Why are Atheists afraid of death?
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15-04-2014, 03:06 AM
RE: Why are Atheists afraid of death?
Mark. All it comes down to is this.

Each person is their own private cinema.

By the way I recommend Descartes. He was funny. Not Voltaire funny, but funny. Not everyone sees the humour though.

NOTE: Member, Tomasia uses this site to slander other individuals. He then later proclaims it a joke, but not in public.
I will call him a liar and a dog here and now.
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15-04-2014, 03:08 AM (This post was last modified: 15-04-2014 03:34 AM by Mathilda.)
RE: Why are Atheists afraid of death?
(15-04-2014 02:51 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  
(15-04-2014 02:38 AM)DLJ Wrote:  Try some of this.

Jeebus that's deep.

I'm not smart enough to get it. Not tonight , anyway.

Basically DLJ is correctly pointing out that the OP is using a homunuculus argument / fallacy. The explanation for something is avoided by saying that the cause of it is something smaller and harder to define.

So with the OP if the brain is not responsible for consciousness then something else is. But because we don't know anything about a soul then we do not have to explain how consciousness works.
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15-04-2014, 03:21 AM
RE: Why are Atheists afraid of death?
(15-04-2014 03:08 AM)Mathilda Wrote:  
(15-04-2014 02:51 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Jeebus that's deep.

I'm not smart enough to get it. Not tonight , anyway.

Basically DLJ is correct...
...

...by default!

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15-04-2014, 03:22 AM
RE: Why are Atheists afraid of death?
(14-04-2014 10:58 PM)Leefboy Wrote:  So I've recently lost my faith in religions and became an atheist and naturally I started to think about death a lot. I mean, if you're religious, the issue of death doesn't nag at you for your entire life because you have an all-convenient reassurance that life continues after death. But if you're an atheist?? Life suddenly loses all of its meaning and you're left pondering what the purpose of anything is.

Eh. I kind of disagree here. I think people are given the illusion of an intrinsic purpose due to religion. In other words, if a person believes a creator made them and "put them here for a reason" then the supposed intrinsic purpose coincides with that. If you're fundamentalist, many would say that's a divine plan god has in store for you. If you're deist, who knows. If you're calvanist, perhaps we were created with a divine plan but you don't necessarily have any say in it because it's all planned ahead no matter what you do.

But again, that's "intrinsice purpose."

(14-04-2014 10:58 PM)Leefboy Wrote:  As an ex-religious person, it's easy to see why religion is able to have such a strong grasp on so many people. It's a terrifying ordeal to have to deal with death for what it is. Atheists seem to be the more intelligent and logical people who see the inconsistencies of religion and simply accept the fact that they don't know what happens after death or they just accept the harsh reality that we are gone forever once we die. Some atheists have completely accepted their mortality and may say something like "if you're not even conscious of your own unconsciousness, you have nothing to worry about."

Right. I can agree with that. Essentially, think of before you were born. You didn't exist. You can't imagine the point of which you didn't exist because you weren't there. Much the same, once you die, you won't imagine yourself being dead because you'll be dead. I don't think it's a terrifying thing to ponder anymore (it was for a while) but eventually I just came to accept it. More than anything, I just hate that I won't get to live a long time and see all the cool stuff that'll happen 100, 200, 300 years from now and more. Although, living in the now is the best time to live since it's always the most advanced and interesting time to live, no?

(14-04-2014 10:58 PM)Leefboy Wrote:  But something about this whole notion of death bothered me. Not because it scared me, but because it started to make less and less sense the more I thought about it (similar to how I lost faith in religion). Most atheists see death as the ultimate end to our lives... an eternal state of darkness.


Eternal darkness? No. To experience darkness you need senses. You can't sense anything when you're dead. You just stop living. No consciousness, no thinking. Once your brain dies, you as you know you stops being you.

(14-04-2014 10:58 PM)Leefboy Wrote:  But if you think about it, this can only be true if we have a unique, metaphysical quality such as a soul. If we died and truly remained unconscious forever like we think we will, that would mean we were each assigned a soul that had the opportunity to see the world for a split second and then went back to sleep. But atheists don't believe in souls... that is a religious concept.

