It’s Only Temporary

Seen in today’s PostSecret:

Atheism is the only logical explanation and it can completely mess with you. It takes away any hopes of an afterlife. It removes the possibility that people who are no longer alive are watching over you. It means that your prayers won’t be (and never have been) answered.

But once you get over that initial shock, you’ll find out the responsibility for making your life wonderful is entirely in your hands, and that’s a very powerful realization.

You might cry now, but I guarantee you’ll be smiling soon.

(Thanks to Gretchen for the link)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Johannsone

    and that every action or reaction to anything is your responsibility not an unknown “plan”. Liberating and terrifying all in one.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=586127519 Lori Fazzino

    Yep. That’s what my research found. You didn’t get to hear that part because my focus was narrow! :)

  • Gordon Duffy

    I cried – tears of joy!

  • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

    Seems like most of the “conversion” stories place the discomfort in the search, in the process of gaining reason. Once most people finally arrive at atheism, however, the emotions seem to be relief and joy, not sorrow.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=775209902 Stephanie Thayer

    Becoming an Atheist had the very opposite effect on me. It was an incredible relief, it was the ultimate freedom.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6OE7LEYELE4MZTVXGZUSVTBFUI julie

      And then you went out on your first guiltless killing spree, right? ;)

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=775209902 Stephanie Thayer

         Exactly, Dexter style in fact. But, now that you know…….

      • advancedatheist

        I still haven’t figured out how to make atheism work for me in getting all that swinging, promiscuous sex the christians promise people who become atheists. 

        Apparently a lot of atheist guys have that problem, judging from all the complaints about sexual harassment at the conferences. 

        • H. Roark

          I think you have us confused with the Raelians.

    • http://twitter.com/InMyUnbelief TCC

      That is exactly the same experience I had. My last days as a theist were an endless cycle of rationalizing the bullshit, and all that happened to me (other than the fear of hurting my relationships with others, especially my wife and family) was the weight of the chains being lifted off of me.

  • Silverback

    What depressed me when I became an atheist was the realization that there isn’t going to be a reckoning in the hereafter to fix all the injustice in the world. But once I accepted that it became all the more important to fight for justice here and now. 
    It’s about being an adult and taking responsibility for the human condition rather than believing in and depending on a “higher power” that will bring about some utopia, no matter how implausible that belief is.

    • Gordon Duffy

       christians don’t believe in a reckoning, they believe some people will get off scott free while others are unjustly punished.

      • Rwlawoffice

        If that is what you believe about the doctrine of Christianity than you are very mistaken. Christianity holds that we are all sinners and the price of sin is death. Unless you accept Jesus Christ as your savior you are not saved from this outcome. It is the ultimate day of reckoning.

        • Heidi

          Which is exactly what Gordon just said.  Bad people who accept Jesus get off scott free. Good people who don’t are unjustly punished.

          • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

            I suppose Robert would argue that there are no “good people.” In his worldview, we all deserve eternal torture. It’s fair and just punishment for being such wretched “sinners.”

            I wonder about these people’s self-esteem. I don’t actually see how it’s possible to be a fundamentalist Christian and have any kind of self-esteem. You’re told that you must believe that you’re born evil and deserve death, and the only thing that can make you better is Jesus. Without Jesus, you’re nothing; you’re lowlier than the lowliest worm.

            • Coyotenose

               Their self-esteem is propped up by their contempt for all the non-”Saved” people they consider inferior to themselves. And before some idiot argues the “we’re all sinners, some of us are just forgiven” drivel, YES THAT IS STILL THE POINT. YOU ARE CREATING AN OUTGROUP. WORDPLAY DOESN’T MAGICALLY CHANGE THAT.

              /endcapslock for dummies

              • Rwlawoffice

                 Actually, my self esteem is great.  Acknowledgement that I am a sinner does not effect that at all, because I also know that I have a savior that loves me despite this state and in fact, died for me because I am a sinner.  He even did it for you. Whether you accept it or not does not change that.

                • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

                  Believing that you were born an evil,wretched sinner who deserves eternal torture is not my idea of good self-esteem!

          • Rwlawoffice

             That is not what Gordon said, but assuming it is, he is equally mistaken. 

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6OE7LEYELE4MZTVXGZUSVTBFUI julie

          …exactly what Gordon was talking about. Jeffrey Dahmer who accepted Jesus while he was in prison will go to heaven, but Gandhi will burn forever in hell. That’s fair.

          • http://theravenspoke.blogspot.com/ TheRaven

            Well, Gandhi did have a peculiar sense of fashion, dressing in white, loose-fitting garments, just like….

            Oh, wait….

        • Matt in Memphis

          Most Christians believe that even though we are all “sinners” and created imperfect due to some ancient transgression by some ancient ancestor’s original sin, it is somehow just for some supposed god to hold us to a perfect standard and punish us with eternal torment for failing to live up to that impossible standard. Worse yet, the only supposed way to avoid this fate is not to be as kind, honest, and compassionate as possible, but to kneel before some imaginary scapegoat and believe absurd, ancient fairy tales based on the flimsiest evidence imaginary. 
          That belief is not just ridiculous, it is morally obscene.  Fortunately, there is absolutely no reason to believe that this perverse fantasy is true.  

          • Kodie

             I was reading some of what the Christians had to say in some of Piatt’s blog – what it seems very like is that Christians can be the most selfish people. If they aren’t every second using Jesus as their lever for conversation with people, they become unsettled.. they become unsettled because the person they’re talking with has no interest or different belief or the timing is bad, and if they’re not scoring souls every opportunity they see, all the purpose is missing from their lives. I can see how this would add up in judgment, you didn’t try, you kept your mouth shut, and this forces them to lose perspective of what’s going on and how it isn’t about them all the time. By doing what the bible says, putting Jesus first, they are often missing the point. I especially love how precious and amazing life is supposed to be that you can miss the whole thing, being obsessed with getting everyone you know into heaven. As soon as you get that little zygote, its eternal affairs take priority. That’s why nobody cares if kids get to eat enough if their mom’s unable to keep her knees clamped. They can suffer and know Jesus is waiting for them in heaven, and they love it when you’re suffering. Suffering people are the most vulnerable to believe in Jesus. This is why they hate the hippie socialist Jesus, and feed starving people bibles as a gesture of charity.

            • Rwlawoffice

               If Christians are only concerned with salvation of others than I agree with you that they are missing a very large part of Christianity. The New Testament is filled with the obligations of Christians to help others while they are on Earth.  We are to feed to poor, clothe the naked, provide for orphans and widows, express true love for others, etc…  Christianity provides not only the path to eternal salvation, but blessings in this life as well. By putting Jesus first, it does not mean that we are to forget the here and now. In fact, it is just the opposite.  That is why you see so many Christian food banks, homeless shelters, hospitals, pro life organizations, etc. 

        • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

          And that is precisely what makes Christianity the most morally bankrupt, odious religion currently practiced, and perhaps the worst in all of history. I don’t see how any person with a well developed ethos could possibly be Christian. I can only assume that it’s because very few Christians actually have a clue what the core of their religion is actually about. Most think it is summed up by “Love Jesus, go to Heaven”.

          • Coyotenose

            Well, I WAS going to say,
            “While I agree about it being morally bankrupt, wouldn’t it be better to say ‘Abrahamic religions’ than Christianity? I find it hard to consider Christianity to actually be worse than Islam.”

            Then I realized that the only reason Christianity is better is because it has been tainted in recent centuries by secular Western culture influenced by classical philosophy and Enlightenment values. Strip those away, and all you have is an evil mess.

            • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

              I don’t think Islam even comes close to Christianity in terms of being morally foul. Indeed, I consider it quite a mild, typical religion- worship the god, obey a few rules, go to heaven. Be good, take care of people. Kill infidels. That’s pretty much the message of most religions, through most of history. None of the nasty Christian focus on intrinsic sin and salvation through the intercession of a third party.

