Author Topic: Facing a moment of death  (Read 1675 times)

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Offline Garja

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Re: Facing a moment of death
« Reply #29 on: August 19, 2012, 09:34:15 AM »

Oh, I'm a lifelong atheist (raised that way) so I have absolutely no fear or concerns about any afterlife such as "hell" or whatever. 

Pick up the phone and call your parents.  Thank them for not brainwashing you into believing you will be tortured for eternity for using logical reasoning.
"If we look back into history for the character of the present sects in Christianity, we shall find few that have not in their turns been persecutors, and complainers of persecution."

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Offline MadBunny

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Re: Facing a moment of death
« Reply #30 on: August 19, 2012, 02:55:57 PM »
When my body dies I will live on in the memories of others.
The more people I've impacted the greater my chance to live on longer.
Eventually, as with all things, the old makes way for the new and I will be forgotten.

None of this will matter to me, because I'll be dead.

The only time death matters to me, is while I'm alive.  So, while I'm alive I make the most of my life.
How do I prepare for death?  I do it by living.
Give a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a night.  Set a man on fire and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.

Offline Truth Junkie

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Re: Facing a moment of death
« Reply #31 on: August 19, 2012, 04:41:36 PM »
Quote
A Christian learns to cast their fear on their God.
But how does an atheist face death?

I hope to face it with courage,surrender,gratitude and a fond farwell to life.(and to those I love if I have the time)
I don't feel entitled to more than I have had in terms of life and I realize
it can't go on forever.At a base level,I realize I am a mammal who was born,who lived,
and who will die and that's more than enough for me.
I have never played into the whole 'do this or go to hell' scenerio so I don't fear death.

I fear pain,I fear leaving my children to fend for themselves,I fear being forgotten,
but the reality is once I close my eyes and breathe my last breath for the last time,
I won't even know I am dead, so the only thing I worry about is how it will happen.

I would love to be laying in my S/O's arms when it happens
and simply kiss him goodbye while holding his hand,
but that isn't very realistic.  :(

*side note*

Has anyone ever noticed that there are never any Religious officials who
state during Funeral's or Memorials,that the person they are speaking about who died,
 is going or has gone to 'hell'?
Everyone seems to go to "heaven" no matter
what they have done and I think it's just ridiculous.

To follow thru with the fear mongering,the least they should do is claim they know
at least a % of the population is going to hell and state who is going and why.








Offline Quesi

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Re: Facing a moment of death
« Reply #32 on: August 19, 2012, 04:58:26 PM »

*side note*

Has anyone ever noticed that there are never any Religious officials who
state during Funeral's or Memorials,that the person they are speaking about who died,
 is going or has gone to 'hell'?
Everyone seems to go to "heaven" no matter
what they have done and I think it's just ridiculous.

To follow thru with the fear mongering,the least they should do is claim they know
at least a % of the population is going to hell and state who is going and why.

I attended the funeral of the mother of a staff member of mine several years ago, and I was pretty shocked.  This is a woman who had a really hard life.  Gave birth to 9 kids, 6 of whom lived to adulthood.  She was widowed when there were still a couple of them in diapers.  She  lived in the third world, with no real source of income, and her daughter spoke of how she brought the family laundry down to the river to wash it.  There was no money for soap, but God provided a plant that grew by the riverside that she smooshed and rubbed into the clothes to clean them.

Eventually, one daughter got a visa to come to the US, and then a green card.  She sponsored other family members, including my staff member, who became the first person in her family to go to college.  The close-knit family lived in NY and supported each other through hard times and ultimately good times. 

This woman's life was amazing and painful and her legacy exceeded anything that she could have imagined in her youth. 

And yet, the pastor spent nearly all of the service talking about hellfire and god's great mercy and the fact that just about none of us are worthy of salvation.  He didn't specifically say that this woman was rotting in hell, but I KNEW that most of us in that room were destined to eternal damnation after his ramblings. 

