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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



Voting Results (Smartest)
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest

 
2020-10-20 11:52:21 PM  
43 votes:
Being dead will be just like it was before birth

An infinite amount of time will pass and frankly none of us will care
 
2020-10-21 1:45:02 AM  
24 votes:
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.
 
2020-10-20 11:54:23 PM  
24 votes:
 
2020-10-20 11:50:34 PM  
21 votes:
The End
Youtube BXqPNlng6uI
 
2020-10-21 4:44:26 AM  
14 votes:
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 3:35:02 AM  
13 votes:
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 7:11:42 AM  
9 votes:
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 2:17:19 AM  
9 votes:
Death is similar to falling asleep.
One minute you're in the present, the next moment, you're not.
 
2020-10-21 12:17:21 AM  
9 votes:
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  
8 votes:
The materials of my body return to the earth and my effect on the universe will soon dissipate into nothing.
 
2020-10-21 12:08:15 AM  
8 votes:
I think of death as obeying the 2nd law of thermodynamics.
 
2020-10-21 5:00:21 AM  
7 votes:
I don't fear death.  I fear dying horribly or being crippled beyond what I already am. Dead is dead.
 
2020-10-21 9:39:19 AM  
6 votes:
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 4:53:37 AM  
6 votes:
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 3:11:36 AM  
5 votes:
In 2020?  A freaking relief.
 
2020-10-21 3:04:40 AM  
5 votes:
Same way we viewed the 13 billion years before we were alive. Eternity will go quickly.
 
2020-10-21 1:15:00 AM  
5 votes:
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 12:02:37 AM  
5 votes:
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 9:51:43 AM  
4 votes:
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 6:27:38 AM  
4 votes:
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 6:21:06 AM  
4 votes:
Whatever it is, rush Limbaugh will find out before me and that makes me happy.
 
2020-10-21 12:03:25 AM  
4 votes:
As an exchange of energy.

/what a stupid question.
 
2020-10-21 5:02:10 PM  
3 votes:
I fear the process, not the outcome.
 
2020-10-21 11:55:11 AM  
3 votes:
Boomer reference:

th.bing.comView Full Size
 
2020-10-21 10:24:02 AM  
3 votes:

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 8:59:28 AM  
3 votes:
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 8:31:47 AM  
3 votes:
I view it as a final escape from religious zealots who will. not. shut. the. f*ck. up.
 
2020-10-21 1:31:47 AM  
3 votes:
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 12:26:50 AM  
3 votes:
Well I hope it's the end because any alternatives suck.
 
2020-10-21 12:23:07 AM  
3 votes:
All dressed up and nowhere to go?
 
2020-10-21 10:38:22 AM  
2 votes:

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 8:18:09 AM  
2 votes:
From a distance?
 
2020-10-21 5:22:48 AM  
2 votes:

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 4:49:26 AM  
2 votes:
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 4:17:10 AM  
2 votes:
Fark user imageView Full Size
 
2020-10-22 2:05:45 AM  
1 vote:

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
 
2020-10-21 9:26:38 PM  
1 vote:

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.
 
2020-10-21 5:52:52 PM  
1 vote:

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 3:13:37 PM  
1 vote:

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 12:44:03 PM  
1 vote:

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 12:09:21 PM  
1 vote:
I hope there's an afterlife of some sort.  I still seriously fear not existing.

/I'm an agnostic
 
2020-10-21 11:53:13 AM  
1 vote:
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 10:28:07 AM  
1 vote:
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 9:46:13 AM  
1 vote:

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 9:11:38 AM  
1 vote:
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 8:59:23 AM  
1 vote:
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 8:43:29 AM  
1 vote:
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 8:40:07 AM  
1 vote:
I hope Kirk Cameron is disappointed.
 
2020-10-21 8:27:42 AM  
1 vote:
A release from responsibility? Only in death does duty end...
 
2020-10-21 8:02:34 AM  
1 vote:
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 6:20:08 AM  
1 vote:
Remember before you were born? Yeah, it's like that.
 
2020-10-21 5:52:54 AM  
1 vote:
Everything is beautiful and nothing hurt
 
2020-10-21 5:06:37 AM  
1 vote:
Death...? What's Atheism got to do with death? I just want to yell at women and muslims on the internet.
 
2020-10-21 4:45:41 AM  
1 vote:
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 3:54:57 AM  
1 vote:
My soul will go to Hot Babeland to party with hot babes for eternity.  Spuds Mackenzie is already there.
 
2020-10-21 2:47:29 AM  
1 vote:

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.
 
2020-10-20 11:57:05 PM  
1 vote:
Ω
 
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