Atheists Reveal Why They Don't Believe And What They Think The Afterlife Would Be Like[rebelmouse-image 18346135 is_animated_gif=
Religion and faith is a deep and complex subject that means something slightly different for everyone. It's clear that in most religions, if we follow the rules we will be rewarded in the afterlife, but what about Atheists?
ForeOnTheFlour asks: If you're someone who doesn't believe in an afterlife, how do you comfort yourself from the existential horror that comes from the thought of one day ceasing to exist?
You simply come and you go[rebelmouse-image 18346136 is_animated_gif=
Not all truths are easy. I like to think of it as being the same as before I was born. I don't remember that time, although all the molecules that make up my body and brain were around, the same as they'll be after I die.
A viewpoint of gratitude[rebelmouse-image 18346137 is_animated_gif=
The way I see it, I basically won the ultra-mega lottery by being able to exist. Everything I experience from birth to death is just a gift, and when I think about the fact that I was lucky enough out of trillions and trillions of possibilities to win this life, it astounds me to the point that I forget about how much I fear death, and Im just grateful.
Some insight from Mark Twain[rebelmouse-image 18346138 is_animated_gif=
"I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it." - Mark Twain
The idea that there is no life after this life makes it that much more valuable[rebelmouse-image 18346140 is_animated_gif=
I think I respect my life more because I don't believe I will have any life after. It makes life more valuable to me. It makes me slow down and appreciate things. That's my solace
Liberation![rebelmouse-image 18346141 is_animated_gif=
Its actually quite liberating, when I remember nothing really matters most of my problems seem so small. I heard some French author said that the meaning of life is whatever keeps you from killing yourself.
Don't worry, be happy[rebelmouse-image 18346142 is_animated_gif=
Honestly? Try not to think too much about it. There's nothing I can do about it, so it's unproductive to worry. Obviously easier said than done, but what can you do.
Existing forever is a huge undertaking...[rebelmouse-image 18346143 is_animated_gif=
I'm just not horrified by the idea of not existing. The idea of existing forever is more horrible if you think about it. I think it's Buddhist and Hindu practice where the goal is to actually break the cycle of eternal existence by getting enough Karma to eventually escape reincarnation and no longer exist.
A macro viewpoint[rebelmouse-image 18346144 is_animated_gif=
Think of it like... we're not separate from the universe. We are just as much a part of the universe as the stars and this planet, and we all came from the same thing. We are the part of the universe that is conscious of itself, experiencing itself, and trying to understand itself. Being alive isn't our normal state of being, and when we die we'll go back to what we were for billions of years before we woke up, but we'll still be... Just as the ground you walk on isn't aware of its own existence, but still exists. You've always been here, and you'll always be here, and your life here on earth is just one moment of your journey.
There is no way to get out of death, so why stress it[rebelmouse-image 18346145 is_animated_gif=
I don't think of it as a horror. It's just something that happens to everyone at some point. There is nothing I can do to keep it from happening and honestly even if I could I don't think I would.
Life is too short to make silly mistakes[rebelmouse-image 18346146 is_animated_gif=
I don't, it bothers me all the time.
It's not that I am scared of being dead, since I won't be conscious of that. I am scared of messing up and dying early, which would cause me to miss out on so much interesting stuff. I want to get to experience as much as I can.
There is some solace in death[rebelmouse-image 18346147 is_animated_gif=
Old atheist here. It's coming sooner for me than for most of you. So far I'm healthy and physically fit, but like many my age, I have trouble sleeping. I'm certainly in no rush, but I can see that the dark cloud of death has a silver lining.
A refreshing take on life ever after[rebelmouse-image 18346148 is_animated_gif=
Not all of us find the notion of eternal consciousness to be appealing. There is no horror in ceasing to be. Clinging to life by any means or religious notions of afterlife seem more horrifying by far.
I would agrue that there is a benefit, but maybe not on a cosmos changing level[rebelmouse-image 18346149 is_animated_gif=
It's not an uncomfortable thought for me. I am not convinced that there is any benefit to my existence.
An incredible scientific viewpoint[rebelmouse-image 18346150 is_animated_gif=
This is how:
"You want a physicist to speak at your funeral. You want the physicist to talk to your grieving family about the conservation of energy, so they will understand that your energy has not died. You want the physicist to remind your sobbing mother about the first law of thermodynamics; that no energy gets created in the universe, and none is destroyed. You want your mother to know that all your energy, every vibration, every Btu of heat, every wave of every particle that was her beloved child remains with her in this world. You want the physicist to tell your weeping father that amid energies of the cosmos, you gave as good as you got.
