There are at least four different big questions that clamour for answers: Where did I come from? Who am I? Why am I here? and Where am I going? The atheist’s answer in short to the first question is, “I got here by evolution.” The answer to the second question generally is “a mass of protoplasm; an extension of the physical universe; matter in motion, nothing more.” The answer to the third question requires silence since the impersonal universe logically is capable of instilling any real genuine sense of purpose. The answer to the fourth question is, “My destiny is dust and oblivion.” The short existence one lives upon the earth is it. After that, it is all over. Yet, it is difficult if not impossible, to logically live a full and meaningful life with these kind of answers.
The atheist may object that he does have a meaningful existence. He does have a sense of purpose. It might be found in acheiving fame, helping others, gaining voluminous knowledge, pleasure, or any number of options. The prospect of annhilation at death removes the terror of any afterlife should it not be so pleasant. When looking at the vast universe he is struck by his apparent insignificance in the grand scheme of things.
Christianity puts it altogether in the following way: Our origin if from God. He created us. Our identify comes from the fact that we are made in the image of God and are people for whom Jesus died. Both these aspects of our existence are permanent and irreversible and are the basis of valuing all human life. Our purpose is expressed well in the Westminster Catechism in that we were created to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. And our destiny is heaven. This can be counted on the moment a person receives Jesus Christ as his personal Savior (Jn. 6:47). He is the Savior, not us (Titus 3:5). The Bible describes heaven as a better place than our present world with all its evil and suffering.
While the atheist has no logical basis for a meaningful origin, identity, purpose, and destiny, he does sense in life what would be true if God exists in his life and in his conscience. Sometimes Christians are caricatured as saying that atheists must necessarily be unethical. Atheists have varying degrees to morality like other homo sapiens. And since they believe they call the shots, their morality is not always uniform. Some might want their unborn child; others would be content to kill them through abortion. Many Western atheists for conscience sake (Did evolution produce that?) attempt to distance themselves from the atheistic communists of the 20th century who simply followed the logical implications of naturalistic evolution. When man views himself as an animal, it is more likely he will act like one if he does not see himself as a human being vested with great value and responsibility for others’ welfare by His Creator.
If you are considering the denials of atheism, do yourself a favor and also consider the claims of Christ. He claimed to be the Son of God who can explain your origin, your identity, your purpose, and can produce a resurrection unto life that you can look forward to without committing intellectual suicide. His explanation fits the real world and does not reduce human beings to mere animals or machines.