As an Atheist, how do you deal with it?

It's definitely, definitely the hardest thing for me. I think about how crappy it is to have a mother who is hurt by my religious decisions, but how much worse would it be to realize that when I lose someone in my family, they're gone forever?

A lot of the Atheists I speak to don't think about it, or don't seem to mind. What do you think?
(Hopefully this isn't a duplicate thread.)

Tags: death

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I worry about death, too. We are human and are supposed to want to live.  It's still survival of the species- not death.  I know it's silly to worry about death but I do anyway. Perhaps it's hardwired.  Having been raise a fundie I got rid of god easily enough- but convincing my stomache that there is no hell or the devil is another thing.  I think one of the things that changed my thinking is the fact that even the universe is not going to last forever. God was never merciful and the universe itself ends.  I should be philosophical about it all.  Then I think about all I will miss of my kids life.  So much for philosophy.  I forgive myself for being a human being.  That;s more grace than our dear fluffy lord ever gave me.

 

 

We don't know most of what we assume. What we do know are the basics. We guess from there. Everything seems to revolve around something right down to the atom. Everything in space including us 'probably' revolves around something. We know that life will find a way to survive if given the chance. We know that there are so many planets out there that the possiblility of there not being many other planets exactly like ours is ridiculously small. We can't say there is life out there but from what we know, it's atleast as factual as dna matching. I could go on and on about the new things we've learned or learned to surmise but it would be much easier to say "There must be a guy out there that made all this happen", but i can't because well,.. that would be idiotic. Don't you think? I think your headed in the right direction.

It's ironic that the "solution" to the problem of fear of death from a religious perspective is actually the root of the fear of death. I'm referring to the concept of a "soul" or "self". If there is no "I" or "self" and you are convinced of this, really convinced, then the loss of self is not something to fear.

 

The Buddhist have been saying this for a long time. Now those in the areas of Neurology, Cognitive Science and Consciousness are putting coming to the same conclusion. The "soul", the "self", the "I" is an illusion. Yet it is that very thing which we fear to lose and bring about the fear of death.

 

The key is that you have to be convinced, to really know there is no self.

 

My primary concern is for those I leave behind, especially my children. Once I dead of course I won't know or care but now I want to make sure they have someone to go to, to help them out. That is my concerns.

It helps to look at the greener pastures, for instance instead of seeing the death of your family member as a loss, you should be glad that you got to know them. And also if you reach the age where you are likely to die of old age, your body will be so frail and delicate that you will probably wish to die or at least be most accepting of it.

I'm really unsure how I feel about death. The only death I've ever been emotionally affected by was my grandfather's, just because they kept him alive in misery for quite a while, which I personally think is horrible. But other than that, I guess I've always felt neutral about people passing away.

 

However, my dad is getting pretty bad now. It's hard to say how close he is, but I'm personally guessing that he's just a couple of years away. I've never faced someone so close to me dying, so I keep thinking about how I'll react to it. I suspect that I'll be okay knowing that he lived a long and good life, and he's had a chance to do most everything he would have wanted to do.

 

But who knows? It might hit me hard and my entire viewpoint of death willl change. Just have to wait and see.

In the past couple of years, I've lost my last three grandparents (1st one died when I was real young), one uncle and my best friend (44). Their deaths have changed nothing in my views on death. They are simply dead. I think most of the pain comes from questioning oneself as to whether we've been worthwhile to their lives, were we "worthy" enough. "I" vs "them". But really, what's the benefit of thinking these thoughts after death? We just need to ensure we can live with ourselves while people are still alive. Death is not a bad or wrong, it simply is.
My grandfather was like a dad to me. He helped form my viewpoint. My son is turning out to be a good young man and I often wish I could thank my grandfather for the things he said that made me able to contribute to such a fine person as my son is turning out to be. My biggest regret is that my son will never meet my grandfather. I'm sure glad I did though. I know that he will live on atleast through the life of my son and even longer if my son has children.

I "deal" with it this way:

 

- I try very hard not to die at all. (I will most likely fail at some point.) Read "Transcend" if you want to know more.

- "If you die. Your conciousness stops to be" It is most likely the truth. I cannot change it. I can only accept it.

- If my conciousness stops, I will feel no pain, sorrow or any other negative emotion or feeling about that.

