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(The New York Times)   How should an atheist view death?   (nytimes.com) divider line
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414 clicks; posted to Discussion » on 21 Oct 2020 at 3:05 AM (13 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



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View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest
 
2020-10-20 11:50:34 PM  
The End
Youtube BXqPNlng6uI
 
2020-10-20 11:52:21 PM  
Being dead will be just like it was before birth

An infinite amount of time will pass and frankly none of us will care
 
2020-10-20 11:54:23 PM  
 
2020-10-20 11:56:56 PM  
This is the Earth. It's where you keep all your stuff. Now, it's gone.

/spooooon
 
2020-10-20 11:57:05 PM  
Ω
 
2020-10-21 12:02:37 AM  
Just make sure before it's permanent lights out that you have someone you can trust to delete your internet cache and cookies.
 
2020-10-21 12:03:25 AM  
As an exchange of energy.

/what a stupid question.
 
2020-10-21 12:08:15 AM  
I think of death as obeying the 2nd law of thermodynamics.
 
2020-10-21 12:17:21 AM  
Death is just the end of my life. Life will use up whatever is left of I was, then it goes on. 

By lottery I was born. By lottery and choices I will die. Same as it ever was.
 
2020-10-21 12:22:26 AM  
The materials of my body return to the earth and my effect on the universe will soon dissipate into nothing.
 
2020-10-21 12:23:07 AM  
All dressed up and nowhere to go?
 
2020-10-21 12:26:50 AM  
Well I hope it's the end because any alternatives suck.
 
2020-10-21 1:15:00 AM  
You just die. It turns black. Then nothing.

/Died two years ago.
//Obvs. I got better.
///Don't wanna do that soon, again I mean.
 
2020-10-21 1:31:47 AM  
Death is big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist's, but that's just peanuts to death
 
2020-10-21 1:45:02 AM  
When I was a young atheist I didn't fear death and never expected to be an old atheist.  Now that I screwed up that plan, as an old atheist, I don't want to die cause yeah, game over. Not going to start believing in magic fairy tales just cause it might make me feel better.  I'm old, but I'm not an idiot.
 
2020-10-21 2:17:19 AM  
Death is similar to falling asleep.
One minute you're in the present, the next moment, you're not.
 
2020-10-21 2:47:29 AM  

cman: Being dead will be just like it was before birth

An infinite amount of time will pass and frankly none of us will care


We all come from the same nothing and return to it. So since our consciousness was ripped from the void once it will be done again and since there is no identity in the void we are in essence everyone who was died before we were born and will become everyone who is born after we die.
 
2020-10-21 3:04:40 AM  
Same way we viewed the 13 billion years before we were alive. Eternity will go quickly.
 
2020-10-21 3:11:36 AM  
In 2020?  A freaking relief.
 
2020-10-21 3:35:02 AM  
I don't fear death, but I'm rather averse to pain. So if I can have a painless death, I'm all for it.
 
2020-10-21 3:54:57 AM  
My soul will go to Hot Babeland to party with hot babes for eternity.  Spuds Mackenzie is already there.
 
2020-10-21 4:17:10 AM  
Fark user imageView Full Size
 
2020-10-21 4:44:26 AM  
When I die I want to be buried in a shallow grave and a tree planted over my body, so it can grow and absorb the nutrients that my decaying remains will provide.

That is what I look forward to in death: That I continue to feed the living, that I give back to this Earth what it has given to me. It is a finality more poignant and -- dare I say spiritual -- than the selfish eternity of continued consciousness that any religion promises.

We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors. We borrow it from our children. And sooner or later we have to give it back.

You always gotta pay it forward.
 
2020-10-21 4:45:41 AM  
For myself, it's something that I want to avoid for a while yet, but I know that there will come a time when I am happy for the sweet release of oblivion.
 
2020-10-21 4:49:26 AM  
I have no idea what happens after we die and no one else does either; anyone can guess but the only guess that has a chance of being 100% right is there's nothing. I can't change what happens so I try not to dwell on it as I'll find out just like everyone else has and will.
 
2020-10-21 4:53:37 AM  
Have you ever been under general anesthesia for surgery of some sort?  It's not like going to sleep, where maybe you dream and you're still responsive should there be a sudden noise.  Under anesthesia it's like a slice of your life has just vanished and suddenly you're on the the other side of it with so sense of passing time.  Death is like that, except there is no other side.
 
2020-10-21 5:00:21 AM  
I don't fear death.  I fear dying horribly or being crippled beyond what I already am. Dead is dead.
 
2020-10-21 5:06:37 AM  
Death...? What's Atheism got to do with death? I just want to yell at women and muslims on the internet.
 
