As a lifelong atheist, I have never been afraid of death. I'm comfortable believing there is nothing afterward.
Now I'm in my seventies. While I enjoy good health, death is inevitable and draws closer every year.
I have lived an honorable life because that's what I chose to do. I have been married fifty years. I have lovely children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren that I adore. I haven't accomplished all that I hoped, but I'm not done trying.
I would love to hear from other atheists what they think about death without God.
Are you comfortable facing death?
Do you believe death is final?
Do you discuss death with your children and grandchildren?
What do you tell them?
What are your fears?
How do you want to be remembered?
My belief is that we go back to no-thingness, where we and the universe came from.
''I'm not afraid of death I just don't want to be there when it happens'' Woody Allen.
That about sums it up for me.
What a coincidence! I've also been thinking along those Iines lately. I'm 78, and we've been married for 54 years this month. I've been an atheist since I was 16, and never had any doubts about it since then. Although it would be nice if there was something after death, I don't think there is. It seems like a waste to gather all this experience and knowledge, and then all of it dies with you, but there is no indication that there is anything to accept all of it.
I thought of all the billions of people who have lived since man developed. And the only ones I remember are the ones I've met, and I've forgotten a lot of them. For his reason I think I will only be remembered by the people I knew during my life. When the last person who remembers me dies, then I won't be known to anyone after that, so I will be fertilizer for daisies. (It's an honorable ending. LOL)
I, too, have led the most honest life I know how to live. I never did set any goals, and just bumbled my way through life. I ended up pretty decent in that respect. Retired military, great kids, one grandson has a doctorate in "fluvial morphology". The other is studying economics.
My wife and I have lived in paradise for the last 25 years. We have 5 acres that we've landscaped to our liking, and a vegetable garden large enough that we can share produce with the local poor house. We've decided that we want to be cremated, and then have our ashes mixed and scattered over the 5 acres. That way, if there is something after death we will be where we want to be. We've told this to our son and daughter, but we aren't around the grandkids, so there is no chance to discuss it.
I don't have any fears about death. In fact, when I realize that I'm a burden, I plan on overdosing on something. I've told my wife and daughter that if that point comes, that they are not to take the pills away from my bedside.
I'm glad that I was able to experience life, and feel sorry for the sperm that I beat out. It has been a good life.
And now I do not fear death.
"fluvial morphology" defined:
"The terms river morphology and its synonym fluvial geomorphology are used to describe the shapes of river channels and how they change over time. The morphology of a river channel is a function of a number of processes and environmental conditions, including the composition and erodibility of the bed and banks (e.g., sand, clay, bedrock); vegetation and the rate of plant growth; the availability of sediment; the size and composition of the sediment moving through the channel; the rate of sediment transport through the channel and the rate of deposition on the floodplain, banks, bars, and bed; and regional aggradation or degradation due to subsidence or uplift.
"The study of river morphology is accomplished in the field of fluvial geomorphology."
I enjoyed geology in college and found some interesting fossil river morphology on field trips in Texas.
Economics is another of my interests. We would have a great conversation about geology and economics.
I would invite him to this site, but he is deeply religious. We don't talk much because he looks down on me. He is working rivers in the Northeast part of Illinois for the U.S, Geological Survey.
Donald, I am sorry you "don't talk much".
Thanks for the thoughtful reply, Donald.
Even if we don't believe in an afterlife, I think we all hope to leave something tangible behind that people will remember us by. Perhaps a book or a painting or a photograph or a piece of furniture or a poem or something.
Maybe the best thing we can leave behind is a legacy of honesty and kindness. I have tried to plant those seeds in my children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren and hope they do the same.
I have been talking with all of them about my comfort with my inevitable death with the hope of easing their fears and comforting them in their mourning when I die.
I have not found a playbook on how to do this, so I make it up as I go along -- much like I have done most things in my life.
I'm trying my darnedest to pass on with as few regrets as possible. I guess that may be my only concern about my death.
I am very comfortable with the thought of death.
Death is final so far as consciousness is concerned. My body will decompose and turn into the stuff that makes stars (or is it the other way around). Anyway, I end and there is no afterlife.
My children and grandchildren know my thoughts about death and dying. My great-grandchildren are too young to have such conversations.
I tell them when I die, my body decomposes and I return to dust. There is no afterlife and no supernatural powers that will make communication possible.
My fears are failing bodily functions and dementia.
I want to be remembered by what I passed on to them in skills, especially in interpersonal skills of problem solving and conflict resolution. I want them to know how I feel about violence, wars, bigotry, and discrimination. I want them to remember that an anthropocentric view of existence is narrow-minded. I want them to recognize that I am honest, resourceful, intelligent, compassionate, dependable, reliable, trustworthy, and able and willing to work hard.
What an honest reply!
It sounds like you are giving your family wonderful, loving memories of you.
Kathy, a great response and I share your views. I haven't thought of the DNA being the only thing that lives on in one.