I am new to this forum. I was raised Catholic and spent 9 years at a private school. That's the easiest way to get the christian notion of God beat right out of you. But I was wondering what most Atheists believe is how the universe works. I recently read an interesting book I found on Barnes and Nobles site, called God I Am. The subject of this book is the notion that what should be considered God, or not God for that matter is our own consciousness. I wonder what most Atheists believe happens to our molecular matter, and our consciousness after death. Has anybody read this book? What are your feelings about the end result of our individual consciousness. Does it just stop, or could it become part of something else.

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Well said, Asa!

Hang tough, Bill. Death will take care of itself. No need to help it along. This is your one and only opportunity to appreciate (notice I didn't say, "enjoy") the full range of the human experience. The experience includes everything you love, everything you hate, and everything in between. 

It is interesting that we appreciate the full range of emotions when we watch movies. We laugh at comedies, cry at tragedies, get excited by action flix, etc., but we have a lot more trouble appreciating the same emotions when they are provided in three dimensions  ;-)

I remember making that argument to a guy I was dating as we drove home from a party. I'd had nausea, and he mocked, "You'll never convince me that throwing up is a peak experience." I've forgotten his name and face, 45 years later, but the moment was insightful for me. It helped me to realize that even nausea was an interesting and worthwhile life experience in the right context. Ah-Ha!

Nod and a wink to Ruth!

Of course, you have these questions if you have just come through a personal tragedy.  I agree with Dr. Clark.  You need time to heal and postpone such threatening questions for a time when you are much stronger mentally and physically.  Most of us here have dealt with our own personal tragedies to get us here.  We have come out on the other side but it did not happen over night.  Lean on those who will give you positive comfort and support.  They are out there as are those on A/N who only wish you well.  Stay strong.


Dealing with overwhelming personal tragedy does make belief in an afterlife attractive -- perhaps even temporarily useful, but it does not make it true.  That's not an indictment of whether or not it is true -- just that our hopes don't make it so.  My favorite analogy is that life, and thus consciousness, is like a wave in an ocean or a musical note.  It's an emergent property of matter & energy -- an amusing pattern within the larger field that runs its course and then collapses back into the field or onto the shore of the next note.  Nothing is gained or lost except the perception of pattern within the experience of those perceiving it.  This could be taken as an idea that the pattern itself is something that is conserved, which is an interesting thought that I see no reason beyond wishful thinking to believe.

 I hope that your troubles abate, by whatever means.  My personal hope is that we human beans can figure out how to deal with life as it is without resort to philosophies that diminish the one life we know we have in favor of an unknown we hope to have.



Well written, Ted, especially the last paragraph.


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