Atheists Remind People of Death

Jun 29, 2015

by Erin Blakemore

Though the number of people who identify as atheists has risen in recent years, atheists still are viewed as untrustworthy or frightening by many Americans. Now, new research might offer an explanation, writes LiveScience’s Stephanie Pappas — atheists can trigger death-related thoughts, which can cause people to cling even more tightly to their religious values.

Pappas reports on a new study that shows atheists are seen as an “existential threat,” a threat that fuels anti-atheist sentiment. Researchers interviewed a group of 202 students from diverse religious backgrounds. One group was given questions about death like “Please describe the emotions that the thought of your own death arouses in you” and “Write down, as specifically as you can, what you think will happen physically when you die,” while the other was asked about extreme pain.

Then, the researchers asked all participants about their attitudes towards both Quakers and atheists. While people seemed to distrust atheists across the board, the group who had been reminded of their own mortality was much more negative.


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68 comments on “Atheists Remind People of Death

  • The journalists involved in publicising this story appear to be stretching the valid conclusions more than a bit.

    For example: If religion comes up in conversation I tend to think more about death. I’m an atheist, so does that mean I automatically apply unthinking prejudice to theists? I certainly hope not.

    I’d like to see Corey Cook do a lot more research before concluding that he can help us to reduce bigotry against atheists.

    In the mean time we have humanism. We do need to counter the perceived lack of values attached to the label atheist. Like secularism, humanism offers a much bigger tent – which in my experience can even include some people of faith – and offers a way to present values, social responsibility & support and finding meaning, beauty, and joy in this one life we have, without the need for an afterlife.

    Peace.



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  • It’s always fear of death with the religious. They spend more time hedging their bets on their welfare after death than they do to paying attention in the here and now. You do remember the buying of indulgences in religion’s glory days? Then there are the people who don’t really have faith but go to church just incase all the drivel is true! The saying of 5 Hail Marys and 3 Our Fathers to atone for sins falls into the same category. Instead of apologizing to whom ever you sinned against you apologize to God!!! Instead of making the world a better place with your behavior here on planet earth you grovel to God for forgiveness. Go figure…
    Most all religions seem to be death cults sad to say.



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  • @OP link. – The study’s authors, who named their study “What if They’re Right?”, suggest that the “mere existence” of people who go against mainstream cultural values is “fundamentally threatening.”

    The title of the paper hits the key note!

    “What if they’re right and my anticipated (and heavily paid for up-front) afterlife, has been cancelled, and I have been conned, along with most of my friends and relatives?” The indoctrinated theist mind boggles, and locks into dread and denial!!!

    Of course the, “going against mainstream cultural values” bit, is somewhat presumptuous and question begging!!



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  • Hi mombird,

    It’s always fear of death with the religious.

    That hasn’t been my experience to-date.

    They spend more time hedging their bets on their welfare after death than they do to paying attention in the here and now.

    That is undoubtedly true of a minority, but your brush is a little too broad. It certainly isn’t true for the vast majority of the faithful. It is, of course, a great tragedy that anyone spends any time on such a useless cause – but many were indoctrinated from an early age and lack the opportunity, education, nous and/or courage to break that indoctrination.

    In addition we must consider the Dartmouth Effect. Presenting people with facts can often backfire.

    In order to make progress we need to consider the faithful as fellow human beings who need our help, rather than banging on about how wrong they’ve been. In particular we should avoid banging on about historical wrongs – bringing up anything beyond living memory is just asking the faithful to see us as ogres – it’s actually harmful.

    Atheist-Humanists often say: To declare yourself an atheist is just the first step of a thousand. To be a humanist is all the rest.

    Peace.



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  • Well Stephen, I was raised old school Catholic so you must forgive me if I see the problem differently.
    All our lives we as ex Catholics were and are reminded incessantly of our sins, of burning in hell, of divine wrath. The religious of all stripes are still clamoring on about it all. They have the gall to tell us we are going to burn in hell if we do not accept Christ/ Islam or whatever as our ticket to heaven.
    I say they deserve no room to wiggle out of the past and the problems that have incurred in the past and continue to plague us today.
    You are a lot more forgiving than I am. The scars of religion run deep and many. I do not tolerate it any more from anybody least of all the self righteous who call themselves religious!