I don't think it's necessarily religious. My wife is somewhere in the realm of "apatheist" and "atheist" and "agnostic atheist" but for some reason believes in supernatural things like ghosts and the like. I have asked her on many occasion why and she has no answer as to why. I try not to give her shit for it since I find it a ridiculous thing to believe in since I think that the mind enjoys playing tricks on people due to our natural instincts and the natural way the limbic system kicks in when you see/hear shit and it goes, "AHHH MONSTER! or a lion... OR A GHOST! something... QUICK GET AWAY!" and then of course it exaggerates and goes all scumbag brain on you. Then people tend to come up with anecdotal things about what they saw that could have been something as simple as a shadow or a cat... know what I mean?


(14-04-2014 10:58 PM)Leefboy Wrote:  So why are atheists afraid of death? You can say you're afraid of the death of your 'ego', which is everything that makes you "you," (your talents, physical characteristics, personality, etc.) but to say you're afraid of the death of your ability to experience and be conscious of reality?

I don't think all atheists are afraid of death. I'm not afraid of my identity and who I am going away. I'm a person, I live my life and enjoy my life. When I die, that all goes with me except the experiences and memories people who know me will have. That is until they die and I eventually end up being a picture in an album and perhaps a profile on ancestry.com someday. Then some long term relative decades from now will dig through and go, "Hey I found one of our relatives!"

(14-04-2014 10:58 PM)Leefboy Wrote:  That's an assertion that's not even logical to begin with if you really think about it. It's logical to assume that when we die our consciousness, or simply our ability to experience reality, lives on in SOME form (most likely not in it's current form). Ultimately, if you die, you're not going to become lifeless soul forever sleeping in darkness... you're going to be simply "nothing" at all. How can nothing "experience" anything? If we are "nothing" we may as well just be anything else that is conscious in the universe.

You're not nothing. You're still matter. But bugs, animals, whatever else decides to use your biological bits will "recycle" you in some fashion. Your conciousness is tied to your brain, so when you go braindead, there's nothing thus far that shows otherwise that your consciousness exists elsewhere, it's gone.

(14-04-2014 10:58 PM)Leefboy Wrote:  But who will we be next? How exactly does consciousness live on?

It doesn't. When you die, you go braindead. When your brain dies, it's gone.

(14-04-2014 10:58 PM)Leefboy Wrote:  Well that's an entirely different issue with a lot of different speculations and theories, but the one that makes the most sense is that we are in fact all conscious beings experiencing life one at a time. This addresses the issue of how there are multiple, different conscious beings in the universe and how new ones are coming into being. We are simply all of them (obviously we can't understand how this works but there is a lot of truth to this). I think Alan Watts explains what I'm trying to explain fairly well: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mMRrCYPxD0I

I like Watts, he has some interesting thoughts. Although I think what he is saying in his video is that the universe as a whole is all one thing, and not that consciousness "takes turns" (If that is what you're insinuating). You're part of the same atoms and energy that makes up the universe that is also atoms and energy. Everything from one point all came from the same place. You are, in essence, the universe in a human form capable of looking at itself. When you look up at the stars, you're the same stuff. Even though you only get to experience it here and now, it will continue existing after you are gone. In other words, the sun that powers our solar system, the red dust on mars, the gas on jupiter, the nebula of orion, the star nurseries that create new stars, the black holes that are so incredibly dense that warp time and space and gravity so that light cannot even escape... it's all the same stuff from the same infinitesimal point in space that started with the big bang. Even when you die, parts of you, your atoms and energy will all continue being that thing. You as atoms and energy will continue on in some form at some point, probably not in the conscious you that you know now, but you will always continue being a part of the universe in that matter... because you are matter.

If there's anything that I could reflect on, it would be that for this very short time you are alive, it is perhaps the only time that you, the universe, are capable of understanding itself, which is the universe. That may not specifically imply an intrinsic meaning. But it's a fantastic reason to look at it, reflect on it, learn about it and enjoy it.

Someday our sun will turn into a red giant, expand, essentially consume and superheat the earth and all life as we know it on earth will be roasted. However, during this process the outer layers will probably end up being blown out with it and become a planetary nebula, which has the potential to become a star nursery (possibly). This means our atoms and energy at some point may end up being the very same star stuff we started as.

(14-04-2014 10:58 PM)Leefboy Wrote:  But how consciousness continues is just theory at this point.