              Most religions are particularly dangerous when they are part of theocracies- we see that today with Islam, of course. But that isn’t really the fault of Islam, it’s the fault of people who can’t keep their religion and government separate.

              Although nothing is likely to ever be as ethical as a humanist atheist society, I think a secular Islamic one is going to be better than a secular Christian one.

          • Rwlawoffice

            Eternal salvation in Christianity is built upon grace, not on our works or on what we deserve. Anything else would be immoral. For example, who would determine was was a good act, how many good acts does it take, how are bad acts determined (by whose standards- for example if I think abortion is murder but you don’t whose view counts).

            That being said, to think that sinning in this life does not have its consequences, even for Christians is a misunderstanding.  It does. Just as living a Christian life has its blessings.

            • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

              Sorry, I disagree. Even the idea of salvation is obscene… that anybody should endure more than temporal punishment for a temporal life is beyond reason. The idea of being “saved” for “grace” is obscene.

              • Rwlawoffice

                It’s funny how in these discussions atheists always talk about the effect of not believing as being eternal punishment without also acknowledging the effect of believing being eternal life. The effect of either is not temporal. You want the effect one way to go away becuase you thinking is unjust when in reality the scales are balanced.

                • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

                  Nobody who has actually reflected seriously on the concept of eternal life could possibly see it as anything other than the worst possible sort of hell. I can easily understand wanting a longer life… centuries, or maybe even millennia, but eternal? What could be worse than that?

              • Rwlawoffice

                One more comment. It is not saved for grace. It is saved by grace. A big difference.

                • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

                  Yes. A rather arbitrary preposition. Which doesn’t matter if one doesn’t believe in the concept of “grace” at all.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Aaron-Scoggin/100000044792747 Aaron Scoggin

          No, no, he was spot on. The doctrine is that if you accept Jesus, you get to go to heaven, and if you don’t, you go to hell. Some people get of scott free (by accepting Jesus), while others are unjustly punished (those that don’t believe the BS).

  • ck03

    To be honest, the thought of ceasing to exist, whether me or my loved ones, scares me. I am trying to focus on the here and now. All the other atheists I know handle the idea of death much better than I do, and I am trying to get myself in the right mindset. Live for the moment, value every experience… I just don’t know how to stop the fear from rearing its ugly head in those quiet moments… Advice?

    • Annaigaw

      Mark Twain once said something like, the millions years before I was born didn’t bother me so I doubt the million years afterward will either. When people fear death they think onto an abyss of eternity of nothingness. In reality you simply won’t exist and therefore won’t be bothered by it. It isn’t necessarily easy to accept ones mortality but it is a grown up thing to do and it can be enlightening to realize that your destiny is here and now and your legacy is what you make of your life.

      It was also a relief to me to realize by dead loved ones were not watching over me, I always found that to be creepy and ridden with guilt.

      • allein

        “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

        I don’t have a problem with the ‘not existing’ part, either; I won’t know the difference. The only part I really fear is the prospect of a painful death and/or knowing I am dying. I’d rather just go quickly, or at least be unconscious for it. I used to have panic attacks and one of the big symptoms was feeling like I was choking. That terrified me even knowing in the rational part of my brain that it wasn’t really happening. But once I’m gone, I’ll be gone and the only ones who’ll know will be the people I leave behind.

        • ck03

           You make a very good point about how you go… I think that may be part of my problem.  I know that I won’t care once I’m “there”, but after watching those close to me die I think the uncertainty of my death, and those around me, scares me. 

          I have also experienced panic attacks. Not fun, but they have been getting less frequent.  Now I just feel weepy…

          Thanks so much for your thoughts.  Very helpful.

      • ck03

         Never thought about the dead ones watching over people to be creepy… But now that you put it that way, I agree.  Totally creepy.

        I can see what you are saying about thinking about the distinction between eternity of nothingness and not existing.  That makes a lot of sense.

