I was dead once. No, there was no bright light. No pearly gates. No exquisite pleasure or eternal suffering. No heaven or hell. There was only unknowing blackness. No pain, no pleasure, no awareness. It was simply dark and I neither was aware of it nor did I care about it. I knew nothing. I felt nothing and I was not afraid. Nor do I fear death now. Oh yes, I want to live. I want to live a long, healthy and happy life. I love life and I love living it, but when my time comes I won’t be afraid. Yes, I’ll be sad because I’ll be leaving all of my friends and family and everything I know and love, but I won’t be afraid. Because I’ve been dead before and I know what to expect. You have to. Each and every one of us has. For what is death than a lack of life. We were all dead for billions of years before we were born and we will return there again one day, hopefully in the very distant future. Some may say, ”If there is nothing after we die then what’s the point of anything?”. The thought of eternal blackness and unawareness may seem frightening or even depressing to some. The thought of an eternal life is frightening to me because it would go on forever and ever and ever and ever, never ending. Everything has to have an end. That is the point. Accomplish what you can, enjoy what you can, experience what you can before it’s gone. When you realize that you’ve experienced death before and it didn’t really matter one way or the other, it isn’t so scary. And it makes this life, the one and only life we will ever have so much more precious and enjoyable.

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Comment by DAVID LAWTON on March 12, 2010 at 9:38am
My apologies for any confussion in my article (or whatever you might call it). I didn't have a near death experiance or die after I was born. The message of my writing is that we were all dead before we had life, and since we've all expierenced it without any mental trama, there is nothing to fear. As it says above, "For what is death than a lack of life."

- Thanks Johnny. I'm glad you enjoyed this. Feel free to share it, as long as you always mention my name when doing so. (oops. My vanity is showing) lol.

- Howard S. Dunn - I don't know if it was my article that knocked down that last barrier, but if it was I'm glad I could help. Even if it was just a little.

-Christopher - I agree with the hypoxia therory. If it's not that then it's something similar. Kind of like what happens when you stand up to fast.

- Charles - Like you, it's not death I fear but how I die. I hope it's quick and painless.

- Shanika Nicole Thomas - That is exactly what religions do. Heartlessly and inhumanely prey on peoples fears to control them.

- Johnsky - Great comparrison. Do you mind if I post that on facebook with credit to you?
Comment by Johnny on December 22, 2009 at 12:08am
actually, I have had this "light at the end of the tunnel" vision, except it was during a judo match where I was against a tricky opponent that choked me out.

It's simply an illusion of the mind struggling desperately for air or whatever. Suprisingly, the flood of endorphins to my brain made getting choked out feel good! almost fuzzy and warm (*aherm) it's the headache from coming back that sucked...
Comment by Johnsky on December 21, 2009 at 9:46pm
Life is like a book. It has an end.

It would be rather foolish to read a book and expect it to run on eternally.

The point isn't to hope the book doesn't end...

... the point is to hope the end is good enough that it justifies all that time spent reading it.
Comment by Charles on December 21, 2009 at 1:15pm
There is no reason to fear death.I fear the pain involved but not death.I would be fearful if I were a theist and thought a god might punish me.
Comment by Prog Rock Girl on December 21, 2009 at 12:02pm
You had a near death experience?

I am sure religion plays a part in near-death visions, although I'd also heard of atheists who just felt nice.

Another thing I'm really curious about is people who have had negative near-death experiences, and why they had them--was it their religious beliefs, sense of guilt, or were they generally unhappy people?

It is true that a person won't know when they're dead. I don't think I was that afraid of dying and I have attempted suicide before in my younger years. Nowadays the idea of complete nonexistence, even though obviously I won't be conscious of it, kind of freaks me out when I really think about it. It's also really difficult to picture having no consciousness at all.
Comment by Christopher L. Simpson on December 21, 2009 at 11:32am
I am definitely an atheist, but I do think that what one believes (or doesn't) plays a role in determining what they see during a "near-death experience". I think that most of the "light at the end of the tunnel experiences" are hypoxia-induced hallucinations, similar to what one might experience on psychedelic drugs.

Just my two cents ;)
Comment by Howard S. Dunn on December 21, 2009 at 11:09am
I have to say, thi line of thinking knocked down one of the last and most tenacious obstacles in my own path to atheism.

Now, since my Mom died less than a year ago, I have used it in a discussion with my father who was raised Catholic by Jesuits in Haiti (see: France 100 years ago). He and my mother prayed at their bedside every night without fail for nearly fifty years. But he is also an MIT cum laude graduate of structural engineering (talk about cognitive dissonance). In any case, believe it or not, he has now admitted that he is realizing that his Catholicism and belief in god and an afterlife are, probably, comforting illusions. And, since I have introduced the idea of 'pre-birth oblivion' as having been very long and painless, he has admitted that the need for this false 'comfort' is abating.

I pointed out, at seventy-five, he has led a very interesting life, indeed; he found his true love in the process, has four kids, and eight grandchildren, and many people he has effected. He managed the construction of several large buildings that hundreds of people use in their work and saved two 250 year-old trees (one that would have died, building or no - it was diseased), etc.

He is now, a de facto atheist - at seventy-five. It's rather amazing to me. I mean, he has some very deep imprinting he won't lose. But, in his head, at least, he gets it now.
Comment by Johnny on December 21, 2009 at 10:32am
wow im saving this. it's a great story. for every theist who tells me they knew a guy that saw the light i'll lash back: I know a guy that saw nothing...

would you care to share the story? what happened?



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