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  • And while I’m ranting, it is time for the self-righteous to see that there are other points of view besides their own. They have gotten away with too much for too long. When they are cornered in arguments of course it won’t change their minds but at least they will be confronted. Confrontation, debate, and argument are good things when dealing with the religiously entrenched.
    This is the gospel according to mombird and it in the infallible word of mombird 🙂



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  • mombird
    Jun 29, 2015 at 2:36 pm

    And while I’m ranting, it is time for the self-righteous to see that there are other points of view besides their own.

    But they “know” there are other views apart from their own!

    There are their views and the “wrong ones”!! 🙂



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  • Well Alan, it is NOT, NOT, NOT ok for the religious to use anyone as whipping posts to get their view across. I’m sick of it. They get away with it and are given credence. Just look at the religious right in America. They have insinuated themselves (or are trying to) into politics, the Constitution, our bedrooms, our schools. Politicians are afraid of them and pay the most disgusting lip service to them.
    We have to endure prayer meetings in the White House among other things just to appease them. I ‘ve had it with appeasement!
    Now I don’t know about humanism. It may be just the ticket for Australia or England, but here in the U.S. it is down to fight and stand your ground against the moral, self righteous, supercilious religious!
    Epistle I of mombird 🙂



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  • 15
    mombird says:

    That sums it all up!
    I remember going to 1st communion. We had to go to go to confession first. The nuns explained the process. I went into the confessional and I had no sins to confess so I lied to the priest and told him I had done a bunch of stuff just to have something to say.
    Is it any wonder as he says that our brains are scrambled???!!!



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  • 20
    mombird says:

    Isn’t it strange that all religions both pagan and Abrahamic have their signature ways to kill?
    Jews it was stoning, Romans- crucifixion, Islam-beheadings, Mayans ripping out of one’s heart, Christians- inquisitions! What a lovely species we are all in the name of god/gods!



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  • Hi mombird,

    Nothing like a good rant to cleanse the mind 😉

    I hope it isn’t too presumptuous, not to say impertinent, of me to say that most of us go through an angry phase.

    Also, you’re in good company. Shortly before he died Hitchens gave us one of his most salient thoughts on the historical sins of the religious:

    Religion now comes to us in this smiling-face, ingratiating way, because it’s had to give so much ground, and because we know so much more. But you’ve no right, no right, to forget the way it behaved when it was strong, and when it really did believe that it had God on its side.

    Sadly missed.



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  • Atheists remind people of death.

    Sorry team, I hadn’t realised I wasn’t fulfilling my duties as an atheist. From now on I’ll be sure to end every conversation with, ‘and, hey, don’t forget you’re going to die dude!’



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  • 23
    mombird says:

    Hi Stephen,
    Yes Hitchens is sorely missed. To be honest I get a lot of my rant material from him.
    It is never too impertinent to mention anything as far as I’m concerned so don’t concern yourself with that.
    Now another thing I forgot to mention about pacifism and humanism and the like is that in America (I don’t know where you are) people solve their problems all to many times by using their Bibles as shields for saying and justifying all kinds of nasty things. We could live with this I suppose but these types of Bible Thumpers are the same types who hide behind their guns. These two items have become symbols and have merged to become the mantra and rallying call of the religious, evangelical right, red necks, and racists. As the President said, “Fearful people hide behind their Bibles and their guns.”
    That’s why we can’t think about humanism until we rid ourselves of the Gun/Bible cult. Then we can replace that with humanism.
    As for those mild mannered Christians who are content to be sheep while all this is going on they are part of the problem. Didn’t Hitch say something to the effect that you must stand up to evil whenever and wherever it rears its head? I’ll try to find the quote.
    I know I’m going to get a bunch of flack (no pun) from gun owners, but if they don’t stand up to the NRA then they are sheep as well. Bring it on with both barrels folks, I’m ready!
    Epistle 2 of mombird



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  • 24
    mombird says:

    Here’s the quote from Hitchens:
    Never be a spectator of unfairness or stupidity. The grave will supply plenty of time for silence.



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  • If you are a Christian you can’t seriously believe the nonsense about the harps and the horned boys in red tights with pitchforks. These are elements of comedy. You can never have a good think about death and put it aside as reasonably settled. With atheism death is just the end. I might think about how to wrap up my life affairs and arrange some sort of ceremony, but nothing is terribly pressing or interesting. Nothing happens so there is nothing to fret about. When I am dead, it is no longer my problem. I won’t be there. It is no more problematic than my non-existence before I was born.



