Thoughts of a Dying Atheist

by Edman

I was listening to Muse the other day—specifically the song “Thoughts of a Dying Atheist.” Here’s a highlight from the lyrics:

and I know the moment’s near
and there’s nothing you can do
look through a faithless eye
are you afraid to die?

it scares the hell out of me
and the end is all I can see
and it scares the hell out of me
and the end is all I can see

Of course, it got me thinking about my own mortality, and the natural fear of nonexistence. For me, the knowledge that I will end just makes my brief existence all the more meaningful and precious. What kind of response do these kinds of thoughts elicit for you?

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  • Janet

    In Lois McMaster Bujold’s _Barrayar_, the dying emperor says he finds his athiesm quite a comfort. I always find that scene quite moving in an odd way.

  • Durr Hurr

    “I was dead for millions of years before I was born and it never inconvenienced me a bit.”

    - Mark Twain

    • Jasowah

      This definitely sums up most of how I feel about that. Although the most recent time I saw that quote was whilst playing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. =P

      I sometimes become conflicted though, with the feeling of leaving this world with so much not done, or without having achieved some goal, and the knowledge that I wont really be around to regret it (as far as I know, of course).

      I also sometimes think of the people that may be made sad by my passing, but once again, I wont be around to feel bad, and it is beyond my control (death, that is).

    • Caroline

      I thought about that too… it is a little comforting knowing that I’ll probably just go back to being whatever I was before I came along here, maybe some random atoms floating about on Earth until possibly gliding up into the atmosphere and per chance being released out into the blackness of space…. where I came from. I’m gonna miss hearing music the most (if we miss anything).

    • mikespeir

      I’ve always liked that one, too. It’s hard to foresee how you’ll react to a situation until you’re in it. When I try to imagine myself on my deathbed, sure, I feel a little fear. I want to live, after all! But it’s nothing like terror. I think I’ll be able to accept it well enough.

    • rrr

      It is estimated that the total number of humans who have ever lived is approx. 100 billion. Probably the lion’s share of those have never lived to be as old as I am now (34). Life is a gift. It is the ultimate free lunch to win the random lottery of existence to experience the universe (especially so marvelously as we are able to do in our current era). It doesn’t last forever. So what.

  • Custador

    In my experience, most people who die after a long-term / chronic condition approach their death with some degree of relief – regardless of their religious faith or lack thereof.

  • fftysmthg

    In contrast to the distinct possibility of burning in hell for eternity–I find the idea of nonexistence comforting.

    • ahumanoid

      But not in contrast to the possibility of a second existence on renovated Earth, right?

  • http://wings1295.blogspot.com/ Wings

    I feel the same way as Durr Hurr & Mr. Mark Twain. I wasn’t anywhere or anything before, and it was all good.

  • DarkMatter

    The end is near and I know. Cherished memories recalling as I fade away. I fall asleep. I am not.

  • http://agnosticism2010.blogspot.com/ nomad

    Death ain’t so bad. Dying, on the other hand…

    • Custador

      Dying’s nothing. Growing old and ill, on the other hand… Work a few elderly care wards. I don’t know anybody who has who doesn’t aim to die while they’re still healthy.

      • DarkMatter

        That’s why we should never neglect human life’s end cycle. We all go through it, many unfortunately.

        • Custador

          It’s a great way to gain a deep understanding of just how convoluted ethics can be, I’ll tell you that.

      • http://agnosticism2010.blogspot.com/ nomad

        Yeah. I caught a glimpse.

      • http://agnosticism2010.blogspot.com/ nomad

        “die while they’re still healthy.”

        How?

        • wintermute

          Eaten by a bear!

    • LRA

      “Death ain’t so bad. Dying, on the other hand…”

      Three words: The Gashlycrumb Tinies

      http://ops.tamu.edu/x075bb/poems/gorey/

      N is for Neville, who died of ennui. LOLOL!!!!

  • http://jesusiscominglookbusy.tumblr.com/post/40103 Doug Philips

    Perhaps since I’m a new Atheist, just a couple of years free from religion, non-existence is still a thought that haunts me and disturbs me on a daily basis. I never really bought into hell, so losing religion has also ended my creative, enlightening post-life fantasies. But as Edman mentions, my appreciation of the now has never been greater.

    • Caroline

      Doug, I went through the same experience, going from a believer to an intelligent reasoner, and I have to tell you, it was terrifying knowing the truth. But it is a process, and it will soon become easier to come to grips with the fact that this is the only life we will ever enjoy, and that makes it ever so much sweeter :->.

      • http://jesusiscominglookbusy.tumblr.com/post/40103 Doug Philips

        Thanks, Caroline. I appreciate your words.

        I think what you are short-selling, Ursa, in your comment, is that coming to grips with reality after a lifetime of being a believer is a much different experience than to have never have believed at all. And you are correct, assuming non-existence is the ultimate result, neither we nor believers will ever know it. As a person that always enjoys big “reveals,” non-existence is an odd concept, but one I obviously have no choice in.

    • UrsaMinor

      Dying, I fear. Death, I do not. The former can be slow and painful, the latter I expect to be simple oblivion. Release from all cares, worries, pain…release from everything. The idea of non-existence after death has never, ever bothered me. I imagine that not existing is the ultimate restful holiday.

      I had a Christian friend ask me quite earnestly if I didn’t fear death as an atheist (he assumed I would). I pointed out that oblivion is nothing compared to the threat of eternal hellfire, and he had a whole lot more reason to be worried about death than I did.

      The irony is, if I’m right and he’s wrong about death, neither one of us will ever know.

    • Olaf

      At the end of your life you will probably think.
      “That was one cool life I had!”, “Time for my well deserved rest” “I will be back in a billion years”.

  • Nox

    “From my rotting body, flowers shall grow and I am in them and that is eternity.”

    • Caroline

      I love that.

      • Devysciple

        Does that answer your question? ;-)

    • Camilla, Sweden

      who said that?

    • Allison

      Saw “The Frieze of Life” exhibit in London back in 1993 — this is still one of my favorite quotes from it.

  • GreyTheory

    It’s like getting to the last few pages of a great mystery novel.. you may want to go back and reevaluate/re-read the earlier parts and check for any parts you missed, but the story will end at some point. Enjoy it while it lasts.

  • Rob L

    I’m not afraid of dying- unless it’s horribly painful- I’m more worried about regrets for things not done.

    Also, cryonics is looking more and more promising…and affordable.

    • Custador

      You know they only freeze your head, right? And they can’t take it until you’re already dead – Just saying, the odds on finding a cure for being a bodiless, deceased head are somewhat remote.

      • Rob L

        Actually, you have the option, but head-only (neuro) is cheaper. The assumption is that by the time they can figure out how repair the damage due to freezing with nano machines and re-spark life, that they’ll have the capability to build or grow new bodies. Or you can keep your body and have it rejuvenated by said nano bots.

        The freeze process itself is getting good enough that in animal tests they’ve been able to remove organs, freeze, thaw, and restore functionally (in another animal, of course). Reanimation and massive bone/tissue regeneration are beyond our reach now, but there’s no reason to think we can’t solve them. Look how far medicine has come in 100 years- and it’s getting better, faster.

        Anyway, after reading lesswrong for a while I’m starting to think the fairly low cost could be well worth a small chance with such a huge upside.

        @Frac, not sure if your reply was to me, but I don’t spend time worrying about what I’ll regret. I can imagine- at the moment of death- having that concern. I think anyone who pretends they will have no regrets at the appointed hour is fooling themselves. But that doesn’t mean it has to keep you up at night. Or that it will paralyze and overwhelm you when the time comes.

        • Juan Pablo de la Torre

          Haven’t you thought of other ways?

          Because, freezing is likely to erase the information on your brain and, without that, you wont be you any more than a clone or a twin is.

          I’m aiming to transfer my brain information to a different media, its more plausible.

          • Olaf

            I agree on this.
            You can freeze a RAM memory chip disconnect from power source, and still read the bits but the information gets erased so depending on the temperature you get a few minutes. The same happens in the human brain, when you freeze, they can reboot your brain but the memory will be full of holes and maybe even erased..

