More fulfilling consolation of eternal life or one life to live?

I am wondering whether the atheist or theist derives greater psychological benefits in their opposing views of death v. immortality.

Theists have the promise of eternal life in an inconceivably, albeit inconceivable paradise. Sounds so dope at first blush. On other hand eternity might become more than a little boring. If after 40, 50, or 85 years one is already sick of it how much greater is the ennui, even desperation of a life without surcease? And then there is the threat of hell! So theists have to tolerate the anxiety concomitant with the knowledge that sin may result in eternal torture and that one may have already exceeded allowable transgressions. And if it is so comforting to know that overtime is endless and the game is fleeting, then why do we observe theists as busted up with grief at the loss of loved ones as atheists?

Atheists derive solace in the knowledge of finality. The image of the soldier smoking a butt during an interlude on the battle field and sharing an existentially delicious moment with a comrade is an encapsulation of the existential notion that we live in the moments and scarcity rather than abundance creates bliss. On the other hand it is sometimes overwhelming to feel it viscerally, that our lives are so short and death is final.

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Maybe theists wail so much because of uncertainty on the destination of their loved ones.

Or maybe they don't believe it. Then again separation will of course result in some angst or sadness even among the living so it is facile for atheists to simply say if you thought your Uncle Goodguy were going to a better place you would be happy, not sad. 

Maybe they don't believe it.

I sense you are talking about two different things. Death and Funerals. Death of an individual is a very personal and private matter, and sorta inconsequential when it does occur. Because when we die, we die, we do not have any private moment of reflection about it.

But funerals on the other hand could not be more separate from ourselves. They are in essence not meant for us but those we've left behind. To allow them a moment to grieve our absence from their lives. It is about them and their lives, not about the individual who has died.

I find the idea of hell and heaven to not be surprising, and their use in theistic people. There is great comfort in either, knowing that it does not matter how shit of a life you've been dealt with...because there is this ultimate idea of justice. It gives them peace of mind, kinda like placebo effect.

No, zombie, I am wondering whether the contemplation or spectre of death makes it easier to be an atheist or a theist. Which one has the tougher time processing and accepting the inevitability of life's end?

The notion of hell gives comfort because of its ultimate justice? But what if the theist fears hell?

The contemplation of death is simply a fear, there is no way around it. I believe it was this fear which had a huge part to play in the creation of religion and that of afterlife. Contemplation of death helped invent the concept of afterlife.

The theist does fear hell, but also remember, in his mind fearing hell...is a confirmation of him going to heaven. It is a prerequisite to being a believer. I sense that I am talking from a very muslim point of view. In islam there is no concept of "accept mohammad in your life and all your sins are forgiven" or "mohammad died for your sins". The uncertainty of achieving heaven and constant fear of hell, is a very important part of being a true believer in god. And hence the contemplation of death as well. It is not uncommon for strict muslims to pick their gravesites in their lives and regularly visit them and pray over them to further instill a fear of hell/death in their minds. Also remember, that in islam...hell begins immediately after death for the non-believers. It begins with the "azaab-e-kabar" , which literally translates to "divine punishment of the grave". I think theists waste way more time thinking about their death than atheists do. 

I do not think contemplation is enough, I think theists contemplate death way more than atheists ever do. But yes, research and a critical study of religion with an outsiders perspective, makes atheists of us all. One can sit by the window with their prayer beads and contemplate death all they want. But researching it is altogether a different matter.

I think this is interesting, Zombie Atheist. 

In Christianity, from what I understand, believers are "saved" and "forgiven by God" while non-believers are not.  I take this to mean, Christians go to heaven automatically and everyone else goes to hell, no matter what.  So it's impossible for any Christian, who believes in Jesus, son of God, lord and saviour etc. not to go to heaven.  I could be wrong of course. 

What is it that can send true-believing Muslims to hell?  Infringement of some rule?  If so, this must be a burdensome position to be in. 

