Coping With Death Without Belief

WrathJW
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Coping With Death Without Belief

On my local atheist meetup group, an atheist who was failry new to a life of disbelief asked how we cope with death. I wrote the following blog post in response. Let me know what you think:

Coping With Death Without Belief

I have found myself lately, surrounded by friends and family with near fatal illnesses. My aunt has recently survived a bout of pancreatic cancer which is usually fatal. My father-inlaw had apparently survived mesothelioma. And my wife's sister's mother is still being treated for stage four breast cancer which has spread into her bones. I have therefore been inundated by statements like "They are in my payers." and "I will pray for her or him" along with requests for prayer by their friends and family. My wife has, understandably, stated in no uncertain terms that if her father dies that no one had better come to her and tell her "It was God's will" or "He's in a better place now" or any of the usual vapid religious platitudes. She doesn't care if he's with Jesus and the angels and all of their ancestors. She wants him here with her. She doesn't want him to suffer through lung surgery and chemotherapy only to be "called home to Jesus" and she is a Christian. I hold no such illusions about death so I cannot imagine what I would feel were it my mother going through what Christie's father is going through and I was being bombarded with bullshit.

I know it is well-intentioned bullshit. I know they are stating their sincere and honest beliefs and trying to be consoling and supportive, but the death of a loved-one is really a pretty horrible and distasteful moment to try to foist your beliefs onto someone. I don't think I'd handle it well.

So how do atheists find comfort in moments of sorrow and death? How do we cope with the loss of a loved one or our own impending end? No different than any other tragedy I should think. No different than the loss of a job or a house. We wouldn't say it was God's plan or that it's "all in God's hands" or any such nonsense. We would recognize the unfortunate series of events that led up to this happening and try to figure our way out of it. We would try our best to find cures to employ specialist to find the best treatment and when none of that worked we would resolve ourselves to the reality. We did all we could and now it's over just as the end has come for hundreds of millions of other human beings throughout history. It is the deal we each make with life from the moment we take our first breath, that eventually we will also take our last.

I had a bout with pancreatitis a few years back and the doctors were not certain what was causing it and were not ruling out pancreatic cancer which is often a death sentence. As I was being wheeled into surgery there was a possibility that I might never wake up. The one thought that kept me from panicking was my near certainty that death was the end of all consciousness, all sensation, that I would never experience death since being dead I would not be able to experience anything. The anesthesia would put me under and I would either wake up or I would not. If I didn't I would never know that I didn't because knowing is a condition of the living. Those who do not live do not know. I tend to agree with Epicurus on death:

"Death is nothing to us. For all good and evil consists in sensation, but death is deprivation of sensation. And therefore a right understanding that death is nothing to us makes the mortality of life enjoyable, not because it adds to it an infinite span of time, but because it takes away the craving for immortality. For there is nothing terrible in life for the man who has truly comprehended that there is nothing terrible in not living. [Death] does not then concern either the living or the dead, since for the former it is not, and the latter are no more."

I look at the death of a loved one with the same degree of sorrow (and no more) than when a friend moves away to another state or country and I know that I will never see them again...

(More...http://godlessandblack.blogspot.com/2010/10/coping-with-death-without-belief.html)

"Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it, you'd have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, it takes religion."
- Steven Weinberg, Nobel Prize-winning physicist


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Seems an entirely reasonable

Seems an entirely reasonable repsonse.

I think we all have different ways of thinking about this, and our attitudes will change as we go through life and maybe experience close brushes with death, and the final reality approaches.

Religious belief does not always lead to a easier coping with death. In same cases, a disease or accident causes a believer to ask "why me, God?", especially if they have been a "good and faithful" person all their life, as far as they can see.

Then, for that and other reasons, they may wonder "have I been good enough?", was that thing I did once which I still feel a bit ashamed of bad enough in the eyes of God to get me a ticket to Hell?

This will especially be the case if their dying experience itself is not comfortable.

 

 

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

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Dying

I can't help it, I find death scary sometimes. I realize, intellectually, that it isn't anything but the absence of something, that there won't be any awareness that I am dead and it won't be a "thing".  

I guess somethimes I just have more difficulty conceptualizing it than others. Read a neat article about how we can't imagine nothing, that we always think of nothing as a something because we don't have any frame of reference for permanent absence of sense. Scientific American I think but I can't remember the name of the article.


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Reasonable - but hard to do

My mom died in 2006 after a very long illness - she had heart troubles for 32 years and died of pleurisy.  A very, very painful way to die.  Every breath is painful without end - and I could not be with her the entire time.  So I was with her when I could be and did what I could to answer her questions and have outings that she could enjoy.  When she died, it was truly a relief.  And I had to wonder there in the nursing home what god/s/dess had it in for little old men and ladies.  Almost all of them had some religious belief and they were all okay with the torture they went through as their bodies shut down.  I am not afraid of death, but of the lingering pain and debility.

My husband had a stroke 4 weeks ago.  He spent 4 days in the hospital - with no insurance, and no job, it could have been disastrous.  The hospital wrote off the entire cost of in hospital care.  And I am sick to death myself of filling out one form after another.  He doesn't have heart or arterial disease, so they aren't sure why he had the stroke.  From the location, he should be paralyzed on the right side and totally unable to speak.  But instead, he leans to the right a little, has very mild aphasia, is dizzy and often confused, and the blurred eyesight has cleared up.  There is no one to thank for this - the doctors are unable to cure a condition with no cause, his own brain will continue to work around the damage forging new neurological pathways.  I had friend, after neighbor, after acquaintance offer prayers - and what good would that do?  It gives the friends, neighbors and acquaintances something to do when there really is nothing they can do.

He will be all right this time.  We will be all right - putting one foot in front of the other.

 

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

"We are entitled to our own opinions. We're not entitled to our own facts"- Al Franken

"If death isn't sweet oblivion, I will be severely disappointed" - Ruth M.


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I think this puts it rather well.

 

cj wrote:

We will be all right - putting one foot in front of the other.

 

 

Sorry to hear of these challenges you face. Take care of yourself, cj.

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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Atheistextremist wrote:cj

Atheistextremist wrote:

cj wrote:

We will be all right - putting one foot in front of the other.

Sorry to hear of these challenges you face. Take care of yourself, cj.

