One of the hardest parts about being an Atheist is accepting that there is no afterlife.

Someone once asked me what death would be like, and the only answer that I could give was that it feels the same as forcing yourself to remember a period of time before you were born. In other words, it feels like nothing. It didn't hurt before you existed because you lacked the pain receptors to feel pain, and the pain of dying will only last as long as your body remains alive to feel the pain.

Experiencing death is an oxymoron because you can only experience something as long as you remain alive--after that, you're back to the void of non-existence. There's also no point in worrying about what happens to you after you die if you can only control what you do when you're still alive.

The upside to this is that the sooner you accept that there is no afterlife, the sooner you can move on to making the best out of thislife.

On the other hand, being an Atheist means that you don't need a supernatural justification (much less superstition) to live your life. People die, calamities happen, and bad shit will inevitably happen to you simply because you still exist and didn't have the prudence to "duck' when misfortune was thrown your way. Life can suck, so bring a shovel when it does suck, but don't forget to take advantage of it when things are really going your way.

What you do between birth and death is entirely in your hands--so what are you waiting for? Start living. :)

Views: 292

Comment by Daley on November 16, 2009 at 8:46am
I've been asked this a lot and I always quote Mark Twain:
"I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it."

I'm more happy accepting the truth than I could ever be believing in ridiculous stories.
Comment by Holly on November 16, 2009 at 8:49am
I agree, I think a lot of people need to wake up to the realization that this is the only life we have, and to stop living in a fantasy world. I think I'm quite fortunate having never believed any of what religion had to offer, and I'm happy with my life. I don't need a reason as to why I exist.. I think, therefore I am.
Comment by Andy on November 16, 2009 at 9:46am
The implication is that because you are atheist you must also be a materialist (is that the word I am looking for?)

That Belief in the non existance of a God or similar entity automatically implies Belief in the non existance of ALL non proven (or disproven) so called super natural concepts.

Do you regard atheism as a whole collection of disbeliefs rather then just those associated with possible divine beings?

I am not arguing that such things exist.

It is just curious as to what thought process you go through to establish your 'disbelief' in something. Do you explore each concept individually or eliminate concepts by 'association'?
Comment by Andy on November 16, 2009 at 10:09am
On the death thing... if dying is oblivion the scope for discussion is very small.

In fact the immediate and might say only possible response to this is how should this 'fact' should affect our attitude to life.

Recently been thinking about this as a follow on of an ‘I think therefore I am' thought chain.

Basically:-

1. 'I think there for I am'... thus I exist.
2. Next stage could be ... 'Will I or should I continue to exist?'

If life is but a short moment lost in the infinite expanse of time, why bother with it at all?

Came up with eight possible reasons not to cease life, very interested in any more (and not because I am in the least bit suicidal).

1. Maintaining the status quo, to change our state of living into one of not living requires effort and possibly pain, just too lazy to die.

2. It is Inevitable Mr Anderson! Its gonna happen anyway and what is will no longer be, so experience what is first as what will be will be etc….

3. They won’t let me die! Our conscious self only gets one vote. Instinct & subconscious also have an opinion that is likely to be more pragmatic.

4. Rage against the dying of the Light. When the universe kicks you, kick it back in the other cheek. Back off death I'm just too ornery to die.

5. Life is or could be too much fun to exit prematurely. There are dregs in the keg, munchies in the fridge and people to play with. Party on Dude!

6. The velvet chains of responsibility. If anyone loves, wants or needs you, you are responsible for that & them. Your life is a shared resource and one out three ain’t bad.

7. From Socrates to socialism an axiom of most cultures and belief systems is that life is sacred and it is morally wrong to take your own. How can a society function if everyone tops themselves when the tax bill hits the mat?

8. Death er right ..I think I have a slot next Tuesday.. call me! Just to busy to die or even think about dying. Mask morbidity with momentum. Probably the reason why most people don’t even ask the question.
Comment by Wassabi on November 16, 2009 at 10:19am
death is a touchy subject. whenever someone argues with me about belief i try to check first off if they've lost someone close- like a child or a sibling.

some people base their faith on a strong need to deal with their grief, and trying to shatter that seems cruel to me.
Comment by Doug Reardon on November 16, 2009 at 11:01am
When you're dead, you won't know it, so why worry?
Comment by Andy on November 16, 2009 at 11:02am
Neal,

LOL, No disrespect felt.

