afterlife I need.

Minecraft: Water valley

Christians already know this. I've just chosen not to throw an invisible sky wizard on top.

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