hi, i am a new member to this site and have some questions about after life.

it all started  a year a ago and accumilited over time and lots of thinking. over the time of a year my grandfater had part of his right ear cut off, found meloma in his lungs, colon cancer and also 7 brain turmors. one night really stood out, when he said " well at least i know that when i die i will go to heave with my brother who was killed in an airplane accedent and to see my parents again. its helpfull in times of pain that we(the faimly being catholic) will be in a better body with god." i know that sounds dumb but i think christianity does offer comfort to people but i still dont know what to believe. my life isnt that great and i gues thinking that one day when you die youl go to this great place called heaven, then i think it is all BS so i just dont know what to think anymore. i am raised (17 and living with my parents) catholic and we always have to go to church every sunday and i did receve the confermation in which "the holly spirit will come into your life" and when that happened the archbishop did the ritual and i didnt feel anything and i just looked at him with comfusion and steped down. well i gues this is just a a post about me but if anyone wants to give advice on what to believe in when it comes to this after life or no after life thanks

Views: 538

Comment by krystal ellis on April 24, 2012 at 9:20pm

So... you're an atheist? I'll assume you are for now. First of all, I'm sorry for all the pain you and your family are enduring during these tough times. Well, atheists do not believe in heaven or hell. And atheists don't believe in an afterlife. Typically atheists believe that this is our one and only life, so we have to make the most of it while it lasts. I don't think you're going to find many, if any, atheists that believe in an afterlife. My prediction is that if any atheists do believe in an afterlife, it would be something similar to reincarnation. Of course the thought of heaven is bringing him comfort... it brings peace for every person that knows their days are numbered. I actually have an uncle suffering from brain cancer, and he carries the same comfort as your grandfather, and I'm happy that he feels safe and at peace... but I know that when he dies, he dies. He lived his life, and I will miss him, and love him forever, but we have no control. Life will go on.  Wouldn't you be extraordinarily happy if you were passing, and you knew you were going to be safely in heaven with god, the almighty that you've been serving and living for your entire life? He's been Catholic his whole life, right? Well he truly believes in god, and nothing anyone can say could change that. You just have to make the decision to not fall for the same religious dogma. I'm scared of death, I know it's coming, and I don't want it to, but what can I do? I can accept it, and live a great, fulfilling, happy life, and when it's my turn to pass I will be buried, and decompose and become part of this beautiful earth forever. But I'm okay with that. I wish you could have the same reassurance that I feel. 

I really suggest you read this article. I think it will help you a lot.

Life After Death: Atheism

Comment by Mabel on April 24, 2012 at 10:08pm

I know what you mean. I hate for people not to have comfort in the form of looking forward to going to a better place when they die and seeing passed on loved ones. Personally, I don't see how anyone can know for sure if there is no sort of after-life. I suppose at least leaving the door open to the possibility is a more comforting position to take than feeling like you know for sure there is no after-life.

This issue bothers me greatly when it comes to my trying to get people to see why believing in god (as the concept is generally defined) is nonsense. But, I figure if a large percentage of Christians can accept that people can burn in hell forever just because they could not accept Jesus is Lord, then I should be able to accept there is no after life.

Comment by Simon Paynton on April 25, 2012 at 1:30am

I'm an atheist, and I think that an afterlife is a strong possibility.  I see it as just another part of the natural world.  I think this because I have seen quite a bit of evidence pile up.  If there's no afterlife - then who cares?  It doesn't matter.  However I need to prepare for the possibility that there is one, because if there is and I haven't prepared properly, then I will be caught out.  I was suicidal for 20 years, particularly one eighteen-month period when I was really hanging on the edge, and there was one person I was concerned about deserting and cutting off ties with.  In the end I decided I would be even worse off dead than alive - committing a horrible crime against somebody I love, and being stuck on "the other side" with no way to put it right, plus when she dies, she would never talk to me again. 

IF there is an afterlife.  I have no preference either way, believe me. 

So I believe that heaven is where you've lived a good life and don't have too many regrets.  Any regrets will eat you alive (...) for about 30,000 years (?) which isn't nice.  So if you've not lived a good life, you will be in a torture, a torment of guilty conscience with no way to put anything right.  All you can do is sit up there and cry and eat your liver.  If you have lived a good satisfying fulfilled life and not wasted too much of it, you can expect a reasonably good experience of life after death. 

What if someone's a psychopath and doesn't have a conscience?  Then they will breeze through the afterlife just like they did the living one.  Nobody said nature is "perfect". 

Comment by Atheist Exile on April 25, 2012 at 1:34am

The best way to come to terms with death is to come to terms with life -- THIS life. Who was it that said, "The unexamined life is not worth living."? Whoever it was must have known that fulfillment comes from facing the truth -- not hiding from it. You said, "my life isnt that great". Perhaps you should entertain the possibility that hope is a poor substitute for understanding. You won't find fulfillment by clinging to hope. The more you understand, the better decisions you can make (not that you necessarily will). Understanding is the route to fulfillment.

