Introduction in the form of a question about atheist attitudes about death
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07-10-2016, 11:44 PM
Introduction in the form of a question about atheist attitudes about death
OK, my name is James and I'm an atheist agnostic. I live in Ohio, but sort of a horrible conservative part of it. I became an atheist not long after I made a pledge to myself to always look for the real truth when I am told something. Listening to conservative talk radio actually was the final catalyst in my "conversion". Anyway - I'm not really sure yet where the people in this forum are coming from, but most seem to be good natured... but maybe a little... off? Hope that doesn't offend anyone. I mean it as a compliment.

Anyway, I'm curious if any of you can relate to the question that's been on my mind for a while. As an atheist, does someone's death not bother you much?

Deaths really bother me very little. I maybe shed a few tears for my dad, and if his football teams do well, I think of him and shed a couple as well, so I'm not completely robotic, but I don't think much about it. If even my own children, which I have two, died, I would be sad... but I really don't think I would spend a lot of time thinking about it. I see death as a necissary part of life and it is going to happen to every one of us and had happened to every single person before we were here. If they meant enough to me to remember clearly, then they will be with me for a long time in my mind. They're really almost as alive to me after death as they were before.

By contrast, I have a friend whom I am in a band with that lost his shit when his dad died. He lost his job, tried to drink himself to death, ranted and raved and broke up our band for a while all because of his father's death. I just don't get that.

So what do you think? Anyone agree with me, or think this could be a common atheist trait? Am I a heartless robot? Am I actually repressing feelings or something like that?

Happy to meet you all.
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08-10-2016, 02:29 AM
RE: Introduction in the form of a question about atheist attitudes about death
Hi, Mirkwoodz.

I think there are possibly as many nuances to the death of another as there are people experiencing a loss.

Possibly much depends on the feelings of security, if a lot of a person's sense of being, of value etc. is vested in another the loss is greater. My closest friend lost her husband (I was a close friend to both) four years ago. They were totally, 100%, in love even in their 70s, and they were also still good friends.

The wife did not fall to pieces because, despite their devotion and extremely close relationship, they were both still "their own people". They shared the jobs out by ability not gender, no "wife/husband" work.

I have seen other relationships, with less of a bond, where the surviving partner could not cope.

One might think that christians would be less hit by loss, after all, their departed has gone to a better life. Betcha there is as wide a response there as with non-christians.

Are they crying for the lost person or their own loss?

I think your response is normal, for you. You band friend's was normal for him.

Tomorrow is precious, don't ruin it by fouling up today.
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08-10-2016, 03:08 AM
RE: Introduction in the form of a question about atheist attitudes about death
(07-10-2016 11:44 PM)Mirkwoodz Wrote:  Anyway - I'm not really sure yet where the people in this forum are coming from, but most seem to be good natured... but maybe a little... off? Hope that doesn't offend anyone. I mean it as a compliment.

Hi.

If you meant it as a compliment perhaps you should phrase it as such?

(07-10-2016 11:44 PM)Mirkwoodz Wrote:  Anyway, I'm curious if any of you can relate to the question that's been on my mind for a while. As an atheist, does someone's death not bother you much?

Why should it bother me? I didn't existed in eons past so future non existence also doesn't hold any terror for me.

Epicurus put it best: Why should I fear death?
If I am, then death is not.
If Death is, then I am not.
Why should I fear that which can only exist when I do not?


(07-10-2016 11:44 PM)Mirkwoodz Wrote:  So what do you think? Anyone agree with me, or think this could be a common atheist trait?

Only common atheist trait is lack of belief, other than that one hardly can call something that I would say.

(07-10-2016 11:44 PM)Mirkwoodz Wrote:  Am I a heartless robot? Am I actually repressing feelings or something like that?

I know shit about psychology so I have no idea.

The first revolt is against the supreme tyranny of theology, of the phantom of God. As long as we have a master in heaven, we will be slaves on earth.

Mikhail Bakunin.
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08-10-2016, 03:54 AM (This post was last modified: 08-10-2016 03:57 AM by EvolutionKills.)
RE: Introduction in the form of a question about atheist attitudes about death
(07-10-2016 11:44 PM)Mirkwoodz Wrote:  Anyway - I'm not really sure yet where the people in this forum are coming from, but most seem to be good natured... but maybe a little... off? Hope that doesn't offend anyone. I mean it as a compliment.

Stick around long enough and you'll find a comfortable place on the EPA (Earmuff Personality Assessment). I'm about 7.4/10 Earmuffs.


(07-10-2016 11:44 PM)Mirkwoodz Wrote:  Anyway, I'm curious if any of you can relate to the question that's been on my mind for a while. As an atheist, does someone's death not bother you much?

Not really, but I think that might be more of a development thing on my end. I just don't develop really strong personal bonds to begin with, so their being severed by loss doesn't have as strong of an affect on me.


