I just read a fascinating article on teenageatheist.com.  She talks about dying and there being "nothing".  Even though zillions of years passed before her 16 years on earth, she now exists and doesn't want it to end.

I believe my life will end and I will go to the same place I was in 10 million BC or 1940.  Nowhere.  

As an atheist, do you believe there is life after death?  Or do you think there's just nothing; that you cease to exist and that's the end?

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When I was Christian, my life didn't feel any less important. I thought my life was valuable even though I thought I had an eternity ahead of me. I don't think it's fair to generalize about the attitudes about life between atheists and Christians, or any other group. I throw Christianity under the bus every chance I get, but I don't agree that a Christian cherishes their life less just because they don't see it as the only one.

And, don't you think it's okay to confess our fears, however irrational? I think girlatheist is just reaching out and seeking comfort in someone else admitting that they, too, fear oblivion. And I do think there's something incredibly tragic about the fact that, someday, all traces of humankind and life in general will be wiped out. Trillions of years from now, whatever life that evolves will have no idea we ever existed; will never know our story. I can't help feeling sad about that. I don't dwell on it... and maybe that's your point: we shouldn't dwell on our demise. But... sometimes we do think of it, and we want someone to say, "Me too. But it will be okay."
Wow that's so gloomy. An it reflects the depression I had as an atheist child.
What's gloomy? It's not gloomy. It's reality.

I'm not depressed about my life, or about dying. Death is a reality, however, that we think about and can be sad about. I was depressed as a CHRISTIAN child because I was never "good enough"; because no one can ever know they're "truly saved"; because I had to wrap my brain around the fact that I was not worthy of God's love but he died for my sins so apparently I was worth something... but could NEVER take credit for anything I did on my own.

I just defended Christians, so don't twist this around to make some argument about atheists being depressed. I'm sorry YOU were depressed; I'm sorry this life isn't enough for you. I am a much happier person now that I don't have to worry about some asshole in the sky judging my every move, whether that move is on the toilet or the highway.

Nostalgia is not "gloomy". It's okay to be honest! It's okay to be sad! But our sadness does not take away from REALITY.
You have presumed too much. I was making a statement of fact: My life was gloomy.

I was not challenging your new found happiness in Atheism.
Sorry your life was gloomy.
There's no life after death. Zombies are not real. We don't die and then live again realising we're animals, and we don't die and go live in imaginary places called heaven and hell.

I know where she's getting at: it's "the thought" of not existing anymore, that scares her. To some atheists, it would be emotionally saddening, and you will seem a little bit envious that your religious counter parts are not worried about death at all because they constantly reaffirm themselves that they have heaven and lots-a-lots-a virgins.

There is an argument called "Blaise Pascal's Wager". Blaise Pascal is a renowned mathematician, and (unfortunately), a believer in god.

This argument goes like this:
"Sure, There maybe or maybe not a god exist; If god is not there, then nothing happens to an atheist, and nothing happens to a believer;
BUT if god was actually there, then tough luck to the atheist, but the believer is saved.
So if I were you, if you're not sure whether god exists or not, it'll be a rather safe bet to believe."

But think of this carefully. We all know, whether you're religious or not, that scientifically, after we die, we decompose and turn to dust or even to a smaller fraction of such. So you have yourself something to laugh at: "silly people think they got more than I do. In the end, the same thing just happen to us. Be happy all you want you delusional fools"

And as for Pascal's Wager, think of this: as an atheist, you are also capable of doing good things. Helping the poor, walking grandma across the street, respecting women, you don't steal from others, and even telling people to reason and think properly is a good deed. Now if you die and god (in an unlikely chance) happened to be real, is he going to kick you out of heaven for just missing one spot? "not believing in him"? What kind of a merciful, understanding god, would kick out a completely good person, who just didn't believed in something absurd and without evidence, from heaven?

I too, fear nothingness - being alone. But I have here, my wife, my kids, my friends, even the material things that I enjoy and unforgettable awesome things that I've done. I think that's enough reason for me to think that I lived a happy life, I'll be happy to die.
Richard Carrier wrote a good essay against Pascal's wager. Basically, he pointed out that this world may be a test by God, where only people who don't believe in such obviously false religions pass. Then believers would fail to attain eternal life, while atheists would. Whether or not this is more plausible than the traditional view of believers, it still shows that a believer does not always fare at least as well as an atheist, thus disproving the premise of Pascal's wager. Moreover, even if one chooses to believe in a God, there are many different mutually incompatible religions, some of which which say that believers in all the other religions will still be going to hell. So how does one use Pascal's wager to choose among them?
And also, Pascal's wager assumes a loving, merciful god. What if god is angry, vengeful, or even indifferent? Then the Athiest and the believer both suffer in the afterlife, but the Athiest has at least been the captain of his destiny and master of his life while living. His precious jewel of a life might be insignificant next to infinite eternity, but is still better than the believer. If the Athiest is correct, then he has truly lived his own life.
When I was first losing my faith, your posts were exactly my line of thinking. I thought I just god would appreciate that I chose to good for goodness' sake rather than good with the idea of a reward; and for believing what is "good" is always right even if God commanded something different. Have you ever seen Pan's Labyrinth? The final scene really struck a chord with me... even though I didn't even believe there was a god at that point.
When I was an atheist I did good just for goodness sake. But I also did naughty things when no one was looking. After all if a tree falls in the forrest and no one is around to listen, what sound does it make? With this reasoning I could justify anything.

However, one day my friend and I lit garbage on fire in the woods. The garbage got extinguish, but I blamed my friend. He got punished. However, I felt so guilty I could just die. That pain lasted for weeks. After that, even as an atheist I could never again do wrong on that level.
Well then there you have it! It feels better to do good, even if you could get away with doing bad. This doesn't mean that people will always do good, but believing someone is always looking over your shoulder doesn't always stop us from doing bad, either.
But, where does guilt come from? I see no evolutionary advantage.

We seem preprogramed for so many things from birth.


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