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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We tend to dwell on the possible pain, loss of self, etc surrounding death. As we really don't know, can't we just as easily assume it will be painless, or that we find our 'self?'

Which I suppose is where all the stories of happy-happy-joy-joy afterlife comes in.

Mostly, I fear the pain of actually dying; those few moments of not being able to breathe, or will I feel the bus smash my body to bits. But on the other side of it, the couple of major injuries I've had, the immediate moment of impact is almost always pain-free. Either the I-didn't-know-what-hit-me effect or even if I know, that sudden rush of adrenaline is a most amazing physiological process.

I figure if I didn't feel my knee tear in 4 places and my collarbone break in the last wreck, I probably won't feel the bus that smashes into me either.
The certainty of death is the most disturbing reality that any person has to face, which is one of the principal reasons why religions, most of which promise an afterlife, have endured for millennia and will likely continue well into the foreseeable future. Realistic atheists face this certainty with courage and with a hopefully enhanced committment to living happily in the now, that is by trying to make the most of our hour upon the stage. Religious faith offers solace, moral certainty and eternal life, but at a price that the non theist declines to pay.

Is the non believer better off? I can only answer that highly subjective question for myself. Yes, I am better off, but recognize that the understandable and inviting appeals of reassuring religious doctrines are no more than comforting delusions. The courageous person must turn away from religion's mirage just as we must decline myriad superficially attractive doctrines and substances that are not good for us. Facing and living life as it really is and not just what we would like it to be is not an easy undertaking.
The last 13.75 billion years didn't bother me the least when I wasn't alive yet, then why should the rest of time bother me?

It's dying that I am afraid of. Dying an leaving loved ones behind, that's the real problem.
I think that death being the finally thing is a comfort for me. My son committed suicide in Nov. of 08. It was a comfort for me to know that he is not suffering. He was an Atheist to so I'm glad it was final for him. Sure I will miss seeing him. He was having such a hard time with his life I'm glad for him. His ashes sit in my living room along with many pictures of him. I feel at peace with what he did.
Its a fact of life. We're only here briefly. All of our lives are finite,no one is granted an exception. What is the point in even thinking about it. You live til you die.
Everyone fears death. Even the religious. I had night sweats about it when I was religious and the same night terrors when I was an atheist. The feeling of loss never goes away. To me, it was only slightly more comforting that I would go to a heaven when I believed that kind of thing, but it never took the fear out of me completely.

So I personally try not to think about it. I'll worry about that when I'm on my death bed, but not now. I'm going to get the most of out life. Try to make everything I do in life make me happy in some way. And when the time comes, then I can think about it. Death is a law of life in the same way gravity is a law of physics. You can't stop it from happening. You can deny it all you want, but eventually, when you jump out of the plane, you have to accept that gravity is going to win. And so is death in the end. So why fight it? Why worry about the inevitable?

And this again goes for the death of your loved ones. It's never a happy thing, but it's a thing we just have to accept and move on.
Sure, I've thought about it... and I get irritated.

Religion reduces the significance of each human life by treating it like a pit-stop in some filthy gas-station restroom. 'Get it over with and move on down that highway of eternity.'

Epicurus was supposed to have said "Death does not concern us, because as long as we exist, death is not here. And when it does come, we no longer exist." This may comfort the living rationalist about their demise, but what about the loss of a loved one?

How can we reconcile ourselves to a life without someone who has made our existence more bearable and meaningful?
I think we need to remember not what we lost when they have gone, but what we gained from having them with us.
Think of the phrase "what if...?", and how it implies the countless possibilities which are not realities. What if... I was prettier, smarter, richer, and famous, loved by all, and had never made 'this' mistake, 'that' choice ... if my loved one did not die. One can lose oneself in what might have been and feel the deep chasm of loss open in them from something that was never theirs to begin with.

You should feel some sorrow, some pain, some longing and grieve. Then you need to live.