Until someone shows otherwise that your specific consciousness does anything other than stop being just that after you die, I would have to disagree. I'm not saying it can't be or won't be or that we won't find something different. But until someone determines otherwise, I don't like leaping to conclusions or setting assertions on what it is or isn't aside from what is currently known. Although the various ponderings and "what ifs" are of course interesting, but not much else to me at this time.

(14-04-2014 10:58 PM)Leefboy Wrote:  The main point i'm trying to address here is that logically life continues on after death simply because of the fact that we can't be aware of our own unconsciousness. It won't be the same life... that's what we're conditioned to believe in... that if life does indeed continue after death, that it will be in the same manner as it is now. But our egos will most likely die forever. It's our consciousness and ability to experience the world that won't. You don't need faith to believe in life after death... just logic. I'd like to hear your thoughts.

Other life and other people, yes. Other conscious people and consciousness, yes. Reincarnated so that you're experiencing life again and just not as you knew it in another conscious state? I think not. But I think I get what you're getting at.

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15-04-2014, 03:57 AM
RE: Why are Atheists afraid of death?
(15-04-2014 03:03 AM)Eva Wrote:  Having read the OP and the rest of this thread I cannot tell if this is a troll or a new fledgling atheist still wrestling with some indoctrinated issues. I hope the later but time will tell.

Just for the record, as an atheist, I do not fear death as it will be no different to before I was born. Or as Jim Jefferies so eloquently put it 'I won't know I'm dead as I'll be fucking dead'.

But, I fear the process of death and how it may happen to me. Like most people I would prefer to die peacefully in my sleep but it probably won't be like that and I may contract a terminal illness or just slowly deteriorate from old age or there are a variety of other horrible possibilities which will result in my death. I may suffer pain for a length of time before death, this is a scary prospect and not one I relish. But it is also not something I dwell on and is only a passing thought from time to time.

Knowing that the end is just that, the end of me, I try and enjoy as much as I can while I have the consciousness to enjoy it. I have a wonderful daughter whose company I adore, I have a loving and supportive family and some amazing friends who have cushioned my falls more than once and I try and do the same for them. I feel very lucky to have these things and that is what gives my life meaning. We all have to find our own individual meaning in whatever circumstances we find ourselves in as that is the only 'meaning of life'. Trying to figure out whether some sky fairy has a purpose for us is just wasting the time you have.

Besides if there were a sky fairy and he/she/it did have a purpose then surely it would have made it abundantly clear and not hidden it in all the mystery bullshit that people mentally tie themselves up in. So stop wasting your experience trying to figure out what a made up, imaginary being has planned and go and figure out your own meaning and live it.

I came to this forum because this is an atheist forum and atheists don't believe in God. I don't believe in God. You don't believe in God. WHY are we even talking about it? I assumed atheists were intelligent enough to not believe in religion, so I was hoping for a more intellectual discussion on the actual point I'm trying to make.

You have just shown in your post that you believe death will be the end of everything for you. I am simply pointing out the flaw in this way of thinking. Here is a quote I found:

"It is not possible to be aware of being unconscious from your own perspective. You cannot be aware of not being aware. You can be less aware/conscious, such as when you are asleep, but not completely unconscious (dead), because time would stand still for you. A billion years could pass, and you would not know it."

In other words you are immortal because consciousness still exists in the universe even after your body dies. There are no gaps to consciousness itself since you can never be conscious of being unconscious. Sleeping or being under an anesthetic is not a good argument for death being a permanent state of unconsciousness because they are not the same thing as being dead. This is not science. This is not religion. This is logic. I didn't suggest the existence of a GOD or a divine purpose. I'm saying why I don't think death is really what most Atheists think it is. Death is not the end to everything because consciousness is immortal.
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15-04-2014, 04:05 AM (This post was last modified: 15-04-2014 06:15 AM by Eva.)
RE: Why are Atheists afraid of death?
(15-04-2014 03:57 AM)Leefboy Wrote:  
(15-04-2014 03:03 AM)Eva Wrote:  Having read the OP and the rest of this thread I cannot tell if this is a troll or a new fledgling atheist still wrestling with some indoctrinated issues. I hope the later but time will tell.

Just for the record, as an atheist, I do not fear death as it will be no different to before I was born. Or as Jim Jefferies so eloquently put it 'I won't know I'm dead as I'll be fucking dead'.