And at one point you'd hope that the physicist would step down from the pulpit and walk to your brokenhearted spouse there in the pew and tell him/her that all the photons that ever bounced off your face, all the particles whose paths were interrupted by your smile, by the touch of your hair, hundreds of trillions of particles, have raced off like children, their ways forever changed by you. And as your widow rocks in the arms of a loving family, may the physicist let him/her know that all the photons that bounced from you were gathered in the particle detectors that are her/his eyes, that those photons created within her/him constellations of electromagnetically charged neurons whose energy will go on forever.
And the physicist will remind the congregation of how much of all our energy is given off as heat. There may be a few fanning themselves with their programs as he says it. And he will tell them that the warmth that flowed through you in life is still here, still part of all that we are, even as we who mourn continue the heat of our own lives.
And you'll want the physicist to explain to those who loved you that they need not have faith; indeed, they should not have faith. Let them know that they can measure, that scientists have measured precisely the conservation of energy and found it accurate, verifiable and consistent across space and time. You can hope your family will examine the evidence and satisfy themselves that the science is sound and that they'll be comforted to know your energy's still around. According to the law of the conservation of energy, not a bit of you is gone; you're just less orderly."
- NPR commentatorAaron Freeman
Some Atheists are not as comforted by the end[rebelmouse-image 18346151 is_animated_gif=
I can't comfort myself from it, it's my biggest fear.
Sometimes your head can be unbearable[rebelmouse-image 18346153 is_animated_gif=
I'm actually looking forward to it. It'll mean not living with what's inside my head anymore.
It's the circle of life[rebelmouse-image 18346154 is_animated_gif=
I was actually just thinking about this last night in bed, in 125 years from now everyone around you will be gone and a new generation of people will rule the earth; your time is limited and you're free to do whatever you want, because in the end it doesn't matter, we'll all be dead anyway.
you are nonexistent for most of existence[rebelmouse-image 18346155 is_animated_gif=
Most of what you'll ever do is be dead. Humanity existed for thousands (millions?) of years before I got here, and will likely exist for millions of years after I go. I already didn't exist for all of history before I was born, I'm ok with not existing after.
Old age makes death easier to accept[rebelmouse-image 18346157 is_animated_gif=
Once everyone you know is dead and your body hurts everyday... not dying would be more scary.
An eternal slumber[rebelmouse-image 18346158 is_animated_gif=
I imagine it like falling asleep. Only that you cease to exist. It's a comforting thought that I will die someday. All my problems will be gone, everything will be irrelevant and I will finally be able to rest.
Imo it is sth to look forward to. Like the finish line after a long race.
Immortality would then be that as soon as you cross the finish line, so would tell you "nope you're not finished yet. Keep running till eternity".
As a human race, we know very little.
There are things that are more ancient than we realize.
So much has come before us and is still here to show us.
But, we're humans we ignore it all and just revel in the "doom to repeat" cycle.
Redditor kakou64 wanted discuss some unknown history.
"What's older than we think?"
I always enjoyed history. Though I enjoyed anything that wasn't math.
older than bread...Chicken Wings Love GIF by Buffalo Wild WingsGiphy
"Beer is thought to be older than bread. It's much easier to fill a jar with wheat and water, let it ferment, and brew beer than it is to grind grain, mix it, and bake it."
"The first carbonated drink to be sold to the public was invented by Swiss watchmaker and amateur scientist J. J. Schweppe in 1783, who sold his delicious 'sparkling water' to thirsty customers in Geneva. In just seven years, he was doing business so fast that he moved the factory to London and introduced a new flavor, sparkling lemon, to stand out from competitors who were trying to imitate his drink."
"Touch screens. We think they're one of the main defining features of modern technology since they only really got big in the late 2000s/early 2010s, but they were actually invented 55 years ago in 1965. It's kind of crazy to think about, but while most of our grandparents were getting rid of their black and white TVs, researchers already had touchscreen devices in the labs."
"It wasn't really until the 80s that it really got good, but by 90s it was easily sophisticated technology. In fact, Microsoft even had a Windows XP tablet out by 2001 that had seriously good finger/stylus recognition, but it didn't really pick up until smartphones became a thing a decade later."
"You could also consider the magnetic drawing board to be a touch screen since it more or less has a stylus and surface for you to draw on, but that was actually invented later than the touch screen in 1974!"
"National Geographic was founded in 1888."
