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.)

Tags: death

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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

Sad but true...

Death, in the traditional sense is not necessary. Well, it won't be. I see it as extremely likely that the human lifespan is about to shoot up to at least many hundreds of years. Nascent medical technology will allow us to repair the DNA damage as it occurs. Nascent but not quite imminent, if that makes sense. I think if you are born now or later, you've got a good shot at not needing the long shot of cryogenic suspension to survive. Those of us adults, imo, are likely to die before our 120th birthday, even with exercise, lifestyle control, supplements and current medical therapy.


Vitrification. Long shot, maybe. Barbaric, maybe. But way the heck less of a long shot and less barbaric that cremation and embalming with burial or entombment. These traditional forms of dealing with human remains, I think, now, are disrespectful and wasteful. If you burn your body to ashes or remove the blood and replace it with formaldehyde, you are guaranteeing permanent decay of your structure and therefore your identity. Disgusting. 


Life is good, right? Death is bad, right? Why have we spent so much time, money and effort trying to mitigate disease instead of trying to eliminate death? Religion, I say. Going to Heaven is not a good delusion, as if any delusions are. If we stopping believing that death is inevitable, then maybe we can avoid it with technological progress. But, we have to try first. Issues like overpopulation and cost effectiveness can be dealt with and are not insurmountable obstacles, imo.


So, I deal with death by trying to be happy and productive till such a time that the machine that is me breaks down. And I will try to do what I can to put off that breakdown. And if I need to cool the machine that is me down to -81 degrees to stop decay of my DNA and organs, then, so be it. I have no delusions about the likelihood of my own death whether of 'old age' or the possibility that I get hit by a bus today, but, I will not accept death lying down or with a smile. I will fight, under almost all circumstances to stay here in this reality as a viable entity. Not out of fear of not feeling or thinking anything at all, because how can not existing be painful, but because life is fun and pleasing and a prerequisite for any other experience.

I found this insightful...

We have about 35 years of oil left in the world. When it runs out, the republicans will find something else to make money from. A child can make hydrogen from a glass of water so that may not be profitable. It only makes sense though that we should be applying science to make hydrogen safe to use as the eventual lack of burning fossil fuel will hopefully heal the earth and water. Even if it's not safe, if it blows up it won't poison the ocean like nuclear power. (say goodbye to tuna fish sandwiches by the way) The point is that medicine makes someone money. All the medicine consumed goes into the water and we become immune eventually. What would make long life profitable? That is the question that, if answered, would slap science right out of the park as it accelerated toward the discovery of immortality.

As far as living life goes,.. Have you ever smiled at a child whom you don't even know? It's kind of strange that we do that if you really think about it. I mean, what good does it do us personally? I think I have the answer to that. We have a survival instinct just like every other animal. (They say lions will die with an erection) We wish any child to have a good and safe situation and  proof of that is a smile returned. We don't know them but, in a way, they are part of us as they are from our species. We not only wish to survive personally but also wish our species to continue. Focus on that is what causes us to do great things that last beyond our years.

I think we have evolved into creatures that have compassion because it is better for our survival. I wish myself and anyone else willing and able to make a commitment to themselves, their identity and health, to have radically long life. I value anyone who is productive and moral (rationally self-interested). 

The republicans can suck it. If we had a government that properly upheld individual rights, no one group of people could gain and control one technology in an unfair manner. Unless you count productive members of society, but that would not be unfair.

What would make long life profitable? Long life is the profit. We get long life after creating technologies that allow it. The question is 'what would make these technologies and the achievement of them profitable?'. The answer is health and longevity. People will invest and buy them as soon as they are seen as a realistic investment, which is not too far off, if you ask some experts. 

Finally someone who understands me. Mike I've been trying to tell religious people that the morality is not a product of religion, but a matter of cooperation. If we all went around killing each other we would wipe each other out eventually. Morality arose as a way of self preservation, cooperation, and to ensure our species survival. Anyway to be honest if technology made it possible for us to live a very long time I'm not 100% sure that I would jump at the chance. After living for a certain time I would get fed up with living and general and want to die. Plus it's the fact that our time on Earth is limited that makes life that much more beautiful. We realize that by this time next century, you and I and everyone on this site presently will no longer be living. Death doesn't scare me because no matter I was one of the lucky ones who got a chance to live. By thinking about all the successive that had to happen in order for all of us to be here right now is something that makes me appreciate life more, and not fear death.

I worry about death, too. We are human and are supposed to want to live.  It's still survival of the species- not death.  I know it's silly to worry about death but I do anyway. Perhaps it's hardwired.  Having been raise a fundie I got rid of god easily enough- but convincing my stomache that there is no hell or the devil is another thing.  I think one of the things that changed my thinking is the fact that even the universe is not going to last forever. God was never merciful and the universe itself ends.  I should be philosophical about it all.  Then I think about all I will miss of my kids life.  So much for philosophy.  I forgive myself for being a human being.  That;s more grace than our dear fluffy lord ever gave me.



We don't know most of what we assume. What we do know are the basics. We guess from there. Everything seems to revolve around something right down to the atom. Everything in space including us 'probably' revolves around something. We know that life will find a way to survive if given the chance. We know that there are so many planets out there that the possiblility of there not being many other planets exactly like ours is ridiculously small. We can't say there is life out there but from what we know, it's atleast as factual as dna matching. I could go on and on about the new things we've learned or learned to surmise but it would be much easier to say "There must be a guy out there that made all this happen", but i can't because well,.. that would be idiotic. Don't you think? I think your headed in the right direction.

It's ironic that the "solution" to the problem of fear of death from a religious perspective is actually the root of the fear of death. I'm referring to the concept of a "soul" or "self". If there is no "I" or "self" and you are convinced of this, really convinced, then the loss of self is not something to fear.


The Buddhist have been saying this for a long time. Now those in the areas of Neurology, Cognitive Science and Consciousness are putting coming to the same conclusion. The "soul", the "self", the "I" is an illusion. Yet it is that very thing which we fear to lose and bring about the fear of death.


The key is that you have to be convinced, to really know there is no self.


My primary concern is for those I leave behind, especially my children. Once I dead of course I won't know or care but now I want to make sure they have someone to go to, to help them out. That is my concerns.

It helps to look at the greener pastures, for instance instead of seeing the death of your family member as a loss, you should be glad that you got to know them. And also if you reach the age where you are likely to die of old age, your body will be so frail and delicate that you will probably wish to die or at least be most accepting of it.

I'm really unsure how I feel about death. The only death I've ever been emotionally affected by was my grandfather's, just because they kept him alive in misery for quite a while, which I personally think is horrible. But other than that, I guess I've always felt neutral about people passing away.


However, my dad is getting pretty bad now. It's hard to say how close he is, but I'm personally guessing that he's just a couple of years away. I've never faced someone so close to me dying, so I keep thinking about how I'll react to it. I suspect that I'll be okay knowing that he lived a long and good life, and he's had a chance to do most everything he would have wanted to do.


But who knows? It might hit me hard and my entire viewpoint of death willl change. Just have to wait and see.


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