2020-10-21 5:22:48 AM  

forteblast: "I know it is coming, and I do not fear it, because I believe there is nothing on the other side of death to fear."


Fantastic read, thankyou
 
2020-10-21 5:36:06 AM  
Like discworld Death.
 
2020-10-21 5:52:54 AM  
Everything is beautiful and nothing hurt
 
2020-10-21 5:53:15 AM  
Pretty sure that's William Sadler
 
2020-10-21 6:20:08 AM  
Remember before you were born? Yeah, it's like that.
 
2020-10-21 6:21:06 AM  
Whatever it is, rush Limbaugh will find out before me and that makes me happy.
 
2020-10-21 6:27:38 AM  
Death is the end of existence in this reality, that's really all we know. It could be nothing, or it could be something. I'm not in a rush to find out as we'll all get there eventually, but it is exciting to think there might being something else. And if there isn't, we won't mind.

Just as a fun thought experiment, this would be a cool version of what could really be going on. Entertaining this theory as a possibility is the closest I will ever get to religion.

The Egg - A Short Story
Youtube h6fcK_fRYaI
 
2020-10-21 7:11:42 AM  
My theory (and what it is too):

As Carl Sagan said, "We are starstuff." Meaning, every atom in our bodies was present at the Big Bang, and every atom in our bodies will be present until the end of time. For a cosmic blink of an eye, they've been arranged into us, and when we die, they will return to the universe to do something else (or nothing else).

What does that mean? It means we're incredibly lucky to be alive, sentient and living on a planet that sustains life. The mere chance of our existence is incalculably small. Change one of a billion factors, and we were never here.

That, to me, is a bona-fide miracle that obviates the need for any deity or supernatural force.

It also means that we're only here for that blink of an eye, so while we're alive, we need to give and get as much pleasure as possible. Love. Sex. Art. Music. Knowledge. Empathy. Comfort. Food. Laughter. If it is pleasurable, experience it, and do what you can to let others experience it too.

That's it.
 
2020-10-21 7:23:06 AM  
With protective goggles.
 
2020-10-21 7:25:06 AM  
After 50+ years of catholicism, I'm now halfway thru Avaita Vedanta and have Schopenhauer's "World as Will and Representation" to get thru before I feel I can answer that question with any degree of accuracy. I'll check back in about a month.
 
2020-10-21 7:34:27 AM  
I don't believe there's anything after we die. It's just oblivion. But if there was something more I'd want it be Neil Gaiman's depiction of death as a friendly face to greet us at the end. I would find that comforting.

Fark user imageView Full Size

Fark user imageView Full Size
 
2020-10-21 7:36:17 AM  
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.  When I'm dead, I won't exactly be around to notice or care.

My fears associated with death run more along the ability to see an immediate, impending death coming.  I'd rather die instantly than have to worry about trying to square my life away in 3 months of terminal cancer.
 
2020-10-21 7:43:11 AM  

syrynxx: I don't fear death.  I fear dying horribly or being crippled beyond what I already am. Dead is dead.


Honestly it would be better to be dead. Life is meaningless and void of reason.
 
2020-10-21 7:48:55 AM  
Who cares?  I want to make sure Jesus isn't a white dude.  God doesn't care if you believe or not, as long as you're a good person, so going to church is merely cathartic for you.
 
2020-10-21 7:56:38 AM  
I've been working on a long term climate-change-themed art project. I'm hoping to "cheat" death or rather, create a legacy that will have folks inspired by, or at least talking about my work long after I'm gone. It remains to be seen just how far I'll get with it, but I'm hoping to do some solo gallery shows eventually. Leaving some type of footprint on this world after you're gone is the best we can hope for.
 
2020-10-21 8:00:35 AM  
I dunno but I want to be buried at sea. Mostly because it amuses me to force my family and friends to take a nice boat trip and end it by tossing me over the side like one of Dexter's victims.
 
2020-10-21 8:02:34 AM  
Life is what matters, not death.  You only go around once, so make it count.

If......there is "something" afterward, which I highly doubt but can't 100% rule out the possibility, it sure isn't the biblical or quranic ideal.  There is no god who would go through creating an entire universe, only to put life on one little mud ball, only to obsess over what we do with our genitals.

"Welcome, Spud!  How was your trip?  Let's look in the Book here....kind to strangers, good....helped the needy, good....that time you rescued a kitty from the shelter, good....oh...oh dear....you rubbed one out...HOW MANY TIMES?   Yes, well, I'm afraid it's the Hot Place for you!"   (trap door opens)
 
2020-10-21 8:07:05 AM  
I've been practicing my board game skills so I don't have to find out.

images.amcnetworks.comView Full Size
 
2020-10-21 8:10:36 AM  
Praying is like chanting a mantra.  It doesn't help anyone except for you.
 
