Do you fear death?
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02-01-2015, 06:05 AM
RE: Do you fear death?
(02-01-2015 05:51 AM)Baba Bozo Wrote:  As others have commented, we should make a distinction between death and dying.

My mom died of Parkinson's, a nasty business which kills you one little bit at a time over a decade or more. It would be crazy not to be afraid of such a thing.

So that's my fear. Not that I'll have a heart attack, or even get a fatal diagnosis. But that something will happen that will suddenly strip away any control I have over what happens next, and then whatever happens next will go on for years. Torture me, bankrupt my wife, maybe kill our relationship before it kills me, ugggh.

We should be clear none of us have a clue what death is.

Sure, the theists think they know, and many atheists do too, and all of us have some theory or another. But all of that's just a pile of fantasy knowings, the incurable need of human beings to have some kind of answer.

Once we become clear that none of us know what death is, and that there is exactly zero chance we can avoid it, new insights in to theism may arise.

Suppose, please forgive this example, we had a five year old child that was dying in the hospital. Would we tell them that soon they'll be a rotting pile of flesh in the ground? Probably not! That wouldn't be kind, nor would it be rational. We'd tell them whatever kind of story made it easier for them.

In the face of death, all of us, all of humanity, is that five year old child. That child is still there inside us, buried underneath all the many poses adults have to take on to function. As serious illness and death come, all those poses are stripped away one by one, and the fearful five year old returns to the surface.

For thousands of years, in every corner of the world, thoughtful, mature, caring rational people have realized that this five year old needs a story to help them through the transition too. Human beings need stories all throughout our lives, it's who we are.

And then some bureaucratic types come along and hijack the kind story and turn it in to a money/power machine, and that does indeed suck big time.

But the original impulse, the underlying bottom line, is entirely rational. We don't know, we can't avoid it, we are suffering, and a story will help. Rational.

The challenge for atheists is that, having discarded stories tested over centuries, they will have to create their own kind stories about death, AND find a way to believe them.

And that belief, in whatever story is created, will have to be fundamentally emotional in nature. Because when we're lying on our death bed terrified out of our minds, we won't be in the mood for math equations.

I am really sorry to hear about your mum -- that mustn't have been easy - I know my mum is my world, and I don't know what I'd do if she was in that situation.

But we do know what death is, and your post reads alot like a "no atheists in foxholes" argument. Death (as my limited knowledge knows) comes in two flavours, the cessation of organ activity that provides the body it's resources to "live", and then the cessation of electrical activity in the brain (clinical death).

Without the brain, we are nothing. Everything we dream, fear, stories we believe, stories we don't believe, love, remember, pain - ceases to exist when the brain does.

To say we are all that 5 year old, is to assume we all need a story. I have never been religious, so I've never had a story that I have "discarded" as you put it -- and I don't need a story. I know I'll cease to exist, and I've instructed my family to donate my body to medical research when I die -- so the rest of me will be sliced, diced, and prodded by medical scientists.

Math equations are exactly what I'll be thinking about on my death bed, more specically, what equations any future scientist can get from cutting up my body Smile
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02-01-2015, 06:10 AM
RE: Do you fear death?
For any atheists who see the need for a story....

If we do a sustained, careful, patient, objective observation of our experience as human beings, we will discover that we are reaching out for death in countless moments of every day of our life.

Throw a ball up in to the air.

At every single moment of that ball's journey, there are two forces at work, the force of your throw, and the grip of gravity.

Even as the ball is racing upward, gravity is invisibly there in every instant, not just at the moment the ball returns to the ground.

Life and death are like that. The "life force" and the "death force", present in each moment, a team, working together to create the arc of our existence.

I suspect it's impossible to see such things through intellectual analysis alone. One most likely has to observe, observe, observe, patiently observe, perhaps for years, maybe decades.

Atheists are all about observing the real world. That technique alone is sufficient for the creation of a new story.

Religion is not needed. Thus, there is no reason to argue with it. It's somebody else's story, that's all. Leave them to it, and focus on your own story.
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02-01-2015, 06:17 AM
RE: Do you fear death?
Quote:I am really sorry to hear about your mum -- that mustn't have been easy - I know my mum is my world, and I don't know what I'd do if she was in that situation.

I didn't know either, nobody does. And thanks.

Quote:But we do know what death is,

I knew that everybody would now start offering their own death certainty stories. That's cool. I won't argue, but neither will I believe.

Religion is not at all necessary here. The history of science will do just fine for illustrating how often we've thought we knew what was going on, when actually we had no clue.

After all, the earth is round and at the center of the universe, right? There's only one galaxy, right? And time and space are unrelated, right?