 

Thank you.  I just had to tell someone who wouldn't start trying to pray for us.

 

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

"We are entitled to our own opinions. We're not entitled to our own facts"- Al Franken

"If death isn't sweet oblivion, I will be severely disappointed" - Ruth M.


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death

No matter how you look at it, death is difficult and I'll take any realistic, scientific and objective help I can get.  Researchers at my University have experimented with the hallucinogen, psillocybin, in terminal cancer patients.  Just one exposure to this drug apparently can change your whole perception of the end of life and make it much more peaceful.  How much of the fear of death that we have is rational versus irrational, I have yet to figure out.  But I'm convinced that we can understand and eventually control it through neuroscience research and thereby prevent it from dominating our thinking and feeling as we approach the end.


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Death is someone going away

CJ, before I get started, I am sorry you were going through all of this in November, and the situation is improving. And, I promise not to prey for you.

 

I don't fear death. It will be an end. End to suffering. End to joy. End to everything. It won't bother me, because there will be no "me" to be so deprived. Others may miss me, some may enjoy not having to put up with me anymore. The vast majority of people won't care, since they'll never know I lived.

 

I fear the suffering which may precede death. It may be small and brief, or it may be intesely agonizing and prolonged. I can't see where the people who say that euthanasia or assisted suicide is always wrong are trying to maximize or minimize though. It just doesn't make any sense. If I had a pet who was severely suffering without hope for recovery, it would be outright cruel to deny the pet euthanasia. Why then would it be wrong to offer it to a human who is in an identical condition, although possibly better able to explain the misery they are in.

I'll miss others who have died. I'll miss them the same as I would if they moved to somewhere a long way away from which we could no longer communicate. Such as when an illiterate friend moved back to her native country. We had no way to have any further communication.

Perhaps hoping for an afterlife is similar to the hope I've always had that my friend from years ago would come back to the US, and that I could see her again. Even though I live in a different place and have a different name now, and there would be no way to find me except by pure chance. If there is an afterlife, I can similarly hope that I will see them again in the afterlife. Hmmm. If there is no afterlife, I have no hope to see that person again, just as I have an extremely slim hope (slim to the point of very nearly impossible) of seeing my friend who moved away years ago again.

That paragraph is written in a rather confusing manner. Restated, belief in the afterlife is holding onto any shred of false hope one has. It's far preferable to accept reality and get on with life in the present. Grief is to be expected after any loss, but holding this unrealistic hope just prolongs it.

How's my proselytizing? Call 1-800-FANATIC

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That's pretty much how I

That's pretty much how I feel too, Beth.

 

I imagine many materialists end up with that thinking, it seems to be a fairly common path.  The interesting thing is, at least from what I've seen, many of us seem to figure this out on our own.  When I was a theist people told me what to think about death.  When I became an atheist, I had to hash it out for myself, and then when I started getting into the atheist 'culture' I realized my views on death were shared by most.

 

The thought of dying is scary, but the thought of being dead doesn't hold any fear.  I hope I die in some quick, random event I never see coming when I'm at a ripe old age, *just* about to start tottering over the brink where most of my experiences are negative rather than positive.  If that can't happen, at least I hope our culture will be evolved enough to let me die on my own terms, rather than force continuation of life when I don't want it.

 

I do think one thing about atheism though is there really isn't anything positive about death.  At best it is the cessation of suffering.  At least when you're a theist you can possibly convince yourself those who've died are in a better place, you'll see them again, stuff like that.  As an atheist death is just...sad.  At least we don't have to worry about our favorite people roasting in Hell though.  I read this Catholic forum a lot now, and a recent post had this young adult asking what the appropriate way to pray was, regarding his request to God that his dead mother not be damned.  What a mind-fuck.

------------

Oh, and good post, OP.  I must have been taking a break when this was written.

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.


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It is understandable that

It is understandable that most complex animals (vertebrates, namely) would evolve to contain an almost instinctual yet conscious desire for self-preservation and equal aversion to death. Yet despite all of this, I neither fear death nor can I empathize with other adults' fear of death. I think the explanation might be as simple as the social anxiety that I have experienced has eroded away many of my natural, instinctual fears I one experienced as a child (that nearly everyone else experiences.)

Nope, being killed, put in agony, starving slowly, or even being buried alive doesn't bother me that much, but talking to strangers does.

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


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First off aren't black

First off aren't black atheists like pink unicorns? How can they exist?

I KNOW I KNOW, serious subject, still, couldn't resist.

In all seriousness, how the fuck can anyone believe in an all powerful being when humanity throughout it's history has never been without death in all it's forums. All while this magic man sits and watches with folded arms and only selectively gets involved and always on behalf of his "chosen people".

How can one admit that this alleged being set up the rules and then at the same time allow their own brains to pass the buck and blame ourselves for something this god didn't have to allow in the first place?

The reality that humanity does not want to face is that death is natural and everything, down to the atom, is finite and has a shelf life. Inserting gap answers, superstitious answers, into real pain and suffering does not stop these things.

The things that have helped are technology and medicine and doctors. Superman must die as a claim for humanity to get onto the pragmatic need of problem solving.

Our evolutionary flaw is that we default to kaleidoscope thinking rather than test the claims we make.

There is absolutely no rational way to defend such a claim. That the cosmic security guard is there to protect us but fails to, or selectively does such, and for what? All so that we can spend an eternity kissing his ass?

This is Stockholm syndrome.

 

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Making your own comfort.

Truth.  Truth is important to me.  I like truth.  It's tough to like truth sometimes but truth could give a fuck if you like it. 

 

I am deeply thankful that I did not have to fully immerse in it but I faced the possibility of dealing with the death of my daughter earlier this year.  She had some kind of bacterial infection in her trachea that exploded overnight.  I took her to the pediatricians office and he sent us directly to the PICU, do not pass go, do not collect jack shit.  I later learned that another hour or so untreated and her trachea would likely have closed completely. 

For three days I got to sit outside a PICU room and watch my daughter with tubes sticking out of her and a ventilator breathing for her.  It was the most frightening thing I have ever experienced.  The first day we did not know what would happen.  If the inflammation spread to her lungs it would have been a death sentence.  You want to test your atheism?  Stand at your kids hospital bed and see if you are tempted to pray.  I can honestly say I was not, though everyone around me was yammering on about god's plan and how much he could do (seems like he could have saved me some gray hair and not let her get the infection in the first damn place...).

