Are you still atheist if you believe in a afterlife?

Im atheist but I cant understant the concept of not existing. I think the thought of not existing is just in the mind. To me I feel nature always finds its way. I think all things within the universe is recycled. It rules out god cause then something would have had to create god and so on.

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To borrow a concept from Disney's Lion King, all of us are part of the cycle of life and what we do on this earth will live on, but our conscious states will not IMHO. Our genes will live on if we reproduce and that's probably the closest thing to immortality we have.

But then again we don't know what happens after death until we get there, for all we know we are like larva and we once we "die" we turn into butterflies, heck it's not any more absurd then a sky daddy with his angels and pearly gates waiting to judge us =P
Theism refers to belief in a god or gods. Atheism then is without a belief in gods. It does not refer to all types. Hence, it is possible to be an atheistic Buddhist (as Buddhism is actually fundamentally without gods, they were added later by the cultures). Or, yes, to believe in other supernatural things. I personally do not believe in an afterlife. When I die, I'll be fertilizer. I do believe that ghosts exist as a psychic imprint on the world. Perhaps I overestimate what the human mind is capable of, but I do think it is possible for mind to affect matter.
The Lion King analogy is good. Matter is never lost it only changes. I personally believe that when your brain stops working conciousness ceases. This makes the most sense to me. Scientifically speaking everything we do as we live is going on due to the biological processes that are happening in our bodies and our brain is, as we all know, highly dependent on having plenty of blood and oxygen to keep it going. Anyone who has ever passed out or blacked out ( drinking?) can tell you what happens. When they awake most are unaware of what happened. So it follows that if you are no longer pumping blood into your brain then you are probably not going to go on in a concious manner any longer.

It is a tough thing to accept.
Let me ask you something that most theists feel too threatened to answer. Which 'you' lives forever? And what is forever?

Seriously, my older brother lived for a day - what would he be for all eternity - a day old baby?

My grandfather died at 93 - weak but with all his faculties. He was a sturdy, smart, talented man all his life - a master carpenter - didn't stop building until he was in his eighties. So who would he be? The hardy young situational alcoholic of his twenties? The stable, tea-totaling workaholic of most of his life? The wise old man in the broken down body of his last six or seven years? Which one?

What about my sister - the beautiful, healthy woman who went from one dysfunctional relationship to another - or the loving mother, with two wonderful daughters, a loving companion and, did I mention, Multiple Sclerosis?

We die every day. The person we were is gone before we get to know them. There is some kind of continuum of self - in this temporary existence - but the person we think of ourselves as (the 'unchanging essence') is a total illusion. We hold an incomplete idea of ourselves built out of faulty memories, flawed observations, etc. when, every moment continually alters who we are. So, who will you be for eternity?

Keep in mind that, by the time a fly could tear down a mountain a grain of dirt at a time, eternity would have just begun. In fact, who would even desire to live forever - given just how long that is?
"We die every day. The person we were is gone before we get to know them. There is some kind of continuum of self - in this temporary existence - but the person we think of ourselves as (the 'unchanging essence') is a total illusion. We hold an incomplete idea of ourselves built out of faulty memories, flawed observations, etc. when, every moment continually alters who we are. So, who will you be for eternity?"

Thanks for that. Excellently put :)

Personally the only 'continuance' I put any stock in is the way that throughout your life you can have impacts - both good and bad - on those around you, in the deeds you perpetrate, the words you utter, the children you raise, the lives you brighten, and so forth. Anything you can do which will have a lasting, positive impact on the general state of the human condition or on this amazing world we find ourselves in, let that be your legacy, and you will persist for as long as can be called meaningful (i.e, until there is no human race left).

Any time a person gives precedence to goodness for goodness' sake, over kowtowing to a cosmic dictator, we reap some tangible benefit as a global community. While there may be no supernatural aspect to our 'collective unconscious', kindness and benevolence begets benevolence, so as long as you ensure that your actions are noble and your intentions positive, you can rest assured that the ripples you are making today in the pond of human experience continue on practically forever.

Oh, and Travis, since no-one else has posted it yet, here's one famous man's take on the lack of life after death:

"I was dead for millions of years before I was born and it never inconvenienced me a bit." - Mark Twain

:)
Great points. All of which frighten the hell of most theists to even consider.
The film "Interview with the Vampire" suggests just what hell such eternal life would be. In that film, each vampire remains as it was when infected as a human. A young girl vampire tries frantically to become a woman, but she can't even change her hair style . Each Eternal remains as they were at that defining moment forever! Try as they might to end their existence, they can only suffer and feel hunger and pain, but never death.

On a more practical if less poetic level - how would "you" persist without a body? Where would memory be stored, where would thinking occur?

I don't believe an atheist can believe in eternal life - it is just a replacement for a god that does magic. I say "Atheism means No Magic Allowed".
@Howard S. Dunn Thank you for this gem of a response, perfection.
Very nicely put, Howard.
If you experience nothing then thats something.
I think Talia meant there is no experience..
That is the core of the matter.

It is difficult to hold such an uncomfortable belief as the eventual cessation of our own existence and to face it oculi aperti, and the reward is academic so I couldn't recommend it for all (but that special kind of nerdiness prefers to stick with the cold facts over trying to justify a more comfortable expectation).

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