Atheism: Urgency In Life?

GrimJesta
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Atheism: Urgency In Life?

I'm curious as to how other atheists feel about, well... lifespan; does anyone else feel an urgency that theists couldn't possibly feel? I do believe, with total conviction, that all we have is our time here on earth. I think it comes out to the average human being have 22,000 days to live or something like that. But it really isn't an awful lot of time! Every night when I go to sleep my last thoughts are how much it sucks that one day everything I love will be taken away. Sure, in oblivion I won't be aware of everything being gone, but being here and alive now I feel this constant sense of sadness and urgency that I sometimes envy the theists I know- I wish I could bullshit myself so well as to believe life goes on eternally.

Am I the only one who ever feels this way? Sometimes it even brings my life to a halt, usually times that I'm cuddled up with my girlfriend and start to think "once one of us is gone we'll never see one another again". That's such depressing shit I can actually understand why people would irrationally believe in an afterlife... sometimes.

-=Grim=-

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applesforadam
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Atheism: Urgency In Life?

There really isn't a pretty way to paint the fact that one day we will no longer be here anymore. Psychologically, this is probably a huge reason that people are so susceptible to the concepts presented in religion of eternal life.
Personally, yea, that thought sucks. But on the other hand, I have no control over that. Death is absolutely the only certainty in life. All I can do is not waste the time that I have here. It is very motivational in a sense to know that we only have a finite time here because when someone lets go of the notion that this life doesn't matter because we will transcend one day to eternal life in heaven, that person is able to begin to live with a newfound sense of responsibility for THIS life.

"It's not so much staying alive. It's staying human that's important." - 1984
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Saganite
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Atheism: Urgency In Life?

I try not to fear death. My Idol and mentor Carl Sagan went before me into that great unkown, I try to have the courage not to be scared to follow. Besides, at least when you die, you?l know once-and for all if you?re right! (Sort of). And if there?s any good note to go out on, it?s learnign something new, right?

I vote YES http//underdogryan.blogspot.com/2005/09/should-men-fling-poo.html


GrimJesta
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Atheism: Urgency In Life?

applesforadam wrote:
...that person is able to begin to live with a newfound sense of responsibility for THIS life.

That's my beef with having a fanatic in the White House. I don't care if the President is a Jew, and Atheist or a Hindu. I do care when they base lawmaking on it. Why would someone give shit about the environment when they think Jesus is coming in 70 years to save his chosen few?

-=Grim=-

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Know Nyarlathotep, No Peace.


litterbug_kid
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Atheism: Urgency In Life?

I do fear death alot, literally it's made me cry when I've sat and thought about it before, im SO scared of death.
But yeh, knowing theres no god to answer to, to judge whether we go into heaven or not, and it's the same for everyone who dies, no priveliges or anything helps a tiny bit, however crude that may sound.
onto something happier.. :smt040


Archangel__7
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Atheism: Urgency In Life?

GrimJesta,

I can appreciate the honesty with which you've expressed this most basic human concern.. the search for meaning to existence, or at least the hope that all that actually is good with the world will one day be preserved...

I guess it should cause us to take more seriously the question eternity, or at least (as you've said) bring out of us a certain common understanding that though there's disagreement across the ideological boundaries between the theistic and irreligious, each of us really do struggle with the same felt anxiety of what is to become of us and all we hold dear.

There are times when I walk through the halls a hospital after a routine appointment, for example, and step past the chapel room. Whatever that room may represent to you or others in this forum, let it for now remind us that this is -at minimum- humanity's attempt to grapple with the realities of our finitude. I think were I to be in my final moments with the most ardent, the most acidic atheist in this forum, I will finally come to a point where our differing ideologies wil dissolve into a common understanding: there is some fear over just what will happen and what's important for now, at least is that we might offer some semblance of comfort in these final moments before we step into ______ .

I don't know that even I as a Christian can look at death unflinchingly. I still walk out of those hospital doors thinking, "One day I will be among those in the rooms wishing they were me.. .just walking out of that room, being given just one more chance to tell someone something we've held back for whatever foolish reason... just one more chance to do something meaningful, just one more chance to live life the way we ought than simply wasting it away on momentary whims (whose value hardly really extends beyond the moment itself).

These are notions, however that are somewhat antithetical to a strictly Materialist notion of the universe. If God does not exist, they're just not consistent to reality, yet we can't help but still agonize over these questions. What greater purpose then, are we serving by biting the bullet and holding to our atheism, when in the end it will matter little whether we've been consistent with that, or indulged in the theistic fantasy for the moment?

