Atheists Only Please
Due to Subject Matter This isn't Allowed in the Religious Section
Due to Subject Matter This isn't Allowed in the Religious Section
To start, I want to disclose that I am an atheist, but I am NOT anti-christian/anti-Jewish, I dont favor the removal of all things religious in public buildings, etc. Being an atheist is a bit depressing but I dont have a choice, I cannot bring myself to find any faith. Knowing how bleak it is, I encourage my wife and kids to find "faith" of some sort and I do not discuss my thoughts on religion with my children.
That being said, I'm wondering how other atheists deal with Death, theirs and more importantly, their loved ones? How do others deal with oblivion?
I've had 3 Deaths in my life that hit me hard, first a grandfather, then my first son, and last month I was alone with my dad in the hospice when he passed. Being an atheist, it really troubles me that loved ones know they are dying (except maybe those with severe dementia) and the doubt and fear they have as they pass.
My own Death never really bothered me with one exception. I have worked with the elderly who are "warehoused" so to speak, in assisted living homes, full care and hospices, and it seems that day after day, hour after hour they are staring oblivion in the face, even if they have faith, its human nature to have doubt gnaw on you constantly. I do fear being incapacitated and aware and just watching the hours pass as I wait to die.
Over a year ago I had some very close calls with a serious, complex aneurysm and 3 surgeries, including complications. I had no anxiety or worry about me personally going into, it believe it or not, as if i had died, it would have been during surgery or in ICU and out of it. I wouldnt know I was dying. In fact, even when i was bleeding out in ICU and was rushed to emergency surgery, all i really cared about was that they made damn sure to put me out before they intubated me! LOL.
It does bother me now, although you dont think about it when youre young, that being an atheist, youre having children that, in my belief, there's nothing waiting on the other side, and some day they are going to have to look Death in the eyes and go through those doubts and fears. Those thoughts bother me alot now in my maturing years. Thats alot of pre-event guilt to carry around.
I would like to hear how others of my kind look at and deal with Death for themselves and loved ones. I did find this very interesting passage about Death by an atheist that has a scientific beauty to it:
Also, Im curious if you have any scientific theories about our existence and what happens to us when we die. I myself have toyed with the notion (NOT a fact by any means!) that everything in the universe is composed of two states of energy, active energy as in radiation of all kinds, and matter, which is basically cooled energy. We know it exists, we can use it, but we dont even come close to knowing what it really is, especially at the subatomic/quantum level. Is the Universe "alive", although not sentient, not self-aware? This fits the definition of "Life" :The Angel of Death is the first law of thermodynamics
You want a physicist to speak at your funeral. You want the physicist to talk to your grieving family about the conservation of energy, so they will understand that your energy has not died. You want the physicist to remind your sobbing mother about the first law of thermodynamics; that no energy gets created in the universe, and none is destroyed. You want your mother to know that all your energy, every vibration, every Btu of heat, every wave of every particle that was her beloved child remains with her in this world. You want the physicist to tell your weeping father that amid energies of the cosmos, you gave as good as you got.
And at one point you'd hope that the physicist would step down from the pulpit and walk to your brokenhearted spouse there in the pew and tell him that all the photons that ever bounced off your face, all the particles whose paths were interrupted by your smile, by the touch of your hair, hundreds of trillions of particles, have raced off like children, their ways forever changed by you. And as your widow rocks in the arms of a loving family, may the physicist let her know that all the photons that bounced from you were gathered in the particle detectors that are her eyes, that those photons created within her constellations of electromagnetically charged neurons whose energy will go on forever.
And the physicist will remind the congregation of how much of all our energy is given off as heat. There may be a few fanning themselves with their programs as he says it. And he will tell them that the warmth that flowed through you in life is still here, still part of all that we are, even as we who mourn continue the heat of our own lives.
And you'll want the physicist to explain to those who loved you that they need not have faith; indeed, they should not have faith. Let them know that they can measure, that scientists have measured precisely the conservation of energy and found it accurate, verifiable and consistent across space and time. You can hope your family will examine the evidence and satisfy themselves that the science is sound and that they'll be comforted to know your energy's still around. According to the law of the conservation of energy, not a bit of you is gone; you're just less orderly. Amen.
The Universe metabolizes energy, it grows and expands, it reacts to stimuli, ie: for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, and it reproduces, ie: with the laws of physics, it produces 1st gen stars that change energy into many more forms of matter/elements, that star dies and with its remains, physical laws take that material and make new stars and planets. And with those new elements, life arises and evolves, if lucky, to attain self awareness and the drive and ability to seek out how a living universe works.An organismic state characterized by capacity for metabolism, growth, reaction to stimuli, and reproduction.
Since our thoughts are basically energy, does that energy slip away into the earths magnetic field when we pass? Is this why so many people have "ghost" sightings or why people claim to get visits from dying/recently passed loved ones? is it residual energy that follows some undiscovered law of physics? is that why twins feel a connection over great distances?
Is "god" really just the sum total of the known and unknown laws of energy and physics, bereft of an "all-powerful" supreme being handing us morals, ethics and judgements? I would like to think so.....
Please share your thoughts if you like, hopefully this wont end up with trolls or angry posts that get the thread deleted...