"Yes! I looked through the very first national geographic book and compared it to their most recent magazine and it was INSANE. Back then there were little to no pictures and it was so interesting how they conducted their experiments."
"This is the only one that doesn't surprise me. Anyone that has read any sign while hiking pretty much anywhere, or read any history books involving turn of the century exploring around 1900, has read about the early National Geographic society and its role in hiking/exploring."
Jaws is Elderlyshark week jaws GIFGiphy
"Sharks. As a species they're older than the rings of Saturn."
"Just Google it really quick. LOL. Rings of Saturn are 10 to 100 million years old whereas we have found shark scales dating back 450 million years ago. Pretty crazy stuff!"
Sharks are how old? I mean... really?
Time after TimeLondon Sport GIF by Lord's Cricket GroundGiphy
"Wristwatches. Queen Elizabeth I got one in 1571."
"Just going to drop this here. We had alarm clocks that rowed themselves down a table and shot off mini cannons in the 1500s."
"The electric car. What is likely the first human-carrying electric vehicle with its own power source was tested along a Paris street in April 1881 by French inventor Gustave Trouvé. The first crude electric car was built in the 1830s but it was essentially a semi-functioning model."
"The electric car was a direct competitor to gasoline powered vehicles until the 1920s when roads got better, people started driving further than the range of an electric car, and the world started finding major oil reserves."
"Brain Surgery In 1997, archaeologists discovered an ancient tomb in the French village of Ensisheim from 5,000 BC, which contained the decomposing body of a 50-year-old man with holes in his skull. After a thorough examination, it was determined that the holes, located near the frontal lobe, were caused by a type of surgery, not by forced trauma, and the operation appears to have been successful because the wounds healed before the patient's death. To this day, however, researchers cannot say for sure what exactly the surgery was trying to fix."
Cato the Elder
"The sentiment that modern society is degenerate and that the youth are to blame is, iirc, one of the oldest things we have written down. That I can remember off the top of my head, Cato the Elder complained that the younger generations were becoming too greek, and Socrates used to complain that the younger generations were ruining their brains by writing instead of memorising information. There are far more older examples, but those are the oldest I remember (maybe Socrates was onto something)."
Jolly GoodFlying Harry Potter GIF by The Story RoomGiphy
"I was really surprised to discover when Oxford university was founded. They don’t know the year for sure, but they know there was definitely teaching going on there in 1096."
I feel ready for 'Who Wants to be a Millionaire?'"
Let's face it: We all have petty opinions.
For example, I know I am rather anal-retentive about my cleaning. No one else does it the way I prefer the way I like it to be done so of course that means I'm stuck doing it myself.
You really can't trust most people to do it for you, and you'd be surprised how much I've sparred with friends over the possibility of hiring cleaning services. For one thing, as great as that would be, it's expensive. For another... would I actually be satisfied? How will they know except through osmosis that I prefer to load the dishwasher a certain way or have a specific way that I clean my air fryer?
The jury's out on that one, friends.
People shared their thoughts with us after Redditor shazulmonte asked the online community,
"What is the pettiest, silliest, most meaningless hill you are willing to die on?"
"I've said it before..."
"I've said it before and I'll say it again: we need better standardization of canned food can sizes. Also, the cans should all nest when stacked."
I see no lies. What's up with this?! We demand changes now!
"Classic rock is a sub-genre of rock created between the mid-1960s through the early-to-mid-1980s; it is not a radio format for aging rock songs."
I can support this.
Just because Nirvana and Soundgarden are "old" now doesn't make them classic rock––they're grunge!
"The album for a live musical..."
"The album for a live musical is not a soundtrack - it's a cast recording."
Don't ever say "soundtrack" around musical theater people. They will end you. Absolutely end you.
"I will not work..."
"I will not work for a company that doesn't post salary range in the job description or discuss salary in the first interview. You have my resume which is what I bring to the table. I deserve to know what you are offering upfront."
More people should take this stance. Searching for a job is hard enough!
"There is a conspiracy..."
"There is a conspiracy against me by a shadowy cabal to drive me insane by always making sure the screwdriver I find is never the kind I need at that moment."
This might be true.
And who's to say I'm not a part of it?
"Most screen actors..."
"Most screen actors shouldn't be voice actors. Most of the time they suck at it and they're only there because they're a famous name and because the film industry takes animation less seriously. Even worse if it's a non-acting celebrity providing the voice work."
I can co-sign this. I have heard so many bad voice acting jobs over the years. Meanwhile, the people who are actually good at this are pushed out of roles they'd absolutely nail.
