The despair of being an athiest

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Guy Smiley
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The despair of being an athiest

Post #1

Post by Guy Smiley »

Hi all, I actually joined this group many years ago, but have been inactive for a pretty long time (and was never that active in the first place).

Anyway, for the past couple years as I've gotten a little older, I've started fearing death more than before. Add to that that I've been reading A Very Short Introduction to Consciousness (which I'm liking by the way), which has reminded me that my free will is a complete illusion, and that I'm actually just a DNA-transmitting automaton.

So it's got me down. Anyone have ways of dealing with our depressing situation? I'll hear prominent atheists talk about meaning in their lives due to friends and family, but I gotta say, I'm just not buying it. I was a Christian for about ten years, and I really miss the whole meaning-of-life part that went with it.

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Re: The despair of being an athiest

Post #2

Post by Goat »

Guy Smiley wrote:Hi all, I actually joined this group many years ago, but have been inactive for a pretty long time (and was never that active in the first place).

Anyway, for the past couple years as I've gotten a little older, I've started fearing death more than before. Add to that that I've been reading A Very Short Introduction to Consciousness (which I'm liking by the way), which has reminded me that my free will is a complete illusion, and that I'm actually just a DNA-transmitting automaton.

So it's got me down. Anyone have ways of dealing with our depressing situation? I'll hear prominent atheists talk about meaning in their lives due to friends and family, but I gotta say, I'm just not buying it. I was a Christian for about ten years, and I really miss the whole meaning-of-life part that went with it.
I think that bernie's approach of life is probably the best.. the meaning of life is to life a life of meaning.

The concepts of secular humanism isn't bad either. On the other hand, I personally am big in to the 'empathy' thing..
“What do you think science is? There is nothing magical about science. It is simply a systematic way for carefully and thoroughly observing nature and using consistent logic to evaluate results. So which part of that exactly do you disagree with? Do you disagree with being thorough? Using careful observation? Being systematic? Or using consistent logic?�

Steven Novella

Haven

Post #3

Post by Haven »

I know how you feel -- I hate being an atheist. Hate it. I am an atheist only because it is where the evidence leads. That's it. It's not a rosy outlook, that's for sure, but it's the truth.

From an objective perspective, there is no meaning to life other than that which you assign to it. I try to make up my own meanings for living, doing good, and spreading reason, love, and happiness. That's all I can do, all anyone can do.

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Post #4

Post by LiamOS »

I don't care for 'meaning'(Whatever that is), and I'm always rather confused to find others who do.
If you are living a life which you enjoy, for whatever reasons, I think that should be sufficient in itself.

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Post #5

Post by bernee51 »

Haven wrote:I know how you feel -- I hate being an atheist. Hate it. I am an atheist only because it is where the evidence leads. That's it. It's not a rosy outlook, that's for sure, but it's the truth.

From an objective perspective, there is no meaning to life other than that which you assign to it. I try to make up my own meanings for living, doing good, and spreading reason, love, and happiness. That's all I can do, all anyone can do.
I neither love or hate being an atheist...it is all I can be...the only conclusion I can come to is that god concepts are just that and do not reflect an extant reality.

But I do not despair my atheism. I do not see life as some flatland bio mechanical event. I see a place for spirit and, consequently, spirituality, within my atheist framework. Spirituality is a direct connection with the sacred, or the divine. An atheist talking of 'divinity'? What nonsense is this? Life is sacred, existence is sacred. The question is how does one develop a direct connection with this?

Spirit, in my view, is the structure and process of existence - of how we live our lives in relationship with the rest of the universe. We inform and are informed by spirit. Spirit is individual and spirit is within relationship - be that relationship with one other person or the family or the local community...or the entire planet.

My life is guided, not by religion, although I freely admit to the influence of variety of religion/philosophies, nor by gods, but by a practice that brings awareness of the true nature of our being...which is Awareness.
"Whatever you are totally ignorant of, assert to be the explanation of everything else"

William James quoting Dr. Hodgson

"When I see I am nothing, that is wisdom. When I see I am everything, that is love. My life is a movement between these two."

Nisargadatta Maharaj

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Guy Smiley
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Post #6

Post by Guy Smiley »

Haven wrote:I know how you feel -- I hate being an atheist. Hate it. I am an atheist only because it is where the evidence leads. That's it. It's not a rosy outlook, that's for sure, but it's the truth.
Well this does make me feel better, just knowing that I'm not the only one.
I don't care for 'meaning'(Whatever that is), and I'm always rather confused to find others who do.
Now that I think about it, yeah I guess I'm not as upset about this as I thought. Life is kinda like Minecraft :). What's the point of Minecraft? Whatever you want, really. And people love it.

But the shortness of it all will continue to bother me. Though it does beat going to Hell...