But, I fear the process of death and how it may happen to me. Like most people I would prefer to die peacefully in my sleep but it probably won't be like that and I may contract a terminal illness or just slowly deteriorate from old age or there are a variety of other horrible possibilities which will result in my death. I may suffer pain for a length of time before death, this is a scary prospect and not one I relish. But it is also not something I dwell on and is only a passing thought from time to time.

Knowing that the end is just that, the end of me, I try and enjoy as much as I can while I have the consciousness to enjoy it. I have a wonderful daughter whose company I adore, I have a loving and supportive family and some amazing friends who have cushioned my falls more than once and I try and do the same for them. I feel very lucky to have these things and that is what gives my life meaning. We all have to find our own individual meaning in whatever circumstances we find ourselves in as that is the only 'meaning of life'. Trying to figure out whether some sky fairy has a purpose for us is just wasting the time you have.

Besides if there were a sky fairy and he/she/it did have a purpose then surely it would have made it abundantly clear and not hidden it in all the mystery bullshit that people mentally tie themselves up in. So stop wasting your experience trying to figure out what a made up, imaginary being has planned and go and figure out your own meaning and live it.

I came to this forum because this is an atheist forum and atheists don't believe in God. I don't believe in God. You don't believe in God. WHY are we even talking about it? I assumed atheists were intelligent enough to not believe in religion, so I was hoping for a more intellectual discussion on the actual point I'm trying to make.

You have just shown in your post that you believe death will be the end of everything for you. I am simply pointing out the flaw in this way of thinking. Here is a quote I found:

"It is not possible to be aware of being unconscious from your own perspective. You cannot be aware of not being aware. You can be less aware/conscious, such as when you are asleep, but not completely unconscious (dead), because time would stand still for you. A billion years could pass, and you would not know it."

In other words you are immortal because consciousness still exists in the universe even after your body dies. There are no gaps to consciousness itself since you can never be conscious of being unconscious. Sleeping or being under an anesthetic is not a good argument for death being a permanent state of unconsciousness because they are not the same thing as being dead. This is not science. This is not religion. This is logic. I didn't suggest the existence of a GOD or a divine purpose. I'm saying why I don't think death is really what most Atheists think it is. Death is not the end to everything because consciousness is immortal.

"I assumed atheists were intelligent enough to not believe in religion, so I was hoping for a more intellectual discussion on the actual point I'm trying to make." - I'm going to let that back handed little insult go.

You have had a number of responses to your OP that have addressed each point. But clearly you don't like the responses so want to try and keep pushing your point over and over until you get a response you like. It's not going to happen here. Why? Because....

"Death is not the end to everything because consciousness is immortal." Unless you've got some evidence to back this assertion up then it is just the opinion of someone who is wallowing in wishful thinking.

"The person who is certain, and who claims divine warrant for his certainty, belongs now to the infancy of our species." - Christopher Hitchens

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15-04-2014, 04:15 AM
RE: Why are Atheists afraid of death?
(15-04-2014 03:57 AM)Leefboy Wrote:  
(15-04-2014 03:03 AM)Eva Wrote:  Having read the OP and the rest of this thread I cannot tell if this is a troll or a new fledgling atheist still wrestling with some indoctrinated issues. I hope the later but time will tell.

Just for the record, as an atheist, I do not fear death as it will be no different to before I was born. Or as Jim Jefferies so eloquently put it 'I won't know I'm dead as I'll be fucking dead'.

But, I fear the process of death and how it may happen to me. Like most people I would prefer to die peacefully in my sleep but it probably won't be like that and I may contract a terminal illness or just slowly deteriorate from old age or there are a variety of other horrible possibilities which will result in my death. I may suffer pain for a length of time before death, this is a scary prospect and not one I relish. But it is also not something I dwell on and is only a passing thought from time to time.

Knowing that the end is just that, the end of me, I try and enjoy as much as I can while I have the consciousness to enjoy it. I have a wonderful daughter whose company I adore, I have a loving and supportive family and some amazing friends who have cushioned my falls more than once and I try and do the same for them. I feel very lucky to have these things and that is what gives my life meaning. We all have to find our own individual meaning in whatever circumstances we find ourselves in as that is the only 'meaning of life'. Trying to figure out whether some sky fairy has a purpose for us is just wasting the time you have.

