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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Death scares me but not as much as the realization that life is so short; life is but a puff of wind if we are to accept the notion of eternity (the future is never certain but our human minds could continue counting beyond figures of googolplex factored by googolplex). I will only be able to live a short 40 years or so, after that I would never be able to walk, talk and think. When I first realized this, every time the thought would enter my mind, I would find myself unable to completely accept the fact, and I would cry my heart out. I am an atheist after all, so there was no concept of an afterlife for consolation.

When my father passed away (only about 3 years ago), after living a life that positively influenced so many people, but left not much of a legacy to his family, I realized there is but one solution to my misery and that is living my life the best way I could. Yes, my life will be short if put beside 100 years, 1K years, 1M years and infinity -- I cannot do anything about that anymore but to accept it. Therefore, I just have to appreciate my remaining days, and learn from my past to avoid any more regrets.

Right now, I am trying my best to live my life to the fullest, I try to make my decisions carefully, making sure that my actions will benefit not just myself but also those around me.

The death of my father was not very hard on me. He's gone, that's it. No afterlife, no heaven, no hell. He was not going to any eternal place, he will not sing with angels nor burn in the fiery pits of hell. But I was glad that his death taught me to cope up with the idea of death itself.

I have a Life List (list of things I want to do before I die) that I update regularly. Currently, I have 86 items on it, 33 of which I have already done (from attending my brother's college graduation and writing a love letter, to helping a stranger build a house, joining a political rally and going down a volcanic crater). I have so much more to write on my list, I'm only 21. :) I hope to do all of them before I die, by then, I will no longer be afraid of death. This is, after all, the only life I will have to fulfill.
Death is my biggest fear, by far. I lay awake dreaming about ways to avoid it (little mini robots that keep me young and healthy is what I'm hoping for now). I wish there was a god so that me and my family didnt have to die but since I cant make myself believe that. Its just all those superficial things that I seem to dwell on, what am I going to miss??? I mean I think about how bad it would suck to have grown up without air conditioning or phones or cars and then I think what am I going to miss out on??

On the flip side I think it helps me to appreciate life more. Since I dont believe in an afterlife, I think I might cherish this life more than christians. They seem to be living their whole lives for an afterlife when this one is the only life that is certain. Case in point, my old boss and me were having a conversation on politics and that lead into climate change. At the end I asked him, what about your kids? Or their kids and his response was that he raised them to be christians, so it wouldnt matter if they died because they are going to heaven. This statement kinda broke me heart. I think it illustrates a major problem with religion, in that it takes the focus off living for the here and now.
I often think about what it will feel like to lose the people closest to me.
A kind of "chemical" numbness comes over my brain.
I guess I start to rationalize away my instinctive emotions and allow my intellectual reasoning to consume my thoughts.
The only reason that my loved one died is because they were born and were alive to begin with so, which should I fear most?
Life or Death?
Why fear or feel either way? Isn't it all the same anyway?
You cant die without being alive or born and you cant have a life that doesn't include death.
So then death is a natural part of life and who would want to be eternal anyway. I mean Holy shit I get bored so as it is let alone eternity.
In the end I have decided that these feelings I feel when a loved one dies are really just me fighting my own selfishness. I want that person to be alive, it has nothing to do with what they want or would've wanted for themselves.
In the case of my daughter. I would be to blame for her death by bringing her into this world in the first place. It was a selfish and deliberate act to have a child knowing full well that the child will be subject to this horribly cruel world and then die, but my selfishness or natural instincts to procreate overrode my intellect and I did it anyway.
I look at my "pregnant with triplets" sister in law and think "What the Fuck is wrong with you"? Don't you know what you are subjecting those 3 lives to? You're selfishness with having "just one more" has now caused yet 3 more people to live a completely meaningless existence and then die.
But these things are seldom thought about by people in depth until its time for that life to end. Myself included.
I reconcile all this selfishness by a curious reaction. I feel happy and relieved.
I'm glad I knew my loved ones, I don't regret their life. I'm relieved that they don't have to endure anymore of the bullshit that goes on in this world. I'm relieved that they don't have to have these feelings at my death.
I'm happy that they were alive and I'm happy that they are dead. Life and Death aren't mutually exclusive they are one and the same and neither needs to be feared.
hear hear!! Well put!!
On the death of other...