 

I can completely relate to Richard Dawkins when he says "We are going to die.  ...and that makes us the lucky ones to have even lived at all!"  I am not afraid of death and I find the poetic descriptions in "Thanatopsis" (look it up if you are unfamiliar with the poem) to be perfectly comforting.  I do not need an afterlife or the promise that I will get paid in the hereafter to find joy in living and in the memory of those who have passed on.  I would certainly have missed my little girl terribly had things gone differently but it would have offered me little comfort to think of her as in the great library in the sky.  We are a passing breeze, a transient being in a universe that is vastly more weird and wonderful than we will ever and likely can ever comprehend.  To have experienced even this brief lifetime of joy, of pain, of success and failures. To look into the night sky and still be filled with wonder, despite the fall of the gods, is a gift that far exceeds what this lowly hominid could ask for. 

Wisdom lies not in thinking outside the box. Wisdom is the realization that there is no box. Truth and reality extend as far as the eye can see and infinitely further.


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Brian37 wrote:This is

Brian37 wrote:
This is Stockholm syndrome.

For there to be Stockholm syndrome, there must be someone pointing a gun at these believers' heads. While that would fit in the case of some koolaid drinkers (particularly so at Waco, TX) most of the time the captor is purely imaginary.

Bard wrote:
I do not need an afterlife or the promise that I will get paid in the hereafter to find joy in living and in the memory of those who have passed on.

Everyone has their price, be it in cash, legendary treasures, unprecedented privilege, magical powers, agony, or fear. Every child tries to reach for a 'forbidden' jar of cookies. I'm not suggesting any of us are potential sell-outs, merely that the eternal paradise of scripture simply doesn't motivate us.

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


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Life= You happen upon a

Life= You happen upon a hand, you happen upon some chips, and you play a game, that's not all 'fun and games'.

Death= Your cards get folded, and your chips fall back into the pot, for another player, and you exit the game.

 

The End

 

What's wrong with that answer?

 

There just has to be more to it?

 

Why does there 'have to be' more?

I keep asking myself " Are they just playin' stupid, or are they just plain stupid?..."

"To explain the unknown by the known is a logical procedure; to explain the known by the unknown is a form of theological lunacy" : David Brooks

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redneF wrote:Life= You

redneF wrote:

Life= You happen upon a hand, you happen upon some chips, and you play a game, that's not all 'fun and games'.

Death= Your cards get folded, and your chips fall back into the pot, for another player, and you exit the game.

 

The End

 

What's wrong with that answer?

 

There just has to be more to it?

 

Why does there 'have to be' more?

I'm going to treat this post as if it were addressed to me...

I doesn't "have to be", I was simply pointing out that the Abrahamic Paradise afterlife isn't very compelling for most atheists, and doesn't appear fulfilling to our desires. Hence, we are atheists and tend to disbelieve. My suggestion was that if there were an afterlife devised to be persuasive to our strongest desires, but required adherence to some hypothetical moral code, many of us might not be atheists.

After all, "everyone has their price", and I've yet to see evidence to the contrary.

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


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Kapkao wrote:redneF

Kapkao wrote:

redneF wrote:

Life= You happen upon a hand, you happen upon some chips, and you play a game, that's not all 'fun and games'.

Death= Your cards get folded, and your chips fall back into the pot, for another player, and you exit the game.

 

The End

 

What's wrong with that answer?

 

There just has to be more to it?

 

Why does there 'have to be' more?

I'm going to treat this post as if it were addressed to me...

I doesn't "have to be", I was simply pointing out that the Abrahamic Paradise afterlife isn't very compelling for most atheists, and doesn't appear fulfilling to our desires. Hence, we are atheists and tend to disbelieve. My suggestion was that if there were an afterlife devised to be persuasive to our strongest desires, but required adherence to some hypothetical moral code, many of us might not be atheists.

After all, "everyone has their price", and I've yet to see evidence to the contrary.

 

Unless you are going to claim we repress our desires or something like that, I don't buy the analogy.  I think the Mormon afterlife sounds nice, but it never made me more interested in Mormonism than anything else, even when I was searching for theistic meaning.

Actually, when I was in my "Spiritual" phase were I wanted to find a religion that 'fit' I don't remember ever being interested in the afterlife concepts, I was interested in the philosophies and to some extent the rituals.

I don't think the idea holds up well enough to generalize about, although I'll grant it might influence specific individuals.  If it were true, honestly, I'd expect afterlife memes to resemble more hedonistic places overall....if I got to pick an afterlife either it would be one where I was a diety in my own right, or it would just be full of endless, consequence free pleasure and stimulation.  I'd imagine most would be the same.

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.


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I don't know what the

I don't know what the Christian perception of heaven is. But Muhammad vividly describes heaven as a place of drinking and orgies for men. Granted it's orgies with perpetual virgins... 

 


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mellestad wrote:Unless you

mellestad wrote:
Unless you are going to claim we repress our desires or something like that, I don't buy the analogy.  I think the Mormon afterlife sounds nice, but it never made me more interested in Mormonism than anything else, even when I was searching for theistic meaning.

Actually, when I was in my "Spiritual" phase were I wanted to find a religion that 'fit' I don't remember ever being interested in the afterlife concepts, I was interested in the philosophies and to some extent the rituals.

I don't think the idea holds up well enough to generalize about, although I'll grant it might influence specific individuals.  If it were true, honestly, I'd expect afterlife memes to resemble more hedonistic places overall....if I got to pick an afterlife either it would be one where I was a diety in my own right, or it would just be full of endless, consequence free pleasure and stimulation.  I'd imagine most would be the same.

So the dual bribe-blackmail  of the afterlife promises made by most of the Abrahamic religious teachings doesn't serve as an intense draw for most people, as well as their local culture and society? (In addition to granting religion a level of control over individuals...)

That might actually be true among modern, developed societies where technology and industrial output has led to a comfortable life free from the hunger, disease, and strife no doubt in abundance at the Near-East of antiquity. Thus, the society we live in, the Abrahamic religions stand on uncertain ground -"we're kicking (religion's) ass", as Sapient's news post goes- while during the time of Roman Palestine, and also of Paul of Tarsus, religion had much more sure footing because of the unpleasant circumstances of the time and a desire to escape such circumstances.

