The question of what I believe happens when I die has recently become a topic I repeatedly have to touch back on. My theist friends find what I say in response astounding.

My answer to them is this:

Nothing. We become plant food. Nothing else happens. Everything (within yourself) ends. It just stops.

Then the theists get a little puzzled. "But then you're just floating around in a void."

So I ask them what would be floating around and where they would be floating. They don't know. Because first of all, there would be nowhere too float around in. Void is basically an infinite amount of nothing. But how can nothing be there? It can't because it's exactly that: NOTHING! So essentially voids don't exist because they are absolutely nothing. There is always something somewhere, there is never nothing.*

But, let's grant them the fact that there is a void somewhere in space and time that just sorta hangs there between a pair of stinky socks and a gum wrapper lost forever underneath some kids bed. Sure, why the hell not? What would be floating there? They say my consciousness would. Now, not believing in a god, I also don't believe in the preservation of any sort of eternal "soul". So to me, there wouldn't be anything able to do the floating. When you die your brains stops sending electrical pulses to the rest of it, thus ending all communications within the body. Thought and emotion and consciousness are made up of these electrical signals so without them they end. So without those signals I can't know anything, see hear or feel anything. There would be no part of me that could even realize I'm dead. There would be no part of me that could grasp the concept of time or relativity. There would be no past, present, or future for me. There just wouldn't be me.

So assuming they understand at this point I let them ask another question. A rather funny one at that.

"But aren't you scared of just ending?"

No. I'm not. Because once I ended what would be left to care? There would be no memory of the regret, pain, or sadness that accompanied me in death (hopefully I don't have any of that). This question is funny (in an irritating sort of way) because I just spent X amount of time explaining that there will be nothing left. There would be no way for me to be scared. However, the time leading up to that point leaves room for fear or acceptance. Right now, if i was dying, I'd accept it. Well, I'd probably be a little pissed since I'm only 18 but hey, beggars can't be choosers right?

So in a sense I guess death is like the end of a book: there's "The End" written in big bold letters, and then all of a sudden there's no more pages to read.


*This is my theory on voids. And as always, it's open for ridicule and critique. I'm no astrophysicist or whatever so that's my view on voids, when the meaning of the word is looked at literaly.

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Comment by Rosemary LYNDALL WEMM on February 19, 2009 at 7:08pm
Great post, Josh.

While I agree that death is simply ceasing to exist in the same way the we ceased to exist before we were born I do sympathize with those who are terrified by this concept. Fear of death is, after all, a useful thing for ensuring survival of the species. I recall a childhood night terror which involved my non-existence before my birth and consciousness. My mother eventually calmed me by telling me that I might have been a little cloud before I was born. I don't think I believed her but it got me to sleep again that night.
Comment by Amy on January 23, 2009 at 3:48pm
I completely agree with your views on death. I think it's a shame that people are so busy looking forward to heaven that they don't enjoy this life as well as they should. Which brings me to something that bugs me. If they all truly, truly believe in heaven and all its greatness, why don't they celebrate when they find out they're dying or that a loved one has died? I mean if it's the BEST PLACE EVER like they say, why aren't they thrilled to be going there?

I don't get it...
Comment by Jude Johnson on January 23, 2009 at 7:47am
PS: I forgot to add, Josh, that it warms my heart to see young people like you who are interested in the truth and willing to tackle the big issues -- and you have good grammar to boot!

I'm with Kozz and Mr Black -- kudos!
Comment by River Otter on January 23, 2009 at 6:58am

Well done. I enjoyed reading your well written post. I am in agreement with Jude & Mark Twain. I like to use this when the "death" subject comes up. I have been dead for billions of years.

Kozz also raised good points about heaven and the waisting of time on earth.

Great posts y'all.
Comment by Jude Johnson on January 23, 2009 at 6:46am
Hi Josh:

I posted a short video on this topic on my page:
What happens when you die
-I think you might like it.

I feel the same way Mark Twain did on the subject:
"I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it."

But while I don't fear death itself, I do wish I could live longer than I probably will. I really enjoy life and learning and I don't feel I'll ever get enough of it. I feel I could spend my entire life on one area of science and still not know all I want to -- much less all the fields I'm actually interested in! I agree with Kozz, however, I think it's the fact that we know there will be an absolute end is a great motivator.
Comment by Kozz on January 23, 2009 at 12:52am
Nicely done Josh,

You could also ask your friends what they plan on doing in heaven "FOR ALL ETERNITY". with no desires, no pain, and with nothing really to do. all while at least a few close family members are probably being roasted and tortured over the fiery pits of Hell.

Is it not what makes life worth living that it has an end? If there was no end would we really have much of a motivation to live it. There would always be tomorrow. Does it not make life worth living that there is pain that we endeavor to reduce, that there are things that we want to achieve and that there are things we don't know, but can learn?

The poor person who believes that life doesn't really begin until death, will only succeed in wasting the only life he has.



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