A recent poll in the United Kingdom revealed that 89%—nearly 9 in 10—of young people, aged 16 to 29, “believe that their lives have no meaning or purpose.” This saddening statistic is explained with a corresponding statistic shared in the same article—only 1% of this age group identifies as belonging to the Church of England, the largest denomination in the UK, meaning that very few young people in the UK hold to any semblance of Christianity (half of UK residents are atheists). This is being reflected in decreasing church attendance. In England, such attendance is down to less than 5%.
The study also found that 30% of these young people say they are “stuck in a rut,” and 84% don’t believe they are living “their best life.” But if there is no meaning or purpose to life, what makes you “stuck in a rut” or not stuck in a rut? What is your “best life”? In this worldview, there is no way even to define these things, apart from arbitrary feelings and opinions.
This belief that life has no meaning or purpose is the outworking of the religion of evolutionary secularism that permeates the education system and the media throughout the UK, and here in the United States. When you adopt the religion of atheism, you have to deal with the consequences—and one consequence is that ultimately there’s absolutely no meaning or purpose to life!
Now, many atheists get all emotional about this and say they have purpose here and now (i.e., being happy or making others happy). And yes, they can subjectively decide what purpose and meaning to believe they have now, but the fact is that they know they will die—everyone will! They know it, but I believe they really refuse to accept it, even though it’s inevitable. And, in their present existence, they have to borrow from the Christian worldview to even talk about purpose and meaning!
Atheists just don’t want to face the fact their worldview means, as Bill Nye said to me, “when you die, you’re done.” In other words, an atheist has to admit that when they die, that’s the end of them since everything is purely material in that worldview. So ultimately, nothing matters! More and more the younger generations, who have been indoctrinated in evolutionary naturalism (atheism), are realizing the hopelessness and purposelessness of the naturalistic worldview.
But as God’s Word teaches in Romans 1, God has made it evident to all that he exists, and so everyone is without excuse. God’s Word clearly teaches where we came from, what our problem is (sin), and what the solution is—Jesus Christ.
And the incredible inconsistency is that, from an atheistic perspective, eventually everyone dies, the whole universe dies, and no one will know they ever existed. So, why do so many of them get so emotional over fighting Christians/creationists? The fact that they get so emotional about it is because it’s a spiritual battle, and in their heart, they know they’re rebelling against God. Otherwise, they wouldn’t care! It shows their hypocrisy and utter insecurity in their ultimately meaningless and purposeless existence in the here and now that, to them, is doomed to become. . . nothing!
Where do meaning and purpose come from? It comes from our Creator! It comes from having a proper perspective on the history of the universe and humanity—one that starts with God’s Word. We’re not accidents, the result of millions of years of random, chance processes. We’re fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14) in the image of our Creator (Genesis 1:27). He has given us his Word, which clearly tells us our purpose and meaning. As Ecclesiastes puts it, “Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man” (Ecclesiastes 12:13). We’re created to bring glory to our Creator and enjoy him forever. That’s ultimate meaning and purpose.
We can only find this purpose, and the joy that comes from walking in it, when we repent and put our faith and trust in Christ alone for salvation. When this happens, we die to our old selves and our old ways of thinking and living, and we are remade to live for him (2 Corinthians 5:17)—and we find great joy in doing so (Psalm 119:162–168)! If you want true meaning and purpose in your life, turn to Christ. He alone satisfies (Matthew 13:45–46; Isaiah 61:10; 1 Peter 1:8–9).