"You LOSE LOOSE change. Your team did not loose. You did not loose your wallet. You don’t have lose change. This is my Waterloo."
I agree with this! It is maddening. And it's everywhere online! Everywhere!
"Having any sound..."
"Having any sound coming from your phone over the speaker in public. TF is wrong with you? I don't need to hear your music OR your conversation!"
The people who do this are monsters.
And yes, I will die on that hill.
"DNA testing like ancestry.com is weird and if anyone's gonna test my DNA and add it to a database they should pay ME. Not the other way around."
Just one of many reasons why I haven't bothered with that. No way.
"... something that happens every day."
"Every day: something that happens every day."
"Everyday: ordinary, unremarkable."
Similarly: "apart" and "a part" are opposites. Opposites!
Why is this so difficult for so many people to understand?!
We all have that topic we have strong opinions on, and sometimes, other people's disregard can drive us crazy. It turns out that that topic can be rather innocuous, relatively speaking.
What's that one topic for you? Feel free to tell us all about it in the comments section below!
A truly stressful job can destroy your self-esteem and confidence. It's been said that people don't necessarily leave jobs, they leave management.
Indeed, bad management can leave you feeling unmoored and unsupported.
There has been a wider conversation about hostile work environments over the last couple of years now that the COVID-19 pandemic has afforded many people the opportunity to switch careers and/or call it quits with their awful jobs.
No job is worth your mental and physical health.
People shared their stories with us after Redditor yourmaeve asked the online community,
"Redditors who changed careers from a high paying but stressful job to a lower paying but low stress job, was it worth it, why or why not?"
"My wife and I sold the house..."
"I didn't make the switch until I was 50. Something about turning 50 sparked a change in me. I previously had high blood pressure issues and I was having stress related fights with the people I love. I started to hate myself. Something had to change."
"My wife and I sold the house in the city and moved up to the high country. I took a low-paying job with a small startup company. I wanted to make a difference (and not just make an income)."
"EVERYTHING about my life got better almost instantly. Do I miss the money? Sometimes, but not often actually. The quality of life is way more important for us. We often comment/joke about how we still feel like were on a vacation."
Congrats on the change! It sounds like you guys are much happier and healthier to boot.
"The check is smaller..."
"Yep. The check is smaller, but comparable to what I would have lost in a divorce in a couple years."
"About a 45% pay cut, but my "real" labor hours dropped from like 65 and permanent on-call status to about 35 hrs or so and after 4pm, I CANNOT BE CONTACTED... worth it. I'm genuinely happier, healthier, and family life is now GREAT instead of slowly decaying."
Congratulations on saving your marriage and family.
"I left after 30 years..."
"Had an IT job. On call 24x7x365 - never knew what situation would come up. Phone would ring and it would make my blood pressure rise. I left after 30 years as they made me part owner, but God that was stressful."
Glad you got out! 30 years is a hell of a long time.
"Although what's interesting..."
"100%. Although what’s interesting is once I didn’t hate my job I did a much better job advancing and now I make about what I did back then."
It makes sense though that you would naturally just do a better job if you aren't hating your life.
"I'd rather be broke..."
"Yes. I'd rather be broke than suicidal."
Amen to that. Glad you're still here with us.
"It has come with some sacrifices..."
"Yes. It has come with some sacrifices, like I can't do the lavish vacations or buy the super fancy cars that all my neighbors do/have, but I also get to be at home every night and weekend. I learned through a stretch of rapid ascent up the corporate ladder that I don't care about that kind of ambition and got super burned out. I'm finally healing."
Healing is necessary. It's great that you've found what's important to you.
"Money is temporary..."
"Most definitely it was. Money is temporary but the peace of mind and much better family life are everything to me."
Peace of mind? A better family life? It sounds like you won the lottery. Well done!
"I used to rake in paychecks..."
"Yes. Yes. Yes."
"I took a 25% base pay-cut 4 years ago to escape a terrible situation at a terrible company. My new job was salaried, no overtime pay but also no real expectation of overtime. No regrets."
"I used to rake in paychecks that started with a $5xxx, net, with overtime but the negative effects on my health made it pointless. If you're working crazy overtime for too long, you're going to wind up in the hospital, especially if it's a high-stress job in a hostile work environment."
"I gave up the overtime, the title, and the base pay for a far better job elsewhere. To be honest, I haven't really even noticed a difference financially since I have far fewer medical expenses nowadays."
You have your health! That's huge. Kudos for escaping such a toxic work environment.
"I didn't really change companies..."