- There is a large chance that my conciousness stops all the time and that other conciousnesses enter my body after. The "rapid fire conciousness model" I have created for myself provides me with the revelation that "death" is not scary at all. I happens to "my" conciousness all the time.

- The ending of a good party does not change the fact that the party was good. :)

 

Thats the "easy" part. The hard part is dealing with people that die around you. Those that you love.

 

- People are matter.

- Matter (for a time) comes together in certain patterns to form people.

- You love certain patterns of matter because those complex patterns reflect waves and energy towards your senses that produce electrical reactions in your brain that gives your consciousness happiness.

- If those patterns stop existing you feel sadness because you expected those waves and energy to continue coming for longer.

- Your predictions and expectations are not in line with reality, this makes you sad.

 

This is not a solution. You will most likely feel this sadness. But you can mitigate it by either having low expectations. Three dimensional material patterns, even those with intelligence to escape danger and mechanisms to repair and replace bits of themselves when damaged are extremely fragile and temporary and can be disturbed very easily by other patterns. If you wish to negate this sadness, you should not assume that the waves, energies and information contained their-in send out by materials patterns will continue to do so tomorrow, because one day you will be set up for a crushing disappointment.

 

Other sadness mitigating revelations include:

- The memories of his or her pattern are imprinted into yours.

- The matter that created his pattern is now free to wander and will most likely, in part, be building blocks for new and other material patterns that you will love.

- His or her conciousness has stopped existing, and feel no pain, sorrow or any other negative emotion for its own demise.

 

All the statements above are scientific truths and therefore most likely correspond with reality. That gives me astonishingly more comfort than any beautiful, poetic lie, religion included.

I loved that.

So what about the reasons why?

We assume that we feel pain so that we can learn to keep our hands away from sharp things etc... I wonder why we feel some other things like fear and sadness. It seems kinda like a balance set by evolution to cause us to rise above the animals around us. Possibly, it's even simpler than that and our brains are saying to us 'Hey quit letting people die' because it reduces the population and our grip on this world. Is 'strength in numbers' what has brought us so far and causes us to feel all these strange things? In the end, the realization that it's only chemical reaction that causes all of it was a great contributor in my not killing myself when i was young so i could grow old enough to realize how silly the notion was to begin with. Maybe if we iradicate religion, all the clouds of confusing notions will roll back and kids will stop doing that. Wouldn't it be great if we could just say to them, 'It's only this chemical reacting with that chemical which was stimulated by this situation that is causing these feelings so just do your homework and stay alive today'?

Thank you for the positive reply and question.

 

I think the main reason why we evolved to feel sad about the demise of our loved ones is because the people that did not felt this feeling of pain went extinct because our branch of people formed tribes (enhancing our extelligence and the change our children survived) and they did not.

 

The sad feeling learns us not to stop people from dying, but it learns us to prevent the people we love from dying. Of course our "tribe-feelings" are somewhat outdated and we now love people outside of our "tribe", thus negating much of the evolutionary benefit of this emotion.

 

"Strength in numbers" gives you an evolutionary advantage over your fellow humans, but of course not on a global scale, only on a tribe scale.

 

Yes, being conscious of the inner workings and reasons for your emotions is a great way to mitigate the negative once. It also gives you a great answer if your kid asks "Why does it hurt so much?" namely; the truth.

 

Doing homework is largely pointless because most of the facts learned in school will not be needed later in life nor are they worth the trouble of learning by rote, if it takes less time to find the answer on the internet nowadays. The real answer you want to give kids is "the educational system is outdated and you are right, most of it will be pointless. You should do your homework because it increases the capacity of your brain by training to memorize things and you will earn a degree that is likely to increases your happiness, and grant you a decadent life you now wish for." Its the truth.

 

Eradicating myth about death and other things will indeed help clear the clouds of confusion for your children.

i used to be fearful of death but being a atheist i realise that this is it, fuck it when you die shows over. you can not prevent it you can not prolong it you can not stop it death will happen you will die fact, case closed. but it has make me more out spoken more confident and more driven knowing that im finite that we all are.
I tend to celebrate peoples lives vs. their passing. Just think about how small the chances are that you even exist at all let alone spend part of your existence with them.

For me this helped me cherish life, and my time with those I care about.

I lost a friend this morning to cancer, and it is hard and he will be missed but I wouldn't have traded knowing him for the world!

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