2020-10-21 8:15:39 AM  
Nothing
 
2020-10-21 8:18:09 AM  
From a distance?
 
2020-10-21 8:27:42 AM  
A release from responsibility? Only in death does duty end...
 
2020-10-21 8:29:43 AM  
The interviewee of this article is a thoughtful and sensible person, and I appreciated reading his take on this.
 
2020-10-21 8:30:22 AM  

Windle Poons: I've been practicing my board game skills so I don't have to find out.

[images.amcnetworks.com image 704x374]


Windle Poons: I've been practicing my board game skills so I don't have to find out.

[images.amcnetworks.com image 704x374]


The true activities of Section 31 were less spectacular than Dr. Bashir had believed.
 
2020-10-21 8:31:47 AM  
I view it as a final escape from religious zealots who will. not. shut. the. f*ck. up.
 
2020-10-21 8:32:58 AM  
Earnest Becker laughs at your fear of death.
 
2020-10-21 8:40:07 AM  
I hope Kirk Cameron is disappointed.
 
2020-10-21 8:43:29 AM  
i haven't 'feared' death in many years, only that my death will have painful circumstances.  if it would not destroy my wife, i would welcome the reaper's sweet kiss.
 
2020-10-21 8:50:38 AM  

no1curr: Pretty sure that's William Sadler



Then just melvin him and you can be on your way.
 
2020-10-21 8:55:58 AM  
Who cares....that's their problem.
 
2020-10-21 8:59:23 AM  
My big fear of death is from leaving stuff unsaid or undone - removing my support from those I love and leaving my work unfinished. I wish to live until my tasks are complete.

Nothing metaphysical really, humans will die - replaced by evolution or not, replaced by what we become, or not.  Sooner or later, the universe will die - the chemical reaction that moves our reality will run out of fuel. Everything is finite - everything.

So just love as hard and work as hard as you need be satisfied when you're snapped up by the jaws of oblivion.
 
2020-10-21 8:59:28 AM  
when it happens i won't know or care, so why worry about it now.  the universe will manage just fine without me, or any of us
 
2020-10-21 9:06:35 AM  
vignette.wikia.nocookie.netView Full Size
 
2020-10-21 9:11:38 AM  
Speaking as an atheist, I view death and simply the end of your existence. I hate to burst your bubble, but this life is all you got
 
2020-10-21 9:14:06 AM  
All dressed up but nowhere to go?
 
2020-10-21 9:15:42 AM  

Devolving_Spud: Life is what matters, not death.  You only go around once, so make it count.

If......there is "something" afterward, which I highly doubt but can't 100% rule out the possibility, it sure isn't the biblical or quranic ideal.  There is no god who would go through creating an entire universe, only to put life on one little mud ball, only to obsess over what we do with our genitals.

"Welcome, Spud!  How was your trip?  Let's look in the Book here....kind to strangers, good....helped the needy, good....that time you rescued a kitty from the shelter, good....oh...oh dear....you rubbed one out...HOW MANY TIMES?   Yes, well, I'm afraid it's the Hot Place for you!"   (trap door opens)


I read that in Ellen DeGeneres' voice.
 
2020-10-21 9:39:19 AM  
Death is like falling asleep without ever waking again. We all ascribe too much importance to our own continuance. We exist for a time and then we don't. Isn't that enough? Perhaps be a bit less of a dick to one another while we are here?
 
2020-10-21 9:46:13 AM  

Jake Havechek: Who cares?  I want to make sure Jesus isn't a white dude.  God doesn't care if you believe or not, as long as you're a good person, so going to church is merely cathartic for you.


Psst..god's is just pretend
 
2020-10-21 9:51:43 AM  
I'm an old atheist and I don't fear death.  I'd like to personally slap each and every person who states "there are no atheists in foxholes."   I've come to my peace with ceasing to exist. I may grasp and fight for each last breath, but that's because I love life, not because I fear death.

Because of my atheism I've chosen to be a secular humanist, with a touch of pragmatist. I live my life, and interact with the people that I love right now.  I get one chance on this earth, one chance to be kind to others, one chance to make this a world worth living in a tiny bit better for those around me.  There's no second chance, no redemption in the afterlife.  We make our heaven or our hell right here, right now.

So, basically, atheism is simple, most of what I wrote above isn't about atheism, it's about other philosophies for how to deal with life.  All I have in common with other atheists, all they have in common with me is "we don't believe in a god/gods/reincarnation or any of that faith based spiritual stuff.   Atheism is clean and simple, how you choose to live your life takes a lot more thought.
 