It was the most shockingly awful funeral I have ever attended.   

Offline Hatter23

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Re: Facing a moment of death
« Reply #33 on: August 19, 2012, 09:53:30 PM »


Has anyone ever noticed that there are never any Religious officials who
state during Funeral's or Memorials,that the person they are speaking about who died,
 is going or has gone to 'hell'?


Westboro Baptist comes to mind
An Omnipowerful God needed to sacrifice himself to himself (but only for a long weekend) in order to avert his own wrath against his own creations who he made in a manner knowing that they weren't going to live up to his standards.

And you should feel guilty for this. Give me money.

Offline Bereft_of_Faith

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Re: Facing a moment of death
« Reply #34 on: August 20, 2012, 01:15:41 AM »
When I die, any mark I made in the world will have no meaning for me.  Should I be completely forgotten, I won't know it.  I won't be around to care.  At first blush, this can sound quite depressing, but I've found it to be as a massive weight lifted from my shoulders. 

While living, I try my best to be the kind of person I would respect.  If I fall short or completely fail, death will bring absolute erasure.  Neither do I have to worry about my pride, my legacy, my destiny (nor anything, really).  Death is complete erasure (for the one's who's died)

While I cannot always say that I'm looking forward to it, the prospect of it does carry a sense of relief.

Offline natlegend

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Re: Facing a moment of death
« Reply #35 on: August 20, 2012, 01:20:52 AM »
Traveler said:
Quote
I am afraid of dying painfully. I don't want to go out in a painful way. If I simply fall asleep and never wake up ... that's ok with me.

Yep. same here. When I'm dead I won't know about it so that's all fine and dandy, it's just the dying bit I'm a little nersous about...

While I cannot always say that I'm looking forward to it, the prospect of it does carry a sense of relief.

Yes again, like Nam as well, I am looking forward to sleeping dreamlessly forever.[1]
 1. Not that I want to get there any sooner, it just means that in a way death will be the final rest, and a well deserved one after a full life
« Last Edit: August 20, 2012, 01:23:10 AM by natlegend »
You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Offline Truth Junkie

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Re: Facing a moment of death
« Reply #36 on: August 20, 2012, 04:10:46 AM »
Quote
And yet, the pastor spent nearly all of the service talking about hellfire and god's great mercy and the fact that just about none of us are worthy of salvation.  He didn't specifically say that this woman was rotting in hell, but I KNEW that most of us in that room were destined to eternal damnation after his ramblings.

It was the most shockingly awful funeral I have ever attended.

I can imagine.Just another reason I steer clear of churches.
I don't even want someone from any church speaking at my death.
I wonder what the alternatives are.

To the original poster.

If you still have fears of "hell" then you still have some issues to work thru before you can claim to be an x-xtian.
I believe the difference between an atheist and a theist is that we don't "pawn off" our fears or personal responsibilities
or credit for our achievements onto some imaginary source,so when it comes to facing death or life of living with a conscience,we own the emotions and choices and deal with them the best we can.

No one WANTS to die,but we don't delude ourselves into believing that there is an afterlife that's better than the one
we were lucky enough to have.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2012, 04:15:29 AM by Truth Junkie »

Offline plethora

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Re: Facing a moment of death
« Reply #37 on: August 20, 2012, 05:40:45 AM »
As has been said in this thread. I do not fear death itself. On the contrary, it's a comforting idea that I will no longer exist. Time, existence, humanity and whatever the fuck is going on in the universe will be irrelevant to me because I won't be here. Just like before I was born.

The universe was around for 13.75 billion years before I was born and it made no difference to me. I wasn't here to witness it.

Of course, I don't want to die. I love being alive and I do fear that the act of dying might be painful and/or very scary. But comfort comes with the knowledge that once its over its really over ... forever.

... and of course I wish I could be around to see humanity advance through the ages. See where things are headed. But I try not to dwell too much on missing these things. It won't matter when I'm dead anyway.