My intentions were to broaden the debate as it seemed that implication is:-
Don’t believe in God, Don’t believe is some continuation after death. Job Done!

By trying to drive a chisel between the concepts I was looking for a debate on just the ‘continuation’ bit.

Not sure I understand your first paragraph statement fully. Is not atheism the absolute lack of belief in God or indeed the disbelief, how are they not valid concepts?

You seem to be stating that belief is different from ‘Knowing’. Does that mean you ‘Know’ that god does not exist and there is no life after death? I understand that you can look at the data, propose a theory, test that theory and if it holds up, give that theory credence, but how can you know that it is true?

I may have missed your point, but to help me clarify, how would you classify concepts in your mind, something like this maybe:-

1. Things I know to be true.
2. Theories I give a high probability of being true.
3. Theories that I can not make a judgement on.
4. Things I give a low probability of being true but don’t know for certain.
5. Things I know are not true.

Where would you put first the existence of God and then continuance in some form after death?

In regard to your second paragraph; I am not sure which particular aspect of the vocabulary you are labelling theist. I presume it is something around the ‘concept’ idea?

While I see your point that this could have a very fine definition, down to the individual supernatural being as listed, this was not the granularity I was aiming for.

As mentioned I am trying to separate the ‘god’ concept, from the ‘continuation’ concept. For example if the existence of ghosts was suddenly proven it would not imply the existence of God and visa versa. Not all cultures that have the concept of continuation also have the concept of a God.

Materialism – ah in fact I meant the philosophical term materialism as defined below (thanks to dictionary.com):-

Materialism
In philosophy, the position that nothing exists except matter — things that can be measured or known through the senses. Materialists deny the existence of spirit, and they look for physical explanations for all phenomena. Thus, for example, they trace mental states to the brain or nervous system, rather than to the spirit or the soul. Marxism, because it sees human culture as the product of economic forces, is a materialist system of beliefs.

Materialists (not in the economic sense) don’t believe in God, obviously, nor an afterlife.
Hence my initial statement that the original post implied if you are an atheist you must also be a materialist, I don’t think this is semantically true as an atheist just doesn’t believe in God period.



Just trying to broaden the debate as it seemed a non starter to me.
Comment by a7 on November 16, 2009 at 3:00pm
Death

I have a problem with death, At times I cannot sleep and the reason is Iam leaving people that I love behind. simple.

When they kids have spoken about death I take the approach of before being born.

it a subject that I could eaily taLk about for hours.



Take care


george
Comment by Dave G on November 16, 2009 at 3:09pm
Where would you put first the existence of God and then continuance in some form after death?

I'd go with '4' on both of these. I can't know for certain, but the probability is exceedingly low, mainly because we have zero evidence to support either of them.

Also, there is a definite difference between a lack of belief in something and believing that something does not exist. I lack a belief in a god or gods. I do not "believe that they don't exist", and if evidence supporting their existence was presented, I'd review it and see if it is sufficient to change my mind.

Finally, you're referring to philosophical materialism. Someone who is a philosophical materialist would, I would think, be an atheist as well, given a supernatural definition of god.

As for ghosts, reincarnation, an afterlife, etc, one does not have to lack a belief in these things to be an atheist. Atheism just pertains to deities. However, a large percentage (but certainly not all) atheists also lack a belief in such things.
Comment by Galen on November 16, 2009 at 10:19pm
For me, atheism is purely related to deities. I am as certain as I possibly can be that there is no god of any kind. As to whether there may be something more to human existence (a "soul" for lack of a better term), I couldn't say. There are principles in theoretical physics which lead me to believe that such a thing may be possible, but I certainly have no evidence of any such thing. I've had some interesting encounters with the supernatural that, as yet, I have found no scientific explanation for. Ghosts in particular. Whether my "ghost stories" are the product of still-living humans who now exist in some other form or the result of some other unknown phenomenon in the universe, I have no idea. I don't really care too much either way, honestly. If an afterlife does exist, I'm happy to know that there's no celestial dictator running the damn thing and that it's just another endeavor of humanity.

As for the original question, frankly the whole death thing just pisses me off. If we're wrong, the religious people will be there to say "I told you so!" But if we're right (and we are), we'll never get the chance to rub it in their fucking faces. They're completely delusional and they'll die thinking they're going to Heaven and they'll never even KNOW that they were wrong! Man, that just infuriates me!

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