One person does not own another. We give gifts of ourselves to one another, of time... of our precious little time. Those who have died cannot give away what they do not have; we only keep what we remember and cherish. We must be grateful for those gifts and never unappreciative of the fact that they have no more to give.

This sounds a little hard at the end, but it is for personal admonishment when we bemoan what is no more.

Religion tries to comfort us by telling us we will see our loved ones again... so we believe and forget the wonderful gifts given to us. What an evil and selfish way to cheapen the loving gift of time.
My boyfriend is unlabeled, but told me he thought of death this way:

Time slows for those who die, and your brain records everything. As your brain ceases receiving electrical signals from the rest of your body, you fall away into nothingness...only for you, that nothingness is the last forever you will ever know. The bright light is your brain dying, sending desperate signals to other parts of your visual cortex in need of oxygen. You fall, you float, you go toward the light, and that is the last thing you will ever know.
The meaning of life is the continuation of life. All life... think about it. So embrace the life you have. Embrace the actual connections and relationships that matter to you, and when the time comes and loss happens... grieve, just try not to let the emotions lead you to delusional thinking, which will happen...

For me, being an atheist makes dying palatable. It's natural to die and it's necessary. Without death there would be no such thing as evolution and we wouldn't exist. My religious friends are much more frightened of death than the atheists I know. They think a major drama is going to begin when they die. In short, they're afraid of getting a bad grade on their lives and being cast into an eternal hell (by their loving god; gotta love that). This means fear and death are entwined in their lives, unnecessarily of course. And many of them are afraid because deep inside, they fear their beliefs are nonsense. All the above cause them to have a terrible foreboding about death. It's sad, really.

I don't share these feelings. Death seems both inevitable and fine to me. I even have this notion that dying probably feels great, like going to sleep when you're totally exhausted. We have to focus on living because it's the only thing that matters. Death is kind of irrelevant. Why think about how it will "be" when you're not here? The obvious truth is that you didn't mind not existing before you were born, and you won't mind it again when you've gone from this Earth. Simple and easy: nothing to fear. Enjoy your long life rather than worry about the last three seconds of it. Makes sense to me.

I find myself trying to make up something to replace my previous christian belief/hope of life eternal.....

but this is to no avail because i am pretty sure this is it.... I just desperately don't like the idea/fact of never seeing my kids/parents again.........

I know religion is BS but i dont know what death holds.

I try to compare it to sleep since it in some ways appears to be similar, but also know this doesn't fit because my brain is more active at times in sleep than during wake times, I'm just not conscious.

I start to think that maybe Walt Disney and some of the other folks that have had their brains frozen at the time of death may have been on to something.

Then i think well i cant afford that but maybe i could have my dna saved and have me reborn at a later date from the same blue prints. Wouldn't be me in that i would have none of my current memories/experiences but would be me in a sense wouldn't it? Kind of a modern day realistic type of reincarnation.

Anyway this is the kind of S*&t my brain comes up with when i think/fear the thought of death and the end of consciousness.

ring a bell with anyone?

I think that having been religious we are trained to fear burning in hell far more than to love life and have compassion for our fellow man. This is probably why so many religious people find it easy to 'cut' others out of their life for being gay or Jewish or Muslim or a non-believer.  This life and the people in it aren't really important- the next one is.  For most it's all about hell, the rapture, and the extraordinary power of the devil.  This sticks with many people as they stop believing in 'god.' We have a harder time getting over the devil than over the 'good' god who d. In a way the devil is still there but god is gone. Sucks. Death is where the devil takes over- so we fear it.


Even if we could preserve our bodies the Universe will not last forever.  The Big Bang will stop expanding until it snuffs itself out. We have to continue in a totally different form.

I don't know what happens when we die.  Our body rots.  There doesn't have to be a god for us to have some kind of existence after death.  Perhaps we have evolved to the point where we emerge from this existence into some other- like a worm to a chrysalis to a butterfly.  In any case the best lesson is to live live live every day.




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