Besides if there were a sky fairy and he/she/it did have a purpose then surely it would have made it abundantly clear and not hidden it in all the mystery bullshit that people mentally tie themselves up in. So stop wasting your experience trying to figure out what a made up, imaginary being has planned and go and figure out your own meaning and live it.

I came to this forum because this is an atheist forum and atheists don't believe in God. I don't believe in God. You don't believe in God. WHY are we even talking about it? I assumed atheists were intelligent enough to not believe in religion, so I was hoping for a more intellectual discussion on the actual point I'm trying to make.

You have just shown in your post that you believe death will be the end of everything for you. I am simply pointing out the flaw in this way of thinking. Here is a quote I found:

"It is not possible to be aware of being unconscious from your own perspective. You cannot be aware of not being aware. You can be less aware/conscious, such as when you are asleep, but not completely unconscious (dead), because time would stand still for you. A billion years could pass, and you would not know it."

In other words you are immortal because consciousness still exists in the universe even after your body dies. There are no gaps to consciousness itself since you can never be conscious of being unconscious. Sleeping or being under an anesthetic is not a good argument for death being a permanent state of unconsciousness because they are not the same thing as being dead. This is not science. This is not religion. This is logic. I didn't suggest the existence of a GOD or a divine purpose. I'm saying why I don't think death is really what most Atheists think it is. Death is not the end to everything because consciousness is immortal.

[Citation needed]

There is no basis for believing that there is any form of consciousness after we are dead.

As has been pointed out before there is no proof that what we experience as consciousness exists after brain death.

Implying that there is, is a claim, one that needs proof to be accepted.

Asking that it be accepted on your say so alone smacks of theistic thinking.

So back up your claims or stop telling us we are wrong for not agreeing.

The requirement of evidence to back your claim does not disappear because it hurts your feelings, reality does not care about your feefees.
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15-04-2014, 04:22 AM
RE: Why are Atheists afraid of death?
(15-04-2014 03:57 AM)Leefboy Wrote:  "It is not possible to be aware of being unconscious from your own perspective. You cannot be aware of not being aware. You can be less aware/conscious, such as when you are asleep, but not completely unconscious (dead), because time would stand still for you. A billion years could pass, and you would not know it."

In other words you are immortal because consciousness still exists in the universe even after your body dies.

In what way does this quote you found support your above conclusion? It does not state that consciousness is separate and existent outside of the human brain.

Quote:There are no gaps to consciousness itself since you can never be conscious of being unconscious.

Why do you not consider unconsciousness to be a gap in consciousness?

I think if I were to apply this reasoning to a tree that falls in the forest with no one around to hear it, it would be heard by the hearing that still exists in the forest.

How are subjective experiences such as consciousness or hearing existent outside of the brain which generates them?

Quote:Sleeping or being under an anesthetic is not a good argument for death being a permanent state of unconsciousness because they are not the same thing as being dead.

In what way is the experience of being under anesthetic evidence that death is not a permanent state of unconsciousness?

Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness.

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15-04-2014, 04:25 AM
RE: Why are Atheists afraid of death?
In what way is the claim that consciousness is independent from the brain and immortal not a scientific claim?

Why is it not necessary to present scientific evidence for your claim?

Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness.

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15-04-2014, 04:42 AM
RE: Why are Atheists afraid of death?
Leefboy,

Quote:Just an introduction paragraph. Irrelevant to my main point

Why do you consider your introductory paragraph to be irrelevant to your main point? What is the purpose of your introductory paragraph if not to introduce your main point?

Quote:If you believe our consciousness ceases once you die, you're actually believing in some kind of "soul" because you're suggesting that your "consciousness" is personal and unique to you.

Are all human subjective experiences identical? Are they personal and unique? In what way is consciousness neither personal nor unique?

Quote:I WAS an atheist. I'm not anymore. I'm somewhere in between religion and atheism.

Quote:So I've recently lost my faith in religions and became an atheist

Are you an Atheist? Why have you contradicted yourself? What does it mean to be "somewhere between Atheism and religion"? In what way are you neither religious nor non-religious?

Quote:Obviously, consciousness is part of our brain and ceases to be once we die. That's science and I am not arguing against that. In fact, nothing about what I'm saying is scientific.

If you admit that factual science supports a loss of all consciousness at death, why are you arguing that that same consciousness continues beyond death? If your theory is not supported by any scientific evidence, why should anyone consider it fact?

Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness.

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