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


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lalib wrote:I don't know

lalib wrote:

I don't know what the Christian perception of heaven is. But Muhammad vividly describes heaven as a place of drinking and orgies for men. Granted it's orgies with perpetual virgins... 

 

I have never understood that.  Why virgins?  Okay, you want to be sure any children the woman might be carrying are your own while you're alive and inheritance issues abound.  But when there are no more worries about inheritance?  What a lot of work to go crashing into some woman's sewn up vagina and for what?  She lies there and screams - this is fun?  Sex is a lot better if both partners participate.  The poor virgin is just waiting for the pain to stop. 

(Speaking as an ex-virgin, you understand - though fortunately, I didn't have the clitorectomy to suffer through.)

 

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

"We are entitled to our own opinions. We're not entitled to our own facts"- Al Franken

"If death isn't sweet oblivion, I will be severely disappointed" - Ruth M.


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Kapkao wrote:mellestad

Kapkao wrote:

mellestad wrote:
Unless you are going to claim we repress our desires or something like that, I don't buy the analogy.  I think the Mormon afterlife sounds nice, but it never made me more interested in Mormonism than anything else, even when I was searching for theistic meaning.

Actually, when I was in my "Spiritual" phase were I wanted to find a religion that 'fit' I don't remember ever being interested in the afterlife concepts, I was interested in the philosophies and to some extent the rituals.

I don't think the idea holds up well enough to generalize about, although I'll grant it might influence specific individuals.  If it were true, honestly, I'd expect afterlife memes to resemble more hedonistic places overall....if I got to pick an afterlife either it would be one where I was a diety in my own right, or it would just be full of endless, consequence free pleasure and stimulation.  I'd imagine most would be the same.

So the dual bribe-blackmail  of the afterlife promises made by most of the Abrahamic religious teachings doesn't serve as an intense draw for most people, as well as their local culture and society? (In addition to granting religion a level of control over individuals...)

That might actually be true among modern, developed societies where technology and industrial output has led to a comfortable life free from the hunger, disease, and strife no doubt in abundance at the Near-East of antiquity. Thus, the society we live in, the Abrahamic religions stand on uncertain ground -"we're kicking (religion's) ass", as Sapient's news post goes- while during the time of Roman Palestine, and also of Paul of Tarsus, religion had much more sure footing because of the unpleasant circumstances of the time and a desire to escape such circumstances.

 

Goddamned back button on my mouse, wiped out my post.  Sigh.  Anyway, short version:

 

I think if the afterlife portion of a religion was, at any time in history, a primary or even secondary motivator, you would see more conversions, wouldn't you?  Even in antiquity people tended to go with the religion they were brought up in, and if the afterlife concept actually mattered I would think that wouldn't be the case, you'd see shifts where people adopted the theism that matched their personal interests.

 

I think as long as a religion has some sort of non-shitty afterlife any other differences probably don't matter much.

 

Hmm.  I guess you could argue that though...a religion that had a shitty afterlife is probably at a disadvantage compared to one with a pleasant afterlife.  So maybe it makes sense that I would revise my opinion of the value of the afterlife concept up a little bit.  As long as the afterlife is 'pleasant' though I doubt it makes much difference as far as details go.

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.


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lalib wrote:I don't know

lalib wrote:

I don't know what the Christian perception of heaven is. But Muhammad vividly describes heaven as a place of drinking and orgies for men. Granted it's orgies with perpetual virgins... 

 

 

Was that actually from Muhammad?  I remember some TED video where a lady claimed the virgins thing wasn't actually in the central teachings, it was just in one of the commentaries.  No idea what's true though, either way.

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.


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mellestad wrote:Hmm.  I

mellestad wrote:

Hmm.  I guess you could argue that though...a religion that had a shitty afterlife is probably at a disadvantage compared to one with a pleasant afterlife.  So maybe it makes sense that I would revise my opinion of the value of the afterlife concept up a little bit.  As long as the afterlife is 'pleasant' though I doubt it makes much difference as far as details go.

 

I always thought the Greek version of an afterlife was pretty grim unless you were some sort of hero.

 

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

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cj wrote:I have never

cj wrote:

I have never understood that.  Why virgins?  Okay, you want to be sure any children the woman might be carrying are your own while you're alive and inheritance issues abound.  But when there are no more worries about inheritance?  What a lot of work to go crashing into some woman's sewn up vagina and for what?  She lies there and screams - this is fun?  Sex is a lot better if both partners participate.  The poor virgin is just waiting for the pain to stop. 

(Speaking as an ex-virgin, you understand - though fortunately, I didn't have the clitorectomy to suffer through.)

 

 

Women were objects to tribal arabia. If another man 'violates' or 'defiles' my property this is a 'bad' thing. Hence, the obsession with virgins, ie, something that is yours alone that no other man has boned. Some of this is expressed in our society, especially in pornography: "tight virgin pussy". 

 

Sure sex is lot better when both people participate, but in a tribal society, most males are sexually repressed (the dominant males get the females) and sawing in and out of anything remotely non abrasive is (literally) heaven for them. 

 

 

mellestad wrote:
 

Was that actually from Muhammad?  I remember some TED video where a lady claimed the virgins thing wasn't actually in the central teachings, it was just in one of the commentaries.  No idea what's true though, either way.

Well, it depends on what you mean by 'that'. 

The Quran (which Muslims regard as the divine word of God) promises virgins to righteous believers.

One hadith (which Muslims regard as authentic teachings/sayings of Muhammad) promises 72 virgins, while others describe gigantic tents full of women that men will 'enjoy'. Other hadith describe men having the sexual prowess of 100 men. Some hadith promise that every man in paradise will have a wife (addressing the issue of men on the lower end of the social ladder not getting laid due to the higher ups having multiple wives, so they follow muhammad b/c he promises them eternal sex).

Then the commentaries (commentary on the Quran/hadith, which are not considered cannonical, but nonetheless influential) elaborate on the hadith and talk about never ending erections, etc

 


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lalib wrote: Sure sex is lot

lalib wrote:

Sure sex is lot better when both people participate, but in a tribal society, most males are sexually repressed (the dominant males get the females) and sawing in and out of anything remotely non abrasive is (literally) heaven for them. 

