As an Atheist, how do you deal with it?

It's definitely, definitely the hardest thing for me. I think about how crappy it is to have a mother who is hurt by my religious decisions, but how much worse would it be to realize that when I lose someone in my family, they're gone forever?

A lot of the Atheists I speak to don't think about it, or don't seem to mind. What do you think?
(Hopefully this isn't a duplicate thread.)

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I had only been an atheist for about a year when my mother died. I ignored everything my family members said about her going to heaven and such. It was hard though to grasp the fact that she was just gone. I dealt with the whole thing never once praying or thinking that she was in a "better place". I didn't cope well though, due to my lack of coping skills. I became severely depressed and anxious. So I guess you could say I dealt with death with therapy and pills. I still would rather cope that way than with religion.
you're right, it is the scariest thing that comes with atheism. as far as dying myself, I see it no scarier than falling asleep. when was the last time you fell asleep, afraid of sleeping? never. it doesnt happen, you have an altered state of consciousness as you fall asleep and falling asleep just feels the most natural and enjoyable thing in the world. as far as loved ones dying, well thats about the scariest sh*t i can think about. that that is the end of them is not a good feeling, but iv been trying to grapple with it and confront it, so I will be more ready when i'm put into that terrible situation of having a loved one die.
I'm only afraid to sleep when I think I'll have nightmares. I guess sleeping;nightmares as dying;hell. :D
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause: there's the respect
That makes calamity of so long life;
Many years ago I occasionally had nightmares. In several instances I realized after awakening that I had been very close to awakening - looking forward to waking up to end the bad dream. This in turn help me realize that I was at least partially conscious and perhaps could make myself realize that while dreaming. Eventually that worked, in the midst of a dream in which I was floating on my back in a rushing cold river, in total darkness, and could hear a waterfall close by . I told myself "This is a dream, like a movie. It will end and I'll walk away. Just enjoy the sensation". That worked! After several more attempted nightmares that ended with me realizing I was dreaming and actively encouraging it, the nightmares stopped and have never returned. Now, my bad dreams usually involve me having to do some tedious task, like stocking cans on an endless grocery store shelf, or waiting in a line that has no end.

I think that I was able to teach myself not to panic during dreams and this effectively ended whatever function nightmares had filled.
I agree with you, I think it's best to confront such things before hand and try to work through those feelings of lost.
The phrase that helps me cope is :

We're already dead, that much is certain, we just haven't discovered how yet.

Once you get your head around the fact that you're already dead, the rest seems to fall into place. Death is no longer a scary concept.
Not that I'm irresponsibly fearless... I just realise the point isn't to stay alive, the point is to die in a way that you want, and to get what you want done before you cease to exist.

It's like knowing the book you're reading has an end. There's no point hoping the book won't end... the point is to hope it has an ending you enjoy.
It's like knowing the book you're reading has an end. There's no point hoping the book won't end... the point is to hope it has an ending you enjoy.

This is an amazing way to put it. Why read a book? I do believe this is exactly why. Thank You, Johnsky.
I am terrified of dying 'cause I don't want this all to be over. Every now and then (as kind of a re-affirmation of non-faith) a pick a moment to have a brain aneurysm. I say, "OK what if my life got blacked out ... here?"
My conclusion is always the same: It would suck a lot because I'd be done and being alive totally trumps the cessation of existence any day.
On the upside, it got me to knock off the cigarettes (for the most part) and make it to the gym more regularly. I'm 39. If things go perfectly for my I could maybe have 70 years left. I'm enjoying the time I have left but I totally don't want it to end.
My father died a few years ago and my grief wasn't increased by my belief that he wasn't going to "live forever" or that I would never see him again in Heaven. My grief was large enough as it was because I loved him dearly and he was wonderful man.

I know that what WILL last my entire life are the memories I have of him and all the things he taught me throughout my life. That's enough to make me smile (and sometimes choke up). I can hear his laugh sometimes in my laugh and I have those "I did that just like my dad!" moments. Every now and then, he shows up happy and healthy in one of my dreams and that's always cool and gives me a smile for the whole day. I still tell some of the jokes he told me and every now and then I have a peanut-butter-iced devils-food donut in his honor (they were his favorite). :-)

I know he's gone forever in the physical world, but he's still in my brain and will continue to be there until I die... at which time I'll be "gone forever," too. Losing him was sad, but what I carry with me is really good stuff. :-)
Wow. I almost teared up a bit just reading that. Sounds like you really loved and cared for your dad. That is something i am not looking forward to is the passing of my father.
I have those dreams with my grandpa and they make me incredibly happy. I was so much more attached to him than I was with my dad (who had a bipolar disorder), and so dealing with his death when I later deconverted became very hard and painful. It was like loosing him all over again.
I ended up finding comfort in that they live through the effects of their actions, and through oneself and all the others whose lives they have enriched. Now when I see him in my dreams, I immediately know that I'm dreaming and stay the rest of the time talking to my memory of him. I love him still.




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