            • Rob L

              That sounds like a lot of on-the-fly neuroscience, there. I realize it’s a handy comparison and something we’re familiar with, but why should brains be analogous to RAM? Why should freezing erase memories? Have you read up on the way the brain is thought to encode things?

              I’m aiming to transfer my brain information to a different media, its more plausible.

              You think creating a human emulator and a mind transfer process is more plausible- and in a shorter time frame- than repairing a formerly working brain?

            • Olaf

              My point is, you are what how you neurons are configured.
              Your knowledge is what determined by the what neuron is connected to what other neuron and how fast the signal can process.

              You can freeze your brain and slowly stop deteriorating of your neuron paths and cells, but they slowly lose their information. No nano-bots can repair the original information. It has to guess what neuron was connected to what other neuron and how much signal it processed. Basically introducing errors.

              Yes uploading your neuron configuration paths to a different media can keep your information intact for millennia of years. provided that you upgrade the media from time to time. But you are not depending on a constant power-source like freezing. Also copies of the digitized you occurs without errors. They can have many back-ups The tricky part is how to put them back and this is very unlikely that this will ever happen.

              What I tried to explain is an analogy with computers. If the computer power drops dead, then RAM loses your information in a few milliseconds. But can be slowed down by freezing to minus 200 or so. It gives you additional minutes of time until you can fix the power supply and start the computer again. In other words, analogue to neurons, you lose information that can never be repaired unless you copied it to a hard-disk.

              You are just information running through your brains. That information is based on experiences and backgrounds. If I clone you, you will have no memory whatsoever of the other you.

            • Rob L

              I think you’re vastly overestimating the speed of decay when something is frozen in liquid nitrogen. The real cause of damage is actually from ice crystals, but modern freezing processes and cryoprotective agents increasingly mitigate this problem.

              I also think you’re underestimating what is required to fully emulate the human brain. In order to emulate it, we would need to completely understand how it works and be able to model all of the interactions it generates- surely representing more knowledge than we would need to repair it. I’m talking about the repair needed to restore life and fix whatever brain issue might have led to death since decay, as I mentioned, isn’t a problem on the 100-200 year scale I’d imagine.

              Copying all of the analog information from our brains out into a digital format seems like another huge leap. And the energy required to run such a simulation (or millions of such simulations) could be another hurdle.

              Plus, you’d need to do it within a “normal” lifetime for it to be any use to you. I’m not saying it’s not possible, just that it isn’t likely to do anyone alive much good. Who knows, maybe there will be massive strides in quantum computing and a human emulator will become trivial.

              You are just information running through your brains. That information is based on experiences and backgrounds. If I clone you, you will have no memory whatsoever of the other you.

              Partly true- the cloning part, at least- but I’m not sure how it relates to the conversation. I’m not the information “running” through my brain, I’m the information encoded in the structure of my brain, which I believe you indicated correctly earlier.

            • Juan Pablo de la Torre

              I’d say you have some facts wrong:
              1) Ice crystals are not that much of a problem for modern cryonics due to cryoprotectant solutions [1].
              2) Hypoxia and ischemic injuries may cause severe memory loss after rather short periods of time [2,3].
              3) Brain simulation is around the corner and works simulating analog conditions to those of the brain [4].

              So, brain transfer is safer than cryonics.

              [1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cryonics#Preservation_injury
              [2] http://www.memorylossonline.com/glossary/hypoxiaanoxia.html
              [3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cryonics#Ischemic_injury
              [4] http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8012496.stm

            • Rob L

              Yeah, I don’t see how I my facts are off. My point was that freeze damage is more of a problem than decay, even if it’s largely mitigated by technique. From your [1]:

              However, damage from freezing can still be serious; ice may still form between cells, causing mechanical and chemical damage. Cryonics organizations use cryoprotectants to reduce this damage.

              Repairing this damage is built in to the assumptions of revival (under Revival, two paragraphs down):

              Revival requires repairing damage from lack of oxygen, cryoprotectant toxicity, thermal stress (fracturing), freezing in tissues that do not successfully vitrify, and reversing the effects that caused the patient’s death.

              Oxygen deprivation is a problem, but it’s a known and believed-to-be-solvable problem. If the main concern is that cells will die due to lack of oxygen, well, ok, but the whole brain is dead anyway. As long as the structure is intact it’s likely fixable.

              Your link [4] is very interesting. Again, I’m not saying it’s not possible to simulate a human and create a true artificial intelligence (and you might be interested in a potential AI FOOM). But simulating parts of a brain doesn’t mean we’ll soon replicate the consciousness that arises from a functioning brain, and it certainly doesn’t mean we’ll be able to “read in” a brain and create a digital copy of a person.

              Plus, I suspect you’d go mad if you were just a brain attached to a camera. I’m reasonably sure we’ll get there one day, but probably not in the next 40-60 years. Cryonics is a (potential) stopgap for those alive now.

            • Juan Pablo de la Torre

              Well, point taken.

              You say, As long as the structure is intact it’s likely fixable.,
              suggesting all a conscience needs work is its structure (something I’m not sure about but I think the same). Being this true, a computer emulating this structure should be able to work as this exact conscience, doesn’t it?

              Further, I think I read something about synaptic maps being extracted from brains through some mechanism I don’t seem to be able to recall (selective stimulation, MRI, SPECT?).

            • Rob

              Being this true, a computer emulating this structure should be able to work as this exact conscience, doesn’t it?

              Maybe. I agree it could be cool to live in a virtual world (assuming you knew and you weren’t being digitally manipulated). One of the scientists in the article you linked said something about the possibility of the project “missing the forest for the trees”- replicating all of the molecular actions but missing the overall effect. I guess I feel that our analog-ness might be what creates the sensation of “being” and that digital perfection might rule it out. Just a gut feeling, though. Crazy to imagine a few thousand years from now all humans (save some maintenance workers) being digital. :)

            • Juan Pablo de la Torre

              You don’t necessarily have to live in a virtual world. You could reside in an apparently human body, a mechanical structure covered in smooth sensitive synthetic skin that never ages and can repair itself with your electronic brain residing probably in your torso.

              Imagine the possibilities: dozens of new senses, hundreds of new abilities, less dependence on the surroundings, superior strength. There’s a myriad of ideas that come to my mind (including conquering outer space at least).

              And, if the “sensation of being”, regardless what that exactly is, comes from imperfection, then we can always emulate imperfection (actually I think that is the whole point in the Blue Brain project).

              Regarding the “missing the forest for the trees” issue, I was always worried about it; you now, there’s no need for chemical emulation if what you want is a functional brain, but the project is too focused on it. But, there’s still time, if I’m not the one enjoying a new faster brain someone will.

          • Francesc

            +1
            I want to be a digital conscience surfing around internet, looking -and aiding- at the developement of humanity.
            Hey, that reference was easiest than custador’s…

      • Camilla, Sweden

        and what if our consciousness is somewhere else in our body and the brain is just a machinery? if they ever wake up all those dead heads they will just act like zombies.

        • Rob L

          Is “consciousness” like a “soul”? What does it do, and why should it live elsewhere in our body? People who receive organ donations don’t gain a part of another person’s consciousness. People with artificial organs/limbs don’t lose consciousness.

          People with brain injuries do lose personality and memories. As I can’t think of any more meaningful definition of consciousness, I don’t see a reason to think my personality resides anywhere below my neck.

          But being an immortal zombie head might be better than you imagine. I’ll let you know. :)

        • Len

          That could make a good film.

  • http://www.thereligionvirus.com Craig A James

    I wrote an article about this last year. It seems that religious people are far more afraid of death than atheists. Surprising? I thought so. The BBC did a fascinating report. Here’s a link to my article, Religious People More Afraid of Death than Atheists.

    • MDS1969

      I think that has a lot to do with why they are religious in the first place.

      • Trey

        I’ve found that people who believe in God struggle the most with the potential ass-kicking they think they are going to get from the All-mighty. It’s too bad, too – people who have been Christians for decades are sometimes the most afraid, yet their religion tells them it is faith that saves them, with some works mixed in, so there should theoretically be no cause for worry. Tremendous irony.

        • ahumanoid

          Trey, I’m a Christian, but I agree–that is ironic, if true.