 

Brings to mind a common phrase in my family - humping stumps.  As in, you are so desperate that you will have sex with anything that holds still for it.

Have you ran across population genetics.  When I took ecology and evolutionary biology, we ran a program on a mainframe.  You could adjust the number of men and women in a population.  The gestational and generational time was assumed human.  It took one man per 1000 women to sustain a viable population as I recall.

 

lalib wrote:

mellestad wrote:
  Was that actually from Muhammad?  I remember some TED video where a lady claimed the virgins thing wasn't actually in the central teachings, it was just in one of the commentaries.  No idea what's true though, either way.

 

Well, it depends on what you mean by 'that'. 

The Quran (which Muslims regard as the divine word of God) promises virgins to righteous believers.

One hadith (which Muslims regard as authentic teachings/sayings of Muhammad) promises 72 virgins, while others describe gigantic tents full of women that men will 'enjoy'. Other hadith describe men having the sexual prowess of 100 men. Some hadith promise that every man in paradise will have a wife (addressing the issue of men on the lower end of the social ladder not getting laid due to the higher ups having multiple wives, so they follow muhammad b/c he promises them eternal sex).

Then the commentaries (commentary on the Quran/hadith, which are not considered cannonical, but nonetheless influential) elaborate on the hadith and talk about never ending erections, etc

 

That is nasty - I mean the mental image in my head of hordes of men with members able to have sex with thousands of women or never ending erections.  The skin on their equipment would have to be as tough as elephant hide to not get blisters.  Seriously - happened to my ex - we were very young when we got married.  And that thick of skin would reduce the sensation as well - where is a miracle when you need one?

 

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

"We are entitled to our own opinions. We're not entitled to our own facts"- Al Franken

"If death isn't sweet oblivion, I will be severely disappointed" - Ruth M.


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mellestad wrote:I think if

mellestad wrote:
I think if the afterlife portion of a religion was, at any time in history, a primary or even secondary motivator, you would see more conversions, wouldn't you?  Even in antiquity people tended to go with the religion they were brought up in, and if the afterlife concept actually mattered I would think that wouldn't be the case, you'd see shifts where people adopted the theism that matched their personal interests.

So... no viral spread of Christianity into Europe during the middle of the flippin medieval times? With such wonders as European Feudalism, iron maiden, rack, water boarding, prima nocte, disease and aristocracy, people have no reason to practice escapism via religion?

I think, there is at least a correlation.

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


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.

How does one cope without belief? Frankly I don't see how belief helps other than to give something to say. Religious talk sort of beats, I'm sorry for your loss. If most Christian stuff about sin were real then most of the dead are in hell which is likely not a better place so Christian teaching goes out the window for the recently dead. Which means it is simply something better to say than, Sorry for your loss.

"It's god's will" also sounds better than "the way he drank "it's god's will" he lived this long." It provides a useful contraction. It will fit a lot of us, Irish or not.

As some wag observed the experience after death will be the same as before birth.

The body reacts the mind gives the reaction a name. In the face of death the body does all kinds of things to survive. But because running or fighting is not useful all the hormones and metabolism changes are not released and that state we call anxiety.

You have an modestly uncommon problem, lots of deaths at the same time. This usually causes a body reaction we call depression at times suicidal. We are social animals. We are ready to fight off what is killing our tribe but nothing to fight. Again nothing to use the body reactions on.

This is the old saw about the only animal that can anticipate its own death. If fighting or running there is no time to think about it. We can see it coming so the body reacts in an entirely inappropriate way to an intellectual perception as though it were real event.

I've never had deaths come that frequently but my parents and all their generation are gone and my second wife is gone. In most cases their bodies just wore out and just a matter of time before something was the last straw. In the good old days as in hunter/gatherer for the first 100,000 years of human history (and before that all animal life on this planet) the rigors of life would have gotten them decades sooner. Even if the tribe takes care of the elderly there are lean times and cold times and times when they have to move on. It is said people do not "die" as an event but after a lifetime of traumas eventually comes one that cannot be survived. Great trauma while young or mild trauma when old it is just the luck of the draw. But as aging is guaranteed the greater the age the milder the trauma that gets the brass ring.

Because of aging, death is inevitable. Note this is the reason all immortals like vampires and Highlanders have to regenerate. Damage cannot accumulate.

Maybe I have too much Dexter in me but I haven't reacted much at all. Or I can claim atheism has made me immune to fables of death. I don't know if that belongs in the made me a better person category.

The inherent incongruity of the Christian afterlife and the reincarnationist views is so inherently primitive. Why in the hell would anything we do in "this life" to each other have the least bearing upon eternity? There certainly must be more important things for a god to worry about than what we call "sin" or improper behavior. It all reeks of an advanced version of getting a time out for not playing nice. Instead of hell or rebirth as a worm why not remedial studies on what was done wrong in life? The whole approach is both counter-productive and excessively parental. One would think a god could come up with something better suited to reality than an illiterate warlord. Apparently not. And believers don't seem to either care or notice.

Despite the "us too" Judaism does not have an afterlife save as "discovered" by sages after Christians adapted the Greco-Roman version of it to mean adherence to their ideas and rituals. Sort of like Christians and Jews both shouted "us too" after Islam invented monotheism. (The religion of the priests or rabbis is not the religion of the people.)

Jews stole the land. The owners want it back. That is all anyone needs to know about Israel. That is all there is to know about Israel.

www.ussliberty.org

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I just posted this on my

I just posted this on my weblog (it's long): http://socialistatheistnerddude.blogspot.com/2011/05/atheist-ponders-death.html

  Christopher Hitchens is dying. The funniest and wittiest of the so-called Four Horsemen of Atheism has been battling cancer for some time, and recently cancelled his appearance at the American Atheist Convention due to losing his ability to speak-something he wrote about in a recent Vanity Fair article. There are at least 2 other atheists who are well-known public figures who are similarly infirm due to disease: Stephen Hawking (who was in headlines recently due to his proclamation that heaven isn't real) and Roger Ebert (who has had plenty of conservatives and Christians tell him that losing his jaw should be a sign he needs to shut up). Also this week, YouTube atheist vlogger thehappycabbie declared that he had a terminal disease (please watch his videos and click the ads on his videos to give him some financial aid).

