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Old 02-27-2014, 02:28 PM
 
Location: Northeastern US
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Quote:
Originally Posted by red4ce View Post
It's not the fear of death that keeps people from renouncing their religion. It's the fear that everything they were taught is wrong, that their culture is wrong and that everything they were taught was a lie.
Maybe. It's hard to separate the fear of death / denial of mortality from the fear of being wrong sometimes, as well as the fear that we as a culture don't have things that well figured out, that we are telling each other superficially comforting campfire stories for lack of better ideas. And, if Mom & Dad and Parson Brown were all wrong, how do you trust anyone?

So I get what you're saying. Still, one cannot read Ernst Becker's Denial of Death and discount the role that titular practice plays in much of religion and popular culture.

I don't think any of these issues are automatically resolved by becoming an unbeliever; but they are easier to resolve when you become more empirically driven and rationally minded.
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Old 02-27-2014, 02:53 PM
 
Location: On the Edge of the Fringe
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There was a most interesting article that came across yesterdays Email that sort of addresses this question.
I have always had a fascination with religions, and especially the psychology at work within.

Bishop Spong (a non-theist) Suggests that religions are born from deep seeded anxieties. being that mental illnesses often are as well, I would assert that his assessment may be correct.

he write in his weekly Email letters
Most people wrap their security needs inside their religious convictions. When the truth that is claimed in our religious convictions is questioned, the anxiety that was born in the moment of our achieving human self-consciousness takes over. It is also the fact of self-consciousness that forces us human beings to raise questions of meaning and mortality that no other living creature has ever had to face.


he continues

That is why there is a desire in all religious systems to claim certainty for its religious convictions. Religious uncertainty does not alleviate anxiety so religious systems always have to postulate that what its followers believe is “changeless truth.” That is why the Catholic Church has declared its pope to be infallible. That is why for fundamentalistic Protestant Christians the Bible has to be “inerrant.” That is why every church seems bound to claim that it is the “one true church,” or that no one could possibly achieve salvation in a faith system other than “my own.” Part of religion’s power is found in the claim that it can and must provide the “answer.


As long as religions CLAIM that they can provide an answer, people will be dissuaded by fear and anxiety from atheism. Many religious people live in a very fearful, anxious frame of mind. Religion exists to try to either quell that fear, or to capitalize on it, depending on the religion.

This awareness and realization of our own mortality leads to a degree of anxiety, although the exact degree clearly varies from person to person. For many, the "drug" that treats this anxiety is religion.
Problem is, any drug can have side effects, and this could apply to the negative repercussions of religions as well.
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Old 02-27-2014, 02:58 PM
 
Location: USA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by baystater View Post
I don't know If I exactly fear death.....but...I'm not a big fan of it. Probably why I am fanatical follower of transhumanism. But I have uncomfortably excepted that death/nonexistence is the most likely outcome for me. For now that is just the way it is from my POV.
Every one of us has every right to fear the experience of dying. Everyone dies, and no amount of religious belief can change that fact. Sometimes the act of dying can be a long, drawn out, painful and degrading process regardless of one's faith, or lack of faith. But if death itself is really the end of our individual sentient experience, then the end of our individual existence is also the end of our ability to be afraid, or to experience any sort of care at all. How can one fear the inability of being able to experience fear? I'm 65 years old, and I am completely comfortable with the fact that the end of my existence is a whole lot closer and more probable then it once was. Any existence is amazing, and the fact that any of us gets to have a turn at sentient existence at all is fantastic. Don't be greedy. Just enjoy.
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Old 02-27-2014, 03:14 PM
 
Location: Northeastern US
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tired of the Nonsense View Post
Every one of us has every right to fear the experience of dying. Everyone dies, and no amount of religious belief can change that fact. Sometimes the act of dying can be a long, drawn out, painful and degrading process regardless of one's faith, or lack of faith. But if death itself is really the end of our individual sentient experience, then the end of our individual existence is also the end of our ability to be afraid, or to experience any sort of care at all. How can one fear the inability of being able to experience fear? I'm 65 years old, and I am completely comfortable with the fact that the end of my existence is a whole lot closer and more probable then it once was. Any existence is amazing, and the fact that any of us gets to have a turn at sentient existence at all is fantastic. Don't be greedy. Just enjoy.
Fearing the experience (process) of dying is perfectly normal. Fearing death itself, I suspect, is not. The fear of death itself (fear of dissolution) comes from religious ideas of an afterlife, which is where all the stuff religion can't deliver on in this life, gets displaced to. One protests, then, that one is not "ready" to die. One CAN be ready. I am, and I'm 9 years behind you, Tired. And you appear to be.