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  • I agree with you Stephen. I’m atheist but dislike the term for some reason.

    If labels are necessary, which I doubt, then I prefer Humanist, Secularist or Freethinker; although the latter implies an exceptional intellect, which I certainly don’t possess.

    On balance, I think I’ll plump for Secularist; secular societies are ones in which the numerous religious communities have the best chance of living together in peace; given that they choose to do so of course.

    I think it’s worth noting that the only part of the UK which isn’t strictly speaking secular is the North of Ireland; enough said I think.



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  • “wishful thinking“.

    Well, I can’t speak for others, but sitting around for eternity, on a cloud, playing an accoustic harp, presumably sexless and no drink, doesn’t appeal to me at all.



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  • 35
    NearlyNakedApe says:

    I went into the confessional and I had no sins to confess so I lied to the priest…

    Yep! Did the exact same thing myself as a child. I was embarrassed that I had no lies to confess, or rather none that I could remember because….

    News flash priest: mentally healthy 10 year old kids don’t spend any time thinking about sin… Unless that garbage is constantly drilled into their minds by their parents or their educators (which fortunately wasn’t the case for me). Sometimes I think that it might be a good thing that young children have a short attention span. Anyway….

    The concept of confession is another blaring example of the sick twisted ideology of Catholicism. It is antithetic to a person’s most basic legal rights. You are deemed guilty until proven… guilty. And worse yet, you are expected to act as counsel against yourself!

    So in a nutshell, Catholicism demands that you both sit in the box of the accused and play the role of prosecutor. It also demands that the prosecutor obtains a guilty verdict every time. The priest’s role is limited to that of a passive judge whose function is limited to admonishing and meting out punishment (usually in a the form of prayer).

    The whole thing is just a ridiculously perverted dance and pony act. In its darkest form, back in the days when the Catholic church was powerful, it was regularly used by priests to obtain private and sometimes deeply intimate information on the members of their flock to be used as leverage against them as needed.

    They have a LOT to answer for and personally, I’m not letting the CC off the hook until a) THEY confess their sins and properly atone for them or b) disappear from the face of the earth. Personally I think option b is far preferable.



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  • 37
    Claudia says:

    I consider myself to be an atheist. I don’t believe in god. I believe the bible is nothing more than made-up stories. I have never believed in the concepts of heaven and/or hell. But, I do NOT believe that death is final. I believe there are different planes of existence and death is just a transition to another plane. I don’t think the next plane includes playing harps, sitting on clouds, or burning in some never ending fire. I do believe I will see both people and animals that I have lost again. From the reading I have done, I expect my point of view is inconsistent with atheism. I would be most interested in anyone’s thoughts/comments on this.



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  • Claudia
    Jun 30, 2015 at 10:14 am

    I do believe I will see both people and animals that I have lost again. From the reading I have done, I expect my point of view is inconsistent with atheism. I would be most interested in anyone’s thoughts/comments on this.

    Our ideas and our genes can live on in out children and in future generations,, but there is no evidence of any other “planes of existence”. We are the electro-biochemistry of our brains, and those disintegrate and the materials are recycled when we die.

    If you think about it – given that all modern life forms evolved from a common single cell ancestor, the notion that billions of life-forms have had an undetectable continued existence, for millions of years, simply does not make sense.
    It sounds like wishful thinking.



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  • 39
    mombird says:

    Claudia, you sound like more of an agnostic. Atheists reject the concept of a Biblical kind of god or any kind of god. But then it depends on how you define god. There’ are so many iterations of the concept of god that the word has become meaningless and mainly pejorative. It’s easier to just reject the entire concept and start fresh with new and clear eyes.
    Personally, I think there is something more to existence. What it could be I don’t know and neither does anyone else. That’s what we are here to discover perhaps. I like to read physics like Brian Greene’s books (who kindly waters it all down so the average person can understand- thank you Brian).
    It is mind altering. Black holes, quantum physics, string theory, multi verses are just a part of the grandeur and awe of it all. It just makes you realize that there is so much out there to think about outside the confines of religion.