      • ahumanoid

        MD, Yes, considering my eternal fate is a factor in my decision to embrace Christianity. If I’m wrong, at least my religion prevented me from worrying excessively about my inevitable death. I’ll admit that I’m a coward and could never face death with the confidence knowing that nonexistence was what I had to look forward to.

  • http://sartastic.com Frac

    Honestly? Enjoy the living bit, right up to the end. After that, it’s not going to make any difference to you at all, so why belabor the point in the meantime?

    Not waiting to do something is no less important. For you, you get to enjoy living by doing it. Once you’re dead you won’t have regrets for leaving something undone, of course, so don’t sweat the prospect now.

    For the stuff you complete, though, the living folks can enjoy the memories of your actions. Just like I enjoy memories of time with people now dead, but don’t waste time pondering things they didn’t do.

    • Camilla, Sweden

      “so why belabor the point in the meantime?”

      so true.
      My boyfriend suffers from deathanxiety and i try telling him THAT a lot, but never get through…

  • http://www.strategypony.com/ Reverend Pony

    What scares me about dying is not having lived a quality and fulfilling life. Being an atheist I realize how precious the time I have is and now make it a point to cross things off my “bucket” or “1000 things to see/do” list.

    This is a one way ticket, might as well enjoy the ride and try leave this place a bit better than I found it is my motto.

    • Nelly

      what you said

  • http://sistermoon65.livejournal.com Lisa S

    I feel like I love life more than I could as a xtian. I don’t think about death too often. Since my child is only 10, I sometimes wonder how my death would affect her, but other than that, I feel like life is relatively short and it’s up to us to make our own happiness.

    I’m finally, truly, happy.

  • http://lastonepicked.wordpress.com/ Last in line

    I was more afraid when I was a christian. I was always terrified of hell and that no matter how good I was, there was a chance I would end up there anyway. Now I think, I shall become nothing when I die. I won’t suffer or feel pleasure. I won’t even be aware that I am no longer living. People tend to think of nothingness as a bad thing but I see it as a release. No matter how much the prospect of eternal pleasure appeals to me, I know (at least I think I do) that I will simply cease to be.

    • aaron

      I think the problem a lot of Christians have is just that; they believe that their destination has something to do with being “good enough.” What the Bible actually teaches is that Christ already took care of things, so far as being “good enough” is concerned. I am a Christian who knows this. If I thought it was in the slightest about what I do, I would be afraid of death, because I am epically not good enough. I don’t even really consider myself a good person. I try of course, but I’ve done some pretty bad stuff. But the Bible teaches that it’s not about what I do or don’t, it’s about what Christ has already done. Therefore, I am not afraid to die.

  • Ty

    My plan is to die in an exciting action sequence that leaves me no time for regrets or thoughts about dying.

    • UrsaMinor

      Bonus points for going out with your shirt heroically ripped a la Kirk, and expiring in the arms of the leading lady.

  • 60-ish

    I already practice “letting go” every night when I fall asleep. Maybe actual dying will be pleasant, not at all scary or uncomfortable – maybe new brain chemistry kicks in or something. Life is a death trap, and there’s no escape, we all have to go through it – every day is a chance to get more ready for it by getting life’s clutter handled. I know I’ll have to go through it (no one is exempt), want to go through it with as much awareness as possible in order to retain the comforting illusion that I’m somehow in control (at least of my perception of things unfolding, if not the actual events). The feelings toward the end will be the feelings toward the end, whatever they will be – managing these gracefully as possible will be key, for me. There will be caring people around, professionals, trying to make things less unpleasant/less painful (if pain is involved). Then I’ll die. Then I won’t care about anything any more.

    • Erik

      Creepy.

    • Custador

      “maybe new brain chemistry kicks in or something”

      There’s evidence that you get a great big endorphine dump into your system, I’m told.

  • http://the-poetry-of-reality.blogspot.com/ TRP

    I echo most of the above comments. I am enjoying life now and I am content with that. I do however have someone close to me (who is an atheist) who finds the fact that life is impermanent very unsettling.

    • http://sartastic.com Frac

      Perhaps encourage them to leave something behind. Write (stories, a diary, a blog, poetry, stream of consciousness. Don’t worry about the quality). Record audio or videos. Take pictures. Pass along sage advice. Paint, draw. Everything you nowadays can be permanent. Leave your mark for later.

  • http://www.recoveringfundamentalists.com Jim Etchison

    So many comments and so little time. So forgive me if I’m repeating what others said.

    I think we over-value our consciousness. The organic activity that led to atoms organizing in such a way as to temporarily form us will continue. And since the energy that is us can never be created or destroyed, the illusion of our identity may die out but our energy will not. It will simply recombine with other energies and become other things.

    Mark Twain (I think) said that he will feel the same way when he’s dead as he did before he was born.

    • Dan

      Have to disagree with you on this. Consciousness is all I have. What else am I supposed to value about my life if not that? Laws of conservation of matter and energy will only keep “me” around in the most literal sense.

    • Juan Pablo de la Torre

      What are we if not our consciousness?

      • John C

        What are you, if not consciousness? A living soul with the potential to be a life-giving spirit.

        • Ty

          What are you, if not consciousness? A triangle with the potential to be a sweet-smelling asparagus.

          See? I can make up meaningless crap, too.

          • Len

            This makes more sense than John C.

        • Juan Pablo de la Tor

          And what is, exactly, a living soul? or a life-giving spirit?

  • anti-supernaturalist

    “the pursuit of happiness” begins with indifference to God

    Don’t fear god,
    Don’t worry about death… Philodemus 100 BCE

    It was a troubled time which resembled ours. Millions across what is now Greece, Egypt and points east all the way to Iran and Afghanistan were tired of war. . . social unrest . . . unenlightened despotic rulers. . . But the ruling elites were ethnic Macedonians. (You know, Alexander the Great and later his generals.)

    There was no islam; no xianity. Those religions hadn’t even been invented yet. (Turn that over in your mind. Not one xian; not one moslem.) There were jews, but they were of no consequence. Religion was left to the locals, who were mostly polytheists.

    The time was about 300-100 BCE — all of mainland Greece had lost its freedom; in Athens democracy was dead. Rome, not yet fully imperial, hesitated before conquering Egypt. The old gods had failed. Thoughtful people began to turn inward with help from philosophical guides. They belonged to different “schools” of thought: Cynic, Skeptic, Stoic, and Epicurean.

    These Athenian philosophers sought “artaxia” — a state of mind, balanced and free from pain or suffering, physical or psychological.

    Central to achieving artaxia was to create a harmonious life within a harmonious culture. A major player was the philosopher Epicurus. Maligned by theists in his own age (340-270 BCE) and still condemned by xians as an atheistic immoralist, Epicurus indeed taught that pleasure was the good, but within the context of a rational hedonism augmented by friendship.

    Epicurean groups recruited widely and succeeded well enough for 800 years until stamped out by xian know-nothings — just like those on TV today. Women were admitted on a basis equal with men. Because Epicureans came from among different social classes and levels of ability in philosophy, Epicurus’ basic doctrines also appeared in short phrases easy to memorize.

    Three of his original letters to his many friends survive. Good translations are in the Epicurus Reader (1994). His philosophy figures prominently in Atheist Manifesto by Michel Onfray (2006). Onfray bases his own post-xian prescription for a new culture on Epicurus. (The volume also contains powerful critiques of the big-3 monster theisms.) His is a brief, compelling work worth buying or borrowing.

    Here are two of the Epicureans’ most famous sayings. They’re still useful:

    First is the so-called “four part cure,” four conclusions from Epicurus’ atomic and hedonistic views written by Philodemus in the Herculaneum papyri c.100 BCE.

    Don’t fear god,
    Don’t worry about death,
    What is good, is easy to get, and
    What is terrible is easy to endure.

    Second is an argument using “evil” to destroy a common theistic concept of God:

    Is god willing to help but unable? Then he is not all powerful.
    Is he able to help but unwilling? Then he is not good.
    Is he able and willing? Then why is there evil?
    Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him ‘god’?

    Xians have spent 2,000 years trying to create a workaround — they’ve failed. Supreme power and supreme goodness taken together establish that the 1-god of the big-3 near eastern monster theisms cannot logically exist. Which shows that you can indeed prove that “God” does not exist — as long as theists demand that the concept of God be super-sized to the point of omni-impossibility.