Eventually, the universe will become a great void of nothingness which cannot support life in any way. It will all end eventually. I'm glad I won't be around for its life's final moments.

Wow ... I think I'm unintentionally sounding quite grim here. It's not so bad really. I'm lucky to get a few decades of life ... better than to never have existed at all for sure. :)
The truth doesn't give a shit about our feelings.

Offline jynnan tonnix

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Re: Facing a moment of death
« Reply #38 on: August 20, 2012, 06:04:56 AM »

Wow ... I think I'm unintentionally sounding quite grim here. It's not so bad really. I'm lucky to get a few decades of life ... better than to never have existed at all for sure. :)

Sometimes I wonder about that. I am completely scared shitless over the inevitability of my death and the fact that someday I will blink out of existance, never to be able to think, experience or see what happens next ever again. The notion kept me awake at night in cold sweats since I first grasped the concept of death when I was five or six years old, and I'm not much better about it almost fifty years later.

I figure the only was to get out of dying is never to be born at all. I had a twin sister who died at birth, and even though I've had a very good life thus far, sometimes I feel like she got the better deal by not having an almost daily dread about it all coming to an end hanging over her head.

It sounds as though I'm definitely not typical in this, though, judging by all the other answers here.

Offline plethora

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Re: Facing a moment of death
« Reply #39 on: August 20, 2012, 06:10:43 AM »
I figure the only was to get out of dying is never to be born at all. I had a twin sister who died at birth, and even though I've had a very good life thus far, sometimes I feel like she got the better deal by not having an almost daily dread about it all coming to an end hanging over her head.

It sounds as though I'm definitely not typical in this, though, judging by all the other answers here.

Actually ... I completely get this. It was Sophocles who said:

"To Never Have been born may be the greatest boon of all."


You never experience pain, suffering, death. For some people in this world (some 8 million children a year who die before the age of 5), perhaps never to have existed would have been the best option for them.

I can't say the same for me though. So far I've had 33 years of life that I do not regret. I've had the good and the bad ... the sweet and the sour. I think, in my particular case, the sour is a fair price to pay for the sweet. It does not apply to everyone though.
The truth doesn't give a shit about our feelings.

Offline Noman Peopled

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Re: Facing a moment of death
« Reply #40 on: August 20, 2012, 08:52:03 AM »
Well, right now my doc is telling me that the chances of my having cancer are about 50/50. (Waiting for actual test results but the symptoms ... well, let's just say it could go either way.)

As a result, I've obviously been thinking about what I'll do if it turns out I do have cancer. I was kind of amazed to find that the only change I noticed was my desire to take a few more risks (I'm kind of overcautious) and to maybe concentrate on a few things I wanted to do anyway but that I'll possibly won't have the time for later.
Frankly, my biggest concern is how my family will/would react. I've never been a very sentimental guy and I find it endlessly annoying to help people with emotions I can't comprehend.[1]
Everybody dies, and even if I should live much more briefly than I could, so far I've still had a more comfortable, safe, and fun life than most people in human history.
There's enough amazing stuff to see and do in the world that no matter how hard you try, you will always miss something. If I die earlier than y'all, I'm going to miss a tiny fraction more. And there's enough amazing stuff that sitting at home wallowing in self-pity and fear seems like an almost blasphemous waste of time.

Still, I'm in love again so I really don't want to be forced to deal with that cancer shit :D
 1. Which is not to say that there aren't any emotions that I do comprehend.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2012, 08:55:09 AM by Noman Peopled »
"Deferinate" itself appears to be a new word... though I'm perfectly carmotic with it.
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Offline Morgan

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Re: Facing a moment of death
« Reply #41 on: August 20, 2012, 06:46:55 PM »
I used to be a Christian some good years ago, but it was mostly self denial. It all came from me being a compulsive liar, and if you manage to fool yourself then other people are no problem. Deep inside I had no reason to believe any word that came out of the Holy Babble, a preacher's mouth or the ramblings of a TV show host were true - but I continued to drink the Kool Aid. Being able to get rid of all that wasn't all that painful, just a matter of picking the correct pill for once and figuring out the matrix. For that, I am grateful for not going through a hailstorm of self-doubt and agonizing over a possible afterlife.