Readiness does not inherently mean that one is finished with life or doesn't value it. It could mean that, but the two are not connected.
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Old 02-27-2014, 06:50 PM
 
278 posts, read 255,401 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodrow LI View Post
I don't recall ever having a fear of death. Possibly the result of my Tatar/Lithuanian heritage. I was raised that birth was a time for grief. We mourn the birth of a child as they are beginning the experience of pain, disappointment and loss. We rejoice for a person who has died as they have escaped the pains of earth.
These are exactly my thoughts and I identify closer with atheism.
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Old 02-27-2014, 06:53 PM
 
Location: Sitting on a bar stool. Guinness in hand.
4,429 posts, read 5,668,960 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tired of the Nonsense View Post
Every one of us has every right to fear the experience of dying. Everyone dies, and no amount of religious belief can change that fact. Sometimes the act of dying can be a long, drawn out, painful and degrading process regardless of one's faith, or lack of faith. But if death itself is really the end of our individual sentient experience, then the end of our individual existence is also the end of our ability to be afraid, or to experience any sort of care at all. How can one fear the inability of being able to experience fear? I'm 65 years old, and I am completely comfortable with the fact that the end of my existence is a whole lot closer and more probable then it once was. Any existence is amazing, and the fact that any of us gets to have a turn at sentient existence at all is fantastic. Don't be greedy. Just enjoy.
First off, very good post. I can understand where your coming from. And like you I do enjoy life. And every second being a sentient being is pretty awesome.

But where we differ....is the fact I want to defeat death/nonexistence or at least put if off for a very, very long long time by a biological, mechanical, cyber, etc. solutions. I also like to say that, I do understand that a lot of folk do suffer before they pass on. I personally have been involved in a bunch of medical courses that involved a lot of time working with patients in a hospital setting. Mostly on Medical/surgical floors. So dying or serve illness was not a uncommon sight for me to see. So I would perfectly understand that some folk would, at the current time, rather pass on than suffer. But that doesn't mean that some current and future generations (perhaps mine, I doubt it though) should accept the same dying/serve illness experiences that a lot of folk living now have to accept. Also I feel they shouldn't just simply accept the aging process a people do now. The human race should (I think ) strive from something much better than what is offered currently. Something much, much better.

As I said I'm a fanatical transhumanist. I have a abundance of hope that the singularity will happen (granted I probably will miss that boat). And I am unabashedly greedy about keeping myself (my consciousness) around in one from or another for as long as possible.


Quote:
But if death itself is really the end of our individual sentient experience, then the end of our individual existence is also the end of our ability to be afraid, or to experience any sort of care at all. How can one fear the inability of being able to experience fear?
P.S. Priceless line. Very good.

Last edited by baystater; 02-27-2014 at 07:01 PM..
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Old 02-28-2014, 07:01 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigCityDreamer View Post
From my experience, it seems that there are a LOT of people out there who know in their heart of hearts that religion is basically a bunch of nonsense. But in spite of this, they just cannot accept their own mortality and they are terrified by the idea that their lives and that of their loved ones have an expiration date.

People desperately want to believe in things like God, heaven and afterlife.

So, does it really boil down to this particular reason that most people will never be atheists?
In another C-D thread which was titled "Why the desire for eternal life? Isn't this one enough?", I gave a response to some comments made to one or more of my postings in that thread by another commenter (named Mordant) . I deem my comment to be, as well, relevant to this thread which is titled "Do you think that the fear of death and nonexistence will keep most people from ever becoming atheists?". My comment to Mordant in that thread (responding to his just-previous comment to be), which has been somewhat modified here by me for even greater clarity, was as follows:
I've noted over the years that, amongst the theist population-at-large, there ARE some (even many) who are very bright, very intelligent, and then those who are even very highly intelligent (even brilliant). And yet, when it comes to matters theological, they all-of-a-sudden revert to an almost child-like level of thinking (i.e., weak-to-nearly-nonexistent logic in their thinking on these matters, lack of an appreciation for sound reasoning and logic and for what constitutes true evidence, who the burden-of-proof is on, an inclination to lend belief to those ideas that don't or can't have any real evidential basis, thinking that "believing" something is the same as "epistemologically-knowing" something, et al). And it makes one wonder "How can such intelligent, and even some rather brilliant, people allow themselves to have such a lack of intellectual rigor on these matters?"

