I've loved this discussion. Have been thinking a lot on these issues over the last few years. Great topic, gringojj, and I've immensley enjoyed tetrapods' posts. I agree with a lot of this, and just want to throw in my 2 cents.
Some conclusions I've drawn about my life:
There is no god. That having been said, I still found some of AuldSoul's points well taken.
I see myself totally responsible for how I live my life - and only for my own life. Other people are responsible for living theirs. We should do as little as possible to fuck up each other's life.
We create whatever sense of purpose there is in our life. I prefer to have some pretty specific ideas about the purpose I've chosen. It involves my work as a writer, and I've created a purpose for my existence because it makes my life a lot more enjoyable for me. It helps me decide how I'm going to spend my day, I accomplish things that I like doing. It adds a lot to my pleasure in life. Life has ups and downs, pleasure and pains. I use my time and intelligence to make sure that everything I can do is stacked on the ups and pleasures side of the scale.
Alcohol is my drug of choice, and I try to be careful even with that partly because I've decided to live as physically fit as possible for as long as possible. I'm very careful about what I eat, I run and hike regularly, I lift weights. Why? They make my life more pleasureable. I love the feeling of being slim, muscled and very fit. I love the energy and ability it gives me to do things I want to do. Being in a fit body adds a huge amount of pleasure to my life everyday. For instance, yesterday my girlfriend and I had great fun on a quick 15km hike in some pretty rugged terrain. We did it in 3 hours, which included time sitting in the rather scant December sunshine for a nice glass of pinot grigio on the shore of a remote mountain lake.
I love sex. I'm not sure if I'm addicted to sex and alcohol, I just know I really want to have sex a few times everyday, and I like 3 or 4 drinks most nights. And I don't want to stop either one long enough to see if I'm an addict! One other point in connection with being fit - my girlfriend is extremely fit, and being with someone who is so physically appealing adds a lot of sensuality and pleasure to our lives in general, not to mention what it does for our sex life.
In harmony with having a stated purpose in life, I try to fill my time and living space with what I feel is important - friends, family, music, art, film, literature, good food and drink, cooking. I write everyday. I read everyday. I try to play guitar several times a week, and I'm learning to draw. I watch several films a week. Why? They all add to my enjoyment and pleasure in life. As I sit here typing, I can see, and just about touch, walls full of beautiful, original drawings and paintings, bookcases full of great books, hundreds of music CDs, guitars, racks full of wine bottles, my pans and pots and knives and stove and whatever else I need to cook. There is a fully equipped painting studio and at least two computers where I write. None of it's from god - we created all of this together in order for it to match our purposes in life.
I'm not sure I believe in the great equality of all living things. Maybe a human is no different or better than a cow. I'll ponder that as I cook a couple of steaks for dinner tonight. I tend to view living things in a bit more hierarchical terms - and human intelligence, imagination, creativity and level of consciousness do more than keep us humans pretty much at the top of the food chain. I love my dogs and cats, but if we're all so equal, I sure as hell wish they'd do more to take care of their share of the living expenses around here.
In the end, I agree that this life is it. It's all we've got, and I sure as hell am doing my best to make sure I enjoy as many of the days I've got here as much as possible. Do I feel I NEED a greater purpose? Not really. What I've decided to do is to live my own life with a specific purpose. I don't really feel that it's a "greater" purpose. Greater than what? Certainly greater than merely exisiting day to day without any focus, but certainly not greater in the sense of living for god's will or god's purpose.
I'm living for my own will, my own purpose.I like that.