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Atheistic Dilemma - How do you deal with your mortality?
Posted: 18 February 2011 11:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 46 ]
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Nick - 17 February 2011 01:44 PM

I know it’s a bit extreme, and in a lot of respects it’s a very childish question, but I can’t help but wonder why people who believe that the next life will be so great are so afraid to go and join it.

Well there is always that fear of not have being “good” enough to get into heaven or not being among the chosen.

I’m not really afraid of death and sometimes actually look forward to an end to all of the responsibilities and worry.

Still existing is fun. I kind of like to keep existing for as long as possible. I don’t however look forward to any pain involved in the process of dying however. Sometimes moments of pain can seem like an eternity. Death seems a release to me.

So I am conflicted about the thought of death. Perhaps it’s that conflict that makes people vulnerable to individuals who claim to have knowledge of what happens when we die.

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Posted: 18 February 2011 07:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 47 ]
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Einstein said the same thing but dealing with morality, i hate when christians or muslims tell me that without religion, there would be total chaos and they get their morals from the bible or quran. Only one problem, i have read nothing moral in either of them. For christians, i’ll bring up Lot, Aaron, David, Solomon, and the levite priest that allowed his concubine to be gang raped in the book, Judges. They will either put fingers in their ears and go LA LA LA LA or quickly change the subject. The justification hardcore muslims give for hadiths just astounds me. i can’t believe i used to use the same arguments.

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Posted: 18 February 2011 07:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 48 ]
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A slight digression.  I had always said that if my mind went I’d just as soon die but if my body went and my mind was still functional I’d just as soon remain alive.  Well, someone very close to me has had the latter happen.  Body has just about shut down, but mind still fully functional.  I now realise that I couldn’t stand being locked in my mind without any way to communicate, so if I were approaching that state that’s when I’d break out the cyanide.

Occam

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Posted: 18 February 2011 08:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 49 ]
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I have thought about that quite a bit Occam, and reached the same conclusion as you. That would be a waking nightmare.

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Posted: 18 February 2011 08:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 50 ]
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ExMachina - 14 February 2011 06:12 AM

Being a newly converted Atheist at approx 2 years since my realization. I had run into the biggest problem that I think that most Atheists go though. It’s the question of how do you deal with the idea that you are going to die and that the best thing you’ll be leaving behind is an imprint in the dirt? With Christianity, they can look forward to a super happy fun time for eternity with the guy they think is just super. But Atheists don’t have that luxury that so many other beliefs have. We have to accept that this is it. That there is nothing else. So how do you deal with this idea? Or do you not deal with it at all?

Edit 2/17

Me personally, I had a big problem with the concept of me no longer existing and that all my memories would die with me, but I eventually came up with my own answer and I hope it can help other Atheist.

My answer to the question:

How do you deal with your mortality?

I didn’t care about not existing before I was born, and I won’t care about not existing after I die.

I hope this answer works for some people.

My answer is basically the same but I got it from the current Dalai Lama: There’s no point worrying about it. Make the most of life.

Besides, life has been around for a long time and may be around for a long time to come. I don’t even have to conclude with any finality that death is the end. My objection to theism and other forms of supernaturalism is that they propose answers they don’t have. I’m not about do the same thing, and waste my time in the process.

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Posted: 18 February 2011 08:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 51 ]
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Nick - 17 February 2011 01:44 PM

I know it’s a bit extreme, and in a lot of respects it’s a very childish question, but I can’t help but wonder why people who believe that the next life will be so great are so afraid to go and join it.

It’s not childish at all, in fact it’s a great question. It’s yet another piece of information that tells me that people don’t really believe the things they claim to believe. It’s why they insist that other people should believe them and become upset if that doesn’t happen: They need the social reinforcement because their know that they don’t really know.

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Posted: 19 February 2011 09:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 52 ]
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George - 17 February 2011 04:49 PM

Well, Nick, I guess you’re a lucky person for “not getting it.”  wink You’re right, once we are dead it won’t hurt, but it hurts now, knowing that it’s coming. I even hate going to sleep: I don’t like not existing.

I am a little bit astonished about your statement her, George.

Fear of death is just a mechanism for surviving long enough to get offspring. Just like other feelings, like love, compassion, ethics etc are just mechanisms for the species to survive. Nothing to make deeper thoughts about.

Isn’t it?

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Posted: 19 February 2011 10:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 53 ]
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Occam. - 18 February 2011 07:40 PM

I had always said that if my mind went I’d just as soon die but if my body went and my mind was still functional I’d just as soon remain alive.  Well, someone very close to me has had the latter happen.  Body has just about shut down, but mind still fully functional.  I now realise that I couldn’t stand being locked in my mind without any way to communicate, so if I were approaching that state that’s when I’d break out the cyanide.

I had a friend die from MS a few years ago. In the end, like your friend Occam, she was in complete control of her faculties but had very little control over her body. I can tell you with absolute certainty that she was very happy to leave this place.