This has, naturally, gotten me thinking about death, and how does an atheist confront it? My first encounter with death was when I was roughly 3 years old. My maternal grandmother developed stomach cancer (there's that disease rearing its ugly head again), and died sometime in 1985. In fact, my first ever memory was of the funeral. I didn't understand what was going on, and how could I? I was three! I hadn't even started kindergarten yet. When I saw the casket being lowered, I freaked out, screaming for someone to "open that box" because "my grandma's in there!" My mother claims that I spoke "like a chipmunk" for a few years afterwards, presumably due to grief. I don't really remember this, but something like that isn't vivid enough to make a real impression at that age. Aside from my grandmother, I've had few other examples of death taking anyone out of my life (listed here chronologically). There were two family friends who died in a car accident when I was little (to this day, semi trucks scare me as a result of this). A kid I played soccer with died in an accident when I was 16. A neighbour, a classmate I worked with for a short time and a friend who I had a bit of a crush on died in separate car accidents. After I lost my faith in any god, my paternal grandmother, who I met once, died of...something, I'm not sure what. A friend's mother who I worked with died of cancer, and my dad's adopted parents died of complications caused by old age. Oh, and we had a few dogs die too, 2 before I lost faith (my mother's old dog due to old age, and a puppy my folks bought for me), 2 after (one got hit by a car, one had to be put down due to a genetic disorder common amongst purebred border collies).

How did this affect me? Well, aside from the grandmother who died when I was 3, my dad's adopted mother, the friend I had a crush on (Kirsten) and 3 of the 4 dogs who died, I didn't feel especially close to any of them (and really, I was more torn up about my adopted aunt's actions around my adopted grandma's death than the death itself). Actually, I only felt bad about Jedi, the first dog I had who died, because I accidentally killed it. Note to parents: do not let your 5 year old feed the dog packing peanuts, because despite the name, they aren't yummy or nutritious, but dogs will eat them anyway. So while I was a bit sad about their deaths, but they all went to heaven, in my view.

However, Kirsten's death really got to me. Why? Aside from being her friend and having feelings for her, she was a non-believer. She was hell-bound. It was tremendously sad for me, because she was a good person and had a kid to raise. I weathered it well on the outside, but when I wasn't around people, I was in tears. I couldn't even bring myself to go to her funeral, I was so devastated. It took me months to rationalize that, since she was a good person, she was in heaven despite not worshiping any god. After all, any good, loving god would let in a good person like her, right?

The reason this idea of a heaven existing comforted me wasn't because of the eternal bliss these people would experience, though that helped. No, what really helped was the feeling that it wasn't the end. Their friends and family would see them again, I'd see them again and be able to form a closer bond with them in the afterlife than I did in life. In other words, heaven was my way of forgetting the permanency of death.

I should take some time here to talk about my sometimes suicidal depression. I may get into that more in depth later, but the death part does concern what I'm talking about. This actually started while I still believed in the Christian god. Oftentimes I would find myself with some plan to end my earthly existence, and sometimes I had the means to accomplish this end (get it? Means to an end, end of my life? Suicide jokes are fun!) There were a few times when all that stopped me was the thought of eternal damnation, as suicide was essentially an unforgivable sin. So in that respect, the belief in the Christian afterlife saved my life.

However, when I realized no just and loving god would torment someone forever, and thus hell must be just the end of the soul...suicide was no longer off the table. This mental condition made me want my life to end, and I never really treated it. So while this version of hell helped me reconcile my morality with my god, it removed my religious reason to not commit suicide...and so I made 2 attempts on my own life. I have not tried that since losing my faith, for a variety of reasons that I'll explain later in this post.

I've handled the deaths of friends and family much better as an atheist than as a theist, and I think the reason for that is that atheism allows us to see death for what it really is. With theism, death is a passage into another life, it isn't all that bad. Hell, in the Salvation Army Canada magazine, War Cry (later renamed Faith & Friends), announcements of church member deaths proclaimed they were "promoted to glory". Atheists have to see that death is the end. There's nothing else. It's disparaging, in a way. A funeral is "goodbye" not "see you later" to an atheist. We are forced to face this reality, and to deal with it.

It really isn't all that bad, though. When life is limited, it becomes special. As a Christian, I regularly found myself looking forward to heaven, and neglecting the gift of life that I'd been given. I am still in the habit of avoiding people and generally not seizing the day, something I hope to change. The fact remains, though, that a life that is finite is infinitely more valuable than one that is not. There is more need to accomplish what we can in the short time we have, more reason to advance our knowledge of science (especially medical science) in order to make what short lives we have longer and more bearable. And frankly, the fact that our lives are so short helps make them bearable, too. There is no conceivable way that an eternal existence could be viewed as anything other than torturous, even if we retained young bodies forever, a la Highlander. When there's nothing left to do, nothing left to accomplish, life becomes dull, boring. A period of boredom that lasts millions of years would certainly become torturous at some point.

The reality is, an eternity of heaven for the good, much like an eternity of hell for the wicked, is simply the overindulgent fantasy of someone from humanity's childhood. The reality is rough at first, like all growth processes. In the end, however, realizing death is the end allows us to come to terms with it-in fact, forces us to do so. And we are much stronger for it.

But what if you are the one who is dying? I'd suppose that a healthy attitude towards death would not include denying its permanency, but accepting it as the natural end to an existence that is, in fact, against the odds and (for lack of a better word) miraculous. A better source for this particular subject is www.penmachine.com which is a weblog of an atheist man who died of cancer. I have not read all the back posts, but what I have read is enlightening.

One more thing I must add before putting this overly long post to rest is that the insidious lie of deathbed conversions must be put to an end. Not to say that it doesn't happen, but this truly is insulting. It implies that we are liars who actually believe in your particular god, or that we're too mentally weak to not fall for a superficially comforting lie during our darkest moment. Much like the no atheists in foxholes myth, this has little to no basis in reality. So just stop it.

 


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Excellent article,

Excellent article, BenfromCanada.

I would like to put it in my Freethinker's Yahoo group, Free_Thinkers_Refuge in the files section for future reference, with your permission.

