Apologetics to the Glory of God

Atheism, Subjectivism, and Meaning


An atheist visitor to the site, Jnani, wrote the following in a comment:

Meaning is subjective and since we are all subjects, there is plenty of meaning in the universe. It’s only delusional to see meaning where there is none which I would contend the Christian WV does.

I have been interacting with atheists for quite a while now. Their blindness still occasionally amazes me.

“Meaning is subjective.”

Would Jnani apply this claim to itself? Is the meaning of, “Meaning is subjective” merely subjective ? If so, then Jnani’s claim is self-referentially problematic. The meaning of the claim is itself subjective, rather than objective, and no one need accept it.

“…since we are all subjects, there is plenty of meaning in the universe.”

Actually, if meaning rests in the subject, and we are all subjects, then there is “plenty of meaning” in us. It’s not out there in the universe. Jnani implies that meaning is external. That it exists in the universe apart from subjects. But he has no reason to do so. He should not have written, “there is plenty of meaning in the universe” when what he really means is “there is plenty of meaning [in us as subjects].” The two are very different claims.

“It’s only delusional to see meaning where there is none.”

Here again Jnani acts as though meaning is some external feature of the universe out there. This is inconsistent with his earlier claim that meaning is subjective. For Jnani, meaning only exists inside the subject(s). If one follows Jnani, it is never delusional to see meaning. After all, meaning is determined by the subject.

“…which I would contend the Christian WV does.”

Except that Jnani cannot have it both ways. Meaning is either subjective or it is not. If meaning is subjective, as Jnani initially claimed, then Christians are fully entitled to their subjective opinions about meaning. Jnani has no basis upon which to “contend” that the Christian worldview (great delusion that it is) finds “meaning where there is none.” That’s impossible. To find meaning is for meaning to exist.

Jnani is a subjectivist with respect to meaning. Unfortunately for him, subjectivism is self-refuting.


One response to “Atheism, Subjectivism, and Meaning”

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