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Posted: 19 February 2011 11:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 54 ]
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GdB - 19 February 2011 09:17 AM

Fear of death is just a mechanism for surviving long enough to get offspring.

If you read my other post you will see that I said that the fear we (I) experience is unnecessarily extreme for it to be an adaptation.

GdB - 19 February 2011 09:17 AM

Just like other feelings, like love, compassion, ethics etc are just mechanisms for the species to survive.

You always make the same mistake, GdB. No, we don’t have those mechanisms in order to survive, it’s the other way around: those who have certain mechanisms will survive.

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Posted: 19 February 2011 12:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 55 ]
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I’ve followed this forum for years.  I get more time to post now because my partner of 27 years is in the severe stage of Alzheimer’s disease and must have constant care.  If there’s an after life that has any relationship to this existence what a horrible thing it would be.  Only a horrific god would force Esther to continue her current existence for eternity or even to exist with the memory of these last three years.  But, if there’s an after life unconnected to this life then it’s just another life, not an afterlife at all.

I don’t know what happens next and I find myself surprised by how little I care.  If you asked me what I hope happens, I hope consciousness is just gone and the physical bits compost.  I don’t think I’m able, as an existing entity to imagine not existing.  It seems a waste of time to try.  A good friend of mine said, “I’m not afraid of dying, but I’m afraid of pain”.  I get that.

As far as deciding when life is not worth living:  I remember a scene from a movie, maybe something called Tsotsi, where a punk beats up a crippled beggar who’s in a wheel chair.  The punk asks the beggar why he goes on living and the man says, “I like the feeling of the sun on my shoulders”.  I still believe that Esther can feel the sun on her shoulders.  When I’m sure she can no longer feel the sun, I hope we can help her body shut down without pain.

For me, this existence is excruciatingly beautiful.  The opportunity to experience it is all we get.  Helping each other be aware may be the highest calling.

And the cyanide thing.  The hell of it is you probably have to use it before you’re really ready to, by the time you’re really ready there’s a good chance that for physical or mental reasons you won’t be able to.  Just a personal observation.  And my father, who was a medical examiner for 35 years, says carbon monoxide is the way to go.

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Posted: 19 February 2011 03:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 56 ]
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brightfut - 17 February 2011 08:23 PM

The emotional purpose in the will of the brain of the fear of death is to keep a person alive as long as possible.

A lot of people seem to be interpreting this statement or statements like to mean that evolution is responsible for our fear of death.  There’s little more to it than that.  The part of the unconscious mind which is responsible for emotions is capable of reasoning.  Heck, cognitive neuroscientists have discovered millions of nerve cells surrounding the digestive tract which are capable of doing “thinking.”  These nerve cells can decide which foods are best for us, which ones to avoid, and then communicate that to the part of the brain responsible for appetite.  Emotions are not as irrational as was once thought.  The unconscious has a drive to keep the organism alive.  This drive came partly from evolution, but people also want to survive because people find meaning in living, loving, and accomplishing.  Some of the methods it uses for surviving also come from evolution.  However, some of the methods come from its own reasoning.  If the unconscious mind believes that strong fear is necessary to stay alive then it will use that fear and will resist reducing that fear as long as this belief is in place.  In come cases, people have been able to reduce their fear not by attacking and suppressing the fear, but by reexamining the purposes and beliefs that are driving the fear.

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Posted: 19 February 2011 07:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 57 ]
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I am merely a traveler between eternities.  The eternity before I was to the eternity after I am.

I don’t like the idea of some day dying but nobody gets off the planet alive. smile  I’m more afraid of the pain of dying than anything else, or not seeing my future grand children (I’ve two daughters 21 and 24).  But I’m gonna have a grand time while I’m alive!

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Posted: 19 February 2011 09:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 58 ]
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I find comfort in knowing in the end it’s those little DNA’s running the show, I’m just along for the ride.

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Posted: 19 February 2011 10:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 59 ]
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citizenschallenge.pm - 19 February 2011 09:00 PM

I find comfort in knowing in the end it’s those little DNA’s running the show, I’m just along for the ride.

...and then the occasional speeding truck comes along, and BAM! you’re nothing but a piece of meat! cheese

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Posted: 20 February 2011 04:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 60 ]
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PlaClair I guess my only regret is that I won’t get to see how far human progress will go. Not only that, I’ll be missing all the discoveries that come with it too and to see the change in humanities behavior over generations. It would all be fascinating to see if you could only have a way to see it all happen.

Jeciron I’m sorry to hear what you are going through. Believe me when I say that I can empathize with your situation. I think that life has just become wonderful. We’ve finally survived though humans living for hundreds of thousands of years as barbarians and it’s not until now that we are able relax and truly examine the world we live in. Science is no longer held back by religion (much) and it will be exciting to see what will come next. btw I disagree with your father. Nitrous Oxide is the way to go. I say this from personal experience.

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