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Old 12-30-2013, 05:36 PM
 
Location: Downtown Raleigh
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Actually, there's no sadness there at all. I focus on my gratitude daily. Some of the things that I'm grateful for can be traced directly to individuals I know, and others to individuals I know of. Other things fall under the category of general gratitude. Either way, my heart swells with happiness and thankfulness. Frankly, it's never crossed my mind that I "have no one to thank" for some of the things that I'm grateful for. Strange concept.
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Old 12-30-2013, 07:28 PM
 
Location: Northeastern US
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kgordeeva View Post
When a loved one dies, they really believe they will be reunited with them again. Do any of you non believers ever worry about these things?
No. It was of passing concern early in the process of leaving the faith, simply because I was used to it. But it is really just a habitual way of thinking in order to avoid dealing with the fact of your own mortality (and that of your loved ones, but let's face it, the real anxiety is about us).

When you establish new thoughts and habits, before long, your feelings follow suit. Act as if it's no big deal that there is no afterlife. Act as if this is the only life you and your loved ones have -- live it fully, love fully, leave nothing unsaid or undone that you would regret if each of your loved ones died. After awhile you'll lose your attachment to the idea of an afterlife.

For example, I am booking my brother and I into a resort next summer for a few days to do dude stuff together and get him a break from from his hypochondriac wife and give him something to look forward to and just generally let him know how much I care about him. Isn't that a better response to my belief that when he dies, I will see him no more, than to put off doing things with him as if I had all of eternity to know him? Making the most of my relationship with him takes on a real urgency now that he's 67 and seriously diabetic and frail, but this is not a bad thing, given that mortality is just a sunk cost anyway. It motivates me to savor every minute with him that I can, while not neglecting my wife and children and my own livelihood.

When he dies I will have no regrets and I will have good memories. In the meantime I've done something nice for my bro's quality of life. Wins all around :-)
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Old 12-30-2013, 08:43 PM
 
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You suffering from the sales pitch of religion, fear, irrational baseless fear of irrational consequences. Why is this the tactic of religion, with all the "you're going to hell" etc.? Because it cannot be disproved with fact, but it can clearly be dismissed with reason.

Souls don't exist, and the people I care about that have died, are just that, dead. They or their consciousness does not exist to be reunited with anyone. Dead is dead, that is reality, and when I'm dead, I will exist only in the memories of those that care about me.

Live for now, that is all any of us have, and impart you wisdom and guidance upon those you care about now. I miss my dad especially, and I miss some of the wonderful dogs I have had, but I am not able or willing to buy into the absurd promise of an afterlife and kowtow to some absurd and rather unpleasant deity in the desperation of ever seeing any of them again. It's a flipping fairy tale, but an easy sell to those without the ability to recognize it is the greatest hoax ever perpetuated upon society.
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Old 12-31-2013, 12:06 AM
 
7,802 posts, read 5,279,657 times
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Originally Posted by kgordeeva View Post
Do any of you non believers ever worry about these things?
Do, rather I relish in the value that the true transience of life gives to each and every one of us. I find that the concept of an eternal life cheapens the value of life into nothing.
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Old 12-31-2013, 08:40 AM
 
Location: The backwoods of Pennsylvania ... unfortunately.
5,846 posts, read 3,354,843 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kgordeeva View Post
I have doubted the existence of God for quite some time now, but I sometimes wish I had some faith in something. The only reason why I sometimes wish I believed in God and heaven is that I would believe I would see my loved ones some day again. It makes me really uncomfortable thinking that the people I love will die some day and I will never see them again.

That's why I'm sometimes envious of people who have faith. When a loved one dies, they really believe they will be reunited with them again. Do any of you non believers ever worry about these things?
I think you're being peer pressured into these feelings you're having. There is a very strong compulsion to do what everyone else is doing - and in a nation where so many people are both Christian AND wear their religion on their sleeves, it is only natural to wonder if perhaps you shouldn't "have faith" too.

But just remember that popularity doesn't equate to truth.

Whenever you look at people filing into a church, just keep two words in mind: Pet Rock.

Yeah ... the pet rock is one of the highlights of human stupidity, that people would willingly fork over their hard earned money for a garden variety rock packaged in a box with some fake grass. The guy who came up with the idea walked away a multi-millionaire; he got rich by capitalizing on people's desire to have what everyone else has, to do what everyone else is doing.

Don't let religion be your Pet Rock. Don't feel the need to believe in a God and a Heaven just because everyone else is doing it - religion packages mythology in a box with some fake grass and convinces you that you need it.

You don't. Atheism and an afterlife are not mutually exclusive. Even atheists have had religion pounded into our brains so that it is difficult to separate a possible afterlife with a specific religion. No ... one can disbelieve in God but still believe in an afterlife. Atheism is only a rejection of gods, NOT everything spiritual or unknowable. One does not have to believe in thousands of pages of Bronze Age baggage to believe that some other life awaits us on the other side.