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Post #7

Post by Darias »

Guy Smiley wrote: Well this does make me feel better, just knowing that I'm not the only one.

Now that I think about it, yeah I guess I'm not as upset about this as I thought. Life is kinda like Minecraft :). What's the point of Minecraft? Whatever you want, really. And people love it.

But the shortness of it all will continue to bother me. Though it does beat going to Hell...
Well, Minecraft has a nether too...

But anyways, I'm not an Atheist but I don't generally believe in traditional concepts of god. I also don't believe in an afterlife. This bothered me at first being how I was once a fundamentalist, but now it seems okay. If death is like sleep or like nonexistence before coming into the world, then it's okay. Now the dying part might suck...

I'm just glad to be alive. The saying that "God has a plan and purpose" don't mean much in and of itself because it's so vague. I take joy and find contentment in finding my own way and creating a purpose for myself. The higher calling was never known to me anyway, so it never mattered.

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Post #8

Post by Goat »

Guy Smiley wrote:
Haven wrote:I know how you feel -- I hate being an atheist. Hate it. I am an atheist only because it is where the evidence leads. That's it. It's not a rosy outlook, that's for sure, but it's the truth.
Well this does make me feel better, just knowing that I'm not the only one.
I don't care for 'meaning'(Whatever that is), and I'm always rather confused to find others who do.
Now that I think about it, yeah I guess I'm not as upset about this as I thought. Life is kinda like Minecraft :). What's the point of Minecraft? Whatever you want, really. And people love it.

But the shortness of it all will continue to bother me. Though it does beat going to Hell...
SHort??? You will live an entire LIFETIME.. Make the most of it!
“What do you think science is? There is nothing magical about science. It is simply a systematic way for carefully and thoroughly observing nature and using consistent logic to evaluate results. So which part of that exactly do you disagree with? Do you disagree with being thorough? Using careful observation? Being systematic? Or using consistent logic?�

Steven Novella

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Post #9

Post by I Wear White Socks »

When someone composes a symphony, the playing and listening is the point of the music, not getting to some final note at the end. Otherwise, all symphonies would be composed of nothing but the final crashing chord. The point of dancing is to enjoy the movements, not to end up on a particular spot on the dance floor. The meaning is in the doing of the singing and dancing, not standing back from yourself to think about the meaning of singing and dancing. While people keep looking for the point as some distant future goal, they miss experiencing what is happening at the moment. If you are on vacation trying to have fun, then you will spend the whole time thinking about yourself having fun instead of actually having it. It's like reading this post while trying to think about yourself reading this post. Western philosophy with its Platonic idealism is prone to extreme teleological thinking and separates the experiencer from experiences in the hope of imitating some abstract absolute form.

When talking about death, what most people really mean is an afterlife of some sort. They have never really tried to conceive of actual death or nonexistence. Instead they imagine the deceased as having some kind of physical shape and bodily form, with clothes, no less. The need for bodily form betrays their materialistic thinking which is essentially no different from materialistic atheism. If an afterlife with a bodily form is what religionists are really thinking about when they use the word death, then that begs the question of why they want you to think this life right now is not good enough. There is no reason to defer living until some other life. Again, I blame guys like Plato with his ideal forms and mind/body dualism.

I would suggest reading something by Alan Watts to get over societal conditioning about death and meaning of life. According to him, society calls us like, "here kitty, kitty, kitty" all our lives thinking the great thing is about to happen and then when we are old, we find we have missed the good stuff by living on expectations.

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Post #10

Post by bernee51 »

Goat wrote:
Guy Smiley wrote:
Haven wrote:I know how you feel -- I hate being an atheist. Hate it. I am an atheist only because it is where the evidence leads. That's it. It's not a rosy outlook, that's for sure, but it's the truth.
Well this does make me feel better, just knowing that I'm not the only one.
I don't care for 'meaning'(Whatever that is), and I'm always rather confused to find others who do.
Now that I think about it, yeah I guess I'm not as upset about this as I thought. Life is kinda like Minecraft :). What's the point of Minecraft? Whatever you want, really. And people love it.

But the shortness of it all will continue to bother me. Though it does beat going to Hell...
SHort??? You will live an entire LIFETIME.. Make the most of it!
Life's experiences tend to fall into three categories - pleasant, unpleasant and neutral. The ones that get our attention are the first two, the neutral is hardly noticed. The first two, however, account for only a small part of the overall experience of life. This means, in effect, that the vast majority of our experience, th neutral, passes us by unnoticed.

What can we do not be more engaged in life?
"Whatever you are totally ignorant of, assert to be the explanation of everything else"

William James quoting Dr. Hodgson

"When I see I am nothing, that is wisdom. When I see I am everything, that is love. My life is a movement between these two."

Nisargadatta Maharaj

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