In my mind, it just shows you how very, very much they fear death (i.e., the actual state of being dead and then the process of becoming dead) and the probability that death may well entail permanent extinction of all that you are . . . i.e., that they are seemingly willing to live in an inner world of make-believe and then, on top of that, to take it upon themselves to propagate this make-believe upon others and try to turn their belief system into some type of political/cultural/social movement (i.e., to try to get as many people as possible to align with their thinking). Why do they feel this drive or need to have to try to get as many people as possible to align with their thinking (other than the desire by some of them for power or sway over others or else some other type of gain)? In my mind, it is that doing so, or should I say succeeding in doing so, has the effect of getting them to feel affirmed in their own presumption of rightness regarding their thinking on this matter if they have as many people as possible in the world-at-large to mirror and actively embrace and then also promote their way-of-thinking alongside them. That is, they try to build some type of protective and reaffirming "bubble" or "all-encompassing environment" all around themselves in the world-at-large in order to (hopefully, in their minds) enable themselves to feel and think "I must be right. My ideas must be true. After all, look at all the people who agree with me and support my beliefs alongside me."

In my mind, they apparently don't find their own thinking to be too convincing to themselves, for they constantly feel this drive or need to continually join together to sing songs, recite incantations, pray both alone and together, always engaging in scriptural studies (e.g., Bible studies), etc. etc. etc. . . . in short, to build a virtual protective "bubble" or "all-encompassing environment" around themselves with the aim to continually reinforce their thinking and behavior so as to not fall away from it. For they apparently, in my mind, instinctively KNOW in their heart-of-hearts that if they applied the same rigor to their thoughts on this matter that they do to all other realms of their day-to-day lives, their seeming certitude about their claims would very likely come apart and disintegrate.

The above verbiage of mine ISN'T promoting certitude about atheism; it is promoting skepticism and critical, evidence-based thinking and reason. THAT is the intellectually-honest approach to take about such matters.

Last edited by UsAll; 02-28-2014 at 07:21 AM..
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Old 03-01-2014, 05:59 AM
 
Location: City-Data Forum
7,945 posts, read 4,738,704 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigCityDreamer View Post
From my experience, it seems that there are a LOT of people out there who know in their heart of hearts that religion is basically a bunch of nonsense. But in spite of this, they just cannot accept their own mortality and they are terrified by the idea that their lives and that of their loved ones have an expiration date.

People desperately want to believe in things like God, heaven and afterlife.

So, does it really boil down to this particular reason that most people will never be atheists?
Watch the movie: Flight From Death: the Quest for Immortality
its free on hulu.com, I believe.
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Old 03-01-2014, 11:34 AM
 
605 posts, read 465,023 times
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Instinctive fear of death/desire for immortality.
Desire to see loved ones again.
A desire for ultimate justice in the universe (good guys get reward, bad guys get punished), also why the idea of "karma" is appealing to many.

While established cults (christianity, islam, hinduism...) will be virtually extinct within 2-3 centuries, true atheism will not take hold over the majority of humanity for much much longer i suspect.

There will continue to exist various silly "spiritual" sensibilities and diverse fantasies about afterlifes, second lifes, etc... for a few more centuries
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Old 03-02-2014, 01:26 AM
 
Location: Logan Township, Minnesota
15,511 posts, read 13,276,969 times
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I'm probably having a day of being brain dead. but after reading the Thread title again. "Do you think that the fear of death and nonexistence will keep most people from ever becoming atheists?"

I can not see any relationship be tween Fear of death/nonexistence and Atheism. How could either affect if a person has or has not found reason to believe God(swt) exists? If a person has not found reason to believe God(swt) exists, they are an Atheist, no matter how scared of death they may be.
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