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As an atheist, how do you handle the thought of death?

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it's only the dying part that bothers me, death I'm sure will be just like before I was born.


I'm not afraid of death. I'm afraid of a painful, protracted, undignified lonely death.

And I keep coming back to this Tuck Everlasting quote:

"Do not fear death, but rather the unlived life. You don't have to live forever. You just have to live."



I try not to think about it. When I do it is only the act of dying I'm uncomfortable with. I tell myself that it will only last a moment, ok, maybe several, and hopefully without any, or, too much pain. It is the way that I die that causes some stress, but once I'm done that's more pain or suffering.


I forget the quote and who said it mark Twain I think someone correct me if I'm wrong but it states " I was dead before I was born and it didn't bother me then so I'm not bothered by the thought of death" or something along those lines. Like I said I really don't remember it exactly.

Bloodmoon Level 5 May 20, 2018

That's a wise quote. I believe death is the same as before we were born - which is nothing.

There is a quote from one of Alan Watts books that says much the same thing.


The thought of death doesn't bother me, although I'm not thrilled about the dying process if it's going to entail much suffering.


Very good question, most people need a comforting thought regarding death. I feel that is one of the driving reasons why these religious Charlatans have been able to exist for centuries. It offers comfort to the surviving loved ones too, to think that their loves ones are in a "better place." My thought is if I am dead, I am done. Provide me with proof i.e. a post card, a facebook, instagram or twitter post of your fun times in THE better place and perhaps I will change my mind.

Vyn951 Level 4 May 20, 2018

Don't remember anything before I was born and not going to remember nothing after I'm dead.

Sheannutt Level 9 May 20, 2018

As realistically as possible. It's inevitable. There is no reason to fear it.
Everything that lives, dies. No point in getting all twisted about it.

KKGator Level 9 May 20, 2018

Do I want or wish to die? No. Am I going to die -- sometime in the future? Yes. Do I fear it? No -- it simply is something that is going to happen.

xyz123 Level 7 May 20, 2018

By not thinking about it -- there's nothing I can do to change it, and it's necessary anyway so there's no real point in thinking about it. Of course I am tying to get my ducks in a row in case it sneaks up on me -- will prepared, end of life insurance bought, cremation and disposal of ashes pre-paid, that sort of thing -- but I don't see what else I can do about it other than get the practical stuff sorted.


I don't worry about it, nor am I afraid of it. (Of course I'm afraid of suffering, or of it being painful.)

I don't need to think about the rewards in an afterlife, because I know I only have this life to make meaningful. When I'm gone, I'm gone. Any love I shared with others while I was alive will be what's left of me.

GinaKay Level 7 May 20, 2018

I have a death sentence hanging over me anyway. An incurable, but very slow acting cancer of my immune system. But I'm 76, I have narrowly escaped death very many times in my life, and I know I have to die sometime. But I will procrastinate for as long as possible, I can assure you.
Here's a link to my self written epitaph:-

Petter Level 8 May 20, 2018

Good poem...I like the statements at the end...."it's the last event my body will attend...." LOL

@SpikeTalon Thank you Spike.


I was thinking about that (death) on my walk this morning. I was thinking that I probably need to get my things in order (wills and such). No, I'm not planning on dying anytime soon, but since I'm 53, alone, and really have no one here for support where I live, I think it's important to have your affairs in order. But I try not to think about it much, but if it happens, it happens. Much like birth.

BlackDove Level 7 May 20, 2018

When I was 14 my mother died of Ovarian Cancer, she was 45. I'm now 60. Sometime in the years after mom died I read an article that essentially said IF you knew you were going to die tomorrow, what would you do differently today? Having experienced death of the most important person in my life at that time, I knew how fast things could change. So, if I die tomorrow am I ready. Well, my kids need some passwords to handle my affairs efficiently, but they know how much I love them and we have a solid relationship. My job is going to go on without me just fine. Death is inevitable, it is coming sooner or later, and I'm about as ready as I can be. Yes, I need to get passwords and POAs for the kids, but I'm not going to lose sleep on that one. In the mean time, I have a life such as it is, and I will continue about the same as I was before.


The actual 'being' dead bit doesn't concern me in the slightest (kinda' obviously) and hasn't occupied a single second of my thoughts since the age of 3 when I suddenly realised I'd die one day and had a five minute freak-out about it. ?

The process of dying is not something I relish. If I get lucky it'll be in my sleep or in a very sudden, unexpected moment — and ONLY once my child is an adult and not likely to be traumatised by losing a parent.

To be honest, I fear even a few seconds of realising the moment's come and the fun is over. But then again I kind of suspect my last thought might be 'thank fuck for that'.

DaveMania Level 6 May 20, 2018

Accept it will happen and keep living life.

Naut2Deep Level 4 May 20, 2018

My affairs are in order so I really don't think about. As far as I'm concerned it's a dead issue.

Yogisan Level 7 May 20, 2018

All life dies at some point. It is a part of life, it is inevitable. When my time comes I just don't want pain or machines. I don't fear it, I don't necessarily welcome it, but when it comes it comes.


The thought of death doesn't bother me anymore since I stopped believing in the religious endings to my story. I'm good knowing that my energy will return to the Universe and my ashes to Nature as should.


Can't wait


I used to be quite anxious about it, even more so because I tried to imagine what death would "feel" like if there was nothing after it in a thought experiment when I was about 15 years old, but with time I've slowly started to accept the inevitability of death and let go of my fear.

MarcO Level 5 May 20, 2018

@Liberal50 I just don't die for long enough, nearly chronically sleep deprived because I keep waking up too early.

@Liberal50 I don't consider sleep to be like death - we still dream and experience sensations during sleep. In death, you don't feel anything because there's nothing left to "feel" things. It is an incredibly scary thing to realize, the non-feeling of not existing.

@Liberal50 Of course, there is no "me" left when you're dead, it's the short time before it when you realize you are heading toward non-existence that is dreadful.


I don't have to handle thoughts of death its inevitable like taxes & I wouldnt waste my precious time thinking about my own death it will come when it comes not scared ,only of pain.

jacpod Level 8 May 20, 2018

There is a wonderful epitaph on the tomb in our local cemetery. It reads "He managed to avoid one of life's certainties."


Probably gonna die someday... hopefully not soon. Try to stay healthy until then. End of story.

mtnhome Level 7 May 20, 2018

“The clear awareness of having been born into a losing struggle need not lead one into despair. I do not especially like the idea that one day I shall be tapped on the shoulder and informed, not that the party is over but that it is most assuredly going on—only henceforth in my absence..." -- C. Hitchens

jeshuey Level 7 May 20, 2018

Well, I’m Agnostic, not an atheist.

But I am at peace with death. And the reason behind that is because it’s going to happen. Period. We are all going to die. And once you accept that, death isn’t all that scary. It’s the end of life. Everything ends sooner or later.

Leo716 Level 6 May 20, 2018

Agnostic and atheist are not mutually exclusive. One is an adjective the other is a noun. Most honest atheists will claim to be both. There are plenty of words out there, so please don't perpetuate the fallacy that agnostic is a belief system or lack thereof.

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