    Indifference to religion Epicurus would say is the first step to a healthy personal life and a good sign for a healthy cultural existence as well. Epicureanism is a very worldly, genial, rational path to exactly what Thomas Jefferson meant by “happiness.”

    the anti-supernaturalist

  • John C

    So sad, such utter darkness and despair. “Nothingness” is not the truth, is not the offer that the Truth (Himself) makes you, its far better and its…true.

    • Ty

      No despair.

      And nothing is sadder than delusion masquerading as hope. You’ll wind up in exactly the same place all the rest of us will, you’ll just have wasted the one life you had first.

      What could be sadder than that?

      • John C

        Christ living His resurrected (kind and quality of) life through me as I live for others, not myself, is hardly a ‘wasted life’ my friend. All the best Ty.

        • Ty

          Willing delusion is still delusion.

          • John C

            It’s just too good to be true eh Ty, is simply unbelievable. Heaven is just a fairy tale for little children you say? Right you are sir, right you are indeed.

            • Ty

              No, it isn’t even too good to be true. Honestly, there isn’t anything attractive about the idea at all, to me. I’d rather live forever right here on earth where I can follow my own interests, than gaze adoringly at some deity for eternity because he’s so insecure that he requires constant worship from lesser beings. No, that doesn’t sound good at all.

              And, yes, it is in fact a fairy tale.

              You need to learn: repetition of an idea is not evidence. It’s just obsession.

    • Tabbie

      What’s sad is that after you die you won’t exist anymore so you won’t be able to realize that you were wrong about all this while you were alive.

    • VidLord

      “So sad, such utter darkness and despair. “Nothingness” is not the truth”

      It’s scary – WE KNOW – but we must face it! John – enjoy your beautiful delusion until you pass. When human kind disappears eventually due to our lovely sun expanding and enveloping the earth – so then will we smile and proclaim the divine inevitability…… the “purpose” is of our own creation…….

  • Juan Pablo de la Torre

    Am I going to die, you say? Holy fuck!

    Do I fear death? No.
    Do I fear the process of dying? No, regardless the pain.
    Will I regret the things I’ve done? Most likely no.
    Will I regret the things I haven’t done? Most likely yes.

    “I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve it through not dying.”
    — Woody Allen

    • Elemenope

      Woody Allen and I are on the same page.

      • Jabster

        Yes but are you the same height?

        • Juan Pablo de la Torre

          Well, Woody Allen is rather short (5′ 5” probably?).

          You should not dismiss random people, they may be doing something great in their basement.

  • http://www.thoughtviper.com/ Bill the Splut

    How does the Xtian version go?

    “I’m as thrilled as can be!
    My fantasy is all I see
    I’ll bounce on Jehovah’s knee!
    And live in Sky Disney for eternity!
    WHEEE!
    I’M SO PSYCHED TO DIE!!!! KILL ME NOW, JESUS!”

    I once told someone that “When I’m dead, I’m dead, that’s it.” And she said “Your life has no meaning!’
    If your life has no meaning until after it’s over–no, actually, you’re the one saying that Life has no meaning, only Death does.

    • Ty

      “I once told someone that “When I’m dead, I’m dead, that’s it.” And she said “Your life has no meaning!’
      If your life has no meaning until after it’s over–no, actually, you’re the one saying that Life has no meaning, only Death does.”

      Exactly this.

  • Revyloution

    Thanks for plugging Muse. Awesome band.

    I really love this song, but I’ve never figured out if the group was theistic or not.

    • Edman

      Indeed they are – and that’s something I’ve wondered for a while, as well.

      I’m guessing either they are very liberally theist, or one of the “apathetic agnostic” crowd, based on how they depict how an atheist should feel when faced with death. The response in these parts has pretty much been the opposite of the lyrics.

      • Custador

        Indeed they are not. Matt Bellamy is agnostic.

        • Edman

          I should clarify my “indeed” – it was an assent that they are an awesome band.
          Although thank you for solving the mystery. ;)

          • Custador

            Bellamy has kept it deliberately enigmatic as far as religion is concerned. The rest of the band are openly atheist.

  • Hank Nash

    If you erroneously believe in God, you lose nothing (assuming that death is the absolute end), whereas if you correctly believe in God, you gain everything (eternal bliss). But if you correctly disbelieve in God, you gain nothing (death ends all), whereas if you erroneously disbelieve in God, you lose everything (eternal damnation).

    • Edman

      But Hank, which god shall I believe in? Oh noes!

    • Juan Pablo de la Torre

      You lose everything, starting with your dignity.

      You have to be obnoxiously stupid to believe an almighty omniscient loving being would damn his dearest creation to a life of despair just because they disobeyed by eating a fruit. Would you do the same to your children?

      What could be even more stupid? To believe this being sent himself to suffer the utterly mundane pain of being lacerated and crucified to set his creation free of the curse he, again himself, casted over them.

      It has to be a huge joke…

    • Francesc

      Can we put somewhere in the rules that Pascal’s Wagger shouldn’t be “allowed”?
      I mean, whay they keep repeating it, when his logic faults where showed centuries ago?

  • Hank Nash

    well it depends i guess.. Do you believe truth is knowable?

    • Edman

      Not only knowable, but measurable! :)

  • Hank Nash

    I see…..and agree, measured how? By popularity? Prob not right?
    Evidence? i would imagine… right…. Make a decision based off the most accurate and reasonable evidence…And whatever is decided should be able to stand up against even the toughest Scrutiny… Do you think If there was a God or Intelegent Designer, that He would try to communicate with his creation? I mean…if we were created with eyes and ears…I would think a way to be communicated to would be the best way to know if or who God actually is… what do you think?

    • Juan Pablo de la Torre

      How do you know there’s a god?

      • Len

        Is Hank saying that there is a god? As I read it, he says that if there’s a god/designer, who designed us with eyes and ears, then he would use those means to communicate with us. He doesn’t, so the evidence suggests that there is no god.

    • Edman

      Well Hank, since you ask – it seems to me that historically, god has been used to fill the void in our knowledge about how the world works. As we learn more about natural processes (those neat things we can measure!), the less we have to rely on gods and other spooky forces to fill those voids.

      Hence, truth is measurable.

  • Hank Nash

    Turner’s Creed
    An excerpt from Ravi Zacharias’ book “Can Man Live Without God?” Steve Turner says “No!”…But we try all the time….

    Creed
    by Steve Turner

    We believe in Marx Freud and Darwin

    We believe everything is OK

    as long as you don’t hurt anyone

    to the best of your definition of hurt,

    and to the best of your knowledge.

    We believe in sex before, during, and

    after marriage.

    We believe in the therapy of sin.

    We believe that adultery is fun.

    We believe that sodomy’s OK.

    We believe that taboos are taboo.

    We believe that everything’s getting better

    despite evidence to the contrary.

    The evidence must be investigated

    And you can prove anything with evidence.

    We believe there’s something in horoscopes

    UFO’s and bent spoons.

    Jesus was a good man just like Buddha,

    Mohammed, and ourselves.

    He was a good moral teacher though we think

    His good morals were bad.

    We believe that all religions are basically the same-

    at least the one that we read was.

    They all believe in love and goodness.

    They only differ on matters of creation,

    sin, heaven, hell, God, and salvation.

    We believe that after death comes the Nothing

    Because when you ask the dead what happens

    they say nothing.

    If death is not the end, if the dead have lied, then its

    compulsory heaven for all

    excepting perhaps

    Hitler, Stalin, and Genghis Kahn

    We believe in Masters and Johnson

    What’s selected is average.

    What’s average is normal.

    What’s normal is good.

    We believe in total disarmament.

    We believe there are direct links between warfare and

    bloodshed.

    Americans should beat their guns into tractors .

    And the Russians would be sure to follow.

    We believe that man is essentially good.

    It’s only his behavior that lets him down.

    This is the fault of society.

    Society is the fault of conditions.

    Conditions are the fault of society.

    We believe that each man must find the truth that

    is right for him.

    Reality will adapt accordingly.

    The universe will readjust.

    History will alter.

    We believe that there is no absolute truth

    excepting the truth

    that there is no absolute truth.

