I think everything I was going to say has already been expressed by others in this thread so I just want to contribute a little poem by the Digital Cuttlefish called "Worms Go In":
When we are dead, we’ll feed the worms
And other stuff that writhes and squirms
And if you cannot come to terms
With that—well, use your head!
There are no ifs nor ands nor buts:
Bacteria within our guts
Will start to eat us; that is what’s
In store, once we are dead.
Yes, life is short and full of toil,
And when we’ve shuffled off this coil
Our carcasses will start to spoil—
There’s nothing wrong with that.
Our share of fish or pigs or cows,
And all the chicken time allows,
Is done. It’s only fair that now’s
The worms’ turn to get fat.
Should we die young, or old and gray,
The laws of nature we’ll obey
And spend our heat in mere decay,
Replenishing the Earth;
“Three score and twelve” may be our years
For love and laughter, hope and fears
And then—mere smoke—life disappears;
No heaven, no rebirth.
And with no heaven up above
Nor hell we ought be frightened of
It’s best we fill our lives with love,
With learning, and with fun!
Don’t waste a lifetime while you wait
For halo, wings, and pearly gate—
This is your life, so get it straight:
You only get the one!
I’ll have no moment lost to prayer,
To cleanse my soul and thus prepare
For passage to… THERE’S NOTHING THERE!
Those moments, all, are wasted!
I’m only here a little time
Before it’s bugs and worms and slime;
I’ll eat and drink my life so I’m
Delicious when I’m tasted!
It took me a while, especially since I was brought up in a Baptist family with a Baptist youth pastor.
After learning that God is not real, there is not afterlife and this is the only chance I have, I have just put it in my mind that this is reality. I live my life every day as if it may be my last day now. I am no longer a stupid, lazy Xtian who figures if I don't get it right this time, I'll have all of heaven to be happy.
Dropping the idea of an eternal life has made me a better person.
To me the purpose of life is to live, survive, procreate, care for the herd, teach, share what we learn, spread our seed, adapt, progress, evolve...
I think our time here is very special..what we learn we pass on. The human race.. as all life is, Is a relay race... in life we contribute to the survival of humanity and thus the Earth's own unique shape of life in general. To me it's beautiful that our contributions live on.
I think when I die it will be exactly the same as how it was before I was born. That nothingness. Kinda like the time when i'm sleeping but between dreams.
"Remember fondly, those you've loved who have passed away. As long as you remember them, they will live on. You are their afterlife."
For me I think this quote from Joseph Campbell sums it up...
I don't believe people are looking for the meaning of life as much as they are looking for the experience of being alive.- Joseph Campbell
Actually, most of the time I do not even bother thinking about it. Sometimes I am even happy that this life is the only one I have and shall have. At other times, I would rather be dead. In sum, I do not want to live for ever either way, so I can only win.
There's really no such thing as "forever" anyway. Not in THIS universe.
No roasting in an ocean of fire. No boring Heaven, either.
It always intrigues me that the religious can be so absolutely certain, so authoritarian, so dictatorial. And these certainties have been falsified again and again throughout history. So they just make up new certainties. They are just making wishful assumptions. Nothing they propose has ever been shown to be correct. Only doubt and uncertainty have resulted in progress toward a tentative notion of what is real. Only a willingness to ask questions and pursue rational thought as best as can be done has created advances in human health, welfare, compassion or any other other category of well being.
I was a philosophy major, got an MA. My favorite philosopher was Ludwig Wittgenstein who held that many philosophical problems are due to mistakes in or misunderstandings of our use of language. When we die, we return to the state before our birth. Note that I didn't say "the state we were in," because before you are born, there is no you yet. I think Wittgenstein might analyze death this way: simply because there is a word for it doesn't make it exist. We don't have a word for before we are born analogous to "death." By having the word "death," it implies there might be a second state we go into, whereas there is nothing. The universe just starts doing without a you or me over again the same way when a leaf falls off a tree, the universe goes on without that leaf.
There is no such thing as death just as there is no such thing as a "we" before we are born.