And I said I wouldn't argue. Fuck, what a liar I am!! I need to get my own story straight. :-)
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02-01-2015, 06:21 AM
RE: Do you fear death?
(02-01-2015 06:10 AM)Baba Bozo Wrote:  For any atheists who see the need for a story....

If we do a sustained, careful, patient, objective observation of our experience as human beings, we will discover that we are reaching out for death in countless moments of every day of our life.

Throw a ball up in to the air.

At every single moment of that ball's journey, there are two forces at work, the force of your throw, and the grip of gravity.

Even as the ball is racing upward, gravity is invisibly there in every instant, not just at the moment the ball returns to the ground.

Life and death are like that. The "life force" and the "death force", present in each moment, a team, working together to create the arc of our existence.

I suspect it's impossible to see such things through intellectual analysis alone. One most likely has to observe, observe, observe, patiently observe, perhaps for years, maybe decades.

Atheists are all about observing the real world. That technique alone is sufficient for the creation of a new story.

Religion is not needed. Thus, there is no reason to argue with it. It's somebody else's story, that's all. Leave them to it, and focus on your own story.

To be honest, I think many atheists (if not a strong majority of them) would love there to be no reason to argue with it.

But the problem is that religious "stories" don't keep to themselves. We can't leave them to it -- because when people do leave them to it, they try to force it to children, the try to force it on women, they try to force it on other peoples stories.

They would even kill someone else just to prove that their story is a better story -- no - the ONLY story that you should believe.

I would prefer to continue not having a story -- but its those with a story who cannot seem to grasp the concept of "leaving them to it" and focusing on their own. Especially so when my future children are involved.
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02-01-2015, 06:28 AM
RE: Do you fear death?
Quote:But the problem is that religious "stories" don't keep to themselves. We can't leave them to it -- because when people do leave them to it, they try to force it to children, the try to force it on women, they try to force it on other peoples stories.

Let's focus on behavior, and not belief.

If the Taliban shows up with guns, we shoot back.

If explicitly atheist regimes slaughter millions to enforce their rule throughout the 20th century, we shoot back at them too.

Quote:I would prefer to continue not having a story --

Yes, this is the atheist story, that you have no story. You have every right to that story, and I sincerely wonder what business it is of mine to interfere with it. I have my own story to deal with I guess.
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02-01-2015, 06:31 AM
RE: Do you fear death?
(02-01-2015 06:28 AM)Baba Bozo Wrote:  
Quote:But the problem is that religious "stories" don't keep to themselves. We can't leave them to it -- because when people do leave them to it, they try to force it to children, the try to force it on women, they try to force it on other peoples stories.

Let's focus on behavior, and not belief.

If the Taliban shows up with guns, we shoot back.

If explicitly atheist regimes slaughter millions to enforce their rule throughout the 20th century, we shoot back at them too.

Quote:I would prefer to continue not having a story --

Yes, this is the atheist story, that you have no story. You have every right to that story, and I sincerely wonder what business it is of mine to interfere with it. I have my own story to deal with I guess.

I think we are straying too far off topic here so I'm going to let this thread continue to the OP. If you want to discuss this further happy to start a new thread Smile
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02-01-2015, 06:33 AM
RE: Do you fear death?
(02-01-2015 06:31 AM)GenericBox Wrote:  I think we are straying too far off topic here so I'm going to let this thread continue to the OP.

Good plan, agreed, thanks.
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02-01-2015, 06:44 AM
RE: Do you fear death?
(02-01-2015 06:10 AM)Baba Bozo Wrote:  Throw a ball up in to the air.
At every single moment of that ball's journey, there are two forces at work, the force of your throw, and the grip of gravity.
Even as the ball is racing upward, gravity is invisibly there in every instant, not just at the moment the ball returns to the ground.
Life and death are like that. The "life force" and the "death force", present in each moment, a team, working together to create the arc of our existence.
Of these two forces only the force of gravity affects the ball once it is on its journey. The rest is all momentum. Perhaps what you mean is that once we are launched headlong out of the womb into this world that death inexorably drags on us until we reach the grave?

Give me your argument in the form of a published paper, and then we can start to talk.
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02-01-2015, 06:44 AM
RE: Do you fear death?
Wow, I woke up and there were 40 replies! Lots of interesting stories and very helpful support.

"Most people are other people.
Their thoughts are someone else's opinions,
their lives a mimicry,
their passions a quotation."
-Oscar Wilde
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02-01-2015, 06:47 AM
RE: Do you fear death?
(02-01-2015 06:44 AM)LadyWallFlower Wrote:  Wow, I woke up and there were 40 replies! Lots of interesting stories and very helpful support.

Be sure to tip your bartenders and waitresses.

Poetry by Brian37(poems by an atheist) Also on Facebook as BrianJames Rational Poet and Twitter Brianrrs37
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