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Old 18th December 2012   #1
incineration
 
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Default How do atheists cope with death?

I can only assume that coping with the death of a loved one or friend must be harder, considering atheists don't believe in an afterlife, as opposed to a Christian who does believe in "heaven" and "hell". I,myself, am an atheist but fortunately have not dealt with a death of a loved one or friend.

How do you deal with it?Wouldn't you at least like to believe that there is more and you will see the person again other than just in the cemetery?
Old 18th December 2012   #2
the_dark_king
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Default Re: How do atheists cope with death?

Well there is a fine line between expectations and reality. People of any faith deal with the expectation side believing there is an afterlife they will see there loved ones again after they die, people that are atheist or agnostic deal with reality only knowing that what happens when you die is that you go in the ground, and not claim to know what happens when you die. Now I respect all peoples religions, however, I make a line at believing something that can't be proven, to me personally. I would rather contemplate each one with depth, than pick one then find out I am wrong.
Old 18th December 2012   #3
tuIIy
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Default Re: How do atheists cope with death?

Well, as someone who doesn't believe in an afterlife, the way I deal with it is glorifying life itself. Over the years I have found Carl Sagan's views as being very synonymous with mine. Here's his wife talking about his death and their views. It's pretty comforting.
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Old 18th December 2012   #4
lilacofdamnation
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Default Re: How do atheists cope with death?

No, otherwise life is pointless. If there's some kind of eternal peace, why bother with the effort of this crappy life? The fact that we only get one life is what makes it so worth the appreciation. Why care about death at all if you can just say "Oh, I'll see you later"? No offense to those who do believe in some sort of afterlife, but I find the concept of taking comfort in that idea to be kind of devaluing to Earthly life. I get that for a lot of people it's pretty much just a coping mechanism to help them handle the concept of "never seeing this person again", but I don't think pretending death doesn't happen is going to do me any good. I'd rather accept it as a part of what it means to be a living organism. I don't ignore it and I don't dwell on it, either. Yes, it's sad when someone dies. But I got the chance to know that person and enjoy his company, and I'm lucky for that. Now I have to go on and continue living my life. I'm not going to wallow in sadness forever; that's a waste and it doesn't really feel like appreciation to do that.
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Old 19th December 2012   #5
kennypane
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Default Re: How do atheists cope with death?

One day, my life will end.

But I will be remembered by my friends and family who loved me, and who appreciated me while I was around.

That was my mindset when I was an atheist. I am now an atheistic pagan.
Old 19th December 2012   #6
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Default Re: How do atheists cope with death?

From a psychological standpoint, I fail to see how the grieving process would differ significantly. There might be more of a "see you later" standpoint for someone who believed in an afterlife, but otherwise some people cope well with traumatic events and others don't. It isn't dependent on belief.
Old 19th December 2012   #7
coke-lore
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Default Re: How do atheists cope with death?

I am always baffled by the type of atheist who claims to accept science over religion, and yet claims there is no such thing as an "afterlife". According to science itself, in a way, there is. No energy can be created or destroyed, only borrowed. Every particle of your being will live on and be redistributed throughout the universe. It's a beautiful concept, and I find it more comforting than the idea of Heaven, personally. The soul- which is debated by some atheists in the first place, but let's just call it the "personality" in this example- is obviously not effected by the laws of physical science, but if atheists believes that the personality is made from your brain and your memories, then technically, according to the Law of Conservation of Matter and Energy, those parts that make up who you are continue to exist.

Knowing that my loved ones are simply becoming a part of something else, and that they themselves were comprised from billions of pieces of others who have come and gone, makes me feel that we are infinite.



Honestly, though, when it comes to religion, I believe that we are born alone, we live alone, and we die alone. Your world revolves around you, and your journey is only experienced by you. No one can know exactly what it's like to be who you are. I think that if you believe in Heaven and Hell, you are sent to one or the other according to how you interpreted your faith, and your god. If you believe in reincarnation, the same applies. And so on and so forth. I think if you believe in it, that's what happens to you in the end. If you ask 100 Christians of the same denomination to paint a picture of Heaven, you will see 100 different versions. I refuse to believe that any of the answers would be right or wrong, therefore I do not grieve differently when I lose someone close, because I know they are finding their own version of an afterlife, even if it is not the one I hope to find for myself.
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Old 19th December 2012   #8
lilacofdamnation
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Default Re: How do atheists cope with death?

"Afterlife" generally implies the continuation of the person (or rather, his consciousness/personality) in some non-physical form after death. The continuation of energy does not really imply the continuation of consciousness or even life at all.
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Old 19th December 2012   #9
coke-lore
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Default Re: How do atheists cope with death?

Quote:
lilacofdamnation wrote: View Post

"Afterlife" generally implies the continuation of the person (or rather, his consciousness/personality) in some non-physical form after death. The continuation of energy does not really imply the continuation of consciousness or even life at all.
I see what you mean, but I was mostly trying to make the connection between the personality/ who-you-be-essence being attached to the physical, which does "live on".
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Old 20th December 2012   #10
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Default Re: How do atheists cope with death?

Quote:
coke-lore wrote: View Post

I am always baffled by the type of atheist who claims to accept science over religion, and yet claims there is no such thing as an "afterlife". According to science itself, in a way, there is. No energy can be created or destroyed, only borrowed. Every particle of your being will live on and be redistributed throughout the universe. It's a beautiful concept, and I find it more comforting than the idea of Heaven, personally. The soul- which is debated by some atheists in the first place, but let's just call it the "personality" in this example- is obviously not effected by the laws of physical science, but if atheists believes that the personality is made from your brain and your memories, then technically, according to the Law of Conservation of Matter and Energy, those parts that make up who you are continue to exist.

Knowing that my loved ones are simply becoming a part of something else, and that they themselves were comprised from billions of pieces of others who have come and gone, makes me feel that we are infinite.



Honestly, though, when it comes to religion, I believe that we are born alone, we live alone, and we die alone. Your world revolves around you, and your journey is only experienced by you. No one can know exactly what it's like to be who you are. I think that if you believe in Heaven and Hell, you are sent to one or the other according to how you interpreted your faith, and your god. If you believe in reincarnation, the same applies. And so on and so forth. I think if you believe in it, that's what happens to you in the end. If you ask 100 Christians of the same denomination to paint a picture of Heaven, you will see 100 different versions. I refuse to believe that any of the answers would be right or wrong, therefore I do not grieve differently when I lose someone close, because I know they are finding their own version of an afterlife, even if it is not the one I hope to find for myself.
I'm an atheist and this is exactly how I view it

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