You were born an atheist...as we all are.
You were just brought up by parents who were brought up by parents, in a society, in a country....and so on... that are religious.
So by "choosing" atheism, you are really going back to the belief (or lack there-of) you were born with.
You didn't get to chose the religion your parents brought you up with (no options to consider).
You didn't finally become an atheist, nor did anyone else:
We are all born atheist- we are taught religion
Kelin! How you doing? Great to see you back (my profile name used to be flower in case you don't remember me lol).
I agree and 'the where you were born and who you were born to' is one of my favorite things to point out when talking to theists.
Why do people get upset with not living for forever and not with having already missed as much?
Ironically, I'm liberated by it. I can explain why, I just am. The only thing that bums me is that wrongs won't be righted and unrecognized good won't get rewarded. I had always liked the idea that god would balance the scales. But, other than that one caveat, I'm good. This life is what we've got so live it to the fullest which, to me, means be the best you that you can.
That very question hit me like a ton of bricks in the car today. I suddenly realized that someday (hopefully a long time from now) I will cease to exist. I must say, I had a brief moment of panic. Then I thought, "If I don't exist, what difference will it make to me?" I suppose none... I won't be around to ponder it. I keep going back to something Dawkins said in The Magic of Reality, If this is it, we have to make the most of it. (I totally paraphrased that).
I remember saying something years ago when I was a young evangelical. "You don't start living til you die." Even remembering those words now, churns my stomach. Why waste my life on Earth planning for some eternal existence of boring worship? I have to make every moment count!
Now, I just have to figure out how...
I've never believed in gods or an afterlife, and the fact of my own death still makes me sweat with terror when I really face it in the middle of the night. I deal with it by not dealing with it: There's nothing I can do about it, so I exercise conscious avoidance. It makes it much easier to live life. And, anyway, pondering my own death now will not make it any easier when it's my time to go ...
I try not to focus on it. But I also listen to songs like "Winter Winds" by Mumford and Sons that remind me of death, so I get used to it slowly. It's a slow process, coming to terms with death after belief in eternity. Sometimes, I wish I could believe in it, but I know I never could. Weirdly, I've used ghost stories to find hope before. :/
Hmmm... well this seems to have been answered to death and I'm sure Nate has come to his own conclusions on the subject.
Personally I've always been fine with being mulch... but I'm a gardener, which is yearly all about birth and death and renewal. We're fairy dust flitting among the cosmos... be happy, make every day worth living as if it were your last, be fully in the here and now as best as you're able, love yourself and your life, leave good memories with those that you care about and care about you, try to make a difference among those less fortunate than yourself... and then make peace and space for the next batch of mulch... it's all good........ really.
Maybe knowing that this is your one shot at getting it right could make all the difference in living at your optimum best and not wasting a precious minute because some fall guy in the sky will get you off the hook. It's your life, so make the best of it!
Schopenhauer had the best idea, I think - realize that you did not exist before you were born and that that did not bother you. It will be the same after you die: not existing will not bother you. It's not as though you'll be sitting off to the side somewhere, saying, "Gee, I wish that I existed." There's nothing wrong w/death; death is the price of life. But there's a great deal wrong w/being afraid to live - which is usually the result of being afraid to die!