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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I lost my godmom 2 years ago and it was a harder death than I could imagine; I don't think losing my own mother will be as hard. She passed in April, so in May I had all her kids (my age) over for mother's day breakfast, and we've done that the two years since as well. Also, watching "The Body" episode of Buffy by Joss Whedon was incredibly cathartic. I just rewatched it a few months ago and bawled my eyes out for a solid hour and at the end I felt more at peace. It was my first time mourning anyone since losing god-belief.
The Body is a brilliant piece of television. I have never seen a more honest portrayal of grief. The most horrific aspects of death are the mundane, everyday things that need to be dealt with in the midst of overwhelming sadness.
I love and appreciate life but I'm afraid of dying,as is any other animal.

I'm no more afraid of being dead than I'm afraid of the aeons for which I did not exist.

This inscription is on a tomb in Pompeii "I was not. I was. I am not. I don't care."

An agnostic atheist,I admit the possibility of error,yet reject the absurdity of Pascal's wager.My atheism is not a choice,rather an inescapable conclusion after an often painful 20 year journey from devout Catholicism.

There are MILLIONS of idiots who claim to know "THE" truth. What do I do?The best I can, by living according to conscience.I'm UNABLE to do anything else,so I don't worry about it.

It's always seemed ironic to me that the theist will never know if he's wrong, but the atheist will get a very rude shock indeed if HE/ShE'S wrong! Do I think that's probable? No,I'm an atheist..
I do like this particular response. I attended a lecture by Dawkins last year. He was asked by a religious man, "Well, if there is no god and no afterlife, then where do you go after you die?"

To my utter glee he responded, "Where you were before you we born. Nowhere."

Of course it is paraphrased, but it is still wonderful nonetheless.
Dawkins was (probably knowingly) summarizing Lucretius (99-55BCE),

Nothing to us was all fore-passed eld
Of time the eternal, ere we had a birth.
And Nature holds this like a mirror up
Of time-to-be when we are dead and gone.
And what is there so horrible appears?
Now what is there so sad about it all?
Is't not serener far than any sleep?
I expect my DEATH to be rather painful - I'm somewhat accident prone and it will probably be self inflicted :D But I'm not worried about what comes after it. I wont be here to enjoy it, or otherwise.

Other people's deaths are hard. I've responded well to the idea they'll be a star someday, or at minimum part of plant.
I'll just jump in here because this is how I think and feel about death. Its molecules and atoms back into circulation. My friends and family, particularly those I'm very close to will still be in my mind. Granted its not as good as having them here but I can deal. I do hate the idea of burial as its carried out now. We practically mummify people. Takes very long for there particles to get back in the system.
The most frightening thought for me in regards to death is someone dieing and not being remembered or missed.
I'll second those thoughts SGecko. When I die I want the most practical use to come of it. Any organs that can be used, use them. If the rest of me can help science by someone in a lab picking my body apart, do it. Cremate the rest. The empty shell I'm no longer using doesn't to take up a little plot of land for the rest of eternity where someone else could build a house or a park or something.

As an alternative to traditional cremation, I've asked a friend to build me a viking ship, put my body in it and set it on fire as it sails down the Colorado river so I might join the rest of the warriors in Valhalla. He's trying to figure out how he would do that without going to jail for it.
I'll be donating my remains to science too. If my body can help someone figure out a cure or something, then I will have accomplished something with my death. Something that no religious ritual can do.
This is how I think about it, too. We all are part of the same world and universe. When we die, our consciousness ends and our bodies turn into something else. Someone I love, I am very attached to that particular combination of matter. Someone famous in history is a revered and celebrated combination of matter. Either way they went back to the planet, and the atoms and molecules that once made up them are now part of something else.

I used to think about death a lot but until lately I hadn't really thought about how the consciousness turns off completely, forever. It shouldn't bother me b/c obviously the loss of consciousness will not be felt at all, but it's kind of a hard thing to come to terms with, especially since it's something that can't be pictured at all. Even so, the idea of living forever is horrific. I think that by a certain age I'll be ready for it.

We all do have one life, should live it to the fullest, etc, but also, don't let that be a pressure on you in the sense that you wasted your life if you didn't accomplish all your potentials. A person can never accomplish ALL their potentials; that's why they're potentials. Nature has a strategy of overabundance, and that is why so many creatures don't even live to adulthood.
The last person I lost was my godmother, 2 years ago when I was a "fallen away" Christian. I remember cursing God, and crying over and over again, wondering how a good god could take away from the world a caring, wonderful woman. She was a nurse practitioner for Easter Seals who worked with physically deformed infants, teaching their low-income mothers how to love and care for them, not just treat their health problems. She had two adopted kids, and fostered many others. She was the best human I've ever known.

I think for me, death is a lot less sad now. While there's the sadness of knowing I'll never see them again, I don't have to worry that any of my loved ones are roasting in hell. And I don't have to fight with god about the awfulness of death. If it's just a natural outcome of life, then no one is to blame. I can mourn them, celebrate their life, honor their love and accomplishments, and heal and move on, trying to carry the lessons they instilled with me. This is the only immortality that really counts - the mark we leave on those who live after us.
Death scares me but not as much as the realization that life is so short; life is but a puff of wind if we are to accept the notion of eternity (the future is never certain but our human minds could continue counting beyond figures of googolplex factored by googolplex). I will only be able to live a short 40 years or so, after that I would never be able to walk, talk and think. When I first realized this, every time the thought would enter my mind, I would find myself unable to completely accept the fact, and I would cry my heart out. I am an atheist after all, so there was no concept of an afterlife for consolation.

When my father passed away (only about 3 years ago), after living a life that positively influenced so many people, but left not much of a legacy to his family, I realized there is but one solution to my misery and that is living my life the best way I could. Yes, my life will be short if put beside 100 years, 1K years, 1M years and infinity -- I cannot do anything about that anymore but to accept it. Therefore, I just have to appreciate my remaining days, and learn from my past to avoid any more regrets.

Right now, I am trying my best to live my life to the fullest, I try to make my decisions carefully, making sure that my actions will benefit not just myself but also those around me.

The death of my father was not very hard on me. He's gone, that's it. No afterlife, no heaven, no hell. He was not going to any eternal place, he will not sing with angels nor burn in the fiery pits of hell. But I was glad that his death taught me to cope up with the idea of death itself.

I have a Life List (list of things I want to do before I die) that I update regularly. Currently, I have 86 items on it, 33 of which I have already done (from attending my brother's college graduation and writing a love letter, to helping a stranger build a house, joining a political rally and going down a volcanic crater). I have so much more to write on my list, I'm only 21. :) I hope to do all of them before I die, by then, I will no longer be afraid of death. This is, after all, the only life I will have to fulfill.


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