    We believe in the rejection of creeds,

    And the flowering of individual thought.

    If chance be

    the Father of all flesh,

    disaster is his rainbow in the sky

    and when you hear

    State of Emergency!

    Sniper Kills Ten!

    Troops on Rampage!

    Whites go Looting!

    Bomb Blasts School!

    It is but the sound of man

    worshipping his maker.

    • Juan Pablo de la Torre

      I don’t believe things, I know them or not know them.

      • Elemenope

        That’s quite a claim.

    • Edman

      tl;dr

      Sorry bud, that copypasta you just dropped is so full of holes and misconceptions, I’m not going to even try to address them.

      Best of luck to you on your godliness!

    • Ford Prefect

      Whaaaat?

  • Lana

    I find the idea of eternal life somewhat horrifying. I often wonder if religiously-minded people ever actually try to conceive of eternity — infinite, unending awareness. I can think of nothing more certain to induce mind-numbing apathy.

    I sometimes think that if this life lasted a little longer — but only while in the prime of health — that would be awesome. But the life we have is what we have, and I find the idea of death being the end far more comforting than any “eternal life.”

  • Hank Nash

    I would think that if your in ‘heaven’ for eternity…then you are actually Out of this whole..Time = X – We are outside of time… So “Infinite Unending awareness means nothing if you believe it will result in mind-numbing apathy….Outside of Time… In an eternal world (heaven) hmmmmm…..sounds pretty cool… I wonder if there was a God…If he would try to communicate with His creation….. If He did…It would HAVE to have Gods Fingerprint, His Signature… It would have to be communicated to us in a way that we know FOR sure its from a Divine Source… God..

  • Hank Nash

    Creation – DNA… Humans.. Nature…. DNA is a Language…find me a language that does not come from an intelegent source… Creation in its self is evidence of God – Look at the building – “unless i see the builder, i wont believe in the builder” – But LOOK at the building…. Look at the painting – There is a painter…. The Creation (building, painting) proves there is a designer (builder, painter)

    • Elemenope

      The ellipses and dashes really don’t help clarity. Sure, a God, if one exists, can make the claim that due to its alien nature, if would have difficulty communicating with us puny humans. You have no such excuse. Say what you have to say.

      • Sunny Day

        It’s Huffing for Jeebus.

    • Juan Pablo de la Torre

      Would you, please, put your replies bellow the comments they are replying? It’s annoying to guess who you are addressing.

      Both your points are fallacious (you are assuming that the lack of evidence proves something), but I will still take them as valid.

      So, how do you know this creator is the abrahamic god?

      • hank nash

        What makes you think Christianity is the only way to God?
        The truth of Christianity rests completely in the person of Jesus.  The gospels are the written accounts, by eyewitnesses, of Jesus’ life and deeds.  Jesus said that He alone was the way to the Father (John 14:6), that He alone revealed the Father (Matt. 11:27; Luke 10:22). Jesus claimed to be God (John 8:58 ;Exodus 3:14), who forgave sins (Mark 2:5; Luke 5:20; 7:48), and who rose from the dead (Luke 24:24-29; John 2:19-21). Jesus said that He was the only way. Jesus is unique. He was either telling the truth, He was crazy, or He was a liar.  But since everyone agrees that Jesus was a good man, how then could He be both good and crazy, or good and a liar? He had to be telling the truth in order to be good.  He is the only way.
        Furthermore, Christianity is not just a religion; it is a relationship with God. It is trusting in Jesus and what He did on the cross (1 Cor. 15:1-4), not on what you can do for yourself (Eph. 2:8-9).  It is the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies and dependence upon the One who died and rose from the dead (John 2:19-21).
        Buddha didn’t rise from the dead, nor did Confucius or Zoroaster. Muhammad didn’t fulfill detailed prophecy or rise from the dead either and though there is far less reliable information written, people believe in them.
        The scripture is right when it says in 1 Pet. 2:7-8, “This precious value, then, is for you who believe. But for those who disbelieve, ‘The stone which the builders rejected, this became the very corner stone,’ and, ‘A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense’; for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed,” (NASB).
        It is Jesus to whom we look for the validity of Christianity.  If Jesus is false, then Christianity is false.  If Jesus is who He claimed to be, then Christianity is the only correct religion.
        The Mathematical Odds of Jesus Fulfilling Prophecy
        “The following probabilities are taken from Peter Stoner1 to show that coincidence is ruled out by the science of probability. Stoner says that by using the modern science of probability in reference to eight prophecies, ‘we find that the chance that any man might have lived down to the present time and fulfilled all eight prophecies is 1 in 1017.” That would be 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000. In order to help us comprehend this staggering probability, Stoner illustrates it by supposing that “we take 1017 silver dollars and lay them on the face of Texas. They will cover all of the state two feet deep. Now mark one of these silver dollars and stir the whole mass thoroughly, all over the state. Blindfold a man and tell him that he can travel as far as he wishes, but he must pick up one silver dollar and say that this is the right one. What chance would he have of getting the right one? Just the same chance that the prophets would have had of writing these eight prophecies and having them all come true in any one man.”
        Stoner considers 48 prophecies and says, “we find the chance that any one man fulfilled all 48 prophecies to be 1 in 10157, or 1 in 10,00,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 000,000,000.”2
        The estimated number of electrons in the universe is around 1079. It should be quite evident that Jesus did not fulfill the prophecies by accident. He was who He said He was: the only way (John 14:6).
        1.Science Speaks, Moody Press, 1963.
        2. McDowell, Josh, Evidence that Demands a Verdict

        • Francesc

          To begin with, scientific notation do exist for a reason.
          I assume it was an error, but still it seems funny that you could write that there are -estimated- 1079 electrons in the universe. There are a lot more in your body.

          Now, seriously, would you believe me if I wrote “hey, I’m God’s son?”. Would you believe a third person who said “hey, Francesc is God’s son”? Without further proofs? So, why do you think quoting the bible is proof of anything?

          Now, for the profecies part: you should first prove that those were real prophecies (and they were not written down after the life of Jesus), second you should prove that Jesus did fulfill those profecies (and not, the fact that it says so in the Bible is not more proof for Jesus than the LOTR for elves existence) and then we could start speaking about the odds.

        • Len

          Hank, hurling bible phrases as you do says more about your inability to argue your point without parroting empty phrases (should that be called parrotphrasing?) than it does about the accuracy or truth of what you’re saying. The bible says it’s God’s word. God doesn’t lie. Therefore the bible is true. The bible also says that Jesus was the son of God and died and rose from the dead, for our sins. So that must be true as well. Circular logic can prove anything. Or rather, nothing.

          To note just a couple of the more obvious iffy bits in your text:
          “He [Jesus] was either telling the truth, He was crazy, or He was a liar. But since everyone agrees that Jesus was a good man, how then could He be both good and crazy, or good and a liar? He had to be telling the truth in order to be good.” Why do you think that everyone agrees that he was a good man? But even if he was, there is absolutely no reason why he couldn’t be good and crazy. Or good and a liar. These things are certainly not mutually exclusive.

          “Buddha didn’t rise from the dead, nor did Confucius or Zoroaster.” No, they didn’t. But several other people in popular myths (way older than Christianity) did, just as Christians claim Jesus that did. With about as much real evidence. But I’m not going to waste my time looking up their names. Many can be found in Wikipedia.

          One suggestion: please don’t just quote the bible. Most people here agree that it’s nothing more than a story book – a rather violent, misogynistic, and racist one at that. Use your own arguments.

          • Rob L

            An example of a nice and crazy/misguided person- alive today- who thinks he’s the son of God:
            Jesus of Siberia

            God complexes aren’t new and this isn’t the only notable “deity” walking the earth today. It doesn’t require the person to be “bad” or knowingly dishonest- being nice and even insightful is how they convince their followers.

        • Custador

          “The gospels are the written accounts, by eyewitnesses, of Jesus’ life and deeds.”

          That is completely untrue, though to be fair it is a lie commonly touted by Christians unwittingly because they don’t know that it’s a lie. The first gospel was written around 70 years after Jesus’ death (assuming he did exist) – that’s two or three generations later. The second and third gospels are slightly bastardised copies of the first, and the last was written hundreds of years later. If Jesus was that miraculous, why did none of the actual eye-witnesses ever write down a word about him? Why was it third parties who’d never met him who did so decades later?

