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Old 05-15-2009, 01:24 PM
 
Location: California
42 posts, read 174,602 times
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And I have a concrete reason for saying that! I'm an agnostic, so I wouldn't say I "know" something unless I really meant it. And the truth is very reassuring. I think if everyone thought the same way, then no atheist or agnostic would be scared of death.

Here's what I mean:

If we only have one life to live, then death would mean total non-existence forever, right? Well doesn't the same apply to the period of time before were born? We didn't exist then, either. So we've actually already been dead for billions of years, and not once during that time did we ever feel bad (or even bored)

Here's a quote from Mark Twain: "I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it."

And the more you think back on your experience of pre-birth, the more clear it becomes that a death with no afterlife ought to be the least of our worries. Not only did you never suffer, but you never even wished you were alive! Dead people never feel bad for themselves, and they're never jealous of the living. We won't feel anything at all, obviously. But doesn't that mean we have nothing to fear?

This topic is actually a brief summary of an article I posted on my website. I have a lot more to say on this (more than I can fit in one post). If you're interested, here's the link: http://www.kideh.com/article1.html (broken link)
My point is, that we really shouldn't be afraid of death at all. If you're not convinced, then read my article! I think I really have a positive, and persuasive message.

Let me know if I've said something you don't agree with. I've thought this through, and I guarantee you that I can defend my position.
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Old 05-15-2009, 01:34 PM
 
Location: DC Area, for now
3,517 posts, read 13,258,363 times
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No, we don't know what it is like to be dead. I've no recollection of not existing so I cannot know.
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Old 05-15-2009, 01:47 PM
 
1,788 posts, read 4,754,059 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kid EH View Post
If we only have one life to live, then death would mean total non-existence forever, right? Well doesn't the same apply to the period of time before were born? We didn't exist then, either. So we've actually already been dead for billions of years, and not once during that time did we ever feel bad (or even bored)

.
Not-alive isn't the same as dead. You weren't dead before you were born, because there wasn't a you to BE dead before you were born. You simply didn't exist yet. Semantics, maybe, because the effect is the same, but I wouldn't classify the not-born-yet as dead people.
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Old 05-15-2009, 01:56 PM
 
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
3,331 posts, read 5,954,739 times
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Hmmm...I never thought about it that way. I need to think more about it. That being said, my first thought was similar to Tesaje's. Since I cannot recollect not being alive before birth nor is there any data to study, I still cannot know what it is like to not exist. I will read the article you wrote though.

Your idea is a good one; however, it assumes there is no soul. Am I correct in this? If there is no soul/spirit/afterlife/whatever you want to call it, then I would have to agree as non-existance before birth and non-existance after death should be the same state. But if there is a soul (which I do not know whether there is one or not), then the flaw exists.

That creates another question though...if there is a soul, where was it before birth and why does it have no memory of pre-birth? If the Christian is to say "it was with God", then why would God put a perfectly good soul into a body destined for hell unless the person believes in Jesus? Why no memory of this pre-birth time with god or Jesus? If it had a memory, then the a person would KNOW that God is god and we wouldn't even be having this discussion. They say that god calls them home, so that implies that their soul was with god to begin with. Hmmmm.

That should either make their heads hurt or fall back to the default answers of "God ways are mysterious to us" or "It's all part of his plan". Funny answers for people who claim to "know" him.
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Old 05-15-2009, 02:31 PM
 
Location: California
42 posts, read 174,602 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tesaje View Post
No, we don't know what it is like to be dead. I've no recollection of not existing so I cannot know.
Actually, the fact that you can't remember not existing is exactly why you remember it perfectly well! If you don't exist, you can't make memories. And you don't even have any experiences to remember. So it stands to reason that: if you did not exist before you were born, then you'd have no recollection of not existing.

I already addressed your objection in my article. Here's an excerpt: " while we have no memories of pre-birth, we remember pre-birth perfectly well for that very reason."