(07-10-2016 11:44 PM)Mirkwoodz Wrote:  Deaths really bother me very little. I maybe shed a few tears for my dad, and if his football teams do well, I think of him and shed a couple as well, so I'm not completely robotic, but I don't think much about it. If even my own children, which I have two, died, I would be sad... but I really don't think I would spend a lot of time thinking about it. I see death as a necissary part of life and it is going to happen to every one of us and had happened to every single person before we were here. If they meant enough to me to remember clearly, then they will be with me for a long time in my mind. They're really almost as alive to me after death as they were before.

I still remember all of my grandparents. When I lost the first one when I was around 13, I was nearly inconsolable. We'd been really close, and up until recently, my family had lived with them for years. When I lost the next one a few years later I was very sad, but could handle it. As I got older, the lose was easier and easier to cope with. I stopped crying at funerals past age 17.

Now if I were to lose my mother or one of my siblings, I'd very likely be closer to square one, but there are none others that I have as strong of a bond with. And even now, I go for months on end without seeing them, and I'm not lonely or otherwise driven with a huge desire to change that. I had a falling out with my father where I didn't speak to him for years (because I couldn't take my stepmother's manipulative bullshit any longer), and even after we'd somewhat made up but he kinda kicked me to the curb again, I've been just fine not seeing him for the last 2 years. I'm just a really big introvert that long ago came to terms with mortality.


(07-10-2016 11:44 PM)Mirkwoodz Wrote:  By contrast, I have a friend whom I am in a band with that lost his shit when his dad died. He lost his job, tried to drink himself to death, ranted and raved and broke up our band for a while all because of his father's death. I just don't get that.

That sounds really rough. Maybe he just never learned any better coping mechanisms?


(07-10-2016 11:44 PM)Mirkwoodz Wrote:  So what do you think? Anyone agree with me, or think this could be a common atheist trait? Am I a heartless robot? Am I actually repressing feelings or something like that?

I don't think it's an atheist trait per se. It might be something more tied to psychological temperament and possibly with how people may fall along the autism spectrum, and there may be a correlation between that and lack of religiosity. But both atheists and theists still feel sad. Even a belief in the afterlife and Heaven doesn't stop believers from crying at funerals.

Some people just have trouble connecting at that level, while others maybe just cope with it better. I think having an honest appraisal of what we are and our relative position within the universe helps, but maybe that's just me.

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08-10-2016, 07:02 AM
RE: Introduction in the form of a question about atheist attitudes about death
Hi Welcome Smile

In some ways, death bothers me more as an atheist because I know I'm not going to see the people I love again after they pass away. In christianity, you're promised all of that heaven bs. On the other hand, like you, I also view it as a part of living, death is natural and in that way, I find peace in that.

"Let the waters settle and you will see the moon and stars mirrored in your own being." -Rumi
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08-10-2016, 07:21 AM
RE: Introduction in the form of a question about atheist attitudes about death
(07-10-2016 11:44 PM)Mirkwoodz Wrote:  OK, my name is James and I'm an atheist agnostic. I live in Ohio, but sort of a horrible conservative part of it. I became an atheist not long after I made a pledge to myself to always look for the real truth when I am told something. Listening to conservative talk radio actually was the final catalyst in my "conversion". Anyway - I'm not really sure yet where the people in this forum are coming from, but most seem to be good natured... but maybe a little... off? Hope that doesn't offend anyone. I mean it as a compliment.

Anyway, I'm curious if any of you can relate to the question that's been on my mind for a while. As an atheist, does someone's death not bother you much?

Deaths really bother me very little. I maybe shed a few tears for my dad, and if his football teams do well, I think of him and shed a couple as well, so I'm not completely robotic, but I don't think much about it. If even my own children, which I have two, died, I would be sad... but I really don't think I would spend a lot of time thinking about it. I see death as a necissary part of life and it is going to happen to every one of us and had happened to every single person before we were here. If they meant enough to me to remember clearly, then they will be with me for a long time in my mind. They're really almost as alive to me after death as they were before.

By contrast, I have a friend whom I am in a band with that lost his shit when his dad died. He lost his job, tried to drink himself to death, ranted and raved and broke up our band for a while all because of his father's death. I just don't get that.

So what do you think? Anyone agree with me, or think this could be a common atheist trait? Am I a heartless robot? Am I actually repressing feelings or something like that?

Happy to meet you all.

It has absolutely nothing to do with atheism, or the person who died.

Grief is a physical response. I didn't understand it until I lost my husband of 30 years. I lost all of my family and many friends over time before that, and didn't understand grief.

Your brain learns to react to stimuli in certain ways. For example, at dinnertime I would put out 2 knives, forks and spoons. No thinking required. After hubby died - brain runs into an obstacle. Only one of each needed.

It's really that simple. You will grieve in correlation with the importance the departed had in your DAILY thoughts and actions. The larger the space occupied in your brain, the harder you grieve.