        Thank you so much for taking the time :)  I appreciate it a lot.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6OE7LEYELE4MZTVXGZUSVTBFUI julie

      I was pretty terrified of that at first. I went from believing that I would spend eternity in heaven to realizing that I would just not exist anymore, and it was a bit of a shock. Your mind is naturally programmed to think of the future, so it cannot properly comprehend nonexistence.
      It just takes time. I doubt there’s anything I could make you say that would suddenly make you okay with it. I definitely spent a few nights crying at the thought of it, but now I don’t. I just think of it like a night of dreamless sleep (Yes, I know you dream every night, but there are nights that feel like you didn’t dream). Everything’s dark and quiet, but you don’t even think of it. You don’t really realize you’re sleeping and you won’t realize it until you wake up. You don’t feel bored or scared or sad at all because you really don’t feel aware of anything. It’s the waking up that makes you aware, but if you never woke up, you would never realize you were sleeping.
      It still scares me a little bit now, but I assume that when I’m older, it will feel much more welcome.

      • ck03

         It was definitely a huge shock to my system coming to the realization of my own mortality.  It was like a security blanket had been ripped away from a child.  I understand what your saying about a “dreamless sleep”.  The idea of how much time has passed before I was here, and how much will pass after I am gone, is absolutely mind blowing, and amazing.  The universe is a much more wonderful place now that I don’t think I have the answers to everything, but that also makes it a little scarier.

        Thank you so much for taking the time.  It makes me feel better knowing that I am not the only one who has freaked out about this.

    • Sue Blue

      I imagine death to be similar to what happens to me under general anesthesia – nothing.  I’m not conscious of time passing, of my body, of pain, or of anything at all.  It’s like a switch being turned off.   
      Like preparing for surgery, I find preparing for my inevitable death to be the best antidote for fear.  Drafting a living will, health directive, resuscitation orders, and having a good life insurance policy to pay your bills after you’re gone – all this helps, as does talking with your family and friends about death.  It doesn’t have to be a morbid thing that you think about all the time, but talking about a scary subject does diminish the fear and anxiety.  In my opinion our culture causes this fear by not encouraging people of all ages to discuss death and dying openly.  We want people to keep grief and fear to themselves, which just makes it worse.  
      When my son was killed in 2005, it was very difficult to accept the fact that I would never see him again.  The nature of his death and his young age made it much worse.  I was desperate to feel his presence, to see and hear him again…but I knew I wouldn’t.  But I also knew that he was not suffering in some hell or watching me suffer my grief from some biblical heaven or afterlife.  We keep his memory alive through talk, pictures, celebrating his life, and various memorials put up in places he enjoyed. In a way, this made it easier for me to accept my own eventual death, because I know it will be an end to grief and suffering for me, and I know I’ll be remembered by family, friends, and the people I’ve helped as a nurse.  After seven years, I no longer fear death at all.

      • ck03

         I am so sorry to hear about your son.  I have never lost a child, but I have lost loved ones way too young.  Though I have taken part of the celebrations of life and keeping their memories alive through stories, etc I have never thought about how this would eventually apply to me…  Thank you for putting some perspective on that and taking the time.  It means a lot.

    • PlainEnglish

      I struggled with this for several years after “coming out” to myself as a nonbeliever in the idea of an afterlife. It was definitely the most difficult concept to come to terms with after a lifetime of security-blanket concepts that allowed my mind to gloss over the seemingly harsh reality of mortality. Being that the growth of my scientific understanding (in addition to my inner sense of morality) built and caused the final tipping point from hardcore follower to avid rejectionist of all things mythical or “traditional” without valid foundation, it was the science that has provided the most comfort for me concerning death. 

      Knowledge that we all come from the same particles as the rest of life on this planet, and that before you were you, your particles were made up of hundreds of other living organisms which all combined directly into your pre-human self. When you die, those particles will distribute throughout the cycle of life, without skipping a beat. The only thing that ends is your specific consciousness. 