We seem to place such value on not lying to ourselves, as though we were meeting some moral obligation that just doesn't exist. Who holds us to the idea that we must live consistently with what we've decided must be true, at the expense of experiencing precisely that which every human heart longs for (a life full of meaning and purpose and the hope of an enduring existence which extends beyond the "Great Perhaps", a future where there will be no more tears, no more grudges, no more pain, no separation)?

The universe will care not whether you've lived up to an atheistic reality or embraced a theistic one. In the end, there will be no one keeping score as to "Who the best atheist was", excepting those whose scorekeeping will ultimately be meaningless themselves. How you live your life, then is irrelevant to notions of "oughtness" in our pursuit of truth. Carl Sagan is said to have carried his naturalist idea of ultimate reality to the grave, and it will be anyone's guess whether this in the end holds any great message or meaning for the rest of us (Why should it?). Perhaps it brings people great personal satisfaction to know and enjoy the liberties of unmitigated promiscuity and/or infidelity, where sacredness and the promise become casualties. But for whatever deliverances these momentary (and age-dependent) pleasures may bring, in our honest moments, I suspect in the end we each recognize how hollow these really are in trying to answer the larger question you've posed here.

I offer this not really as an argument, nor is this really a claim that we should not value truth. But I guess my question is, on Atheism, why should it matter?


SAVAGE
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Re: Atheism: Urgency In Life?

GrimJesta wrote:
I'm curious as to how other atheists feel about, well... lifespan; does anyone else feel an urgency that theists couldn't possibly feel?

Theist believe they will live forever so giving up the one life they have to follow stupid unethical doctrine isn?t such a big deal to them.

Quote:
I do believe, with total conviction, that all we have is our time here on earth. I think it comes out to the average human being have 22,000 days to live or something like that. But it really isn't an awful lot of time! Every night when I go to sleep my last thoughts are how much it sucks that one day everything I love will be taken away. Sure, in oblivion I won't be aware of everything being gone, but being here and alive now I feel this constant sense of sadness and urgency that I sometimes envy the theists I know- I wish I could bullshit myself so well as to believe life goes on eternally.

Bullshitting will only rob you of the one life you do have. There are many ways to achieve immortality, I see it in my children..I have left a little piece of myself and I carry a little piece of my ancestry with me?in that sense we never truly die, I left behind the things I taught that child, I left behind my lifes worth for that child and that blood will carry on.

We are energy that gets retrenched back into the earth and we never truly leave this hallowed blue speck of dust in the universe. As long as you live, those you love are never truly gone, just not there.

Quote:
Am I the only one who ever feels this way? Sometimes it even brings my life to a halt, usually times that I'm cuddled up with my girlfriend and start to think "once one of us is gone we'll never see one another again". That's such depressing shit I can actually understand why people would irrationally believe in an afterlife... sometimes.

-=Grim=-

No one wants to die, its like sticking you head in a dark hole?.its scary, but inevitable?theists in this regard are cowards.

I cant say I know what death is like (pick the obvious statement)?but I am prepared for it.

A MESSAGE TO ALL THEISTS:

 

CRY ME A RIVER

 

BUILD ME A BRIDGE

 

BUT IN THE NAME OF NOTHING GET OVER IT.


Yellow_Number_Five
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Atheism: Urgency In Life?

Well said Savage.

I don't really feel an urgency, I'm a procrastinating, stop and smell the roses kind of guy.

I'm more interested in the moment, and I think that's because I understand that this one could be my last. Still, I see nothing wrong at all in rolling with the punches for the most part, that's my personality and it keeps me centered and happy.

But I don't feel any sort of pressure to do this or do that, to become this or become that. I'll NEVER be able to fit EVERYTHING into my life that I want to, so I'll take it as it comes and as opportunities present themselves. Regrets are unavoidable, I simply try to keep them to a minimum and to try not to have any regrets of the "coulda, shoulda, woulda" variety.

I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world. - Richard Dawkins

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shedevil
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Atheism: Urgency In Life?

Yes I think about it a lot actually and sometimes I'm actually paralyzed by my fear of death but I've come to accept it more and actually "live my life" unlike when I was a believer and just putting everything off.

I just don't think I'll ever been real keen on the idea of death.


