Adjusting to Atheism
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17-10-2010, 12:24 PM
 
RE: Adjusting to Atheism
(17-10-2010 10:48 AM)athnostic Wrote:  Thanks for the replies, everyone.

I agree with a lot of you who talked about not taking people for granted while they're here. I think that's definitely true. I don't know that living on forever would be ideal, although I hadn't much pondered that angle before. Nor had I thought about living on after the event that brings death about. Living after being in major car accident (like in my Grandma's case) might not be so much fun.

I suppose part of me just has to adjust, you know?
It takes time to feel comfortable with anything new, I think. But especially with regard to a personal creed or philosophy and especially when/if one has arrived after having walked away from a former faith system. So to move from having faith, to none takes quite an adjustment because atheism is the antithesis of Theism. Having embraced Theism for a period of time, and found comfort there also, can be like moving out of a home one shared with a former lover. The memories of what was comfortable, in the midst of stark brand new that says none of that former stuff is true, is hard for some people.

However, first and foremost you are obligated to live your truth. Find your niche' and find your peace. Heart


Quote:Here's another angle: I personally always felt some comfort in the knowledge that people who got away with doing really shitty things here on earth would get what was coming to them later: Serial killers, child molesters, torturers, and the scum of the earth in general. The thought that they get to live on to a ripe old age (since some are never caught) just doesn't seem fair.

How do we as atheists avoid falling into the trap of revenge and bitterness when we or our loved ones are wronged on a deep level?
I believe in present life karma. In other words, you get what you give while alive to experience it.

So in the case of serial killers, if caught they get the death penalty or life without parole, once convicted. And then they have the payback of waiting for death to find them, in the case of sitting on death row through all those long years of appeals, when their certain destiny is assured once they're all exhausted.

In the case of LwoP, they are forever on death row but in the midst of general population. Who has a creed of it's own, with regard to serial killers especially. When a prisoner is known to be there for murder they're then always challenged to show they've got the stuff to fight for their life. And the beautiful thing is, while free that Serial Killer had the upper hand, stalking his prey commanding his dysfunctional personality over his victims. But in prison, he's the one that's outnumbered, and surrounded by villains much more angry, violent and depraved than himself.

So there too, it's a matter of time before he dies. Only there it's not an IV drip that takes him out, or the flip of a switch on an electrified chair. In General Population, it's horrifically savage. But, he earned it so it's true justice after all.

Molesters, child molesters are housed in what's called the "SHU" (Safe Housing Unit), because they'll always be targeted for their crimes, as "short eyes". Pedophiles are the lowest of the low among Prisoners, in the creed of Prisoners. Because Prisoners who commit savage crimes, commit them on adults who can defend themselves or have an even footing.

Whereas Pedophiles are seen as sick deviant cowards, who prey on children and as such should be exterminated. General Population would make that happen. Whereas the SHU provides more time to await that inevitable. Because even in a special needs unit like the SHU, no one there even likes a Pedophile. And like they say, sooner or later everyone stands to "get got" in Prison. (Same for all others who commit deviant crimes. Prison is their hell. So that's satisfaction for this atheist.)

In the meantime, until they do go to prison I've noticed that really mean, vicious twisted people, do get theirs. First and foremost, because they're living with themselves, seeing the whole world through that warped psyche.

Besides that, I don't worry about anyone else. If I don't know them, they don't mean anything to me. There's nearly 7 billion people on this planet. I'm just one. I address what comes into my life, and let the rest sort itself out. Less stress. Wink
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17-10-2010, 03:13 PM
RE: Adjusting to Atheism
(17-10-2010 12:14 PM)SarahDarleen Wrote:  I think about death far too much. It is impossible for me to imagine not existing. I try to think it would just be all black and silent, but with no eyes to see the all black and no ears to not hear nothing that cannot be it. It scares me to know that I will be nothing, that I won't even be able to think the thought that I am in fact "nothing." Being Atheist is a heavy load of the truth, and although it bends and breaks me, I would rather be upset about death than believe in a fairy tale false security.

That has a lot to do with why religious people hang on to their beliefs. They are to scared to face what you are facing. It takes a lot of courage to go against the grain and to accept reality, as opposed to believing in an invisible security blanket. Give yourself a lot of credit for facing reality head on.

I can't imagine not existing either. I just accept it because I would rather know than believe in something that is false.
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17-10-2010, 05:29 PM
RE: Adjusting to Atheism
(17-10-2010 03:13 PM)No J. Wrote:  
(17-10-2010 12:14 PM)SarahDarleen Wrote:  I think about death far too much. It is impossible for me to imagine not existing. I try to think it would just be all black and silent, but with no eyes to see the all black and no ears to not hear nothing that cannot be it. It scares me to know that I will be nothing, that I won't even be able to think the thought that I am in fact "nothing." Being Atheist is a heavy load of the truth, and although it bends and breaks me, I would rather be upset about death than believe in a fairy tale false security.

That has a lot to do with why religious people hang on to their beliefs. They are to scared to face what you are facing. It takes a lot of courage to go against the grain and to accept reality, as opposed to believing in an invisible security blanket. Give yourself a lot of credit for facing reality head on.

I can't imagine not existing either. I just accept it because I would rather know than believe in something that is false.