Like I said, don't let religion be your Pet Rock. Don't run out and buy one just because you think it is the only way to an afterlife, the only way you can see your relatives again. And, I don't know if your familiar with the concept of Near Death Experiences, but many who have been pronounced clinically dead and then revived have claimed to have seen their deceased family and friends waiting for them on the other side. No one ever came back from such an experience and said, "Aunt Sally wasn't there, and neither was cousin Mike - because they were atheists."
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Old 12-31-2013, 09:10 AM
 
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Fear is one of the strongest human emotions, and very hard to control. Be it fear of heights, spiders, fire, change or any of the other things people fear.

Religion is successful because it uses fear as a control method, imparting the concept of fearing death, the hereafter, hell, not being loved by the deity and all the other trappings of religion.

Some fears are real and their purpose is to protect you. Fire, that is a real fear that many people have, yet we see firefighters running into fire that everyone else is running away from. It is not that these people do not have the fear of fire, because they do, but have learned to function in the face of fear. Knowledge and training allow people to function in spite of the fear, which is still protecting them. Over thirty years as a firefighter and I don't know how many other firefighters I have heard say that the firefighter that is not afraid of fire, doesn't need to be a firefighter.

Some fears are not concrete, such as the fear of change, failure, invisible monsters, or gods. There are methods to overcome these fears also and not allow these fears to control your actions. Knowledge and reasoning are the greatest foe of fear, and these fears can be eliminated, freeing the individual from fear of something that does not exist only liberates the person from a subjective fear.
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Old 12-31-2013, 09:31 AM
 
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It is almost certainly an unfortunate truth that when people, in particular loved ones, die they are irretrievably lost; erased like the contents of a hard drive. Living in a happy delusion is not going to change this one iota.
I strongly suggest to everyone with which I ever wax philosophical, to live your life like this is all there is... But be mindful that that there will be judgement cast on you- but, by your peers not a Big Sky Baby-sitter.
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Old 12-31-2013, 10:43 AM
 
Location: East Coast of the United States
17,235 posts, read 19,536,382 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kgordeeva View Post
When a loved one dies, they really believe they will be reunited with them again. Do any of you non believers ever worry about these things?
It fascinates me in certain ways - because I believe that fear of death and the separation from loved ones is the main reason that religious belief lives on and remains so widespread to this day.

People seek consolation and comfort ... in completely imaginary things.
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Old 12-31-2013, 11:05 AM
 
Location: Northeastern US
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigCityDreamer View Post
It fascinates me in certain ways - because I believe that fear of death and the separation from loved ones is the main reason that religious belief lives on and remains so widespread to this day.

People seek consolation and comfort ... in completely imaginary things.
Fear of death and dissolution are definitely powerful influences, but religion would not be doing nearly so well as it is, were it not for other factors, because many people don't bring awareness to their mortality issues and sweep it under the rug, rendering it more of a low-level anxiety and an issue that occasionally erupts due to certain triggers like a death in the family.

On an everyday basis, I think religion provides prefabricated cultural identity, continuity / tradition, and small "comforts" for the small insults that people experience most every day. It does this largely by making lavish promises and then puffing up the afterlife as a place for all the many loose ends to be tied up eventually. Churches also serve as social outlets and conduits for charity work, although that is more incidental synergy than something irreplaceable by things like secular charities and government initiatives.

I suspect that most believers work very hard not to look at death and dying and mortality (and chronic illness, that harbinger of death that renders people less than fully alive) unless they are forced to by circumstances. The church, they assume, holds some kind of support and comfort in reserve should the unthinkable happen.

In practice, I never found the church to be all that helpful with ANY of these things. When my first wife was experiencing mental health problems, the church shunned her because "real Christians don't have those kinds of issues" or they misdiagnosed the problem as being Satanic / demonic, etc. When my 2nd wife experienced physical health issues that made her participation and attendance and volunteering at church an uncertain proposition at best, churches lost interest in her (and by extension, us). With the exception of a handful of individuals who came through for us and probably would have come through for us with or without the church umbrella over them, anything that reminded people that they are subject to illness, tragedy, want, loss, death, etc., disturbed them. They would try to give pat or dismissive answers, or they would avoid us. In other words, anything outside their standard story arc / expectations for the so-called "Christian life" raised the spectre that similar things could happen to them, too, thus invalidating their happy Christian facade.

My comments are relative to my personal experiences in conservative / literalist / fundamentalist circles; I would imagine things aren't quite so bad in more liberal precincts. But I do feel that religion and faith are just fig leaves over the vicissitudes of life -- and rather lame ones at that. I get better mileage, overall, from "keepin' it real".
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Old 12-31-2013, 01:38 PM
 
Location: Aiken, South Carolina, US of A
1,765 posts, read 3,859,888 times
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Kgordeeva,
You can believe you will see them again.
Nothing wrong with that.
You just might.
Not a heaven, hell situation, but you never know do you?
I don't believe in a God. But, sometimes people get solice out of
thinking mabey our loved ones have passed into a different dimesion
that we are unaware of, and someday, when we go back to the dimension
we will see them again.
It will make you feel better in life.
Just the thought that you will see them again...it works for me.
And no one really knows, do they?
Hope this helps you.
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