2020-10-21 9:56:35 AM  

Dead for Tax Reasons: when it happens i won't know or care, so why worry about it now.  the universe will manage just fine without me, or any of us


I think subby means dead dead, not just dead for tax reasons :)
 
2020-10-21 10:00:13 AM  
After you're dead, you get 3 months to decide if you want to be ghost or not.
 
2020-10-21 10:24:02 AM  

Photoshop This: I've been working on a long term climate-change-themed art project. I'm hoping to "cheat" death or rather, create a legacy that will have folks inspired by, or at least talking about my work long after I'm gone. It remains to be seen just how far I'll get with it, but I'm hoping to do some solo gallery shows eventually. Leaving some type of footprint on this world after you're gone is the best we can hope for.


No one is really dead, as long as someone still remembers them as they were in life.  Once no one can easily call up a memory to go along with the name, that's when a person really dies.  Absent that personal connection, a legacy, good or bad, keeps people alive.  Better to go down in history as someone who was helper like Fred Rogers than someone like Stalin, Putin, Hitler, or Trump.
 
2020-10-21 10:24:48 AM  
For most people I think death is something that happens when they would rather do something else. Politicians view death as the loss of a tax cow.
 
2020-10-21 10:28:07 AM  
As many have said above, not existing is not a problem. If it is something else then I will adapt.

Whatever it is (likely nothing) I'm pretty sure it is not growing wings and floating around on clouds. I also doubt that there is an eternal torture chamber. Can you imaging the heating bills for that?? And it lasts for infinity?? Not sure what moron came up with that idea but they were not an accountant.
 
2020-10-21 10:31:23 AM  

adj_m: Death is the end of existence in this reality, that's really all we know. It could be nothing, or it could be something. I'm not in a rush to find out as we'll all get there eventually, but it is exciting to think there might being something else. And if there isn't, we won't mind.

Just as a fun thought experiment, this would be a cool version of what could really be going on. Entertaining this theory as a possibility is the closest I will ever get to religion.

[Youtube-video https://www.youtube.com/embed/h6fark_f​RYaI]


I'd like to thank me for posting this since I've been trying to explain this to me and I didn't even know I made such an easy to understand video, so thanks.
 
2020-10-21 10:38:22 AM  

Ker_Thwap: I'm an old atheist and I don't fear death.  I'd like to personally slap each and every person who states "there are no atheists in foxholes."


These guys agree with you.
 
2020-10-21 10:50:46 AM  
I'm not so worried for myself, it's everyone else that I'm concerned about. All those people who have been living their lives filled with love, hate, petty concerns and great schemes. When I die they'll all cease to exist as well since I am the only person in existence. I know that I'm real. Everything else in the universe is based on sensory input but I can't verify its accuracy so I doubt that it is real. I feel sorry for all the "people" suddenly blinking out of existence without realizing that they are all merely constructs of my mind and that they never actually were unique individuals.
 
2020-10-21 11:00:28 AM  
1.bp.blogspot.comView Full Size
 
2020-10-21 11:03:14 AM  
There is nothing to fear. There is nothing. Death is an end to struggle, to disappointment, to hatred, to lies, to pain.

Unless you believe in ghosts. Then maybe there's something.
 
2020-10-21 11:53:13 AM  
Meh. The fringes of our scientific understanding point towards a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of reality. So jury is still out as far as I'm concerned.
 
2020-10-21 11:55:11 AM  
Boomer reference:

th.bing.comView Full Size
 
2020-10-21 12:09:21 PM  
I hope there's an afterlife of some sort.  I still seriously fear not existing.

/I'm an agnostic
 
2020-10-21 12:44:03 PM  

Billy Liar: Boomer reference:

[th.bing.com image 400x300]


I'm Gen-X, I got it.

/lots of local TV/WGN TZ reruns for us Gen Xers in the early 80s though still.
 
2020-10-21 1:10:27 PM  
How do I view death? As the inevitable winner of this race I am running. But I'm going to make it last, and make it mean something to me.

fark you, death.

I'll get you eventually.
 
2020-10-21 1:46:35 PM  
It is simply The End of my conscious existence.

The ultimate cessation. After?

Nothing.
 
2020-10-21 2:39:12 PM  
The universe of Beetlejuice didn't seem to have a god. People died and just became infinitely decrepit.

As for the other issues, the mind is a drama with an audience of one.
 
2020-10-21 2:40:33 PM  
with equinamity
 
2020-10-21 3:13:37 PM  

cherryl taggart: No one is really dead, as long as someone still remembers them as they were in life.



