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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Excellent topic for a discussion thread! Honestly I think the lack of comfort that atheism offers on this subject scares people away more than anything else. Personally, I'd like to live as long as possible (not that I eat healthy or anything) but I now that I'm going to die. I have very limited control over how or when I will die so I guess I simply try not not stress out over something that I have no control over.

There is no lack of comfort at all. Think of the worrying that xtians do if they´re going to hell or heaven! I was brought up with that fear - it´s huge and horrible! After I escaped it took me years to understand more about life and death - you don´t learn that in church. The best thing I learned is that all life is family, so I learned from my pets when I brought them to the vet after they became too ill. They knew it was time and welcomed death - like some people I´ve seen die and unlike my parents, who never stopped crying for their god like frightened children.

So I´ll go to my death in the way I go to sleep after a busy day; unable to stay any longer - suffering won´t be too bad if the vet is there.

Human emotion complicates death unecessarily. Death is simply apart of a natural process that ends and for which we know of no comebacks. Scientifically, we do not know what happens after death other than the fact the body ceases to function. But just because a person is dead does not mean it be a time to mourn. In fact rather it is a time to remember and celebrate that persons life. At this point there is nothing more to be said, nothing more to be done but to accept what has happened. One day we ourselves will die. Our blogs will no longer be updated, we will stop getting mail, our email accounts will continue forever somewhere in cyberspace. But it's alright. The impact we will have had on the lives of others will outweigh our own death. Death is nothing to be feared, we all will share the experience at some point in our lives. People want to believe they will continue on forever and survive death in a non-physical form. It's beautiful poetically, and yes hopefully we will be remembered by loved ones. But such is enough.
Well said Dre!
I'm on the final lap of my life and from this proximity death is less frightening than it was from the view I had of it when I was a young adult.I've experienced the death of most of my family(all atheists)..and eventually discovered that humour is the greatest consoler..remember the times you laughed with them..and remember how ridiculous humans are.
Not having the ability to worship helps...Enshrining anything ,even memories,just means something more to dust and the infinite appeal of the curious living world still makes me burst into a smile.
Bingo.  If anything, I want people to turn my funeral into a roast.
As Dre wrote above, "Death is a part of the natural process". It is nothing more or nothing less. It happens to all living things eventually. Acceptance of this, will help.

I was never raised with the belief of seeing my loved ones after death. For me, dead was dead. You took time to mourned the death, then celebrated the life, and then rocked on with the fond memories. When I kick the enevitable bucket, I hope my loved ones will do the same.
I think it's bad to loose a loved one. It's worse to loose a loved one that has been ignored.
Religious mothers can't control their adult childrens views. I'm ok with this. Death is beyond my power to prevent. The government of Egypt is trying to kill all of the pigs over there. Not a rational responce to prevaling conditions. I can't stop them. Some of the best people in the world couldn't prevent their own assassinations. All I can do is make my life so meaningful that my death will be less significant than my time here. This seems rational to me.
Death is only one event in the totality of your life. Please don't beat yourself up over it.
Well, my grandmother died today. It's the easiest death I've ever had to deal with. She was a cruel woman and has been sick for years. I almost wish there was a god for her to stand in front of to be judged. Seems almost unfair for her to not be punished for all the hurt she caused to others while in this world.

But then it's a good thing no one has to be judged by 'god' because humans are imperfect and would never make it into heaven. So I guess it's better to just be gone than have to worry about going to hell.
I feel this way about my grandmother. She has Alzheimers now and a big part of me is glad.

My grandmother died this week at 88. She was the one who begath the questioning of god in my family, after her and her boyfriend's families refused to let them marry over religious differences. But as with many Canadians, we end up sprawled at the country's extremes and cross-country flights are expensive (she lived in Newfoundland, I've not lived anywhere near there in 25 years), so we didn't see much of each other in my adult life. We emailed and Skyped on occasion, I set up her computer over the phone, across the country. She was quite a modern woman, and had done some travelling. But she menopaused at age 38 and since as a young girl she'd been real skinny, tho she'd had a great nutrition all her life, her bone density dropped quickly and she ended up going through 2 separate hip replacements at 70 and 78. So from 65 onward she was often lame and could not enjoy life much. We weren't very close, and death always comes as a surprise, but she died peacefully in her sleep, finally. I know for myself, given her quality of life, I would not have wanted to go past 65, I do not understand the urge to push on at such an age. She wasn't really close to anyone in the family and didn't raise my mother, for all sorts of drama that went on back then.

My other 2 grandparents died in 2003-4, my grandad didn't move from the recliner for 35 years, bad back. He lived in the front of the home, and my grandmother lived near the kitchen. She brought him meals, changed his sheets, and did his laundry (they had a wringer!) that was the extent of their interaction for the last 20 years of communal life. She was his elder by 10 years and had always worn the pants in the family. They spent the last year in a nursing home, separated, she died 6 months after him, at 93. She was an unbreakable, unstoppable, energetic 4'10" woman, champion bowler til 85, chomped on garlic and onions and food from the sea all her life. Her health showed not a single sign of deterioration until the final year. She broke one bone in her life from a fall in her 80s, she had climbed to the roof to clean the gutters!!! Other than that she never needed a doctor. I'll probably be like my grandad. I have had a bad back all my life, since my teens. That assuredly will be my first failing in old age, as it's already started on its path to failure. I do not expect to wish to extend my life beyond its useful and/or happy phase. So I will live the rest of my life carefree and what will be will be. All three of those grandparents were agnostic atheists, they were the beginning of atheism in my family, in generations/geography where atheism was pretty rare and religion had a very strong hold on daily life (Maritimes).

 

Families get smaller, life moves along. That is a beautiful aspect of atheism, death is simply death. My entire family treats it exactly in that manner. Sometimes it seems like it is our one common value.

Excellent topic! I made a slow 25+ year transition from Baptist to Atheist. The hardest part was the last couple of years before fully accepting that I didn't believe anymore. I was bouncing between being a Deist and Atheist, and death was the sticking point. Like Julia Sweeny says, I had to mourn the deaths of those I loved all over again; my mother and father among them.

I've learned to cherish the memories and appreciate my life and those around me even more.

As for my own death; I hope hope to live as long as I can and see what the future brings. I don't fear death because of death itself. I fear for the the pain and sorrow that my wife, family, and friends would feel upon my departure.

If I had things my way, I would be that last of my family and friends to go; no one to cry for me; no sadness, just that final dreamless sleep; no taxes; no worries...Oh yeahhhh...

http://www.juliasweeney.com/letting_go_mini/index.html

Julia Sweeney's You Tube Trailer - Letting Go Of God

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