Free from fear
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27-08-2016, 03:01 PM
Free from fear
I was listening to The Thinking Atheist podcast today, which is something I've started to do a lot at work. I work as a room attendant, which is not a very positive job for me, and listening to Seth speak about various topics really helps me get through my shifts. Today I was listening to an older podcast about fear of death and how to deal with that topic as an atheist.
I'm sure former christians know how common fear of death is amongst themselves. Hell is not far away from their thoughts, even if they have lived a righteous life. In my church at least we believed that you could be a really good christian and yet be sent to hell because of one unpardoned sin. ONE sin. How scary!
I was very much a dedicated christian as a teenager, and yet I still was scared. It was literally the fear of hell and damnation that made me want to be saved. Years after that when I finally left the church I was even more afraid at first, especially of the rapture.
But as I listened to the podcast today, now that I have been atheist for about two years I realized I'm not afraid anymore. Right now I'm living in a new country that I love with my whole heart and I'm pursuing my dreams. I'm doing whatever I can to have a good life and I'm a lot happier than I was in the church. I've come to see death as just another part of life, a natural ending to the story, something that doesn't have to be ugly and scary. I think it's just beautiful that after all these years of fearing death I'm able to think like that. It's the beauty of atheism really, as it liberates us all to be who we truly are and embrace life with both arms.
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27-08-2016, 03:26 PM
RE: Free from fear
It's great to throw those shackles off, isn't it? You can read up on the history of how hell was developed here:

http://www.christianitydisproved.com/hell.html

Once you see that it is just made up and modified at will by some old guys in pointy shoes, it's more laughable than scary. I just shake my head at how concerned I used to be about going there.
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27-08-2016, 03:44 PM (This post was last modified: 27-08-2016 03:52 PM by Loom.)
RE: Free from fear
I'm afraid the transition from theist to atheist was far more traumatic for me...I was promised my entire youth that I was immortal, that death was only the next step, that I would not 'end.'

However, the more I moved away from belief, the more I realized my mortality. This wound up causing me extreme anxiety. I now blame my deconversion for my anxiety disorder.

All that said, I'm now perfectly fine with death. I didn't mind being not-born, and I didn't mind waiting the billions of years it took to get to that point. In the grand scheme of time I'll only exist for a fraction of a blip. Which is more than I could have ever asked for.

It's dying that bugs me. Our bodies are naturally wired to avoid death at all costs. It's one of life's greatest compulsions. There's really no pleasant way to go about dying. Euthanasia is just about to best way to go, so I really hope that option becomes more available as I age.

In any case, realizing my mortality cost me a lot and offered me even fewer assurances.

And I wouldn't want it any other way, for this life is now infinitely more amazing, worthwhile, and beautiful.

Ignorance is not to be ignored.

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27-08-2016, 04:01 PM
RE: Free from fear
(27-08-2016 03:44 PM)Loom Wrote:  I'm afraid

Hmmm...

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27-08-2016, 04:16 PM
RE: Free from fear
To fear death is only human. I for one do what I can to avoid it for as long as possible. But since becoming an atheist I've come to realize once i am dead it won't be much of a problem anymore. Kind of like a game of tag with the grim reaper. Sure it would be fun to see the world move on, to see if you left any impact on the world. But if you spent less time worrying about a world without you, and what a world with you is like. It could make you a little happier.

To die is easy. To live is the challenge.

Don't Live each day like it's your last. Live each day like you have 541 days after that one where every choice you make will have lasting implications to you and the world around you. ~ Tim Minchin
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27-08-2016, 05:18 PM
RE: Free from fear
I lost my fear of hell when I realized it *had to be* a manmade concept. It's a very human sort of tyranny, creating a system that automatically put people into "sin debt" for noncompliance with a religion that wasn't even known worldwide until very recently, and then selling the "cure" to people who join the cult. Along with the concept of heaven, which has its own theological problems, it's the most obvious "carrot and stick" routine I could imagine. I compare the concept of salvation (from hell) to the actions of a rapist, telling a person at gunpoint:

"I love you. I want you to love me. All you have to do is submit to my will, and I won't have to shoot you. If you do submit to my will, I'll give you a million dollars, because I love you so much. But if you don't, I'll be forced to shoot you. It's your choice."

This being is unworthy of worship, even if the story was true. The same applies to the concept of hell.

It was later that I learned about the history of the idea of hell, which only made it more laughable to me.

"Theology made no provision for evolution. The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all! Could it be that they were not really privy to the thoughts of God?" - E. O. Wilson
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27-08-2016, 06:07 PM
RE: Free from fear
I'm not going to lie. The fear of hell, death etc, comes back for fraction of a second.

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27-08-2016, 06:15 PM
RE: Free from fear
Meh, death is nothing. Literally.

I've always liked the deathbed quote of a film actor. "Dying is easy, it's comedy that's hard"

It's been attributed to various actors from Donald Crisp to Stan Laurel.

Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors.... on Donald J. Trump:

He is deformed, crooked, old, and sere,
Ill-fac’d, worse bodied, shapeless every where;
Vicious, ungentle, foolish, blunt, unkind,
Stigmatical in making, worse in mind.
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27-08-2016, 06:38 PM
RE: Free from fear
(27-08-2016 06:07 PM)ricepudding12 Wrote:  I'm not going to lie. The fear of hell, death etc, comes back for fraction of a second.

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I know what you mean. Having had it hammered into my head for decades, there is still a harbinger of it. I'm pretty much over it, but every once in awhile I'll see something in the thread mocking religion via pictures that causes a small frisson of fear.
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27-08-2016, 06:42 PM
RE: Free from fear
(27-08-2016 06:38 PM)Fireball Wrote:  
(27-08-2016 06:07 PM)ricepudding12 Wrote:  I'm not going to lie. The fear of hell, death etc, comes back for fraction of a second.

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I know what you mean. Having had it hammered into my head for decades, there is still a harbinger of it. I'm pretty much over it, but every once in awhile I'll see something in the thread mocking religion via pictures that causes a small frisson of fear.
Its kinda like being a recovering addict. Something triggers an urge to go back to a destructive lifestyle, thank Satan I come back to reality and swat that shit out of my mind.

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