Yellow_Number_Five
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Atheism: Urgency In Life?

shedevil wrote:

I just don't think I'll ever been real keen on the idea of death.

Who is? :shock:


Saganite
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Atheism: Urgency In Life?

Archangel__7 wrote:
GrimJesta,

I can appreciate the honesty with which you've expressed this most basic human concern.. the search for meaning to existence, or at least the hope that all that actually is good with the world will one day be preserved...

I guess it should cause us to take more seriously the question eternity, or at least (as you've said) bring out of us a certain common understanding that though there's disagreement across the ideological boundaries between the theistic and irreligious, each of us really do struggle with the same felt anxiety of what is to become of us and all we hold dear.

There are times when I walk through the halls a hospital after a routine appointment, for example, and step past the chapel room. Whatever that room may represent to you or others in this forum, let it for now remind us that this is -at minimum- humanity's attempt to grapple with the realities of our finitude. I think were I to be in my final moments with the most ardent, the most acidic atheist in this forum, I will finally come to a point where our differing ideologies wil dissolve into a common understanding: there is some fear over just what will happen and what's important for now, at least is that we might offer some semblance of comfort in these final moments before we step into ______ .

I don't know that even I as a Christian can look at death unflinchingly. I still walk out of those hospital doors thinking, "One day I will be among those in the rooms wishing they were me.. .just walking out of that room, being given just one more chance to tell someone something we've held back for whatever foolish reason... just one more chance to do something meaningful, just one more chance to live life the way we ought than simply wasting it away on momentary whims (whose value hardly really extends beyond the moment itself).

These are notions, however that are somewhat antithetical to a strictly Materialist notion of the universe. If God does not exist, they're just not consistent to reality, yet we can't help but still agonize over these questions. What greater purpose then, are we serving by biting the bullet and holding to our atheism, when in the end it will matter little whether we've been consistent with that, or indulged in the theistic fantasy for the moment?

We seem to place such value on not lying to ourselves, as though we were meeting some moral obligation that just doesn't exist. Who holds us to the idea that we must live consistently with what we've decided must be true, at the expense of experiencing precisely that which every human heart longs for (a life full of meaning and purpose and the hope of an enduring existence which extends beyond the "Great Perhaps", a future where there will be no more tears, no more grudges, no more pain, no separation)?

The universe will care not whether you've lived up to an atheistic reality or embraced a theistic one. In the end, there will be no one keeping score as to "Who the best atheist was", excepting those whose scorekeeping will ultimately be meaningless themselves. How you live your life, then is irrelevant to notions of "oughtness" in our pursuit of truth. Carl Sagan is said to have carried his naturalist idea of ultimate reality to the grave, and it will be anyone's guess whether this in the end holds any great message or meaning for the rest of us (Why should it?). Perhaps it brings people great personal satisfaction to know and enjoy the liberties of unmitigated promiscuity and/or infidelity, where sacredness and the promise become casualties. But for whatever deliverances these momentary (and age-dependent) pleasures may bring, in our honest moments, I suspect in the end we each recognize how hollow these really are in trying to answer the larger question you've posed here.

I offer this not really as an argument, nor is this really a claim that we should not value truth. But I guess my question is, on Atheism, why should it matter?

That was deep dude, way deep. ::applause::

Good question too. If you mean in the great scheme of things (Not just things on this earth) It doesnt matter I suppose. There are hundreds of billions of galaxies, and probably trillions of stars, and Carl only KNOWS how many planets. But evey last one of these "forevers" is absolutely bunk when faced with an eternity of time. In an eternity of time, even black holes will eventually dissolve (IF Hawking is right. I dunno.) Our children will die, as will thier children, as will eventually our entire species, and all other life on earth. and when the sun has swelled to a red giant it will engulf this tiny mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam and turn it into a cinder whirling around within the atmosphere of the sun. Once our sun dies it will become perhaps a white dwarf. I'm not QUITE sure what happens eventually to white dwarfs, The article in Astronomy magazine is getting a bit fuzzy in my memory now. Great article though, talked about what the universe would be like in the far far far future, we're talking hundreds of billions of years. I think in the end it was postulated that given enough time, all elementary particles would dissolve and the universe would become a blank sort of quark soup. The quarks would then (Given an immensely long period of time) meet and anihilate thier antiquarks, and the universe would finally get some peace and quiet. So really, (IF the article was right, and IF we live in an open (expanding indefinitly) universe), the only thing that will exist indefinitly is space itself, simply nothingness expanding forever. Compared to an infinity of time, the universe has just begun, and all the "interesting" stuff only lasts a very short while before it's all a blank slate getting bigger and bigger. Suns die, Planets die, galaxies will darken and dissolve... Now granted, that's just the luminous matter we can see. I don't claim to know jack squat about what's going to happen to all the Dark Matter.