Quote:
Originally Posted by ZugZub View Post
Not-alive isn't the same as dead. You weren't dead before you were born, because there wasn't a you to BE dead before you were born. You simply didn't exist yet. Semantics, maybe, because the effect is the same, but I wouldn't classify the not-born-yet as dead people.
Well, a death with no afterlife is defined as: A state of total non-existence, and a state of non-consciousness. An atheist pre-birth also meets that exact same definition. In pre-birth, we are also non-conscious and non-existent. You are correct that there are objective differences between pre-birth and death. But the subjective experience of the two states are exactly alike.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fullback32 View Post
Your idea is a good one; however, it assumes there is no soul. Am I correct in this? If there is no soul/spirit/afterlife/whatever you want to call it, then I would have to agree as non-existance before birth and non-existance after death should be the same state. But if there is a soul (which I do not know whether there is one or not), then the flaw exists.
Yes, you're correct. My statement is only true if we don't have souls. I don't know if that's actually true or not; I'm just assuming we don't have souls for the purposes of this discussion. And I think it's a useful discussion to have, since so many people are afraid of a death with no afterlife.
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Old 05-15-2009, 02:41 PM
 
2,957 posts, read 7,382,731 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kid EH View Post
Actually, the fact that you can't remember not existing is exactly why you remember it perfectly well! If you don't exist, you can't make memories. And you don't even have any experiences to remember. So it stands to reason that: if you did not exist before you were born, then you'd have no recollection of not existing.
According to this logic, I cease to exist for a few hours after drinking too much alcohol.
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Old 05-15-2009, 02:41 PM
 
Location: New Mexico
8,396 posts, read 9,440,479 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tesaje View Post
No, we don't know what it is like to be dead. I've no recollection of not existing so I cannot know.
I think that's the point. Knowing is a condition for the living. Dead has no need in knowing.
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Old 05-15-2009, 02:43 PM
 
Location: Indianapolis
4,323 posts, read 6,023,019 times
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We all existed before this earth life. The only reason we are here is to become individulas with a personality and find our way back to God. The reason we don't remember is because life here gets in the way. As you can see, most people get stuck in their beliefs that you can't interact with the spirit world. When those beliefs get ingrained, we lose ourselves in the material. Have you ever noticed that most babies will see spirits? They are the ones you should ask about God. They remember everything and, of course, they can't talk. Have you ever seen a newborn smile for no reason? It's remembering what it was like. As they get older, our belief systems "clog up" their memories of God and they adjust to this life and lose those memories as they get older. When you teach a child about the spirit world, they will tell you what you forgot about when they are older.
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Old 05-15-2009, 02:48 PM
 
Location: Minnysoda
10,659 posts, read 10,723,112 times
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Jeremiah 1:5 (New International Version)


5 "Before I formed you in the womb I knew [a] you,
before you were born I set you apart;
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Old 05-15-2009, 02:56 PM
 
Location: California
42 posts, read 174,602 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by b. frank View Post
According to this logic, I cease to exist for a few hours after drinking too much alcohol.
Yes! Socrates compared a death with no afterlife to a "dreamless sleep". The subjective experience of blacking out is the same as being dead. Only, there are major, major objective differences between taking a nap and being dead!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Reverend1111 View Post
We all existed before this earth life. The only reason we are here is to become individulas with a personality and find our way back to God. The reason we don't remember is because life here gets in the way. As you can see, most people get stuck in their beliefs that you can't interact with the spirit world. When those beliefs get ingrained, we lose ourselves in the material. Have you ever noticed that most babies will see spirits? They are the ones you should ask about God. They remember everything and, of course, they can't talk. Have you ever seen a newborn smile for no reason? It's remembering what it was like. As they get older, our belief systems "clog up" their memories of God and they adjust to this life and lose those memories as they get older. When you teach a child about the spirit world, they will tell you what you forgot about when they are older.
You may very well be right. I'm only talking about a death with no afterlife as a hypothetical situation. I don't actually want to influence people's religious beliefs. I only think this discussion is important because the reality of the world we live in is that tens of millions of people will doubt the existence of God at any given moment. And many of these people are afraid when they shouldn't have to be.

Surely you've encountered Christians who've experienced moments of doubt? That can often be a very scary experience. Wouldn't it be beneficial to give these people some comfort until they can regain their faith? Because when people are lost, they can potentially do great harm to themselves and to others.
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