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  • 40
    Richard says:

    This concept is well understood among all humans. To spent countless hours, day, weeks, months, and years towards a single idea; to place ones entire mind and make life decisions based solely on this one thought, then to have it completely discredited by another human is disheartening. Then to further find out that there is ZERO evidence to support your wild and often inappropriate and sickening religious belief; no matter how hard you try to defend your positions with weak, childish, and many time mentally insane “straw grabbing” explanations you continue to lose your arguments to even the most incoherent free thinkers, would leave anyone in a mentally poor mood. When many are faced with a mental break down like the one described, few turn to drugs or alcohol. Some divorce there wife for an 18 year old model and a sports car. Then there are many us without the expendable income to support those life choices that either keep talking to the voice in there head, blame there ability to find their car keys in the morning on the divine intention of an all-powerful god, and make stupid bible quote that is not relevant to anything anywhere, or, a few of us, relies that we were wrong and grow up. We come to the realization that all religion is just Santa on a large scale specifically designed by humans to make them feel better about not being the center of the universe. With this new found freedom, atheist finally can see the world for what it is and how religion is destroying everything, and then take a stand to correct this for future generations. We see that this is the only life we get and strive to leave the Earth better than when we found it. This study makes perfect sense. Atheist reminds religious people how insignificant they really are, and this would turn anyone sour.



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  • 41
    mombird says:

    Nearly Naked Ape:
    I agree and the worst part is realizing as an adult that you have been lied to and betrayed by those you trusted. I don’t blame my mom for putting me in catechism class because she was an unwitting victim of the CC as well. Who knew that it was ok to question? Who knew that after being told you would burn in hell that is was in your right to defy authority? Who knew that the doubts you secretly harbored were valid?

    Well, don’t get me started on original sin! What a confidence builder that is!! 🙁 It’s not only the CC that needs to go the way of the dinosaur, it is religion in general! It’s time for common sense to take the helm!



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  • I can sympathize with psychological associations of atheism with death because the materialist-scientific view of the cosmos and humankind’s place in it indeed evoke deeply depressive implications. The traditional view of the religious cosmos pictures a geocentric universe with humans in turn at the center of the divine creation, watched over by a God who orders everything, imbues the human body with an eternal soul, and holds out the promise of paradise after death on the condition His subjects “believe on him” and obey His commandments. (There are many variants of the religious cosmos but the promise of a fulfilling, compensatory afterlife is central to all of them.)

    The atheist-scientific view of the cosmos offers no consolation of purpose or compensation for the pain and misery of life or the deforming accidents of birth. “Life is meaningless” what Sartre called the ceaseless confrontation of THE ABSURD generating unavoidable “angst” or anguish. We die as less-than-specks in the expanding emptiness of a physical universe indifferent to our ultimate annihilation.

    Atheism examined is not for wimps. There is depressive, despair-inducing baggage that comes with embracing it. Like most atheists I resolve the dilemma by recognizing our universal condition in a physical cosmos, regardless of wishful professions of faith, for what it is, and finding human meaning within the confines of our biological life spans through what Sartre called “projects” -raising a family, pursuing intellectual interests, professional ambitions and modest pleasures while practicing moral commitments for the welfare, health and nourishing of our fellow human beings. There is satisfaction enough -indeed all the satisfaction there is- within this frame.



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  • I question the methodology of the experiments. How many words does the average person think of when asked to fill in the blanks in “D _ _ D”? That experiment predisposes the subjects and begs the question. Seek and ye shall find? Not leading the answers would be more objective.

    This is even worse. “In another experiment, they asked participants to think about atheism, extreme pain, or death first, then fill in word fragments…(such as) D _ _ D.” My emphasis.

    Death reminds people of death!



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  • I’m going slightly off-piste mods, but of all the sketches on this thread, for me, Fork Handles is, has always been and will I think remain, the funniest skit I’ve ever seen, because it’s based fairly and squarely in reality, and acted with superb naturalistic skill.

    Incidentally, at Ronnie Barker’s funeral, as those attending entered the church they encountered four giant lit candles.



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  • S’funny, nearly everyone I know is atheist, or at least exceedingly non-religious but none of them make me think unduly about death. What the very religious make me think about though is stupidity, gullibility, lives spent in constant fear, illogicality and probably above all arrogance. The arrogance to claim that they, and only they, know the answers to the questions of life, the universe and everything because of a few lines of drivel written in their big book of nonsense by bronze age goat botherers. People who can pontificate about evolution, global warming, the age of the universe, what really happens after death, based on zero knowledge but with the smugness to claim that the really clever people, the ones with degrees, PHds, professorships etc are all wrong.