 

I too, have had a much easier time coping with the deaths of others surrounding me since I "lost my faith", and accept what is. I've also been suicidally depressed at times throughout my life, but have not actually attempted it since becoming an atheist.

How's my proselytizing? Call 1-800-FANATIC

Beth


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Kapkao wrote: I think the

Kapkao wrote:

 I think the explanation might be as simple as the social anxiety that I have experienced has eroded away many of my natural, instinctual fears I one experienced as a child (that nearly everyone else experiences.)

 

   

     Pardon me for me being a bit incredulous.  So continually experiencing a type of fear, ie "anxiety"  has made you fearless ?    You must certainly be the rarest of  anomalies because if experiencing unrelenting fear were actually the key to no longer experiencing fear then by that reasoning I should be the the absolute definition of stoic calmness.  Perhaps you could elaborate ?

 

    

Kapkao wrote:
  Nope, being killed, put in agony, starving slowly, or even being buried alive doesn't bother me that much......

   

 

So losing the tendency to experience emotional distress in the form of fear has also rendered you incapable of experiencing physical pain ?   If someone were to slowly insert you feet first into a wood chipper your heart rate would fail to increase, no adrenaline dump, no change in brain waves , etc. ?   Perhaps you and I define pain in different terms.   ( Also, by my reasoning if being in "agony" doesn't bother you then you weren't in agony to begin with.) 

  I'm confused.

Patrick is an edgy edgelord.


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I could not cope with trying

I could not cope with trying to reconcile the idea of a 'loving' God with the reality of people facing death from cancer. So Atheism is a help there.

As to facing the end myself, at least I don't have to agonize about the prospect of Hell, or facing an eternity of unutterable boredom.

Assuming I can avoid a prolonged and painful prelude to death, I have no problem with a sleep from which I will not awake.

I am closer to the End than most people here, but have been fortunate enough, and/or careful enough with my life-style, especially with regard to diet and exercise, etc, to have no known current health problems to worry me.

To me, a mature approach to death involves looking back on the highlights, the friendships, the positives, of ones life, and coming to terms with reality of a finite existence, while continuing on to keep engaging with current friends and family, and helping people with my knowledge and experience where I can, while I can.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

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Beth: Sure, as long as

Beth: Sure, as long as there's a link to the original article and a request to go to my weblog.

 

Bob:You totally put the last couple of paragraphs of my article in better words there.


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ProzacDeathWish wrote:Kapkao

ProzacDeathWish wrote:

Kapkao wrote:

 I think the explanation might be as simple as the social anxiety that I have experienced has eroded away many of my natural, instinctual fears I one experienced as a child (that nearly everyone else experiences.)

 

   

     Pardon me for me being a bit incredulous.  So continually experiencing a type of fear, ie "anxiety"  has made you fearless ?    You must certainly be the rarest of  anomalies because if experiencing unrelenting fear were actually the key to no longer experiencing fear then by that reasoning I should be the the absolute definition of stoic calmness.  Perhaps you could elaborate ?

 

I can not elaborate for Kapkao, but I can add that this is called "desensitization", "counter-conditioning" or "flooding" when training your dog.  Sorry, I can not address the same therapies for humans as I am far from an expert on treating - aka re-training - humans.  I understand the techniques are similar for humans.

The idea is you have a dog with a comparatively simpler brain who has had bad experiences.  And now they associate those bad experiences with inappropriate stimuli.  We once owned a dog who hated young men who wore their baseball caps backwards.  If the person would turn their cap around, she would instantly love up to them.  Put it backwards and she was going to attack them.  Same guy, in less than five minutes.  She was that specific in her response.

Counter-conditioning is where you take the time to have a young man sit with the dog and give her treats - and move the bill of his cap around, all the time giving her treats.  Dogs are easy to fix - feed them and you can correct any bad behavior.

Desensitization would be having a young man with a cap on walk by her across the street.  Then down the middle and then on the same sidewalk and so on.  Gradually getting closer and - yeah - giving her treats. 

Flooding would be putting her next to a young man with his hat on backwards, controlling her all the time so she can't bite anyone.  And giving her treats.  Eventually, she would stop trying to get the young man, and finally would accept treats from him without being aggressive.

For people, the therapy generally takes longer than for dogs.  But repeated exposure to the fear causing object lessens the fear/anxiety response.  I used to be afraid of flying - I no longer am.  Special treatment?  No, about 3 business flights a month for almost a year.  Eventually the boredom overcame the fear.  See BF Skinner and behavorism for more details in treating people.  It's not just for pigeons.

 

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

"We are entitled to our own opinions. We're not entitled to our own facts"- Al Franken

"If death isn't sweet oblivion, I will be severely disappointed" - Ruth M.


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cj wrote:ProzacDeathWish

cj wrote:

ProzacDeathWish wrote:

Kapkao wrote:

 I think the explanation might be as simple as the social anxiety that I have experienced has eroded away many of my natural, instinctual fears I one experienced as a child (that nearly everyone else experiences.)

 

   

     Pardon me for me being a bit incredulous.  So continually experiencing a type of fear, ie "anxiety"  has made you fearless ?    You must certainly be the rarest of  anomalies because if experiencing unrelenting fear were actually the key to no longer experiencing fear then by that reasoning I should be the the absolute definition of stoic calmness.  Perhaps you could elaborate ?

 

I can not elaborate for Kapkao, but I can add that this is called "desensitization", "counter-conditioning" or "flooding" when training your dog.  Sorry, I can not address the same therapies for humans as I am far from an expert on treating - aka re-training - humans.  I understand the techniques are similar for humans.

 

For people, the therapy generally takes longer than for dogs.  But repeated exposure to the fear causing object lessens the fear/anxiety response.  I used to be afraid of flying - I no longer am.  Special treatment?  No, about 3 business flights a month for almost a year.  Eventually the boredom overcame the fear.  See BF Skinner and behavorism for more details in treating people.  It's not just for pigeons.

 

  Well, perhaps Kapkao can relate his own experiences.  I can't believe that it's a routine response among humans.  In psychology it's called exposure therapy.  I have Avoidant Personality Disorder which in most people is like a more severe, pervasive form of Social Anxiety Disorder.  Nevertheless I work a full time job that puts me in the presence of other people for the majority of my waking hours and I've been forced by my adult responsibilities to have constant human contact for literally decades.  How much more exposure could I possibly employ ? 