A lot of people say this, and I wish they would stop because it doesn't make any damned sense.

I remember people who have died. They still have no pulse, no movement, no brain activity, etc. They are dead, despite me thinking about them. My thoughts didn't bring anyone back.

Now if you want to say that no one who is remembered is truly gone, then that's a little different. It's still wrong, but it's not as egregiously wrong as saying the person who is remembered isn't really dead. The dead people are still gone.
 
2020-10-21 3:37:37 PM  

cherryl taggart: Photoshop This: I've been working on a long term climate-change-themed art project. I'm hoping to "cheat" death or rather, create a legacy that will have folks inspired by, or at least talking about my work long after I'm gone. It remains to be seen just how far I'll get with it, but I'm hoping to do some solo gallery shows eventually. Leaving some type of footprint on this world after you're gone is the best we can hope for.

No one is really dead, as long as someone still remembers them as they were in life.  Once no one can easily call up a memory to go along with the name, that's when a person really dies.  Absent that personal connection, a legacy, good or bad, keeps people alive.  Better to go down in history as someone who was helper like Fred Rogers than someone like Stalin, Putin, Hitler, or Trump.


But hey, think of the lunch-table conversation in Hell....
 
2020-10-21 4:04:28 PM  
I view it as a massive unknown because no one knows what happens afterward. Like a few have stated upthread, I think it will be like it was before my birth, just a blank. I only fear death because it will take me away from everyone and everything I love.
 
2020-10-21 4:08:31 PM  
I think of it as a big recycling program.  If energy can neither be created nor destroyed, all the energy in every cell you have has been a billion things before this and will continue to be a billion things after this.  Part of why I like cremation, free those bits of energy to the wind and let them fall where they may.
 
2020-10-21 4:46:30 PM  

crzybtch: I think of it as a big recycling program. If energy can neither be created nor destroyed, all the energy in every cell you have has been a billion things before this and will continue to be a billion things after this.  Part of why I like cremation, free those bits of energy to the wind and let them fall where they may.


Everybody gets shipped to China until they decide there's too much contamination in the US
 
2020-10-21 4:49:51 PM  
Roy was right

/ like tears in rain
 
2020-10-21 5:02:10 PM  
I fear the process, not the outcome.
 
2020-10-21 5:52:52 PM  

Billy Liar: But hey, think of the lunch-table conversation in Hell....


Great. Listening to entitled morons talk about the people they hate.

Way too republican for me.
 
2020-10-21 8:05:22 PM  

Windle Poons: I've been practicing my board game skills so I don't have to find out.

[images.amcnetworks.com image 704x374]
---


Which Bill & Ted was that from?
 
2020-10-21 9:26:38 PM  

Bob Down: Well I hope it's the end because any alternatives suck.


I hear the devout talk about going to Heaven and being there for eternity.

I'd like to ask them if they have TRULY pondered an eternal existence. You would have time to read every book, watch every movie, hear every song. More than that, you would have time to MEMORIZE all of that.

You'd have time to become fluent in all 4000+ languages on Earth.

And that's all in just the first MOMENT, when you compare it to the rest of the time you'll have at your disposal.

Think about what you did today. Now, try to imagine doing the same thing every day, forever.

Doesn't sound like a heaven to me.

Some folks believe that if you perform a "mortal sin", you're damned for eternity. Imagine going through K-12 school, but you're told you have to continue on to grad school. So, you spend 3-7 years doing that, jumping through all the hoops. You defend your 675-page dissertation, only to be told that while the research and writing were all top-notch, you don't get ANY sort of degree because you weren't paying attention on a Thursday afternoon in late February of 4th grade, when the teacher asked you a question and you missed it. Now, the devout will say missing a question isn't the same as multiple murders, but the outcome is no different. There's no chance for redemption. What is the line between a forgivable sin and a mortal sin? Is it really clear-cut? If not, have some of us already passed the point of no return? If there's no return, why continue to follow society's rules?

IMHO, an eternity in Heaven is no different than an eternity in Hell. Unless the diety or dieties allow some way out, eternity would become an endless nightmare, no matter how nice it might be.
 
2020-10-22 2:05:45 AM  

nanim: Windle Poons: I've been practicing my board game skills so I don't have to find out.

[images.amcnetworks.com image 704x374]
---

Which Bill & Ted was that from?


Bogus Journey
 
2020-10-22 1:16:58 PM  
You don't meet 'god' in the between-life.
Just like you don't meet the president on your first day of kindergarten.
It's an on-going ascension. You'll find out I was right when you die.
Some folks just stay in the holo-deck, in the Las Vegas of the next world.

i.imgur.comView Full Size
 
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