In the end, I never really feared death. Watching lots of documentaries on TV, especially those of a medical sort, I learned that death is the inevitable outcome of all our lives. We can delay it, make it more comfortable, or choose to meet it head-on, or stumble across it by pure chance. The events leading to death are rarely of our own choosing and frankly that's what scares me more than death itself. I watched my grandmother and her sister die before me, succumbing to a vegetative state and severe mental illnesses respectively, all while I was still in middle school and was supposed to be their secondary caretaker. The upside to this, however, was the fact that it definitely helped lessen the impact of their eventual deaths. Seeing a loved one gradually lose their minds was nothing more than a drawn-out death and in the end they were nothing more than corpses vaguely resembling people I once used to care deeply about. However, if they had died in a sudden accident offering me no time for a mental self-prepping, I doubt I would've taken it as well. That's a ironic subtext of death - what may be preferable for the dying person is sometimes opposed to what would be best for their loved ones who have to carry on. Just like in the old saying of "When we are born, we're crying and everyone around us is laughing. When we die, we should be smiling despite everyone else crying", not all will view the event in the same light. For myself, I'd hate to have a drawn-out and painful death, succumb to severe mental illness, be kept alive by machines or in a vegetative state. I think that going out peacefully in my sleep or painless and clean suicide after a happy life would be best for me - but what of my friends? I don't want to cause them too much grief, but then again, the death of someone you care about is never completely painless.

I've been awfully close to death, complete with the NDA[1] and it didn't leave me with a ubermega Carpe Diem hedonistic risk-taking mindset entirely because of what I felt at that crucial moment. I wasn't scared at all, but rather accepting and slightly amused with a pinch of curiosity to whether I was right about any afterlife. Essentially just a "So that was life. Pretty cool, if you ask me. Would be neat to see if anything comes next". I came to the realization that I was right in assuming I had a good quality of life. My parents were (and still are) an abusive dickhead and asskissing enabler, I've never been in anything more than unrequited love, never accomplished any groundbreaking feats at the ripe ol' age of 16, but that didn't imply it was horrible. So what about my parents? If all goes well, I'll be graduating from high school next summer, moving on to university and emigrating with a piece of paper saying "Computer Engineer" next to my name. Can't claim to have had True Love(TM), but at (nearly) 18, there's not many who have. I've got close friends and it's terribly easy to find someone drunk and/or desperate enough to sleep with me, plus time is on my side. Not finding a cure for cancer so far does suck, but that's a high bar to reach, especially since my calling isn't in medical research. Since then I've gotten decent grades, kept up with my studies and nearly went on to the national phase of an English grammar and writing contest[2] and barring any unforeseeable  events, my dream of emigrating will come true in 5 years. Despite this, no, rather specifically because of this, I wouldn't mind dying tomorrow if it wasn't painful. Sure, it would be cool if I lived longer, but in this matter quality means more than quantity and I'd rather die a happy 20 year old than a 80 year old who's been struggling with an untreatable disease for the last 60 years.

There's no inherent purpose of life, and that's precisely the beauty of it: you can pick whatever the hell you want! Finding romance, friends, raising children, having a career, travelling, creating art, helping the less fortunate, political activism, playing video games, writing smutty fanfiction, putting together the best lint collection or whatever you can think of. The only thing that matters is that you choose it for yourself and not blindly follow the words written on a paper or said by someone else. And if you ever come to the point where you feel like you might change your goals, more power to you! Remember that humans are inherently selfish. Even the most charitable action still has a component of self-satisfaction and that your own happiness is all that matters in the end. I don't mean it as a "fuck everyone else, you're #1!", but rather that the goal should be maximizing your happiness while minimizing the suffering of others. There's no way you can go through life without having someone dislike or hate you - hell, people on the street might hate you for what you look like or who you spend your time with - but you definitely can try to be less of an asshole. In the end, I think that's the only Purpose Of Life(TM)