          “Jesus is unique. He was either telling the truth, He was crazy, or He was a liar.”

          That’s a false choice. There are many other possibilities – here’s a couple:

          1) Jesus was a charismatic Rabbi who inspired great loyalty and around whom a legend grew and was amplified by Chinese whispers.

          2) Jesus never existed at all but is the amalgamation of several characters alive at the time.

          3) Jesus was mentally ill or a con-man. This has been overwhelmingly the case with modern “prophets” and “messiahs”. Antiquity doesn’t change that.

          • trj

            Minor correction: the first gospel was written around 65-70 AD. If Jesus was 30 at the time of his death, that would mean it was written 35-40 years after that.

            • Custador

              Well, there’s still a generational difference given life expectancy at the time, but point taken.

        • Juan Pablo de la Torre

          How do you know the gospels are not a blatant lie?

    • Tabbie

      Hank is Nashing his teeth.

      • Darwin

        Sir, you have a terrible punning problem.

        • Tabbie

          It’s a stunning punning problem, no less, with a spot of rhyme on a dime thrown in for sin.

          • Nelly

            you really crack me up!

    • Francesc

      Do you mean that God failed?
      You said: ” It would have to be communicated to us in a way that we know FOR sure its from a Divine Source”
      [Why the caps in "FOR"? I would have highlighted "know" or "sure". Do you use caps randomly??]

      As that’s not the case -DNA can be explained by other, more probable ways- according to your argument we should deduce that He doesn’t exist.
      Fortunately for your beliefs, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, tough it may point to the truth.

  • http://allthingscounter.blogspot.com David

    Reminding me of one of my favorite quotes, by Richard Dawkins’ in the article, “To Live At All is Miracle Enough” -

    “We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. … because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively exceeds the set of actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I, in our ordinariness, that are here. … After sleeping through a hundred million centuries we have finally opened our eyes on a sumptuous planet, sparkling with colour, bountiful with life. Within decades we must close our eyes again. Isn’t it a noble, an enlightened way of spending our brief time in the sun, to work at understanding the universe and how we have come to wake up in it?”

    (Full Article at http://richarddawkins.net/articles/91)

  • dart

    I can’t remember who said it, but there is a quote about death being an awfully big adventure.
    Of course, there is no means of communication so I can’t tell you all about it, but I like knowing things that nobody else does ;)
    With that being said, I am more worried about how I’ll die than if or when. There are some very painful ways to die out there. I don’t like pain. I’m hoping it happens in my sleep, or in some way that doesn’t hurt.

    • Darwin

      Peter Pan said that.

  • Jordan

    It scares the shit out of me and pisses me off. Not really looking forward to having all of my consciousness, my memories, and everything I know be completely and irrevocably annihilated.

    • Custador

      Chances are that’ll happen long before you die. The brain often goes early.

  • http://viraginity.net Ash

    To put it as crudely as possible:

    A friend of mine extended his finger and requested I pull it. I rolled my eyes and complied. Rather than the delightful sound of a 20-something male passing wind, he yelled “NOTHING HAPPENS!” I guess if everyone around you is pinching their noses, even if you expect nothing to happen, it can still build up the tension.

    I was never really sold on the idea of eternal life as a kid and “converted” at age 12 (in front of my angry fundie English teacher, no less). I don’t know if I never developed the fear of Nothing or if it’s a flaw in my psyche that I find Forever more terrifying, but the notion of eternity after experiencing the cycle of social ordering and entropy throughout life seems more like hell than a blessing.

    • Nelly

      I like that analogy with the finger pulling. Mind if I use it? ;-)

    • VidLord

      “I find the idea of eternal life somewhat horrifying.”

      “the notion of eternity after experiencing the cycle of social ordering and entropy throughout life seems more like hell than a blessing.”

      Why do you assume your physical concept of TIME would continue after you die? Eternity is only scary because it is based on your human experiences of time. Can you imagine no time?

      As far as Christian ideas of the afterlife go they are the equivalent of a child’s fairy tale. Hell, with its devils and “pain” – heaven where you see and speak with angels and loved ones. Any story of the afterlife that involves any of your 5 senses surely must be seen for the fraud it is. But the fraud provides comfort, eases the fear of death – and that is the primary purpose of the stories.

  • Darwin

    “He had decided to live forever or die in the attempt…”
    Catch-22
    Joseph Heller

  • Francesc

    Imagine that we could create clones.
    Imagine that we could transfer our consciousness and knowledge to them at some point -let’s say, when we are twenty years old- and each of them keep living different lives for some time.
    Imagine that God and heaven do exist -yes, I know that one is the strongest assumption so far.

    Would all our clones be allowed into heaven?

    • nazani14

      What you’d have is just a bunch of different people. I am certainly not the same person I was at 20, and I think I can safely assume that clones of any 20-year-old would rapidly develop different personalities, depending on the experiences of each clone. Essentially, what you’d have is belated twinning.
      As for god, we have no direct information on how he might feel about the personhood of clones, but if a blastocyst is a human with a soul, surely he would welcome all our cheek swabbings, amputated parts, hair follicles, etc. into heaven. Ask a Fundie how, if a soul is instilled at the moment of conception, god deals with the monozygotic twins. Does the soul split, or is a second soul introduced? Tap-dancing ensues.

  • Alice

    I’ve got my death planned. My last attempt to be in control. And assuming I will have time to prepare if it’s something like cancer. I hope to make one last stop and see something I havent with the ones I love. I want to be cremated and all my children to wear my ashes around there necks, so they wont forget me. My children, husband and closest friends and strangers along the way I might have touched in a positive way is how I see myself living on. That’s my purpose, my children. To love them so much, to teach them, that they may spread some good. I’m O.K. with this being it. Makes me appreciate it so much more.

    • Alice

      By the way my kids think it’s gross, the thought of wearing my ashes….lol Eiather that or I will be divided and stuffed in a stuff animal on there bed. They don’t like that eiather… :( Am I just being a bit too controlling? lol

      • Kodie

        Yeah. Your ashes aren’t you. You live on in pictures and memories and when your kids get old and their kids get old, then you will not really exist anymore because nobody will remember you. But the ashes in the necklaces is kind of not how to remember someone and keep them close to you, especially if that’s not their personal choice. If you want someone’s ashes in a necklace to keep them near you, that is your personal sentiment at work, but you can’t really impose that on other people, about yourself.

    • James G

      Various companies can have your ashes crushed into a diamond. Prices start at just $2699.

      http://www.lifegem.com/secondary/LGPrices2006.aspx

  • DDM

    80-90% of people think they’ll live a longer-than-average lifespan. Think about that for a moment. Don’t waste your life thinking you’ll live as long as you want; death has a way of creeping up on you and tapping you on the shoulder when you least expect it.

    • fftysmthg

      You comment reminds me of what my father told me as he laid dying of cancer; ” If there’s something you really want to do in life do it now, It’s later than you think.”

  • nazani14

    My response is to get out my Suze Orman financial planning materials and make sure everything’s set up to reduce the inconvenience of my death for my Daughter.

  • http://cranialhyperossification.blogspot.com GDad

    I’ve always been more upset at the concept of the end of the universe than of my own demise. Weird.

  • http://religionvirus.blogspot.com/ Craig A James

    Ty – I quoted you in my blog for today, entitled Would you rather be happy or know the truth? It was inspired by this conversation.

  • Nelly

    the knowledge that I will cease to exist just makes me more inclined to make as much out of the years/minutes/seconds I have left. I will not spend one nanosecond trying to do good works to get my “heaven-ticket” punched because that would be one less nanosecond of living and loving.

  • VidLord

    there is no maker – when you die that is it. Many people believe they will “talk” to and “see” their loved ones. They make a simple and easy mistake that their 5 senses will survive death. Dwell on that awhile….THAT is your first clue to unraveling the fairy tale………….

  • MahouSniper

    I’m just glad you were listening to Muse. Good call.

  • Jus

    “Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher.
    “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.”