Do Muslims believe that Christians go to heaven, because they believe in basically the same God? 

There is definitely the chance of a muslim going to hell. But in those circumstances it is not believed to be eternal, but dependent on the muslim's sins. I believe (please don't quote me on this lol) that all non-believers go to hell and kinda stay there forever.

Other than that there are two specific categories of sins as well, major sins (gunah-e-kabira) and minor sins. And depending on which scholar you are reading up on, the lists tend to vary. But it is however universally understand that "Shirk" is the supreme sin and hence unforgivable. "Shirk" is believing in any god other than allah. I wonder if it can also be construed to include atheism...

However, and this is where it gets interesting, there are special allowances made for other abrahamic religions. Jesus and Moses are both held in high esteem in Islam. For instance, it is permissible for a muslim man to marry a woman outside his faith only if she is a christian or jewish and later converts. I am sure there must be some form of allowance in matters of hell as well. There is some reference to mary being one of the leaders of the women in heaven in islam too. And the return of the christ and then mehdi are two events which are to happen before apocalypse. Surprisingly there is no reference of tom cruise or brad pit coming to save the day.

Muslims, christians and jews believing in the same god is a very outsider pov. Muslims claim that christianity and judaism is a precursor of islam, kinda like an older technology, hence in the presence of islam it is invalidated. But that does not mean that they were not true religions of god at some point. I doubt you would ever hear the keepers of any of these religions ever claim that our god is the same and hence we should stop killing each other! What you would hear is nonsense like "Christians and jews do infact worship allah, because he is the true god...they just don't know it!" lol. I would reckon the presence of the same dialogue in christian and jewish circles.

Another little known fact, that though the name of the muslim god is claimed to be "Allah," the word was used as a simple noun and not a pronoun before the advent of islam. It was just a word which meant god before, not a particular god but any god. And the word was most definitely known to the people of quraish people before islam.

Thanks.  I've read that "allah" has the same root as "holy". 

I wonder why Islam appears to be a lot more strict and detailed than Christianity in prescribing how people should live their lives, and harsher in the punishments that are dealt out for breaking the rules. 

Perhaps it is because of the non-separation between mosque and state?  So that it is religion's job to regulate society, whereas in Christian societies, this function is pretty much carried out by the state, which is less bound by tradition and is more democratic and consensual and is justified by people and not God.  I also think that a democratic state is better able to keep in touch with the basic values of kindness and fairness, and the demands of culture and religion can often flatly override these values. 

I think the concept of the state is not very islamic. Islam believes in Khilafat unfortunately, which basically means one nation under one flag under one man. BUT fortunately for everyone, there are a gazillion sects of Islam so yay for them never agreeing upon anything lololol


But yes, the state (khilafat) and religion are one in the same thing at the core of it. Not sure about the root of the word meaning holly, but could look it up!

Theists for the win.  They have better Kool-Aid.  All we got is crappy reality...sucks to be sane.

As many Atheists have said before..spending eternity near the throne of God...praising Gods amazingness forever and ever sounds like psychological torture. Its bad enough having to have pretended to like some of my clients in the past when I met them during boring tedious meetings... but imagine always having to pretend so with God...with history's most brutal manipulative abusive characters ever? I despise this character as described throughout the bible. His behaviour and temper tantrums and sick sense of irony is repulsive and disturbing. Why would I ever praise him? Why would I want to be in the same plane of existence with him?

No. There is nothing reassuring about that. Even worse...if I somehow made it into heaven...how could I possibly be happy knowing many of my friends are burning in a vicious fire. How could I praise a God who is torturing my loved ones?

Western civilization has been utterly traumatised by the notion of heaven and hell. It will take quite some time to get that kind of fear and guilt and insecurity and weariness and horror out of our system. If you took away the afterlife...the Abrahamic religions would fall apart and more people could live their finite authentic lives. Heaven and hell is a dangling carrot...as is the afterlife in general.

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