      As Carl Sagan said, it’s lovely to think that humanity reaches to understand the universe because our consciousness is representative of these particles that are drawn from it, and we are the eyes and ears of all of existence. We are the universe’s way of watching and thinking about itself. It’s a nice thought. 

      Thinking about how connected everything really is- scientifically speaking- helps me relax a little about the “end” of my life. Life never truly ends. It’s just a matter of perception.

    • ReadsInTrees

      I like how Dale McGowan dealt with this topic:
      http://parentingbeyondbelief.com/blog/?p=336 

      • ck03

        That website is great. Thank you so much for the new resource!

  • Samuel T Steinmetz

    I think the only thing that can be a bit depressing is the fact that we don’t have some sort of afterlife to spend with family and friends. But, once you analyze where those beliefs come from, you soon realize that heaven, or whatever you want to call it, is really just a way to try and cope with death, then you realize what you believe doesn’t really exist. Of course I’d love to see my german shepherd I just put down again, but I know that the memories I created with her while she was alive are truly what I miss. No afterlife makes me appreciate more what I have now.

    • ReadsInTrees

      Strangely, I’m more sad about past pets no longer being alive than I am about any people no longer living. Kind of wish there WAS a happy farm in the sky where they can go chase butterflies for eternity….but, oh well.

  • Charles Bartley

    I certainly found emancipation when I finally said “I don’t think that there is a god” to myself. I have certainly found much more happiness and love in life.

    With that said, I don’t think that atheism necissitates a lack of belief in an afterlife, it strongly implies “I don’t know what happens after death, and neither do you: there is no evidence one way or the other.” I personally don’t think that a soul or afterlife exists, but I could be wrong on that. I think that this question is much more up in the air for me than the question of God’s existence. I am virtually certain that the gods of the major religions do not exist.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6OE7LEYELE4MZTVXGZUSVTBFUI julie

      While it’s not impossible to be atheist and still believe in an afterlife, I do think that atheism does strongly imply that there is no afterlife.
      There is no evidence for an afterlife, just like there is no evidence for a god, so there is no reason to believe in one besides wishful thinking. Furthermore, we can see that all our self-awareness is centered in our brains. When we die, our brains die too and eventually fall apart. I see no way that we could go on being self-aware without a functioning brain.
      Still, I completely understand why people want to believe in an afterlife. Sometimes I wonder about near-death experiences. It makes me think that (depending on the way you die) crazy things happen in the brain so that your perception of time is warped and you hallucinate. Near-death experiences tend to be very positive and peaceful from everything I’ve heard. I can see this as being a mini-afterlife of sorts, but I doubt it continues forever. It seems like the last workings of the brain before it finally dies. That’s kind of comforting to think about. It leaves at least the possibility that the process of death can be a pleasant experience for some people before they are completely gone.

      • Kodie

         I used to be on the fence about ghosts. I had strong imaginations about being one, for instance. I had made up some idea that part of your self departed from your body when you died (or died with it), and that science would possibly confirm it (that some people say they see ghosts) someday. I also didn’t believe in ghosts. I just didn’t know either way, but that if it was possible, there would be a scientific explanation for it. I hadn’t given it a lot of thought and then I had. I still am scared of them though. I think it’s weird to be an atheist and still get chills about something you know isn’t real, especially since it’s one of my favorite scary things. I don’t care for the vampires or zombies or aliens (unless we find any for real), for me, it’s still ghosts. If it were possible to be disappointed about dying, it’s that I wouldn’t get to be a ghost. I really don’t believe in ghosts at all anymore. 

        • ReadsInTrees

          I understand this. I like to say I am atheist about all things theistic, but agnostic towards spiritual type stuff like ghosts or people having psychic “feelings”. There’s no proof for them, but I wonder if they’re twisted perceptions of reality. Like, it does definitely feel sometimes like you can tell that people are looking at you, right….why is that? There is no physical change that your body should detect between someone looking AT you or looking past you, yet somehow we’ve all experienced that knowledge. How? Is there some kind of “energy” or something that we just haven’t discovered yet? Anyway, stuff like this makes me wonder…

  • CoboWowbo

    The only depressing thing for me is telling the theists “I told you so” after I die.