    Like some of you, I used to desire that there is death. I didn’t want to live forever. I had a similar attitude like @Ash: “…the notion of eternity after experiencing the cycle of social ordering and entropy throughout life seems more like hell than a blessing.” Death to me was the best solution. Or, at least for me personally. But then I was confronted with another notion, that it might not be up to me.

    The Bible says… “it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment”.

    What if this is true? What if the implicit suggestion of Mark Twain is false? What if life is not an accident, but something that is “appointed” by God? And also death? If this is the case, then yes it’s true “I was dead for millions of years before I was born”. BUT, the reason is because this “I” is just waiting for the “appointed time” to be born.

    Appointed to be born, appointed to live once, appointed to die once, and appointed to stand before judgment.

    And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him. Heb 9:27-28

    • Rob

      What if the Koran is right? Are you sure you’ve given the matter enough scrutiny? Allah wouldn’t appreciate the way you’ve spent your life in service to another god. And boy, don’t even think about begging mercy from Thor or Odin. Have you seen the hammers those guys wield? (google: pascal’s wager)

    • Jus

      @Rob: Good point.

      Both the Qur’an and the Bible talks about the day of judgment. The hadith even says that according to Muhammad, Jesus will descend and be The Judge on judgment day.

      But if the Qur’an is right, then the New Testament is wrong. Because there’s no atonement for sin, no substitution. Christ could not have been “offered once to bear the sins of many“. In fact, Surah 4:157 specifically says Jesus didn’t die, and 5:110 says explicitly that God prevented the children of Israel from killing him. Because there’s no way a prophet of God can suffer such shame and persecution at the hands of sinners.

      Which I think is the main difference between the way of “submission” according to Islam and according to the Bible. As Jesus said to Pilate:
      “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world— to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” John 18:36-37

      I contrasted the Qur’an vs the New Testament only and not the Old Testament, because that’s what Islam is: it has no problem agreeing with the OT because it is a religion based on law and works, not on grace and truth. Whereas the NT sheds new light on the OT, which is the true light that has been hidden from the beginning, but now is revealed through Jesus the Son of God.

      …as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God. John 3:14-21

      • Bender

        @Jus: I think you need to clarify your ideas. The first part of the post contradicts the second:
        “But if the Qur’an is right, then the New Testament is wrong.” “it has no problem agreeing with the OT because it is a religion based on law and works, not on grace and truth.”

        The first one is right. The shahadah establishes that Allah is the only god and Muhammad his profet. If you believe Jesus is the son of god, you’re commiting blasphemy to muslims. So we have two mutually exclusive holy books making baseless claims about what it takes to achieve “salvation”. Why should we believe yours over theirs?

        As for the Johnny quote, it may come as a shock to you, but we heard it before. And it doesn’t make any f*king sense. “Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already”. Really? That’s the moral compass of your god? If you believe that a hippie that lived 2,000 years ago was his son, you’re good. If you don’t believe it you’re bad, and therefore, you deserve to be tortured for all eternity. But he loves you.
        Since we’re quoting Mark Twain this is my favorite: “Faith is believing what you know is not true”.

      • Siberia

        But what if the Buddhists are right?

        What if once you die, there’s no god, no judgment, no reason, and you’re just born again, not the wishy-washy Christian way, but literally? Another birth, another round on Earth, round and round until you learn your way out and – inevitably – die as atheists die, into nothingness?

        What makes you so sure you won’t simply be reincarnated?

      • Jus

        @Siberia: “…die as atheists die, into nothingness”
        You mean, “die as atheists believe how they will die“?, “die as atheists wish to die, into nothingness”?

        Frankly, I too have walked the eightfold path for a number of years. Which I think is pretty similar to the Christian path, minus “the Right View”. But that one difference changes the whole meaning of everything and makes the whole purpose diametrically opposite. If the “self” is truly an illusion, then “reincarnation” happens not only after you die, but constantly, every moment of every day. This is the wheel of samsara which Buddhists are trying to detach from, or “wake up” from. Being “born again” basically means you are still asleep, and only shows your “inability to wake up” yet.

        In this sense then, the concept of being “born again” is very similar to the Christian sense: we need to wake up, or we need to open our eyes.
        …the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” — Apostle Paul

        But this is also where Christianity differs from other religions: because it does not depend on our effort. We do not have the ability to “wake ourselves up”, or “to open our own eyes”, but we depend completely on God himself to “wake us up”, and to “open our eyes”, to “cause us to be born”.

        …to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” — Apostle John
        For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” — Apostle Paul

        • Siberia

          Yes, that’s what I meant.
          I won’t discuss the differences between Christianity and Buddhism. That’s for other fora. I will say this: the xtian system seems incredibly unjust and set up for failure. In fact, it seems much like all other religions: do as I say and you’re fine, don’t and you’re f-cked. Forever. Even the Greek gods were not this ruthless, this callous. You call it love, I call it abuse.

          There’s also Hinduism. Why is Xtianity right and the Veddas wrong? You might say Xtianity is more elegant, but that’s faith and opinion and personal (and geographical) preferences at work.

          Or, for all we know it’s Odin and we are truly f-cked.

          • VidLord

            “Or, for all we know it’s Odin and we are truly f-cked.”

            reminds of that cartoon where the Christian gets to heaven and see’s Allah – “Oh f-ck!” he said lol.

            • Jus

              @VidLord:
              Hahaahhaha
              And the Muslim said triumphantly: “Yessss! Allahu Akbar!”
              But then Allah said to him: “Sorry dude. Allah is just my title. My real name is YHVH. The Jews were right.”
              “Oh f-ck!” he said lol.

            • Juan Pablo de la Torre

              A pretty lame story…

              Why do you take this so personally?

            • Jus

              Gosh……..I was just trying to continue the humour from VidLord. And sort of waiting for someone to respond with something like:

              So the Jew said: “Yessss! Halleluyah!”
              But then God said to him: “Sorry man, you didn’t follow the law perfectly either. Remember that one time you ate a hot dog with NON-KOSHER dill pickle?”
              “Oh f-ck!” he said lol.

      • Jus

        @Bender:
        “Why should we believe yours over theirs?”
        Because we don’t kill you even if you make ugly Jesus cartoons. :) hehehe
        (We will only bombard you “to death” with Scripture verses XD hahahah)

        Sorry if I seem to contradict myself. What I was trying to say is the OT without the NT is still based on law and works, just like the Qur’an. But with the NT, the OT then becomes a whole supporting framework for the “hidden” story, which emerges as one of Grace and Truth: Jesus and the cross. If the Qur’an is right, then Jesus didn’t die, and there is no “Truth”, and there is no “Grace”, it is all law and based on our works.

        But if the Qur’an is wrong, then God has shown his love to us. By sending his only son, whom he loves so dearly, dearly,—-That One who so trusts his father, and always obeys him, and never turns to the left or to the right, and always pleases him, and loves his him dearly, dearly, and gave himself wholly to the will of the father—-to die, to pay for the penalty of sins that we committed, because he knows we are unable to pay.
        This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” — Apostle John

        Bro, the moral compass doesn’t depend on us at all. My believing in Jesus doesn’t make me better than unbelievers. NO!

        We are all in the same boat. Unbelievers deserve hell, AS WELL AS believers! We ALL deserve hell!

        None is righteous, no, not one;
        no one understands; no one seeks for God.
        All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
        no one does good,
        not even one.
        ” — Apostle Paul

        The way I understand that verse you quoted “…whoever does not believe is condemned already” is like this:
        Originally, from the very beginning, we already deserve hell.
        Originally, from the very beginning, we are already in this state of condemnation.

        But then God made a way for us, even though we don’t deserve it, even though we truly deserve condemnation. Because “…God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned…

        • Bender

          We are all in the same boat. Unbelievers deserve hell, AS WELL AS believers! We ALL deserve hell!

          Why?

          • Sunny Day

            So we can all be dragged down to their level.

            • Jus

              @Sunny Day:
              Hahahha Exactly!! (almost)
              You guys are on a level too high for us!
              Please come down and look at the world from our humble level for a minute…

              We are just like sheep…
              All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—-every one—-to his own way….” Isaiah 53:6

              We are sinners…
              …all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” Romans 3:23
              …the wages of sin is death…” Romans 6:23

              Sometimes we even deceive ourselves, and say that “God” is a lie…
              If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us…. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. 1 John 1:8-10

              Because naturally we hate God and his law…
              Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.” Romans 8:7

              And being a sinner is not so much like *we do sin a lot*, but more like *we do—-and can do—-nothing but sin*…
              The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Genesis 6:5

              That’s why. Or at least, from my lower level view.