How the grief manifests itself differs from person to person. Some people are prone to wailing and crying lots (a good thing because it releases lots of endorphins to calm your confused brain). Some will try to ignore it and tears will well up at any time (often inopportune and irrational times). Some are not prone to strong emotions, some of us are. That's all about our chemical make up.

So, grief basically has to do with the amount of brain space occupied by the dead person (extensive daily interaction for decades and in the present will usually cause major grief). And it has to do with your chemical make up, each person differs.

It has nothing to do with whether you loved the person, whether they were nice, who they were and what you believe.

Grief just happens, your thoughts cannot and do not control it. Expecting yourself to grieve in the absence of a large part of your brain being devoted to that person, and in the absence of your chemical make up causing strong emotions, is unreasonable.

Everyone reacts differently, and there is no right or wrong.

[Image: dobie.png]Science is the process we've designed to be responsible for generating our best guess as to what the fuck is going on. Girly Man
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08-10-2016, 02:31 PM
RE: Introduction in the form of a question about atheist attitudes about death
Interesting responses, everyone. Thanks for what you've given me so far.

So far, most of you seem to think that it has little to do with Atheism, and you're probably right... I think I failed to express my idea properly... I wasn't looking for Atheism as a causation, but actually the thought process that makes you Atheist as the correlation. I think, to use the term, thinking Atheists are often Atheists because they have more logical thought patterns. I think the ability to accept something like death which is also logical is right down those same lines.

I would bet that if you polled theists about how they react to death, and Atheists the same, you would see more Atheists taking death in stride than theists. After all, they are scared enough of death personally to believe a very convoluted story about what happens to them once they have shuffled off their mortal coils.

And, to Szuchow. Adding the phrase "I mean it as a compliment." did not make it phrased as a compliment? I think I'm a touch off, and most people are, which is what makes people unique.

Anyway, thanks for your comments. Nice meeting you all!
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08-10-2016, 02:37 PM
RE: Introduction in the form of a question about atheist attitudes about death
Hello! Big Grin

Sorry I'm late.

(08-10-2016 02:31 PM)Mirkwoodz Wrote:  Interesting responses, everyone. Thanks for what you've given me so far.

So far, most of you seem to think that it has little to do with Atheism, and you're probably right... I think I failed to express my idea properly... I wasn't looking for Atheism as a causation, but actually the thought process that makes you Atheist as the correlation. I think, to use the term, thinking Atheists are often Atheists because they have more logical thought patterns. I think the ability to accept something like death which is also logical is right down those same lines.

I would bet that if you polled theists about how they react to death, and Atheists the same, you would see more Atheists taking death in stride than theists. After all, they are scared enough of death personally to believe a very convoluted story about what happens to them once they have shuffled off their mortal coils.

And, to Szuchow. Adding the phrase "I mean it as a compliment." did not make it phrased as a compliment? I think I'm a touch off, and most people are, which is what makes people unique.

Anyway, thanks for your comments. Nice meeting you all!

I consider myself an atheist. Probably more correct to say a 'Non-theist' and I am in no way 'Logical'.

Some one shows me the evidence for a deity, I'll look at it. Think about it and... depending accept or reject it.

T'is evidence not logic that sways myself.

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08-10-2016, 02:56 PM
RE: Introduction in the form of a question about atheist attitudes about death
(08-10-2016 02:31 PM)Mirkwoodz Wrote:  Interesting responses, everyone. Thanks for what you've given me so far.

So far, most of you seem to think that it has little to do with Atheism, and you're probably right... I think I failed to express my idea properly... I wasn't looking for Atheism as a causation, but actually the thought process that makes you Atheist as the correlation. I think, to use the term, thinking Atheists are often Atheists because they have more logical thought patterns. I think the ability to accept something like death which is also logical is right down those same lines.

I would bet that if you polled theists about how they react to death, and Atheists the same, you would see more Atheists taking death in stride than theists. After all, they are scared enough of death personally to believe a very convoluted story about what happens to them once they have shuffled off their mortal coils.

And, to Szuchow. Adding the phrase "I mean it as a compliment." did not make it phrased as a compliment? I think I'm a touch off, and most people are, which is what makes people unique.

Anyway, thanks for your comments. Nice meeting you all!

Thinking has nothing to do with grief. Grief is a physical reaction.

[Image: dobie.png]Science is the process we've designed to be responsible for generating our best guess as to what the fuck is going on. Girly Man
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08-10-2016, 03:01 PM
RE: Introduction in the form of a question about atheist attitudes about death
(08-10-2016 02:31 PM)Mirkwoodz Wrote:  And, to Szuchow. Adding the phrase "I mean it as a compliment." did not make it phrased as a compliment? I think I'm a touch off, and most people are, which is what makes people unique.

If you need to add phrase "I mean it as a compliment" then it is a safe bet that whatever you said did not sound like compliment.

The first revolt is against the supreme tyranny of theology, of the phantom of God. As long as we have a master in heaven, we will be slaves on earth.

Mikhail Bakunin.
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