Starting a new thread to prevent hijack. This begs multiple questions: First, define purpose. Secondly, why is purpose or the belief in the existence of a god necessarily comforting? In any case, as an atheist (who if pressed will admit to being agnostic in the sense that I cannot prove the absence of a god, but identifies as an atheist because all the evidence or lack thereof points to the nonexistence of deities) I will try to answer this question. (please excuse the iPad keyboard typing, I know it sucks) First off, I don't think a human has any more purpose to their existence than a mountain. Both have a cause for their existence (plate tectonics/evolution+reproductive instinct). Both serve a role in multiple systems (affecting weather and climate, evolution, and even human history / affecting family, friends, society, human history, ecosystems,etc). But I don't think either exists for a purpose, unless you count a human as existing so that it's genes can make copies of themselves. Neither were assigned their roles or created for them -- those are simply the ways they happen to interact with the world around them. A person can give themselves purpose in another sEnse by choosing one -- be that to make the world a better place, to amass great wealth, or to broaden the horizons of science. Bt I'd say that now were just playing on the flexibility of the English language -- we're talking about purpose in the sense of a chosen goal, rather than an assigned role. (if you talked about the purpose of a piston in an engine, you're referencing the function it's supposed to accomplish, not an aim that it has.) Purpose in the assigned role sense is unnecessary, and purpose in the goal sense can come from within. As for external sources of comfort, I mostly live without any such thing -- I find strength within myself. Yes, even in the darkest times, and I've been through some pretty dark ones. I don't need some promise of ending up in a mythical happy fluffy place after i die to keep me going. Sometimes it helps, yes, to daydream about a completely different existence (or simply to focus on work and distract oneself), but I know that that daydream is not and never will be real. What I do know from experience will be real is a moment in the future when I will smile again and laugh and be glad to be alive, even if life is hard. If I wanted to, I could probably find comfort in my own insignificance on the scale of the world, let alone the universe -- certainly I occasionally find awe in it. In the scheme of things, my failures and fears and pain really don't matter one whit. There's also a degree of comfort in the notion of nothingness: when I die, my troubles will be over. I won't experience happiness after death, but any pain and anxiety will end too. That seems like a fair trade to me. And finally, one can find comfort in friends and family, in moments of pleasure -- looking back at those in memory and looking forward to new ones -- and in the moments that make you feel like you can contribute something of value to the world. None of those things require a deity or an afterlife.