Now, I highly doubt the existence of any afterlife, be it Heaven, Valhalla, Nirvana[3] or anything of the sort. However, that doesn't mean you can't leave a mark on the world. Even if I don't find the aforementioned cancer cure, I've still been a good friend and armchair therapist to people. I've greatly helped a stranger start her career, enough to warrant her dropping all composure to frantically hug me and kiss my cheeks in celebration. I've helped homeless and abused pets. I've helped people go through dark times and inspired others.  When I do kick the bucket I want whatever organs are still in a good condition to go towards other people that are still walking the earth, with the rest of me going into research if possible. My friends will reminiscence the times we've had, my enemies will attempt to take a dump on my hypothetical grave. If I publish a good book, it'll continue being printed. The lucky bastards inheriting my possessions will probably not mind it either. If you ask me, that thought is infinitely more comforting than spending an eternity kissing a celestial dictator's asscheeks, one who'd be perfectly fine with me spending the same eternity in perpetual torment because I ate some foods the wrong days of the week, loved the wrong person and dared using the incredible rationality he gave me.

Ranting aside, I've been part of the universe for a long time and will continue to be. My atoms were created in the stars themselves, some of them with a high chance of being part of a wholly different person. The day I die is when they'll continue their cycle, possibly until after the human race and the planet have died out. This, combined with the sheer size of the universe leave me in awe of life - how insignificant we are, yet special in a way. The universe is truly complex, and I feel that any attempt to simplify it by saying A Wizard Did It throws out all that out the window.

As a closing thought on this TL;DR rant, let say that I don't regret any event that has transpired. I, as a person, exist only because of the sum of events that have transpired until the present, good or bad. This geocentricism leads me to believe that if anything had been different then "I" would be an entirely different person, if it could be called "me". For example, if I had not watched an ungodly amount of cartoons in English, I never would have learned the language. The internet, movies, books and songs wouldn't be as open to me, therefore contributing considerably less to the development of my worldview. To a more radical example, if Romania hadn't been a communist hellhole, my mother would've been aborted. We wouldn't have been a communist hellhole if not for the socio-economical conditions following WW2. WW2 wouldn't have happened without the events following the end of WW1 and so forth. So let's all have an e-cheer for all the good and bad that happened in the world, every war and natural calamity, every act of kindness and compassion, literally every event that happened up to this point, because without them who knows how we could have been as persons?
 1. No light at the end of the tunnel, sadly  :(
 2. Came in second, would've gotten there if not for someone who contested the results of the written exam >:(
 3. Despite not seeing them in person, I'm quite confident the band exists

Offline jynnan tonnix

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Re: Facing a moment of death
« Reply #42 on: August 20, 2012, 08:43:34 PM »
Morgan...I gave you a +1 for eloquence simply because your post touched me so much before I was halfway through reading it. Now that I have finished, I have to applaud you again, and hope that your ambiguity regarding death does not extend itself out to where you do not value your life as you should. Because anyone who writes the way you do at your age could be a force to be reckoned with.

Offline Morgan

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Re: Facing a moment of death
« Reply #43 on: August 21, 2012, 05:33:16 AM »
Morgan...I gave you a +1 for eloquence simply because your post touched me so much before I was halfway through reading it. Now that I have finished, I have to applaud you again, and hope that your ambiguity regarding death does not extend itself out to where you do not value your life as you should. Because anyone who writes the way you do at your age could be a force to be reckoned with.
Thank you (and everyone else who gave me karma or otherwise enjoyed my ramblings) so much for the kind words! I take great pride in my command of the English language since it's entirely self-taught and a major achievement, even though at the time I didn't give much thought to it. I just wanted to watch cartoons, and in the mid-late 90s nobody bothered translating them. For a while, I wondered why the other kids had so much trouble with the language. Sometimes I find myself using words that are too big or difficult to understand for my target audience, something most evident in my World Of Warcraft guild. Years of going to English contests where using fancy words matters more than the context of what you're saying have had a bad effect on me, though as long as I don't sound like a sock puppet of Stephenie Meyer I can't complain.

