As an atheist, how do you handle the thought of death?
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 it...no 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.
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.
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.
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:-
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.
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'.
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.
“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
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.