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  • Arkrid Sandwich
    Jun 30, 2015 at 1:56 pm

    The arrogance to claim that they, and only they, know the answers to the questions of life, the universe and everything because of a few lines of drivel written in their big book of nonsense by bronze age goat botherers. People who can pontificate about evolution, global warming, the age of the universe, what really happens after death, based on zero knowledge but with the smugness to claim that the really clever people, the ones with degrees, PHds, professorships etc are all wrong.

    Funny you should point that out!
    I was in town today and the Jehovas’ Witlesses, were handing out the latest edition of their science denying magazine entitled, “Has science replaced the Bible”.
    I took one as usual, but did not need to read it to know what story it was going to tell, so I just passed it on to the usual recycling bin, which is the best available repository for that sort of “knowledge”! – One less copy to confuse the uneducated along with happy smiling proselytisers who have a feeling of success in passing out their message to convert me! !



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  • People don’t so much fear death in the abstract as premature death in the concrete. People fear the prolonged pain, torment and terror of certain kinds of “early” death subsequent to terminal illness or disease or mortal injury. Since average life expectancy has spiked to 80 years in most developed countries and with more and more people living well into their 90s, raising life expectancy to new heights, it’s not uncommon for people to think of dying at 79 as dying young.

    Expressing this sensibility, a French grunt soldier in the classic WWI film, “Paths of Glory,” tells his buddies gabbing in the dugout, “I’m not afraid of dying just of being killed.”



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  • 48
    Claudia says:

    I appreciate your comments. However, I do not believe that I am an agnostic because I know there is NO god. I know it as well as I know I am typing this comment. I understand that “traditional” (for lack of a better description) atheists believe death is final and that this life is the only one we get. I am convinced that my belief in other planes of existence is real. It is not wishful thinking and I do not believe in “eternal life” as is believed by religious people. What an evolutionary waste it would be if we died and that was it. I understand that my beliefs are contrary to established atheist thought, but can’t atheists accept a “big tent” concept? I’m sorry and I do not mean to offend anyone here, but you seem to be as closed minded as the vast majority of the religious…………



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  • Claudia:

    What an evolutionary waste it would be if we died and that was it.

    Who claims evolution has to be efficient and tidy ? Not me. Face the facts Claudia, our individual atoms will be recycled by natural processes into other forms, on our deaths. Mr Darcy’s atoms along with Claudia’s. Neither nature nor evolution cares about that process. Nor can they care.



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  • Claudia
    Jun 30, 2015 at 4:56 pm

    I appreciate your comments. However, I do not believe that I am an agnostic because I know there is NO god.

    Atheism is an absence of belief in gods, so for example Buddhists who do not believe in gods but who believe in reincarnation as animals are atheists.

    However for atheist scientists, evidence of claims is required, and this is where supernatural claims consistently fail

    I know it as well as I know I am typing this comment. I understand that “traditional” (for lack of a better description) atheists believe death is final and that this life is the only one we get.

    That is the evidence from physics and biology.

    I am convinced that my belief in other planes of existence is real.

    It would be interesting to know what basis you have for these beliefs and how you acquired them.

    It is not wishful thinking and I do not believe in “eternal life” as is believed by religious people. What an evolutionary waste it would be if we died and that was it.

    Waste is a “purpose judgement”, which implies some objectives.
    In nature, every thing is recycled so from some organisms point of view, nothing is wasted.

    I understand that my beliefs are contrary to established atheist thought, but can’t atheists accept a “big tent” concept?

    Science based thought is open to evidence, but does not simply uncritically accept handed down beliefs as the religious do.

    I’m sorry and I do not mean to offend anyone here, but you seem to be as closed minded as the vast majority of the religious…………

    Nobody takes offense, but what you are proposing is contrary to the scientific evidence which we already have in abundance.

    What evidence do you have for the existence of your proposed “other planes”, or post mortem continuation of life?
    Some may find it comforting to believe that, but wishing is no more evidence than notions of bearded old men or winged fairies sitting on clouds!



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  • Claudia has apparently explored mystical intimations of immortality (credit Wordsworth for the phrase.) I believe she is also expressing the existential fear of death that gnaws at our being.
    Death is the rubber stamp of the cosmos affirming our total annihilation without purpose, without meaning.
    Anyone who says he or she is not afraid is either lying or dead.



