After reading further on about death I have come to evidence that makes me believe that having an afterlife is a FAR STREEETCH from reality, it doesn’t seem possible. It’s freaky, it’s depressing, but it’s real.
Atheism doesn't comfort you when you’re alone. It opens your life to the bittersweet birth that you were given, to make your life worth living. To enjoy the small things because your time here is PRECIOUS.
There are those people who die and claim to have gone to heaven, seen the light, seen angels, who have spoken to or who have talked to God.
Did you know that after your heart stops beating, your brain activity is active for 6 minutes before it fully shuts down? I think that what those people saw was merely a dream. Time slows down when you’re dreaming, therefore an accurate perception of how much time you spent in heaven wouldn’t be accurate of real time.
So what makes you so sure that your consciousness stays with you when you die? Your brain activity stops, and that is a fact. It is this very fact and reasoning to which I think that THIS IS IT, this one life is all you have.
I sometimes ponder the thought of dying when I'm alone, and this usually occurs when I'm lying in bed getting slowly falling asleep. Only to wake up with a mini panic attack realizing that I'm not dead after all. I Try to get rid of these taunting thoughts of never waking up. It just seems like life can be the most brutal, and unforgiving of all concepts.
But I wonder how many Theists actually believe in such stories.... I finished watching this documentary;
(A man broke his leg and fell down a crevice etc. I don't know if it's possible to survive such heights, but that's irrelevant". Because in the short clip he mentions that he was raised to be religious, and that when he truly felt helpless, never once thought that saying a bunch of hail marrys could save him from death.
I'm sure many religious people fear death (So do I), however how many of them would just sit there and rely on God for protection? I'm betting if they got out of it alive (And prayed), they would end up giving God credit for their own will and physical exertion to stay alive.
Prayer= A placebo effect (You think it works, but it does jack shit).
I guess my question to all of you freethinkers is this; what makes you unafraid of death? What makes you welcome it with open and untroublesome arms? To me this is the hardest part of being an Atheist (Or even human for that matter), without a way to pollute our mines with fairy tales, how can we ACCEPT our fate?
There are also factors such as being hit by a bus etc. That would make it inevitable to avoid death in the first place. I personally see no harm in having the occasional drink or cigar.
Well, atheism didn't help with my fear of death.
Though nowadays I find it a lot easier to deal with that subject, than it was in the past. By the past I mean right when I became an atheist.
I can't explain, just irrational really. I guess I love so much life that I do not want to even think of not being alive, or perhaps it's what Fred said, that it makes us feel so helpless because there is no fighting against it. Not sure. Just hate the idea and try to avoid thinking about it.
I have reached the stage in life where the thought of death bothers me primarily because of all the things I would leave undone--things I want to do for those I love before I die.
One thing to remember is that to Buddhists the cessation of one's existence as an individual is Nirvana. I think that is exactly what will happen when I die. As implied by the Twain quote above I will no longer have any individual consciousness and will simply rejoin the universe. Or, as the Dalai Lama said to the hot dog vendor: "Make me one with everything."
I am in the middle of 'The Happiness Myth' by Jennifer Michael Hecht and she brings up the history of death vs. happiness. The main point is that we do not see enough dead and dying people anymore. She points out that in a death bed scenes were common until recently because people died at home in bed and many friends and relations gathered around the dying and celebrated the moment of passing because - get this - even religious people did not take eternal afterlife as a literal promise but focused on the bald fact of human mortality. Especially children were called in to witness their eventual place on the death bed. Death bed scenes were rarely omitted from Edwardian and Victorian drama. Finally, in a survey taken  most people over 70 had witnessed a friend or relative at the moment of death and almost no person under 30 had witnessed a death.
Hecht, a philosopher/poet/atheist claims that religion assisted us with a realistic view of death through rituals that increased our happiness by decreasing the anxiety about our own end.
BTW if you are not already listening to the Rationally Speaking podcast, episode 14 with Ms. Hecht is an epic win.
Maybe it sounds weird, but I was never afraid of death. When I was a believer I was sure I would go to heaven, and now that I am an atheist I know my conscience will simply cease to exist. No worries, no pain, no suffering.
That said, it doesn’t mean I would welcome death now. I have three children that need me, and my death would really harm them. Let’s say my task is not finished yet. And of course I find life very enjoyable. It would be a pity to depart now, when I can still enjoy all the good things of life. Dying would be like the end of a very good party. When I reach old age, with all its limitations, I will probably think otherwise and welcome death. But with a bit of luck I will still have twenty years of useful life ahead.
But thereis another important point here. Although I don’t fear death, I fear the process of dying. Dying can be a very painful and protractedprocess. I hope I will die with minimumpain. Dying during sleep would not bebad.
"Dying can be a very painful and protracted process."
Especially if your caregivers are religious.
I don't know if I could ever do that. I admire your strength and reasonable assumptions towards the whole God concept. Wether someone is religious or not, I don't think it really matters when it's time to die.
There are some priests who at funerals will ask if the person was religious or not. Because even if a person believes in nothing, that nothing is still something. One should respect the dead regardless of their beliefs (Unless of course they were twisted serial killers or something...).
If you are interested, people gave me a few advices about this over here.
The predominant one, which I would like to pass on to you, is 'live your life to the fullest'.