At the time when I typed the post it was around 3 A.M. my time and it all sounded badly-phrased and repetitive, good to know I was (mostly) proven wrong. Ah, to hell with it, how can you not laugh your ass off when you see typos like this?  ;D
Quote
*words*
I, as a person, exist only because of the sum of events that have transpired until the present, good or bad. This geocentricism leads me to believe that *words*

As to your actual question, I do value and enjoy life. It's just not in the "go clubbing, get high/drunk, have sex" as one might believe based on the stereotype of my sexuality and Near-Death Experience. Appreciating a good piece of art - be it a movie, song, book, or even video game - hanging out with my friends in the late summer or early autumn complaining about the upcoming school year, the wind touching my skin, eagerly anticipating a close friend's return from abroad as I click "Send" on the latest e-mail I write her, drinking a good beer, drinking a bad beer and remembering all the bad ones I drank. I think life is most beautiful in its details, the small things many of us overlook or take for granted.

Besides, I don't like clubbing anyway  ;D

Offline BigV

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Re: Facing a moment of death
« Reply #44 on: August 21, 2012, 09:40:50 AM »
*side note*

Has anyone ever noticed that there are never any Religious officials who
state during Funeral's or Memorials,that the person they are speaking about who died,
 is going or has gone to 'hell'?
Everyone seems to go to "heaven" no matter
what they have done and I think it's just ridiculous.

To follow thru with the fear mongering,the least they should do is claim they know
at least a % of the population is going to hell and state who is going and why.

Btw, as a recent ex evanagelical, I used to preach in at least three funerals.  I think it is considered impolite (among many evangelicals) to talk about sure hellfire awaiting the person who died.   Especially since noone knows what happened before the person died (they may have convereted or may have lost their faith before dying) So, to be true to Scripture, I used to say something to the following effect..

"we are not worthy of eternal life.... we all deserve hell, and if there was a moment in the life of XYZ when they believed in Jesus... then they would be in heaven now enjoying the wonderfull afterlife, etc...."

That way, one is not saying anything negative about the diceased, but still has a chance to talk hell fire and brimstone.

Also, I appreciate all your posts and your experiences.
« Last Edit: August 21, 2012, 09:49:32 AM by BigV »

Offline The Wannabe

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Re: Facing a moment of death
« Reply #45 on: August 23, 2012, 05:19:47 AM »
Death is inevitable, and everyday brings the cold reality closer to my doorstep.  This is not a comforting thought.  However, i find that putting things in perspective helps to somewhat alleviate my fear of the grim reaper. 

Everything that has ever lived must die, it's just part of a natural cycle that i am privileged to be a part of.  When the thought that even the universe will eventually perish in an entropy fueled heat death comes to mind, i'm struck by just how incredibly lucky i am to exist at this point in time.  I am lucky to not have been stillborn.  I am lucky to have had parents, no matter their flaws, who nurtured and protected me.  I am lucky not to have starved to death before the age of ten.  I am lucky to have been born in a time and in a country where knowledge can be obtained and shared freely.  I am lucky to have the means to pursue happiness in most, if not all its forms.  I am lucky to live on a planet, and in a universe that permits not only my own existence, but the existence of billions like me (if only for a limited number of eons).  I am lucky to be alive. 

Thoughts like these make me feel almost ashamed to fear death.  I have lived such a privileged existence, when my time does eventually come, i'd like to think that my final moments will be spent in grateful reflection on how my life was as close to a miracle as it gets.           
« Last Edit: August 23, 2012, 06:35:27 AM by The Wannabe »
"I would believe only in a God that knows how to Dance."  -Friedrich Nietzsche