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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Divine Insight
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Post #21

Post by Divine Insight »

I'm not an atheist, I claim to be agnostic, but I confess that I'm very strongly convinced of the mystical nature of reality, both on an intuitive level as well as an intellectual level.

For me, there is no "despair" associated with an atheistic existence that is just temporarily and fleeting. If that's the way reality is, then yes, I'll will say, "What a shame". What a waste of a great potential if it turns out to be just a freak accident.

I confess that, from my perspective that is indeed a shame. Does this leave me in "despair". No, not at all. Whatever will be will be, and to even become desperate over a situation you have no control over is nothing other than emotional sadism.

Also, IMHO, a fear of death is truly disgusting. Why anyone would fear death is beyond me. If when you die you simply black out and that's that, then you will never even know that you had died. Or that you had even ever lived.

There's nothing to fear about that. What you don't know can't hurt you. ;)

In fact, the only thing to actually "fear" would be a potential eternal life. Then you might be in for a continued existence that you'd really rather just be able to disappear from, even if it meant just blacking out and ceasing to exist. (i.e. an atheistic death)

You mentioned Christianity in the OP. But Christianity speaks of a hell of eternal suffering. It also speaks of a highly egotistical God who apparently hates just above everything that would make a human happy. So, in all honesty, that picture doesn't fair any better to me. I'm not even convinced that I would want the supposedly "Heavenly" aspect promised by that religion. It seems to me that the Christians God demands things that I don't even approve of.

A total black-out and ceasing to exist would be far more attractive IMHO.

I personally don't believe that either of these fates represent reality.

I'm totally convinced that there is something far more mystical going on.

I believe that I have always existed. I didn't come into being when I was born as a human, and I won't cease to exist when I die as a human. My true nature is spiritual. And there are spiritual philosophies and religions that recognize this situation, so I'm certainly not alone in my views and beliefs. In fact, I actually sought out other religion finding those that agree with my innate feelings. So I didn't get my view "from" religion, I simply discovered that there are other humans who obviously feel the same way I do about reality and that is why they created religions and spiritual philosophies that match my innate feelings.

So that's where I'm at.

I do believe that life is eternal and I believe this so strongly intuitively that for me it's simply silly to think otherwise.

At the same time I'm intelligent enough and honest enough with myself to recognize that psychologists could have a point. Just because I have strong innate feelings, dreams that seem like memories, and even divine insight on a regular basis, that could all be "Just in my head".

I won't deny that as a possibility, and for this reason I accept that an atheistic existence may somehow be truth (although from my perspective that would actually be weirder than a spiritual reality). From whence did this "accident" come? A purely secular existence isn't truly any less mystical than a spiritual existence. The only real difference is that the former is a total waste of everyone's time and still makes no sense in terms of what the heck it even is.

Something clearly exists. That cannot be denied. And that simple fact right there is a mystical fact.

Moreover, can you point to anything that we "are" that is not this universe?

If we are this universe, then we are this mystical thing that exists.

How could we go anywhere? There's nowhere to go. If you are this universe you will always be this universe for there is nothing else that you could magically transform into to become something "other" than this universe.

So in some strange sense even a purely secular universe demands that we are at least as eternal as the universe itself. Because there is nothing we 'are" that is not this universe.

How could you cease to exist if you are this universe?

The only thing you could possibly lose is your ego because that is indeed just an illusion.

But the ego never had any tangible reality to begin with. It was always an illusion. I think it's the ego that's afraid to die. This is what the Mystics teach. Let go of the ego, and you no longer have anything to lose. Death will be laughter in the rain at that point and you'll be set free to be who you truly are:

The Youniverse ;)
Spiritual Growth - A person's continual assessment
of how well they believe they are doing
relative to what they believe a personal God expects of them.

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Post #22

Post by playhavock »

Reality is what it is and it doesn't matter how you feel about it. You can accept it or not. Perhaps a therapist might help if you can get one, or medication, or both. I accept that one day I'll not be here and that's just fine with me. I'm not going to deny reality just because of emotions. I don't see it as despair I see it as liberating that I don't have to turn to belief in magical things that can not be proven to be human.

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Responding to my own post

Post #23

Post by Haven »

[Replying to post 3 by Haven]
[color=teal]Haven, two years ago[/color] 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.
I've since made peace with my atheism and a godless reality. After reading more philosophy, coming to a deeper understanding of the social and natural sciences, coming out of the closet and accepting myself, and just plain growing up, I realize that the search for "ultimate meaning" and "eternal existence" is both childlike and pointless. Life is what it is, and wishing it was something else is the height of childish petulance.
[color=deeppink]Haven, two years ago[/color] wrote: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 still agree with this, but I would add that I also work toward social justice for all sentient beings. The least we can do, in my opinion, is try to alleviate the suffering of all conscious beings. This is a bit Buddhist, I think, but it's a conclusion I've reached through years of intellectual and emotional inquiry.
♥ Haven (she/her) ♥
♥ Kindness is the greatest adventure ♥

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