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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Sorry to hear about your dad.

Try this with your family... Remember when dad was here and 'he' or 'we' etc...

If the conversation goes toward death then change the subject. Maybe enough times of that might help them accept it too.

It's the best way I know to keep someone alive in my heart.

this thing is hard

lots of people block this subject out of their minds

others find solace in religion and other spiritual systems that promise endless life in some shape or form

i frankly don't know how i am going to survive the deaths of my parents

maybe only by reminding myself im also finite and someday the whole circus will end for me as well)

I feel for you - I lived in similar circumstances. But don´t fear losing your friends, you´ll probably never be as lonely as when you lived in your parents´ house.
I never cease to be amazed at the number of people, even some atheists, who think there is some mystery about "what happens after death". This is one of the simplest, most straightforward facts there is in life. When you die "you" as a conscious entity cease to exist. Period. Why is that hard too understand? Yes, of course our constituent atoms continue to exist, but that is completely irrelevant in any consciousness sense. To ask "where do we go when we die" makes no more sense than asking where does the flame go when you blow out the candle. As far as death is concerned, there is zero difference between humans and any other living thing that dies. As to emotional feelings about this fact, that is a different question, one that might rightly be entertained AFTER the hard fcat is determined, not before. I am an only child too, and have no children. I loved my mother dearly and of course I would like to see her again. But my (or your) wants are utterly meaningless as far as the facts are concerned. We can and we will eventually overcome death. There will be people eventually, who are truly immortal except for catastrophic accidents. The fly in the ointment is, that this will only be available to the rich and usual.

Not necessary only available to the rich and powerful. Washing machines where only available to the rich and powerful. The same happened to computers and any other technology.


We will one day all be immortal except for catastrophic accidents.


The first immortals in such a sense might already be alive today.


I agree with the rest of your post and also agree that it will probably only be available to the rich and powerful at the beginning.

Elderly people are a nuisance. It's best to hand them over to the welfare state for processing and forget about them. This may seem a callous way to treat relatives who will not be seen again but I don't care.

it is just not right to just leave the people that raised ypu behind.
Why not? If they truly are a nuisance I treat them with the same disrespect as I treat non-elderly nuisances. However, most elderly people I gathered around me are no nuisance, but wise, experienced people with allot to teach me. So I do not fully agree with Napoleon... although I suspect he is trolling somewhat. ;)


-AF- ATHEIST FUNERALS - AF  ...saving you time, money and inconvenience !


'My sister wanted a godless funeral. But still invited God'

I try not to think about or dwell on it. End of

Well, I'm sure I'm among a minority, but I don't believe something can truly cease to exist, once it comes into existence, and that it merely changes form. You can burn it, melt it, chop it to pieces, but it's still existing, merely in a different way. I equate life to computers. How a file can never really be deleted, merely be buried deeper within the computer, and unless you can rewrite someones consciousness, it's possible theres something more. Then again, we rewrite who we are everyday, killing our old self. 


To not go off in a tangent about my own theories, and philisophical definitions of life and death, I will merely say, I'm not afraid of what I don't know. 

Logically, we all agree, there is no one up there ready to welcome us with open arms for our good deeds, or damn us because were lacking there of. At the same time, I think we can all say the Universe, in all it's infinity, is not exactly something we can comprehend in it's entirety yet. Life after death? Sure as hell not on earth clearly, but hey, why not, I'm a freethinker.

Of course at the same time, I'm prepared if it really is somehow just -nothing-. In that case, I don't fear it either. If death = Non-existence of the mind and body, then it's not really something I can partake in. You can't partake in non-existence, cause you don't exist. I imagine it kinda like going to sleep, but not remebering what you dreamt. Nothing really.


It seems I ranted anyway, but in anycase, that was a good question.



Your assertion that things cannot cease to exist is in direct contrast to reason and logic. It is the pattern of atoms that give something its existence and therefore its identity. There is nothing special about the molecules that make you up, it is the way in which they come together that is important and when they stop creating that pattern that is you, you will no longer be. To say that some part of reality always exists is to say that nothing does. It is to attempt to negate the validity of identity and definition. We call a tree a tree and wood wood for a reason. While the wood was once part of the tree, it is not the tree. And when it is burned to ashes, it will no longer be wood. A piece of wax without a wick, is not a candle. And if you burn a candle down completely, there will be no wick and therefore no candle, only melted wax. It makes no sense to look at the wax on the table where there once was a candle and assert that it is still a candle. The myriad of particles that made the candle what it once was still exist of course, but in a different pattern (one not forming a candle). The pattern that gave the candle its identity and therefore existence is no longer. Something is not the same as its pieces; it's its pieces in a certain order. You are incorrectly equating a thing's particles and that thing. The thing is all the particles in a particular pattern. Just because the particle will continue to exist, does not mean that the pattern they held will.

If you assert that things can be after they are destroyed, then you might as well say that life after death (which is the end of life) is possible. This is what it looks like you mean, but then if so, cannot anything mean anything then? I wonder what sort of 'reason' drove you to become an atheist? Was it that you just don't like monotheism? Because it certainly doesn't appear that you adhere to the laws of causality and noncontradiction. If rather that describing existence and identity for what it is concretely, you seem to use metaphor as an sufficient tool for definition. Just because you can liken life to a computer file (both of which can be destroyed, by the way), does not mean that they are the same. 