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  • Melvin
    Jun 30, 2015 at 6:04 pm

    Anyone who says he or she is not afraid is either lying or dead.

    Isn’t the point of voluntary euthanasia, the stage at which the old, crippled, suffering and worn-out, welcome death?
    Death comes to all eventually. It is its coming too soon, or slowly in tedious painful circumstances, which is to be feared!



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  • 53
    Claudia says:

    Obviously, this is not the site for me. I thank you for your comments/thoughts. I am not afraid of death and I do not believe death as we know it, is the end. So, I will continue my search for a community where I, and my beliefs, will be accepted. I am quite sure of what I know to be true and I am also quite sure there are others, somewhere, that share my truths. I have yet, after years of searching/reading, to find “scientific” proof that death as we know it is final and unless or until I do, my convictions will not change.



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  • Death comes to all eventually. It is its coming too soon, or slowly in tedious painful circumstances, which is to be feared!

    I’m very much into your point of view. My comments are lamentations for those who die in painful circumstances before their time, the majority on this earth. I dread death in empathy with the child torn, bleeding and screaming in the street mortally wounded by a suicide blast in the marketplace. John Donne said it poetically, “send not to know for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee.” Emotions are getting the better of me. Best to move on and help folks live more moral, rational lives. What more can we do?



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  • Atheists trigger death related thoughts. Really ?!!.
    My experience with religious folks suggests,they never stop thinking about death.They are so bloody fixated with death and all the fun that await them after death.Why are they not looking forward to die ? is a mystery.



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  • Apropos of nothing, I feel my comment may have driven Claudia away when my intention was ironically positive though the dreary attitude conveyed by my words could be construed as insulting, I regret that she does not feel comfortable commenting here. Never claiming certainty about this, I speculate she was either practicing mysticism or convinced that a mystical force must have some contact, some connection to physical and biological processes, especially evolution, enabling human consciousness to transcend mortality. Of all the ambitions for transcendence, I respect the mystical discipline the most. It certainly doesn’t hurt anyone to hear Claudia’s voice. I hope she feels welcome to return. In any event, my apologies for any misunderstanding



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  • Exactly so kamel. I don’t know if this is original or not. Atheism-Everything to live for-Nothing to die for. Might be good on a T-shirt. Along with, Religion-Nothing to live for-Everything to die for.



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  • Claudia
    Jun 30, 2015 at 6:59 pm

    I have yet, after years of searching/reading, to find “scientific” proof that death as we know it is final and unless or until I do, my convictions will not change.

    I have yet to find “scientific” evidence that there is NOT a divine chocolate teapot orbiting the moon which created the universe and governs all our lives. However as a rational being I elect not to believe in things until there IS evidence for their existence. Your position is the same irrational one as theists who sulk when asked to provide proof of their pet deity and say “well you can’t prove he doesn’t exist so yah boo sucks, I’m going to believe in him anyway.”

    It is almost impossible to 100% prove the absence of something, like life after death, but until you learn to understand the difference between evidence FOR something and mere wishful thinking for its existence I’m afraid you’re destined to remain clinging to delusions.



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  • Claudia
    Jun 30, 2015 at 6:59 pm

    Obviously, this is not the site for me. I thank you for your comments/thoughts. I am not afraid of death and I do not believe death as we know it, is the end.

    A science site is probably not a good place to look for support for unevidenced beliefs in undetectable energies, although it is a good place to look for critical thinking about the basis for those beliefs.

    So, I will continue my search for a community where I, and my beliefs, will be accepted. I am quite sure of what I know to be true and I am also quite sure there are others, somewhere, that share my truths.

    You may well be able to form or join a mystical cult somewhere, if it is agreement you seek, rather than objective thinking.

    I have yet, after years of searching/reading, to find “scientific” proof that death as we know it is final and unless or until I do, my convictions will not change.

    This is basically citing the negative proof fallacy for support.

    The nearest you will get to scientific proof that personalities die along with the brain, is in the neuroscience which identifies the areas of the brain (sometimes called the god-spots), which deal with spirituality.



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  • 60
    Suresh says:

    Claudia,

    I respect your views until you say that you will search for a community where your “beliefs” will be accepted. Until that point, you talk about belief and believing.

    But then, you refer to the same thing as “truth” and you sound absolutely certain about it.