I vote YES http//underdogryan.blogspot.com/2005/09/should-men-fling-poo.html


GrimJesta
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Atheism: Urgency In Life?

Archangel__7 wrote:

What greater purpose then, are we serving by biting the bullet and holding to our atheism, when in the end it will matter little whether we've been consistent with that, or indulged in the theistic fantasy for the moment?

We seem to place such value on not lying to ourselves, as though we were meeting some moral obligation that just doesn't exist.

The universe will care not whether you've lived up to an atheistic reality or embraced a theistic one. In the end, there will be no one keeping score as to "Who the best atheist was", excepting those whose scorekeeping will ultimately be meaningless themselves.

I offer this not really as an argument, nor is this really a claim that we should not value truth. But I guess my question is, on Atheism, why should it matter?

I actually had a similiar conversation with a theist in my family. She asked me why bother being moral or upholding any ideals if I don't beilieve there's any sort of recognition or something other than oblivion when one dies. I'll give you the abridged version of what I said here. It was a conversation that was the span of quite a few hours. I either have to sum it up or suck it up and write book about it. Hhaha. Anyway:

There is not "keeping score". I'm not an atheist because I'm clinging to some great moral code; I'm an atheist because I can't bring myself to buy into any religion. I'm an empiricist, so the day I see proof of the Divine or science that at least pionts to a God I'll start to believe. And yes, I do keep myself open to that possibility. It's why I like civilized discussion about this sort of thing. How else can we begin to crack that nut until you've opened your mind up to the idea that you may be wrong.

Anyway, the reason I cling to any form of morality (and I do challenge anyone that says atheism is an abandonment of morals or good judgement) is because we see every day the psychological and sociological effects of negative lifestyles. Why would I want to waste my time in a world that is only that? I obey laws and live morally because if this is all I have I want it to be the best I could have received, and that requires a whole crap-load of self-inquiry, moral judgement and goodwill toward other people. I even joke to my friend Scott (who's a Fundamentalist) that I'd be more Christian than most of Christianity if I believed in God.

Another good example of why I act moral despite not having an eternal reward or fear of eternal punishment is simple: peace of mind. If you don't understand completely then I urge you to read the apocryphal story about Abe Lincoln and the pig stuck in the mud. Yes it's a perfect example of Egoism (the philosophical school of thought, not anything having to do with vanity).

I don't want to live ina world where I can be murdered for no reason, be beaten and mugged, have been a child easily abused, starved to death, etc, so I do what I can to contribute to society safeguarding me and my own... which means not murdering, beating a child, denying food to the poor, etc..

SAVAGE wrote:

I cant say I know what death is like (pick the obvious statement)?but I am prepared for it.

I think the reason I'm scared so much is because I have seen what it's like. Even the surgeon who brought me back had no idea how he did it: I was dead as dirt. And you know what I saw? Nothing. And that sucked.

I guess what it all boils down to is this:
1) Deep down inside I feel that eventually humanity will de dust in space wind.
2) I'd like to think we gave it our best while we were here.
3) To give it our best would mean not blowing each other up, raping and pillaging, or crap like that.
4) Therefore, despite knowing that in the far, far, far future (as Saganite put it) we'll be gone and not in some Kingdom in the Sky, I embrace a moral code. But that still doesn't mean I think I'll get anything for it other than peace of mind and a safer life.
5) Despite not believing in an afterlife, I also know that humanity has only seen the bare-minimum tip of the iceberg as far as knowledge goes, so maybe when we're dust in the wind something does happen. But to live my life thinking about a "what if" scenario?

I dunno, theism is comforting only if your comfortable deluding yourself. But that's just my two cents.

-=Grim=-

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Know Nyarlathotep, No Peace.


applesforadam
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Re: Atheism: Urgency In Life?

SAVAGE wrote:
I cant say I know what death is like (pick the obvious statement)?but I am prepared for it.

In a kind of subtley obvious way, by being brought into this world where our bodies have a finite lifespan, nature has prepared us all for death.

"It's not so much staying alive. It's staying human that's important." - 1984
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