Comforting Thoughts About Death that have Nothing to do with God by Greta Christina

Death can seem appalling if you don’t believe in an after-life. In 500 years, no one will remember you. In 5 billion years, the Earth will be boiled. It can make life seem trivial and absurd. But it is certainly possible to not have religious or spiritual beliefs or be an atheist and still be okay towards death. Death allows our life to have meaning. Time passes and we are aware of it passing. With the passing of time comes loss. Without loss, we won’t get to fully experience life’s great moments. The world changes due to the passing of time and I don’t think anyone would want the Earth to be still and captured in one frozen moment. Even though you might pass on, but time still had a part to play during the years you were alive. Your segment on that timeline would have always been there. Dying does not make your time which you were on Earth disappear. We don’t know what happens when we die. However, what matters is we get to be alive and connected.

The fact that time will continue after we die does not negate the time that we were alive. We are alive now, and nothing can erase that. – Greta Christina

The Meaning of Death, Part 1 of Many. For atheist, there isn’t a meaning of death. It simply happens because it happens. This is nothing depressing. As an atheist, you get to create your own meaning in life. How can death shape your experience of life? I see death as something that connects me with the universe. You don’t have to feel guilty when someone else passes away. No one tortured them. Death is just part of the way the world works. The world can seem bleak and cold at times. However, we are part of this world.

You don’t have to torture yourself trying to figure out the motivations of the physical universe. It doesn’t have any. So you can accept the inevitability of death, and get on with your life. – Greta Christina

Motivation and Mid-Life Crises. I went through a mid-life crisis at 40. I realized that time was short. I was aware that I needed to work hard and start writing. Now, I do freelance writing. When you are older, your priorities become clearer. You know that you have to make sacrifices with these priorities. I am a deadline-driven person. Since death is inevitable, might as well use it to give your life meaning. Death has given me clarity on my life. Death is not so bad after all.

Fear, Grief and Actually Experiencing Your Emotions. Go through with it. Death is natural and you didn’t deny it. The fear of death is natural. Sometimes, the best way to deal with strong emotions is to avoid fixing them but just try to feel them. Things don’t have to be permanent to be meaningful. To some, they think that death is no different from not having being born yet. You can create your own meaning in life. We can give companionship and witness to others. It can be incredibly comforting. This is someone who can be by your side when you need them. It is okay to think about death once in a while. It is just human to do so.

The idea that death is a deadline: that knowing life is temporary brings focus to our lives, inspires us to treasure the people and experiences we encounter, and motivates us to do something valuable with the short time we have. – Greta Christina

Lydia’s Cancer and Atheist Philosophies of Death. How can atheist philosophies improve life? Our cat has cancer. What sort of treatment should the cat receive? These are all small and difficult decisions. All animals will eventually die. What you can do is to make the cat as it can possibly be when it is still alive. There are no simple decisions which can be made. Research has shown that those who have religions will try to delay death when it’s clearly imminent. Religion pretends that death is not permanent. For atheists, we believe that when people die, they are fucking dead forever. Ensure that you have time to think about your death. Learn to make informed decisions.

We understand that our own time here is limited. We understand that all we can do for ourselves and for one another is to make that time – however much time it is – as happy and joyful and meaningful as we possibly can. – Greta Christina

Do We Concede the Ground of Death Too Easily? Many of us assume that an having an after-life is favourable. The fear of death cause people to cling to religion. Do you really in a heaven where everyone can live happily ever after? Conflict helps to strengthen us and build our character. What will happen who those make it to Heaven? How will you feel if your loved ones are in Hell? Would our personalities change in Heaven because it is too blissful? Secular views of death are better because they can withstand scrutiny. Your understanding of death should be grounded in reality. We don’t have to be afraid of talking about death. You don’t have to continue living a lie.

Difference between Pessimism and Realism. Atheism can coffer comfort in the face of death. Comfort doesn’t mean eradication of pain and grief. It doesn’t make the grief disappear, but it can lighten the load. Religion doesn’t eradicate grief. Even people who believe in an afterlife might doubt their beliefs. The problem with believing in an afterlife is that what if you go to heaven but your loved ones go to hell? Belief in an afterlife is also not based on any strong groundings. Atheism doesn’t leave you with cognitive dissonance. One’s perspective towards death is truly personal and there is no right or wrong. One should try to frame it such that it is positive and hopeful and meaningful. You should frame reality in a way that offers meaning and hope. Atheism is a safe thing to practice in real life. One can always find new forms of comfort and meaning with atheism.

Grief Beyond Belief: How Atheists are Dealing with Death. There is an online support group called ‘Grief Beyond Belief’. Community groups like this are useful and help give strength. Many non-believers pretend to accept the concepts of the afterlife etc. Religious beliefs about death can make atheists feel alienated sometimes as well. The concept of an afterlife is not shared by everyone. Usually, a death of a close one is often a trigger for questioning or abandoning religious faith. Sometimes, religious people hijack the funeral proceedings and make it seem religious in nature. Sometimes, they do so and are not aware of it. In some cultures, ‘atheism’ might seem invisible. Many people fault atheism for being inferior to religion because it sees death as the ultimate end. The atheism community is certainly growing in numbers.

We point out that a philosophy that accepts reality is inherently more comforting than a philosophy based on wishful thinking – since it doesn’t involve cognitive dissonance and the unease of self-deception. – Greta Christina

Atheists in Foxholes. People suggest that in near moments of death, people will turn to religion. This is untrue. There are many atheists who have had near death experiences but who are still atheists. When people want to believe something, they tend to exclude or dismiss all contradictory evidence. Hence, this is a poor argument. Some spiteful religious people might say that atheists are immoral or that they don’t have meaning in their lives.

Atheism and the Argument from Comfort. Religion doesn’t universally offer comfort. Religion might expose young children with images of Hell. Some people who give up religion feel that a burden has been lifted from there. Atheists see the world as it is and understand that it operates based on physical laws. Death is simply a problem that has to be faced.

Humanism in a Shitstorm. I want to work with other humanists and learn about tiehr trials and tribulations. I had cancer, but thankfully, it was treatable. However, I didn’t turn to religion. Humanism has been a profound comfort for me. I understood that things happen because of natural causes. We have little control over what happens to us. I have the power to learn from my experiences. Being able to be born is a miracle already.

There’s no way I’m going to be the same person after this shitstorm than I was before it. But I get to decide what lessons I learn from it. I get to infuse it with meaning. And that’s the power I have. – Greta Christina

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