People's personalities are made up of many facets that interchange depending on the situation, mood, health etc. Some of the major facets a person has is how they are reflect other people, especially loved one. You do not act the same way with different people, you change to reflect how they interact with you. So when you were with that person, a part of your personality changed to reflect them. As such, a part of them exists still in their reflection in you, and in everyone they knew. This, combined with their memories, is what you carry with you.

In the physical sense they've merely gone back to being part of the universe without identity - exactly what they came from. In time their components will be parts of other lifeforms, or life couldn't continue (cycle of life).

On facing your own death without an afterlife, just nothing?

How about, "Don't fear nothing, only fear fear" The only thing to fear is being wrapped up with your own fear of dying and wasting your life. Your identity can't last for ever, nor would you want it to. It changed throughout your life and death will be it cessation. Death literally holds nothing to fear.

That's just my opinion.
Ironically enough, when my mother died in cancer when I was 6, I decided I hated god :) I believe in happy memories. I will of course be sad when my other loved ones die, but for me there being a heaven is a great injustice to me personally, why would this person be allowed to exist in another plane and I cannot be THERE, I cannot COMMUNICATE with them? I'd rather have them just dead then. I mean, it's like living a distance relationship but it's not your choice and there is no free communication. What good is that for?! I once lived 50 Swedish miles away from my ex, that was enough.
Hi Jezzy,

Coming to terms with death means coming to terms with life. If you understand that you've only got one life to live and that you can die at any moment, the impetus of existence becomes depth of experience instead of fear of death.

Yes, it's sad to lose loved ones. That's a toughie. I've never lost a loved one, so I'm speaking from empathy instead of experience.

I'm middle-aged, so death should be intruding in my life, directly or indirectly, soon (probably my parents). I think the most difficult thing would be suffering before death. That's something I don't want for myself or my loved ones.

I imagine I will die content with my life but I guess one never really knows until it's over.
i personally do not fear or shy away from death, it happens to everyone sooner or later. its just a part of life
Whenever I begin to fear death, I remember this much-used quote by 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. "

Instead of billions and billions of years, I substitute it with eternity - even before our universe, there was the singularity. Therefore, I was nonexistent much, much longer than I have existed. Life is extremely unsubstantial when you set it beside eternity of... not being alive.

I leave the idea of an afterlife open, possibly some sort of bodily energy lives on as some form of consciousness... but there's absolutely no proof for that (outside of the Sci-Fi channel), and even if that were true, it definitely wouldn't be infinite (the universe will collapse eventually, the "big crunch").

Besides, I'd rather spend an eternity without being aware of my death or anything else, than an eternity with worshiping an insane madman of a god forever.
"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. " Mark Twain

Great quote. Definitely one to remember. Here's another one by Mark Twain

The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.
What is there to fear? When a person dies, all conscious thought ends. There is nothing left of the person except the empty shell. Hence, there is nothing to be scared about since a dead person cannot be scared. To me, this is the part that theists really hate: if a person does not fear death, then all the promises of the eternal afterlife mean nothing. If you don't have an exclusive club whereby you can admit or deny people at your whim (bases on some ridiculous nonsense), then your power has been stripped. Most religions need people to be scared silly of death in order to wield power over them.

On the personal level, the very idea of immortality in any form gives me nightmares. I don't want to be awake forever. I don't want to float around in some imaginary place trying to figure out how I am going to spend my time. 72 virgins would get old, so to speak, after a while, and there is no other activity in heaven that I've heard of that could keep a thinking person interested during eternity. Ask theists about their concepts of heaven and you will find they have none or haven't thought it through. The concept of heaven is just as hellish as, well, hell.

Death is the end result of living. You can't have one without the other. As was once sung by a man hanging from a crucifix: "Always look on the bright side of death/Just before you draw your terminal breath."

Cheers!
The most common answer I get about dying is that they can finally spend time with their god. But aren't they already doing it? So what's the difference despite all the judgement day stuff? Most Christians claim they can already communicate with god by the help of prayers and whatnot, but if they already can, why would they ever wish to go to heaven? Would it automatically make them less sinful or anything?

I agree, few Chrstians have ever thought through death throughly. I also shudder at the part of living forever. What would I do in such a "lifetime"? The very goal of feeling we have a goal in life is the goal itself, if that made sense.

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