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For those of you who believed in life after death before: do you struggle more now when people die?

My boss's cousin died last week and several times she mentioned how she was comforted by knowing she wasn't really gone, and all that. I personally don't think I feel any different about people dying than I did before.

The belief that people's spirits lived on and I would see them again didn't make me feel much better because I wouldn't see them the rest of my life. I was still really sad when they died. Now I still am sad but if anything, I feel more peaceful not worrying over unanswerable questions about the afterlife.

I would think that atheism could lead to less sorrow in many situations, such as in the case of suicides or if the person lived a troubled (evil) life. My friend lost her grandpa to suicide when I was a teen and according to our belief system, he was damned. What a horrible burden to carry right when you are dealing with a huge loss as well.

What about you guys? Do you think you feel worse about death than someone who believes in life after death?

UpsideDownAgain 7 May 2

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As a child, I was worried and frightened by death, and I believed what I was told about the Christian afterlife. As an atheist of mature years, I now mourn my loss of those who have died ("Send not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee." ), but I now also accept the finality of death.

It seems that some people need the crutch of the promise of an afterlife, but other people do not.

To answer your final question, my answer is "no".


I lost my 18 year old nephew to homicide, while I was still agnostic. The thought of possibly seeing him again after death was the only, minuscule comfort I had during those times. We sat through yellow journalism from a newspaper that got massive ad revenue from the defense's law firm. We sat through TWO murder trials, listening to an overpaid defense attorney maligning my nephew's character. Those autopsy photos? They don't always give you a heads up that those are coming. Sitting in a courtroom with an unrepentant murderer and his sneering family was almost unbearable. The interminable hours waiting for the verdicts, both guilty, was indescribable.
When I became atheist, I had to mourn my nephew again, because I was living a lie the first time. Was it better? Having that sliver of comfort, when it was the only thing staving off the nightmares? I don't have an answer.

That's horrific. I'm sorry you went through that.

It may be circumstances like these that prompted people to first consider the idea of life after death. I think when you lose someone suddenly like that, it would be nice to feel like you will see them again.


I find the idea of release and an end to my existence a great comfort.
The idea of eternal existence with out the hope of relief to be hellish.


On the contrary,I feel better because some of them would have went to hell for not bowing down to their sky daddy


I am more comforted about death as an atheist than I ever was as a believer. Not only do I not have to worry about good people being punished for an eternity, I don't have to worry about an eternal drone-like existence for myself. What would that even mean? Time would not even exist. Family would be no more important that any other afterlife being.

Life has value and meaning because it is rare and because it will come to an end. If life is eternal, it means nothing. If there is no sadness, where is the joy? If there is no defeat, where is triumph? If there is no ugly, where is the beauty? If there is no death, what is life?

I find great comfort knowing that the energy and atoms that gave me form will continue on, forever. I don't need my consciousness to survive my death.

I feel very similar regarding my upcoming death. Thank you for sharing your perspective


I look at death as an end to suffering.

My mother had a rare condition known as "bird fancier's disease", or at least tht is the layman's description for it. Basically it is an allergy to bird dander. When bird dander gets into the lungs it causes inflammation and over time it scars the air sacks in the lungs so that oxygen can't transfer from the lungs to the blood. Now the body has no way to expel the bird dander so it keeps irritating and creating more scar tissue, which means less oxygen can get to the blood. So, my mother first developed a slight cough, which neve went away, and as time went on her cough got worse. She in effect slowly suffocated to death over a period of about 20 years or so. It was a terrible way to go. When she finally died, It was a relief that her suffering was over. The last 10 years or so her life was just constant suffering.

Despite my being taught as a child that life goes on after death, and not longe believing that, I see death as a release from suffering, or possible suffering. So, no it isnt' harder to deal with death when I don't believe in an afterlife.


Personally, I think you tend to cherish the good people in your life even more because you know you won't be spending eternity with them in an afterlife. Even if I were to believe in an afterlife there is no certainty that you will be seeing them again as there are always at least two options and you may not wind up in the same place but as with all leaps of faith, it isn't logical or very well thought out.


I too am one of the people have observed that the religious appear to be more frightened by death than nonbelievers. They carry all the baggage, especially those who believe in hell. Death is just like going to sleep but not waking up.

gearl Level 8 May 3, 2020

In short, no. I just shared this with someone else who was having difficulty with the passing of a loved one but it fits here too. This is how I deal with death.

It's been a couple of weeks since my brother passed and I have not really said anything about it For the rest of my life Christmas will always be the time Jamie left this life. But it will also be the time that he rejoined the greater universe.

I am not a religious man and I don't know what lies beyond this life if anything. I do know a few things. The tiniest particles in our bodies, the atoms of calcium in our bones, the iron in our blood, all of these are born in the heart of a star. When this star reaches the end of its life cycle, it erupts and spreads these atoms into the universe where they join other elements and give birth to another star. Some of these starts have planets and, on our little bit of star stuff, life is born. I like to think that my brother has simply gone back to the universe and the particles that once were him will, one day, be scattered once again.

I like to think that some of him will become part of another world, another living thing, perhaps a brother who loves and is loved.

A writer once said that we all have time machines. Those that take us into the future are our dreams. The ones that take us to the past are called memory. I find Jamie when I use either one.


No I don’t feel worse about death than the religious people.


I don't feel bad about deaths. But the process of dying is is often horrible. And I've seen enough people die that I know. I'm a strong believer in the right to die!


