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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yeah i know.... still a few billion years before the big one might beat 80 or so.....

also some think the universe will possibly stop expanding and then shrink back to big bang only to start all over again in an oscillatory fashion..... talk about a long ass time....

I am really not that hung up on death and "The End" as Jim so aptly put it. It's just now that I admit i don't believe the shit i was raised with i have to come to terms with the new reality.....

There is a National Geographic: Moment of Death documentary that explores it from a scientific viewpoint, if you're interested.  From what I've read, when the brain begins to asfixiate and gets no more oxygen, it starts preparing for death by releasing an ecstasy inducing hormone of some kind so that you're really tripping.  This is the same principle used by people who try to asfixiate when they masturbate to increase the intensity of the orgasm, which is dangerous (don't try at home).

It's sort of the same thing that spiders do to their victims: they inject a sedative that paralizes the victim and then they consume the victim.

The important thing to understand is that the brain already knows how to deal with stress and supress the levels of panic that would otherwise set in, so it goes into ecstasy mode, this is why people experience delirium when they're dying and have visions of Buddhas or dead relatives, etc.  It's comparable to taking ayahuasca, magical shrooms or another shamanic type of drug that produces sacred experiences.

Yeah, I saw this too.... pretty cool stuff;

I am not sure about the theory that the brain goes into shut down mode. From an evolution standpoint doesn't really add anything to humanity, just makes death less painful.

Never known evolution to be in anyway kind.

Evolution is a pretty amoral character....

I don't worry about it. Not existing can't be bad.

"I'm not afraid of death; but dying scares the hell out of me." - Jack Cleary

I've always loved this quote, but I would be lying if I said that I wasn't afraid of death at all. The thought of just ceasing to exist is pretty big. But I think that the big problem people have with this is because they imagine death minus an afterlife to just be this big, dark void where they're stuck, alone, forever. I've always just assumed that there would be absolutely nothing, including no me. I wouldn't be whiling away eternity and be aware of being lonely, I just wouldn't have thoughts. There would be absolutely nothing. It's hard to wrap your head around absolute nothing though.

One of the things that made me feel better about dying, though, was finding out about "green burials". Instead of standard embalming fluid, which is highly carcinogenic, they use a vegetable based-one. Then they place you in a coffin made of biodegradable materials, and bury your 4ft under as opposed to 6ft, because it's easier for the body to breakdown at the shallower depth. There are eco-friendly cemeteries popping up all over North America, and I read one article where they just plant a tree on top of you, or a large rock, and you're buried in this forested area.

This just made me feel so much better about the whole thing, because instead of your body just turning into toxic sludge in a coffin that won't breakdown, you'll eventually just turn into soil and become part of the Earth. It seems very peaceful.

I wrote an essay once about how true death no longer exists, and that is was the invention of photographs that changed everything. Before photography, once a person was dead, that was it. You were never, ever going to see their face again. But once pictures became popular and easily accessible, you could see people even after they were dead, so death like we used to know it was conquered. Not really on topic, but that's another thing that makes me feel better.

I have to add this comic, because I love the author and it illustrates how I feel about the whole religion/death relationship.


Death is the reason why atheism is not popular among the general population. Apparently people want to live forever. They want to kid themselves that death is not the end. Of course we atheists believe that it is the end. Believing that death is the end doesnt bother me in the least.
Yeah but atheist obsession with delaying/preventing death seems awfully similar to me.
I'm going to die one day.  Why worry about when it's going to happen?  All I can do is live my life the way I want to while I'm on the earth, and benefit as many other people as I can while I'm here.
Worrying about your own death is just silly. The only death to worry about is the death of others. The issue is that dealing with death takes emotional maturity...the thing that stops growing upon hearing about an afterlife. So, basically, we have a society full of people who are 5 emotionally.
I value my fear of death myself, as it has been successful so far in keeping me alive.

The only other idea that comes to mind that is of particular value is Mark Twains quote about him figuring that death being just like before he was born.

The happy thoughts religion gives people about an afterlife is certainly one of the reasons it has been successful in manipulating so many people over the years. But as an Atheist I've always felt religious types live life in a bubble waiting for the "great heaven" bit so start, going to sermons every Sunday to listen to B/S and missing out on so many great things in life because their church is against them. Its there loss, not mine.


Dealing with the concept that death is the end is sort of like the trade off for living an honest life with the opportunity for full experiences and knowledge. And maybe you'll appreciate the people around you more if you know when they are gone they are gone.


Enjoy everything the world has to offer, and encourage everyone around you to do the same.

Les Athees Napoleonienne - VikingTrance

'Les peuples passent, les trônes s'écroulent, l'église demeure' Napoleon Bonaparte


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