Thank you. After over-analyzing I started to think that compared to the age of the planet, a human life is so tiny, and meaningless. So what does it matter if someone lives their life believing in an afterlife, a nice happy life and then never know that they were wrong. Unfortunately I can not ever go back to believing despite anything. I started to think ignorance is bliss. However, now I feel better. That I would rather be logical than happy. So once again thank you for telling me to give myself credit.
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18-10-2010, 01:28 AM
RE: Adjusting to Atheism
Believing in an after-life has it's problems. It allows people to think that they will be rewarded in the after-life for deeds done now. The problem is demonstrated in 9/11. Believing that they will reach heaven and earn a harems of virgins, a bunch of terrorist killed around 6,000 innocent people. This is barely scratching the tip of the iceberg. It is better to live your life by seeing reality and enjoying what you can now, than to hope for something more. Believing in an after-life is actually demeaning to your present and real life.
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18-10-2010, 02:08 AM
 
RE: Adjusting to Atheism
Since I never believed the skydaddy crap, I've struggled to confront the reality of death, as I believe all people who have had to accept that an afterlife is unlikely. There was an interesting 3-part program on at "Reasonable Doubts"

http://www.doubtreligion.blogspot.com/

concerning buddhism. I'm not a buddhist, but there was a discussion about how buddhists approach the challenges associated with the joys and pains of life.

As I get older, I lose more and more of my friends and family - the grief I feel about that is selfish: I'm sad that I won't have the pleasure of their company ever again. I have some empathy for what their friends and family are experiencing, so we can share that grief. But the person who has died is not experiencing loss or pain - s/he has completed life's journey and all ups and downs are over. The point of the buddhist approach is to not let oneself become too joyful with the joys or too pained by the painful. Embrace the experience, of course, but the only choice any of us have is to move on. Treasure the time we've had with our friends and family members who have died, but life is something not to waste on excessive concerns for what is the past.

And when our time to die comes, my main concern is not with non-existence, which will certainly not be of any concern to me at that point. Rather, I would prefer that the process of my passing not be too painful - for me or for my friends and family.
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18-10-2010, 10:30 AM
 
RE: Adjusting to Atheism
Thanks so much to all of you for your replies. It's great to have a thoughtful, caring community to discuss things like this with who can relate and not use the difficulty of being an atheist as a reason to try to convert you back to theism.
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18-10-2010, 04:08 PM
RE: Adjusting to Atheism
(15-10-2010 10:44 PM)athnostic Wrote:  As atheists, how do you deal with the knowledge that your loved ones are just gone?

Fortunately, I haven't lost a lot of loved ones. The biggest loss to me occurred when my aunt died of cancer; I was devastated, but once the shock had past, I kept her alive in my mind with all my memories of her replaying over and over. It also helped that I knew she was no longer suffering from chemotherapy and the pain that most likely came with the cancer.

I don't know what I would do if somebody even closer to me died. I guess I would just have to keep living my life until I died. Think of it this way though: when you were a theist, you had to wait until you died before you saw your deceased loved ones again; when you are an atheist, you still have to wait until you die, then you have no consciousness left to miss them. So the time-frame's no different really.

"Remember, my friend, that knowledge is stronger than memory, and we should not trust the weaker." - Dr. Van Helsing, Dracula
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19-10-2010, 12:01 AM
RE: Adjusting to Atheism
(18-10-2010 04:08 PM)SecularStudent Wrote:  when you were a theist, you had to wait until you died before you saw your deceased loved ones again; when you are an atheist, you still have to wait until you die, then you have no consciousness left to miss them. So the time-frame's no different really.

Good point. I never though of it in that way before.
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19-10-2010, 07:47 PM
RE: Adjusting to Atheism
I had a different experience. Even as a christian (though by this time I was starting to question many of the doctrines and rejecting some of them) I did not care for this Heaven everyone believed in. Mind you, I was from a denomination that did not believe in Hell, but rather an Eternal Death, so I thought this was not so bad, If I don't go to heaven I'll just be dead. And I couldn't bare the idea of having to worship God 24/7. I though this was ridiculous and the idea that there would be peace and no sin was also ridiculous because that would mean that there is no free will (I believed in free will at the time).

This does not mean I am not afraid of death, I am. Since I was a kid I've had this weird fixation on death and how devastating it is to die not on your own terms.
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22-10-2010, 03:45 PM
RE: Adjusting to Atheism
Death is scary , that's part of our biological nature - I think the most important instinct we have : "STAY ALIVE"

I used to believe a quasi agnostic faith and that life has purpose from some great beyond. It was a pain to abandon the idea.It still hurts... Sad .I went to Christian High School and listened to Slayer to escape indoctrination - I went through it all Christianity , Satanism , Black Magic , Agnosticism.All foolish and painful both psychologically and emotionally.

Watch a video on youtube : "Carl Sagan - Pale Blue Dot"

I rejoice that my atoms come from stars and go back there.Energy cannot be destroyed or created only transfered.

One day , your energy will belong to supernovas and red giants , and be cast across the planets and (possible) species of this universe. As for myself , with my luck , I'll end up in a black hole.See you at the next Big Bang ... SmileSmileSmileSmileSmileSmile
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