    May I ask you, by what process did you find this out to be the “truth”? I hope you will agree that truth cannot be personal and subjective. I hope you will also agree that truth must be based on demonstrable proof and/or evidence. So, where is the evidence or proof for what you claim to be the truth?



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  • Claudia
    Jun 30, 2015 at 6:59 pm
    Obviously, this is not the site for me. I thank you for your comments/thoughts. I am not afraid of death and I do not believe death as we know it, is the end. So, I will continue my search for a community where I, and my beliefs, will be accepted. I am quite sure of what I know to be true and I am also quite sure there are others, somewhere, that share my truths.

    You cannot be “quite sure” of that for which there is no evidence and you appear only to want to find people to share your wishful thinking, or “faith” as it might be called.

    Faith can be defined as either:

    1) Belief in things for which there is no evidence.
    2) Pretending to know things which you don’t really know.

    How many wheels does a normal car have? This is not a trick question and I’m not including the spare wheel or the steering wheel. The answer of course is four. Do we need to have “faith” that the answer is four or do we know it? We know it, for certain, just by going and counting the wheels. Faith is redundant here because there is evidence. When someone says they have faith in god, or the afterlife or that the bible is true then they are actually admitting to a lack of evidence because faith and evidence preclude each other. With enough of either the other is unnecessary. However only one is real.

    You can claim as strenuously as you like you “know” certain “truths” despite no evidence for them or have faith you are correct but that’s just one part of your brain trying to convince another part of it about something you have absolutely no real knowledge of.

    This is exactly the right site for you if you are prepared to learn to think rationally rather than just wishfully but I’m sure there are many others if all you want is to find people to bolster your unwarranted hopes.



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  • 62
    mombird says:

    Melvin, don’t beat yourself up over Claudia. She asked for opinions , we gave them, she didn’t like them and went away. She had her own agenda and when we didn’t play along she got mad and went home. It happens. She is the one who closed the door on discussion not us. I’m sure she’ll find a site that will validate her opinions and they can all sing the praises of the spiritual after-life together. Frankly, I hope she is right, but it is never good to be too sure about anything.



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  • Atheism-Everything to live for-Nothing to die for. Might be good on a T-shirt. Along with, Religion-Nothing to live for-Everything to die for.

    “Religious people” meaning Christians in contemporary western societies, find comfort in the superstitious belief in an afterlife which compensates the believer for the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune in this one. (The Muslim suicide bomber seeking martyrdom while embroiled in desperate sectarian civil wars is not being considered here.) Still it’s a bit of a reach to say, “they (Christians) never stop thinking about death.” The ordinary Christian, fundamentalist or progressive, lives day-to-day within a normal range of behavior just like us atheists. Though I get the jist of the T-shirt slogan, I’ve heard Christian opponents in debate with Richard Dawkins or Christopher Hitchins recite the slogan in reverse..,”We Christians have everything to live for and you atheists have nothing (or very little) to live for because we have a relationship with a loving caring God through Jesus who will give us eternal life at the end of our brief earthly existence.” Sound bites often preach to the choir and attribute the same truism to opposing beliefs. It has been said that “where one stands on an issue depends on where one sits.”



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  • “”Religious people”meaning Christian in contemporary western societies”
    Melvin,your meaning is incongruous with contemporary multicultural western societies meaning unless you consider non Christians inapt to western societies,isn’t the case here I hope.

    “They “(Christians)” never stop thinking about death”
    Totally unnecessary extrapolation,I mentioned no specific religious group .
    Unsuccessful effort of quoting, I put that down to the lack of concentration for now.



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  • Kamel: Sorry to give the impression that I was arguing with you or finchfinder personally. Finchfinder cited a slogan that atheists could display on T-shirts cleverly worded to distinguish what atheists clearly believe from what religious people clearly believe, assigning the high ground to the former. I only pointed out that Christians (for example) would only scratch their heads and say it’s the other way round from their point of view. Perhaps the humorous default would be the old standby: “Everybody wants to go to Heaven but nobody wants to die.”



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  • Atheists Remind People of Death

    A mind hobbled by religion is like a body crippled with arthritis.

    It should not be surprising that those dependent on crutches, are uncomfortably reminded of their disabilities, when they see top-performing athletes in action – with those indoctrinated in the “belief in the superiority” of their condition, struggling with cognitive dissonance!



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