Debate is debate I suppose. I'll respect your

views either way, no matter how condescending, or rude you may be in stating them.


In any case, reason, and logic are subjective concepts, meaning I don't mind being in contradiction with your logic or reasoning. There are definitive things, that are not subjective, and that's where the foundation for both our interpretations of the world come from. 


I warn you, this is a long passage.


@ Jezzy, if you don't like a debate going on here, and being so long, I apologize right now, I'll delete my comment, and just message this to Micheal.


To start;


"We call a tree a tree and wood wood for a

reason. While the wood was once part of the

tree, it is not the tree. And when it is burned

to ashes, it will no longer be wood."



"The pattern that gave the candle its identity and therefore existence is no longer."



"Just because the particle will continue to exist, does not mean that the pattern they held will."


That entire passage was somewhat irrelevant, as you have even said the particles continue to exist. This is really all I implied. Though the little chips can no longer be called

a tree, these particles that make up the tree did not cease to exist when cut down. Some are on the ground where it was chopped down, some are in the pant pocket of the lumberjack, and some are burning at the moment, and will then become ash, dumped into the ground in the backyard, to become soil for (more then likely) another tree.


Yeah, the pattern is definitely gone, but the compounds that created it still exist, which is what I implied too. This candle was not in it's essential state, unlike the chemicals within it, or the atoms in those.


So, it wasn't destroyed, nor was it removed from existence. It merely changed in form.


To go on, below, is why I called it a theory.


When I said I didn't believe something could cease to exist, I didn't think something immaterial like thought could cease to exist. It's our thought that makes us who we are. Now you will rebut that the thought is attached to the brain, within the body, and when the body is gone, we are too.


Well that's just where I have to disagree, and where you can call me loony and walk away.


cells > molecules > atoms > energy



From that base, everything is essentially made from the same structure. I am not implying were all the same thing, and that I can walk through a wall if I could, as cool as that would be. I imply that the only differentiating factor in this would be the awareness with us, our thought, and our consciousness. I don't believe our body and consciousness are the same thing. Merely one of those patterns, that are connected, but not truly interwoven as one and the same entity, able to be separated without being necessarily destroyed in it's entirety.


The candle can exist without the wick is what I believe.


I understand I could be placing a larger significance on thought, and our individuality within them, then called for. I understand that my thesis could be wrong.


"If you assert that things can be after they are destroyed, then you might as well say that life after death (which is the end of life) is possible."


I assert that it is impossible to destroy something in it's entirety once it exist. That something like thought, that is immaterial, possibly changes form, while the body rots, and goes into the ground, or is cremated for it's particles to go into a jar, into someones house, to be dropped one day, and drift into the nostrils of some unsuspecting relative.


From a practical standpoint, we're still ignorant to our own existential origin, universe, and even alot of our own earth. I don't feel bad making a theory, and changing them later.


"I wonder what sort of 'reason' drove you to become an atheist?"


Tsk, tsk. Atheism doesn't mean disbelief in the supernatural my rude friend, originating from our Greek counterparts, it means 'Without God', more literally translating for us to "Against theism", or "Opposing Theism". I can have a few self weighed opinions and be an Atheist too.


But is Ironic, that the "Supernatural" is basically the unexplained, yet we only equate it to things that we havn't seen ourselves, rather then the things we see, but don't know how got here. Ironic to me anyways.


I fill in the holes modern science has yet to, with my own ideas, and when science changes, so do those Ideas. I'm sure some Atheist would prefer not to create a thesis at all, and wait for the scientist to provide a credible idea, with substantial proof. Or like others here, just prefer not to think about it at all.


However, I don't too much mind sounding a little crazy while I wait for that, if I'm even breathing to see as much, if it means being another step closer to what things really are before I die.


Cause I don't negate that I could. In which case, huzzah, I think i'm a good person, and I lived a good life. 


", you seem to use metaphor as an sufficient tool for definition. Just because you can liken life to a computer file (both of which can be destroyed, by the way), does not mean that they are the same. "


What exactly did you not understand when I said "Philosophical definitions"? They are philosophical. Naturally philosophy is limited only to what someone can relatively perceive.


"(both of which can be destroyed, by the way)"


Both of which can be overwritten, or encrypted to near infeasible decryption, in order to be recovered, you mean. Not deleted. 7 passes of encryption would be military grade, but it would still be decrypt-able with a large amount of effort. A computer? Yeah it can be broken, to little bits, but the computer is still there too, along with the info on it. No longer reachable to us, but as material existence goes, it still exist. Just a different formation.


In this case, humans are a bit more complicated to me.


In any case, I was asked how I coped with death, which was basically, 'why fear what I don't understand?'. All of what I said could be true, and even more logically it could be wrong. But why should I be afraid if I don't know? And if I do find out it's just non-existence, and my whole thesis is wrong, well hell, I'm happy I got a chance to live.


Apples and oranges I say.


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