    • Otto

      Laugh out freaking loud!

  • Marguerite

    The hardest part for me when I became an atheist was recognizing that I’d never see my husband again. I really didn’t want to give up my belief that he was in Heaven waiting for me. But I’ve managed to come to grips with that sorrow by recognizing that the time we had together on Earth is all the more special because it will never come again. It seems to me that the brevity of our lives makes them more precious than if they were only a foreshadowing of eternity.

  • Tiffany Brown

    This sums up my initial reaction to losing my faith quite nicely. I first began to doubt the existence of a god about six or seven years ago, when I was a freshman in high school. I would literally cry myself to sleep at the thought that perhaps, after we die, we do not get to go to Heaven but instead, cease to exist. There was something crushing and incredibly terrifying about that thought.

    And the guilt was almost unbearable. I felt so bad about doubting god and was terrified that I would go to Hell for doubting. Circular reasoning, I know. These thoughts went on for several years. I would say that I really came to terms with my atheism when I started college at, funnily enough, a Christian university.

    And now, I’m very comfortable with my atheism. I no longer feel the weight of guilt or sadness at the thought of non-existence. Instead, I’ve learned to enjoy the moments that I have with my (also atheist) husband, our families, and friends. And it sounds corny, but I appreciate life so much more now.

  • Jim Thomason

    I strongly disagree that being an atheist implies that you don’t believe in an afterlife. Being a skeptic does, but not an atheist.

    I posted this reply at great length in response to something on here a few months back. But to summarize, all I need for an afterlife is time travel and advanced medicine (well, and preferably terraforming). Here’s how it works – 10,000 years in the future, humans develop advanced medicine to the point that death is erased. 20,000 years from now, we develop time travel. We then use the time travel tech to return to the instant that everyone in the past has died, replace their body with a cloned duplicate, pull them forward to the future and revive them with future medical science. They then live a long and happy infinite life, until the heat death of the universe. I haven’t figured out a way around that one yet…

    My point is that I’m strongly atheist, but that just means I don’t believe in invisible sky wizards. Humans are perfectly capable (theoretically) of creating an afterlife for everyone. No supernatural powers required. Atheists can have heaven.

    That said, as a skeptic, I don’t actually believe any of that baloney. Don’t get me wrong, I -want- to believe it, and arguably with the same fervance that a religious person wants to believe in their gods. After all, most people aren’t looking forward to their eventual ceasing to exist. But I have absolutely no proof for my technological fairy tale. My skepticism leads me to being an athiest, and it also prevents me from thinking that any of what I wrote above in paragraph 2 is going to actually happen.

    Atheists can also believe in unicorns, leprechauns, aliens, and bigfoot. Skeptics can’t.

    • ReadsInTrees

      True. Buddhism is an atheist religion that believes in the afterlife of reincarnation.

  • unclemike

    I once asked a very Xtian friend of mine (who is no longer a friend of mine, more’s the pity) what makes his days here on Earth special and worth living if he knew he was going on to a glorious beautiful afterlife once he dies. He mentioned his wife, and I said, “But she’ll be with you. In heaven. Forever. So what makes your days here with her precious?”  He changed the subject.

    And now he doesn’t talk to me anymore.

    • Rwlawoffice

      As a Christian I can tell you that my life here on earth is no less special because of belief in heaven. Just th opposite. My faith blesses me now to enhance my life here and those blessings will continue after I die. I would have seen no need to change the subject.

      • unclemike

         By “just the opposite” do you mean your time here on earth is more special than heaven will be? I don’t get it. Your faith, the faith that tells you heaven is more glorious than you could ever imagine, that same faith enhances your life here?  Sorry, I’m not trying to be obtuse, I just seriously don’t get what you’re saying.