“Hope deceives more men than cunning does.” ~Vauvenargues

Comment by Atheist Exile on April 25, 2012 at 1:36am


It was Socrates who said, "An unexamined life is not worth living.".

Comment by John Siqueiros on April 25, 2012 at 2:07am

I guess there could be an afterlife without God. But I wonder -

  • An afterlife for the next several billion years? Living forever seemed great when I thought the earth was only 6,000 years old, but that's not correct.
  • What is an afterlife like if the human species eventually goes extinct like 99% of all earthly species have done?
  • What is the afterlife like if eventually there are earthly species that become more intelligent, more advanced, more sophisticated than humans are now?
  • What is the afterlife like if there are other living beings in the universe which are much more intelligent, more advanced, more sophisticated than us?
Comment by Atheist Exile on April 25, 2012 at 2:24am

@John Siqueiros,

Yeah, heaven can get pretty complicated if you think about if for a while.

Another thing that really gets me is the hubris of those who assume they're going to heaven. Even if there's a biblical God in heaven, how does anybody know in advance that they've got a free pass? Whether or not your doctrine requires faith, obedience (good acts) or both, for you to be "pure enough" to pass through the Pearly Gates, you still must face final judgment. Isn't it presumptuous to proclaim oneself "worthy" when that decision belongs to God? Isn't judgment God's alone?

I think that if heaven is full of cock-sure Christians and hell if full of freethinking atheists, I'll take hell any day. Is there anything more mindless than an eternity of bliss?

Comment by John Kelly on April 25, 2012 at 2:32am

Simon, I think that regrets should only exist if they are helping us be motivated to be better.  That is their purpose.  I am curious why you seem to accept the afterlife as a reasonable possibility.  Have you read anything on it from an atheist perspective?

Oh and I finally got to responding to your questions on that blog post when you were trying to figure out what I was saying about morality.

@John Jon, I remember when I used to think that "The Baptism of the Holy Spirit" would have a similar effect.  Even earlier at age 11, I thought baptism would do it.  Dealing with the notion of the afterlife has been very hard for me, but I would believe an uncomfortable truth than to believe a comforting delusion.  One of the errors in thinking is that people will ask "Wouldn't you rather have peace?"  Of course it is better to have peace.  But undesirable consequences of something being true, like no God, or no afterlife does not change the fact that if it is true, it is both undesirable and true.  Refusing to believe in it because it would suck if it was true doesn't make it false.

Some people talk about how they would get bored, or try to downplay the appeal of the afterlife.  I see this as mental gymnastics.  The afterlife is way better than ceasing to exist, and boredom only exists as a motivational device, which wouldn't be necessary for a spirit to have.  The problem is that there is absolutely no credible evidence I have seen to support believing in an afterlife.

Comment by Deborah Moreno on April 25, 2012 at 2:39am

John, First let me say that I am so sorry for your loss. Your grandfather was happy and comfortable with his beliefs. He was comforted and that is all that matters about that. As far as your Conformation, I made my Conformation under protest; mom said just do it, and you don't have to go to church ever again if you don't want to. I knowing I was not a "True Catholic", and not wanting to be a hypocrit; I mubbled (didn't actually say) the words during the rite. You sound very confused about not only an after life, but your faith as well. You are young my dear, you need time to come into your own. Take some time and heal from your loss search your heart. We're you Atheist before or after this loss.


Comment by Atheist Exile on April 25, 2012 at 3:00am

@John Kelly,

Some people talk about how they would get bored, or try to downplay the appeal of the afterlife.  I see this as mental gymnastics.

I disagree. Well . . . let me qualify that . . .

If I could live forever with a healthy mind and body, that would be wonderful.

But everything deteriorates: everything that lives, dies. Living beyond old age would literally be a fate worse than death. I really believe people would yearn for death in such circumstances.

And if heaven is exactly as it is described in the Bible and Quran, then they too would be fates worse than death. These lobotomized visions of paradise are inspired by anti-intellectual tomes.

Coming to grips with death means coming to grips with life. We all grow old and die (barring a less timely death). If you can accept the natural order of life, you should be ready to go when it's your time. And if you go "before your time", you will have lived a more fulfilling life if you've accepted your eventual death.

I want the course of my life to play out fully. It would be a pity to die from some accident or to be struck down, young, by a terminal disease. I'm at the age (approaching 60) when death from heart attack or stroke could come at any time. It's not death so much as pain and suffering that concerns me. I don't want a lingering, painful, death. As Woody Allen said: “I am not afraid of death, I just don’t want to be there when it happens.”

He cracks me up. No, really, if I had a preferred natural death, it would be by heart attack. Very painful but quick. Not much suffering.

After that, it won't matter what I feared in life or what I hoped for. I truly believe death is both natural and desirable -- given the certain advancement of deterioration with age.

Christopher Hitchens faced a drawn-out death, yet did so with grace and aplomb. I'd rather go more quickly and at an older age but if not, I'm almost certain that prolonged pain will make death even more welcome.


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