"I didn't really change companies but I had my middle management position eliminated (60+ hour weeks, stress) but was assigned to another position with about a $20k decrease. But it was 35 hour weeks, low stress, less meetings and when the day was over I was done: no after hour calls, no late nights."
"It was awesome and I ended up being glad I didn't leave for another company and another management position. I have since moved on but i wouldn't go back to a stress filled life."
That's great you were able to stay in the same company but find something right for you. I feel like a lot of people have to completely change their field to something different in order to find what works for them.
"Have since moved up..."
"I used to be a healthcare administrator for private practices. High stress, but pretty good pay. Got into IT at the very bottom. Low stress, low pay."
"Have since moved up and my pay has returned to previous levels. Some stressful days, however my worst day now is like an average day in my previous job. Most days are just fine and the good days are very good."
"I'm not high profile anymore and I don't have to wear a tie anymore. It has been worth the pain of losing 70% of my salary for several years. I sleep better and don't dread going to work everyday."
Sleeping better is the goal! Well done.
No job is worth sacrificing your health. Remember that the next time you feel like you're going to lose it and your management team isn't being supportive. You absolutely deserve better.
Have some stories of your own? Tell us more in the comments below!
If you or someone you know is struggling, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
To find help outside the United States, the International Association for Suicide Prevention has resources available at https://www.iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres/
There is so much we don't know about the universe.
So much, in fact, that everything there is to learn about the universe will probably never be discovered.
Mostly because the universe is constantly growing and evolving, leaving us with new things to learn about the universe literally every day.
Constantly filling our minds with uncertainty, sometimes fear, about the otherwise vast unknown.
All of this makes all facts we've discovered about the universe all the more fascinating, whether or not we have even the slightest interest in science.
"What’s the most amazing thing about the universe?"
Our Brains Are Like The Milky Way
"A single human brain has as many neurons as there are stars in the Milky Way galaxy."
"Around 100 billion."
"Source: a neuroscientist filled with useless facts about the brain."- Afferent_Input
Where Our Deep Uncertainty Comes From
"This is one I thought about recently."
"I believe that Carl Sagan said that we, sentient entities, are a way for the cosmos to know itself."
"With this in mind, when we think about the end of our universe, whether it be through a big shrink, big cooling, or what have you, we get apprehensive."
"We probably will never see this end, many of us will be dead."
"Yet, we still get a cold fear in our hearts."
"We are also a way for the cosmos to fear it's demise."- TheClassyEngineer
A Little Perspective
"If you were on a planet 65 million light years away from Earth and had a really good telescope, you could see the dinosaurs."- Swimmergentlisa simpson space GIFGiphy
What Got Us Where We Are
"That every single random event since the dawn of creation."
"The birth and death of stars, planets and galaxies, the very genesis of life has led to you being here right now to ask this question."- Jesus_marley
There's Another World Out There...
"Imagine being transported to a parallel universe that was almost identical to our own."
"Somewhere out in the vastness of that universe, there is a tiny planet."
"This much is true in both universes."
"On this planet, there is a beach, and on that beach, there is a small stone."
"Once again, both universes are alike in this regard."
"Beneath that stone, however, there are several million grains of sand, and while they are all are in precisely the same location in each universe, one of them, a tiny speck of particularly clear quartz, hewn from a larger whole millions of years before, has a single atom that is positioned a fraction of a femtometer differently than its twin in the mirror dimension."
"You may think that such an insignificant difference would label these two universes as being functionally identical, and you would be right."
"In fact, they are so similar that the multiverse has long since combined them into one reality."
"That single atom in that tiny speck of sand on that lonesome beach on a distant planet merely occupies two spaces at once, seeming to an outside observer to vibrate back and forth at a predictable rate."
"That every atom in existence seems to do the same is probably a coincidence."- RamsesThePigeonLoop Space GIF by xponentialdesignGiphy
Speaks For Itself
"That it exists."- phillipsd001
The Age Old Question...
"It must be true that either it didn't exist, then it did."
"Or it has always existed."- realFraaErasmas
What Makes Our Brain Work...
"That somehow all the particles accumulated in a specific way and in specific quantities to give you conscious thought."- SphyrwaStars Glow GIF by Erica AndersonGiphy
The Inevitable End...
That whatever our problems are, big or small, it won’t matter in 1,000,000 years (worst being a nuclear war or something). - Reddit
There are countless things about the universe no one will ever know.
But mysterious and, sometimes, unsettling as it may be, there's something oddly wonderful about the unending exploration and study to learn what is out there.
And all the discoveries we have yet to make.