        As an atheist, knowing that there’s nothing after I die is what makes every single second on this earth even more precious than the last.  Cuz I’ll never get any more.

  • LesterBallard

    It was liberating. If I was depressed or sad at all it was because I thought to myself  “how the hell did I believe that bullshit for so long”?

    • http://theravenspoke.blogspot.com/ TheRaven

      Do try to tone down the crankiness though. You’ll give nonbelievers a bad name.

      • LesterBallard

        If I gave a rat’s ass about that, well, then, I guess I’d give a rat’s ass. Being an atheist gives me a bad name. Fuck it. And fuck you.

        • http://theravenspoke.blogspot.com/ TheRaven

          Jersey or New York?

  • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

    Wow, this is so foreign to me. I think one of the great benefits of growing up atheist is that atheism is natural and not a big deal. I can’t imagine crying over it. Not believing in gods is normal to me. I wasn’t taught to believe in an afterlife, so I guess the finality of death doesn’t bother me the same way it would someone who had been taught to believe that they were immortal. I never expected to live forever to begin with.

    • Otto

      You were, and are blessed. He said with absolutely no trace of irony.

  • Tak

    I experienced a bit of an emotional crisis when I realized that gods don’t exist. I felt lonely and sad thinking about humanity spinning on a dust mote in the vast cloud of specs in the galaxy… I got over it soon afterwards. I saw that a lack of other magical stuff didn’t detract at all from my life, gods being the last to go.

  • Tak

    I experienced a bit of an emotional crisis when I realized that gods don’t exist. I felt lonely and sad thinking about humanity spinning on a dust mote in the vast cloud of specs in the galaxy… I got over it soon afterwards. I saw that a lack of other magical stuff didn’t detract at all from my life, gods being the last to go.

    • ReadsInTrees

      I like this because when I DID believe in God, I never really felt a connect with the universe. I never felt in awe of things. Now that I’m an atheist, I’m frequently moved to near tears by the wonder and beauty of the universe. I get goosebumps now from gazing at the night sky. I feel chills up and down my back when I watch that Neil DeGrasse Tyson video of the most astounding fact. Never had feelings like that during church. :)

  • http://gloomcookie613.tumblr.com GloomCookie613

    The follow-up/comment email that Frank posted under it was very moving to me.  I’m seriously happy for this person and glad their mom is coming around:

    “On Saturday for the first time ever my
    mom referred to me as an atheist instead of her usual “Its just a phase”
    approach. This morning, instead of forcing me to go to church, she made
    breakfast and I got to spend quality time with my family. This made me
    feel closer to a higher power than church ever has.”

  • Stevedaly

    Thank you for this post. It is the first time I’ve seen an acknowledgement anywhere that understanding that you are an atheist brings with it lots of things that can make you feel sad. Accepting that I’d never see many loved ones, like my Mom and Dad, was something I resisted.

  • Keulan

    What I’m wondering is, did the person cry tears of sadness or tears of joy?

  • the great IAM

    I live in the beautiful state of Arkansas, and when I became an atheist i was so overcome with joy and good news, I wanted to tell all my friends and family about it. Needless to say nobody was as pleased or supportive as I was. It took my dear wife a little longer. Watching some of the Popov ministry infomercials, trying to scam money out of ignorant sealed the deal. My two little brothers followed. They now thank me for pulling them out of the fog.

  • Kal

    I was fourteen when I first realized that I was clinging to a faith in God in the EXACT SAME WAY I had clung to belief in santa clause. All I could think was that I was a monster for rejecting perfect love and a place where my grandfather was alive and healthy. I had been taught to credit all the beauty in the world to god, so I thought I was letting go of everything that was good and beautiful. I’d never felt so alone in my life. Over time, I got used to the idea of being an atheist, and the rituals and practices of my church seemed stranger and stranger. And I realized that the fantastic, dizzyingly beautiful world I had known was still there: I simply stopped tacking “God” onto it.


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