So lately, I have had some Atheists that have denied their Christian upringing like I have and are my same age ask me about how I became alright with dying. They asked what were they supposed to do now that they did not believe in a heaven and hell. I took some time to think about it and this is what I came up with.

"In being a Christian, we wasted so much time thinking we had somewhere to go after we were dead. We were told that nothing in this life matters because what is coming is sssoooo much better than whatever we have here. Now you have but that rediculous thought aside and now you must realize that you will die. You will just die. Nothing afterwards. You have one life, now you get the chance to really live it. You can be passionate about the world we live in and make it a better place for future generations. That is even more exciting than believing in some "afterlife"."

It took me a long time to accept this. One night, I was up all night afraid of what was going to happen to me when I died. I was sad that I would never see anyone I loved ever again. Then I realized I have been given something beautiful, life. It just takes a little time to come to this conclusion. I am enjoying life more now and I intend on living to the fullest.

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Comment by Apple on April 9, 2010 at 4:37pm
That's right. You know have a world view that lets you live your life to the fullest with no regrets.

This is not saying that Christians don't live life to the fullest. They tend to do so as well, which makes them hypocrites. They still love to work their way up the corporate ladder, live a comfortable lifestyle, own nice things, etc. It's just that a lot of what mainstream America values is anti-christian. If churches didn't keep watering down christianity every generation to try to keep up with the times then there wouldn't be any christians in America today.

Tell you friends that if the bible is true then everyone is going to hell anyway. It's just all so silly. I mean, is it really that hard to realize that we're not immortals?
Comment by Mario Rodgers on April 9, 2010 at 5:41pm
I still like entertaining the notion of Buddhism's version of reincarnation. I think it makes more sense than the doctrines of eternal heaven and eternal hell. The end of your life is still the end of THAT life, but if you do get reborn into another life, you won't remember it anyway. However every now and then I find myself getting flashes of thoughts and feelings that don't seem to belong to me. It's sort of the reverse of Buddhism's idea of "one river, many boats". Reincarnation is like "one boat, many rivers."
Comment by Radu Andreiu on April 10, 2010 at 8:13am
Mario, reincarnation is just as implausible as Hell and Heaven, so maybe you're not such a skeptic after all. Your consciousness exists only because your brain exists. In fact, everything that makes you... well, you, it's your body, including your brain, of course. To believe in reincarnation means to believe in a soul or something like that, but there is no logical reason to believe there is such a thing. I mean, we are a very complicated biological machine, but that's it. We are like a robot, an organic one, with a very advanced artificial intelligence. You don't really think that a conscious AI (something that will probably be developed in this century or even half a century) will be the reincarnation of something, or it will reincarnate in another thing.

Furthermore, the number of lifeforms varies over time, from low population to high and vice versa. From what does the extra population reincarnate from and to what does one reincarnate when the population drops, or even disappears?

I truly feel like I'm giving bad news to someone, like telling a child that Santa Claus doesn't exist, but I think that the truth shouldn't be something a mature person can't handle. The most probable thing that will happen to us when we die is... nothing. We'll return to the state we were in before we were born: not existing. I mean, it wasn't so bad or boring after all, was it? It's just... nothing.
Comment by Radu Andreiu on April 10, 2010 at 10:55am
I don't know about Mercedes, but I am quite sad about ceasing to exist too. I know I won't feel anything after I die, but the thought of missing out on so many things is quite sad. I would have liked to witness what happened in the billions of years before I was born and I'd like to live much more than just a few decades, perhaps even for eternity. Just imagine... going to other planets, galaxies or even universes, answering all kinds of questions about our world. Wouldn't it be awesome? I'd really like to live long enough for a technology which could transfer my consciousness in a machine to appear. Of course, if this thing doesn't happen, there is no biggie, because, as you said, it won't really matter after I die, but don't you think that a few decades is a very short time to live?

Anyway, being sad about dying doesn't mean being afraid of what's going to happen afterwards, but rather being afraid of what is not going to happen, if you know what I mean.
Comment by Mercedes Anderson on April 10, 2010 at 11:13am
I do wish I could live longer to see things change too, I would also love to see if some where out there, there were humans living on another planet similar to ours.
Comment by Radu Andreiu on April 10, 2010 at 11:34am
I don't think there are other humans out there, but (more) intelligent beings are definitely a strong possibility.
Comment by Mario Rodgers on April 10, 2010 at 11:39am
I don't believe in reincarnation. I just think on some level on might make some kind of sense. I like to entertain thoughts about it to solve the problems of oblivion. Buddhism's version of reincarnation doesn't require a belief in an immortal soul. Technically life is an electro-chemical process, but everything is either energy or matter, and neither can be created nor destroyed. Since everything is within a self-contained system, even when populations change or grow, the energy output of the universe stays the same. Even if the universe is destined to suffer heat death, the multi-verse still provides balance. Now if you can imagine that life is not an immortal soul inhabiting a body but as a life energy inhabiting a shell of matter, reincarnation is just another way of looking at the energy-matter equation. Knowing that nothing can be created or destroyed and that everything has to balance out, the idea of existing immortally in either heaven OR hell makes no sense whatsoever!

Now don't go thinking I'm a Buddhist, because I don't agree with many of their views. However some of their ideas I find to be fun thoughts. Alternate viewpoints doesn't change my atheism, and I'm still skeptical about a great many things. I mean if you think about it, skepticism taken to its ultimate end point would mean that we wouldn't have the boatload of theories concerning how the Big Bang came about or about whether there are alternate universes out there and then we'd have nothing to test against and no reason to scan the galaxies more. Some of the weirder sciences is really like pin the tail on the donkey, but at least we know that the donkey is there.
Comment by Mario Rodgers on April 10, 2010 at 11:51am
Of course if death is like sleeping but for all time, well then I'll have no problems with that too. But man. . . think of all the planets I'll never get to see or all the things I'll never get to find out.

However a lot of things about nature and the universe suggest that everything is a circle, self-contained and balanced. I don't see why existence should be different.

I've looked up some things about Buddhism just to be sure. And indeed, Buddhism has NO concept of an immortal soul. The idea of one is just alien to the Buddhist.
Comment by Radu Andreiu on April 10, 2010 at 12:09pm
Of course that our atoms will continue to exist, but some of them will end up in the soil, some in other living beings, but we will not exist anymore. It's like saying that a toaster reincarnates after it is completely destroyed. I don't know what will happen with my atoms, most of which are being replaced several times by other atoms during my lifetime, but I really think my consciousness will cease to exist. It's going to be exactly as it was before I was born.
Comment by Robert E. O'Dell on April 18, 2010 at 11:52am
Nothing says more about a man (or woman) than his (or her) ability to face his own mortality.

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