  As far as having APD and my pushing the envelope and venturing into even more "adventurous" behaviours ( public speaking for example )  let me assure you that I have tried on many occasions and to say the results were disastrous would be an understatement.

  My fear is an abnormal fear.  For example, the majority of combat soldiers will experience extreme fear during actual combat engagements but they grow to manage that fear and are still able to function under such extreme emotional stress.  They would typify what is considered a normal / typical fear response statistically speaking.   On the other hand there are those combat veterans who experience severe PTSD or even have an actual mental shutdown.  That would be an example of comparatively atypical / abnormal fear response ( or at least a type of fear response that is considered much, much more problematic ).  Is the solution for PTSD to simply suit these guys up for combat and "expose" them to bloody mayhem until they desensitize ?   What are the chances of that happening ?  You are much more likely to have a suicide victim on your hands than a combat soldier who is now fit to endure further combat stress, or in Kapkao's example no stress at all.

  ( incidentally, the number of suicides among Iraqi war vets has risen so dramatically that the US military establishment has been forced to confront this issue to a degree that it has never done before. )

Patrick is an edgy edgelord.


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ProzacDeathWish wrote:  

ProzacDeathWish wrote:

  Well, perhaps Kapkao can relate his own experiences. 

 

I'm sure he will and he will in all probability call me bad names when he does. 

 

ProzacDeathWish wrote:

I can't believe that it's a routine response among humans.  In psychology it's called exposure therapy.  I have Avoidant Personality Disorder which in most people is like a more severe, pervasive form of Social Anxiety Disorder.  Nevertheless I work a full time job that puts me in the presence of other people for the majority of my waking hours and I've been forced by my adult responsibilities to have constant human contact for literally decades.  How much more exposure could I possibly employ ? 

 

I was not intending my comments to be a recommendation of therapy for a particular disorder of humans.  I tried to be very clear about that in my post.

In dogs - I believe it is also true for people - it is very important when the dog became damaged emotionally.  If the problem happened during their early socialization period (dogs - 5 weeks to 5 months old typically), the damage is often not curable with any of those techniques.  These techniques work just fine if the trauma happened later in the dogs' lives.

There are also chemical imbalances in dogs that cause behaviors that may or may not respond to long term pharmaceutical therapy where behavioral therapy just won't work.  And for people with dogs that have these problems, they really need to take their dog to a veterinarian/behaviorist who specializes in treating these problems so they are sure to follow the correct course of therapy for their particular dog.

My comments were in reference to people having issues that respond to that type of therapy.  Not all issues can be addressed by these techniques, and not all people respond to this kind of therapy in the same way.

I can empathize with you.  I am not pretending I have your problem.  But I find myself less and less interested in other people, not wanting to hang around with people, not wanting people I think of as friends over to my house.  And yet, without social interaction, I am very unhappy and bored.  I feel just a little conflicted at times. 

 

ProzacDeathWish wrote:

  As far as having APD and my pushing the envelope and venturing into even more "adventurous" behaviours ( public speaking for example )  let me assure you that I have tried on many occasions and to say the results were disastrous would be an understatement.

 

Again, Kapkao will have to respond as to the intent of his comments.  But it was my impression that he was not addressing your specific problem, but rather the normal fears of a child growing up in a normal environment without any neurological disorders.  I certainly wasn't, and I think Kap also wasn't, intending to address anything like your problem.

 

ProzacDeathWish wrote:

  My fear is an abnormal fear.  For example, the majority of combat soldiers will experience extreme fear during actual combat engagements but they grow to manage that fear and are still able to function under such extreme emotional stress.  They would typify what is considered a normal / typical fear response statistically speaking.   On the other hand there are those combat veterans who experience severe PTSD or even have an actual mental shutdown.  That would be an example of comparatively atypical / abnormal fear response ( or at least a type of fear response that is considered much, much more problematic ).  Is the solution for PTSD to simply suit these guys up for combat and "expose" them to bloody mayhem until they desensitize ?   What are the chances of that happening ?  You are much more likely to have a suicide victim on your hands than a combat soldier who is now fit to endure further combat stress, or in Kapkao's example no stress at all.

  ( incidentally, the number of suicides among Iraqi war vets has risen so dramatically that the US military establishment has been forced to confront this issue to a degree that it has never done before. )

 

I have had PTSD.  It wasn't combat related, but many cases of PTSD are not. 

PTSD is not necessarily a fear response.  The trauma you experience may trigger a number of emotions - my experience happened to be an unexpected death.  And the strong emotion triggered was primarily grief.  But I had flashbacks that were visual, tactile and auditory.  I had disrupted sleep, crying jags, memories that seemed to intrude on everything I did.  According to my therapist, it was a classic episode.

There is little comparison with what I experienced and what a combat veteran may experience.  And the therapy for my case may or may not have echoed what one of those combat veterans may pursue.  I can't see how exposure therapy could be used for PTSD.  You can not get away from the triggering experience as it is always being replayed in your head.  For me, time and the support of my friends took care of most of my problem.  For someone else that probably would not be enough and I would not recommend that someone just attempt to wait out their issues.  They would need to see a competent therapist in order to determine a proper treatment.

And sometimes, I know there isn't a "cure".  And then you have to go with coping strategies.  My husband tells the story of his dad and another WWII vet talking about the Nam vets with PTSD.  My father-in-law looked at the other guy and asked, "Still having the dreams?"  And the other guy, who had been a pilot, replied, "Yeah, except I'm still flying P-40s and the other guys are flying jets!"

I wish for you the appropriate coping strategies and the ability to find a space where you feel safe and serene if only for a few minutes out of your day.

 

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

"We are entitled to our own opinions. We're not entitled to our own facts"- Al Franken

"If death isn't sweet oblivion, I will be severely disappointed" - Ruth M.


ProzacDeathWish
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  No, I didn't think Kap

  No, I didn't think Kap was addressing me in any way, but previously he has self identified as a person who experiences multiple mental / emotional aberrations.  He and I are unique from each other of course but the extent of some of his claims has piqued my interest because ( to me ) they seem far beyond the normal purview.  I can't help but be curious.

  Btw, thank you for your words of empathy.

Patrick is an edgy edgelord.