Death reminds me that we are here for only a short time and to enjoy each moment


Well, I would be really pissed off if I had to see some of the dead people I used to know again. Like my two ex husbands, that would really piss me off if I had to put up with them again in afterlife.

@FrankA Noooo these two would definitely not make it into heave, never.


I like acceptance of reality. Death is a reality, i accept it. Acceptance is the key of life. We are forced 2 ways, acceptance of life and acceptance of death, and none of us asked for that life at birth


Never been Cristian but I used to be very uncomfortable with the thought that one day I just wouldn't exist. Unsettled me greatly. Now, I'm the opposite way. I'm happy to have finality to my life and would hate it if reincarnation or heaven was true. Couldn't think of anything worse than living forever. It's amazing how your mind can adjust and the comfort that comes from not being supernatural.


yes. i dwell on what i could have done differently.


Well, I used to hold the fundamentalist christian view that after death, people go to either heaven or hell, and most of them go to hell. If someone whom I knew died and I hadn't told them "the gospel", then their eternal punishment of hell was on my hands. So mostly, when people died, I used to feel guilty. Now, I don't believe in life after death, and I don't have that guilt to deal with anymore.


I must have never really believed it because I can't imagine that I ever did even though for about 4 years I was at the church 3 times a week. During that time I lost my grandfather and I loved him dearly but I never thought about seeing him in heaven.


No. I simply accept as the end of a life cycle. If I cared for the person, I hold on to the memories.


Not anymore I don't , I think we should stop trying to figure out what happens after we die and focus on life itself. Life should be embraced and death is unfortunately a part of life. I'm happy and comfortable in saying that I do not know happens when we die. Funny thing is that it doesn't bother me ever since I deconverted to Agnostitm.


I am more at peace, knowing that death is final. I no longer worry whether I or anyone else will end up in hell rather than heaven. We construct our happiness during our lives, and there is no need to worry about anything beyond. 🙂

The more I think about it, the more I feel the same. I remember as a child feeling like I didn't want to go to heaven because it sounded so boring but hell was also not an option. Overall, I just felt guilty because I was supposed to want to go to heaven. All that confusion is gone now.


I would say less. While I would love to be able to catch up with my parents, extended family and all of the pets I have ever had the privilege of caring for, they are gone hopefully they enjoyed their lives. I have only had to deal with one suicide I was a teenager, he was a devout catholic, he was a scout leader and a lovely man, very generous. The local priest refused to give him last rites or perform a memorial mass for him (his body was to be sent to his parents) My mum and a couple of other friends of his and parents of scouts marched down to his church and gave the priest what for, telling him he was a failure if a member of his flock did not feel that his priest could help him, where was he when this man needed guidance and help, etc, she was livid. The priest having been put into his place performed the memorial service to which half the town turned up. Most packed his church had ever been. I just felt angry that if there was a god he had failed big time and allowed a good and decent man to be taken from all of the people who cared about him and to who he mattered. We all felt gutted that we had not noticed or that he felt he could talk to at least one of us about what he was going through. The thought that he was in hell was never entertained by any of us.


life after death. what is life?

@K9Kohle789 we're not life, we're awareness and that's independent of our bodies and doesnt rely on time or distance.

@K9Kohle789 do you understand the implications of existence as pure awareness?

@K9Kohle789 the vedic term is satcitananda. pure knowledge, infinite existence, and absolute bliss. that is our actual nature as awareness. the limitations we impose in this "jeff suit" color our experience and condition our expectations. we must learn to filter them out.

@K9Kohle789 really? wow. there are literally billions of people who would disagree with you.




Short answer, no. Less.

Long answer: I cherish life. Life is precious. Specifically, conscious awareness is an amazing thing. But religious belief brought with it an nagging doubt, a fear of possible eternal torment for some unintended transgression. My fire and brimstone evangelical abuse/religious indoctrination in childhood truly amounts to emotional child abuse It's foundation is fear-mongering, controling us with threats of Hellfire.

Understanding what a colossal pile of dog shit that all is helped me realize I should be no more afraid of death than I was of not having been born yet. Life is a precious positive. But death is just neutral.


My dad died early in his sleep at home age 82 .....his preventable death ripped my guts out age 37
.....I am a war Veteran and childhood hunter with dad so I have seen a hundred heard a hundred held a hundred dying dead quail pheasants and rabbits....the smell of death and gunpowder will never leave my nose Atheism perhaps like your Atheism leaves me UNconfused and accurate in empathy for both decedents and mourners....I have never and will never spoil the heaven plans of family or friends.....but criminal theocrats telling perfect strangers how to grieve or whst to think about alleged gawds pisses me off and I tell radio tv and print media how wrong they are to let these fucked up politicians spread their religious lies on us all .
.....I take special care to comfort parents of deceased drunk brother died a week b4 mom died....her cancer was killing her slowly but she died of grief losing her first born....both were religious and I am a lifelong Atheist since age 5 short Atheists don't take short cuts through mourning grieving and burying our dead..... believers are all over the pattern map ....


I was thinking about it today, and there is a kind of solidarity with humanity, for lack of a better phrase, in knowing we are all in the same boat--we all know we are living, and we all know some day we are going to die, just like all humans who ever lived. I tend to see the belief in an afterlife as less a "coping" mechanism and more of a denial mechanism. How can you be said to be COPING with a death you are simultaneously denying ever really happened because your loved one is in some Disneyland in the sky.

That's a profound point.

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