            • Sunny Day

              Quotes from a book of Bronze Age Farie Tales illustrates my point perfectly. Thanks.

            • Kodie

              Because naturally we hate God and his law…
              “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.” Romans 8:7

              Because naturally deep down we have to admit to ourselves there is no such thing as god. We are sheep astray from nothing. You repeat these things like they make sense, but they are really statements of the human condition — if you want to control people effectively, shame them, tell them they should give over their power, because they are nothing but dirty whores…. who told me? Uh, well yeah, it sounds kind of mean coming from me, but there’s this invisible guy who told me you are a dirty whore, worthless human being. He created you but he loathes you, you better shape up or you won’t go to heaven. Yeah, pass the buck, ultimate pass the buck. Have you ever been manipulated by someone who attacks your self-worth? It’s like thattah.

            • http://religionvirus.blogspot.com/ Craig A James

              Your Bible and your religion have made you a victim of the biggest wife beater and child abuser in history. Can you tell the difference between God and a wife beater? Take the test…

              God, the Ultimate Wife Beater and Child Abuser?

        • Kodie

          You are an atheist to all the beliefs others hold to be correct. You find them too unbelievable to be true. You have chosen on the power of persuasion to believe what you want to be true and follow that way as the truth as you, a human, have decided. You don’t know god any better than anyone else. You are only going by your feelings and feel that you have made the correct decision and everyone else is wrong, that the god you believe in has doomed everyone to hell unless they believe what you believe, glorify him and thank him for the execution of his son. But you don’t know, you only feel.

          I think it is an insane concept that you should choose one god over the rest, to estimate yourself that all other religions seem too ridiculous and false to believe in, and yours is correct. Mostly, you have to be a twisted individual to agree to the terms of your god. That a god could write one part of the bible and the other part, and the parts don’t reconcile such that people who only believe in the first part deserve hell, and people who see the first part negated by the second part — if it’s the same god who WROTE IT — are saved, you are going to have to do a lot of mental acrobatics to feel at peace with that. It’s illogical to believe in god, it’s illogical for a human being to think they have correctly guessed god’s will and figure he has reasons for being so mean and making up such nonsense for people to glorify his (non)existence the way you do. It’s illogical to determine that you have it right and people who don’t agree have it wrong, and god has every right simply by being god to send his creation to hell if they don’t agree with you and abide by his silly rules. There’s no such thing as god, you agree with that mostly — there’s no such thing as all the gods you find nonsensical and whose terms you don’t abide.

        • Juan Pablo de la Torre

          Why do christians seem to lose the point entirely?

          Your believes are ridiculous. No matter how you try to reason them.

          Quoting myself:

          You have to be obnoxiously stupid to believe an almighty omniscient loving being would damn his dearest creation to a life of despair just because they disobeyed by eating a fruit. Would you do the same to your children?

          What could be even more stupid? To believe this being sent himself to suffer the utterly mundane pain of being lacerated and crucified to set his creation free of the curse he, again himself, casted over them.

          I often quote myself. It adds spice to my conversation.

          • Juan Pablo de la Torre

            Last line is of George Bernard Shaw.

  • Jabster

    “Whereas the NT sheds new light on the OT, which is the true light that has been hidden from the beginning, but now is revealed through Jesus the Son of God.”

    So which bit meant that the Bible is right then, as I most have missed that in your post?

    • Custador

      The bible has been predicting the end of the world for five thousand years. No doubt in a few billion years when the universe finally enters its final entropic death, some moron will find a King James version and say “Wow, it’s all predicted in this book!”

      • Jabster

        Good old Bible predictions … don’t you know just how many things it has predicted that have come true … it can of course take a little bit of intepretation to work out what they “really” meant though!

    • Jus

      @Jabster, @Custador:
      There are many end-of-the-world prophecies, but personally, I think one of them is way more important than the rest: Jesus is coming back.
      Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming…. you must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

      Though there’s a period when “Good old Bible predictions” really came true: in the first century, in the person of Jesus. At that time, there’s no New Testament yet. The Old Testament was the only Bible. And the Christians at that time did say, “Wow, it’s all predicted in this book!”

      http://unreasonablefaith.com/2010/06/13/holding-god-accountable/#comment-105210

      • Kodie

        Our top story tonight: Jesus Christ is still dead.

        • Jasowah

          “Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming”

          And so, God created ENERGY DRINKS, and Jasowah never slept again.

      • Jus

        @Kodie: “Jesus Christ is still dead”
        That’s very possible, IFF he had actually lived in the first place, and died. Some people didn’t believe he ever lived (“he’s just a legend”). Some people didn’t believe he ever died (Muslims).

        But if he did live and die, (he’s not just a legend, and the Qur’an is false), then his being “still dead” is not the only possibility. Because he appeared to many witnesses. Granted, most of them are believers, or unbelievers who became believers (like Thomas or Paul).

        Even until today people experience visions of Jesus, which change their lives around, making them able to love and treasure him and his Word, making them turn their backs on worldly possessions and pleasures. In fact, Paul said, “if…..we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied“:

        But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.” – 1Cor15:13-19

        • Kodie

          Magic doesn’t happen, but hallucinations do. Also, if I pointed out something over there to you and said, hey do you see that? If I insist enough that it’s there (whether I actually see it or just imagine it or am lying), eventually, you may be persuaded to agree that you see it, even if you don’t. I believe no such thing as Jesus or his resurrection. That would be IMPOSSIBLE. Resurrection is impossible. The idea here is that you believe something impossible and you are trying to persuade me into agreeing that it is possible. You have only heard about it, and when this magical Jesus appears to you, you are guided by your feelings to the power of suggestion that he really is there, but it’s your imagination. You have been the subject of a suggestion that Jesus exists, was resurrected, and comes by to say hi how you doin’?

          AKA, “wishful thinking.” Good luck with that.

          • VidLord

            I agree – it seems many Christians are guided by their feelings. Our reason says that people don’t rise from the dead, walk on water, be born from virgins, conjure up fish and bread from nothing etc. But our feelings – that is something entirely different. The teachings of Jesus are profound and powerful – especially to those that are downtrodden. It is not a coincidence that in the poorest cultures the native religions preach to disregard all material wealth ie Tibet. Sell all you own and come follow me – there is a power in the words; they inspire feelings. Reason has no place there. There is a great scene in Religulous where a trucker says ‘don’t you take my Jesus….’ I think that is the heart of Christianity – the personal Jesus that comforts and inspires. Imagine walking into a church full of people singing and dancing and asking how a snake can talk?

  • Siberia

    Personally, I am not afraid of Nothingness. I welcome it as the ultimate turn-off of the biological machine that I am. I intend to have my shell be used for the benefit of science, after reaping all my organs to someone who might have use of them. I hope some future doctor or scientist have fun with my arthritic bones.

    But, if I’d to choose some kind of afterlife, I’d like to reincarnate. I’m just so fond of this planet and of being alive, I wouldn’t mind a second (and a third and a fourth) run.

  • Jimbo

    Well, there is really nothing ”nothing” here – is there?

    It all depends on what you can see. The more distance you go the less you can see. The more close you go to something the more you believe in what you sense. Thats just a human factor.

    There is no science. At least its not a part of nature but something we create. The models, the theories are supernatural projections of nature. Today we see it more dynamically, especially thanks to simulations and long term or macro projections. Do you guys know that socalled “gravity” does only behave that way in certian circumstances – but is not really a fact in the Universe. Well known in physics – but not part of undergrade school education.

    lts all about revelations and today you may even find it on the Internet.

    Basically, according to the handover of forfathers we are the band engineers in Heaven (creativity: created in Gods image) and nobody ever dies. Considering hell is a burn out of something not creative – that would be the kind of prejudice we pratically find in everyday life … tree of doom in the stories (not to be taken by exact wording … i.e. fundamentalism).

    Its not that these things are old and not around today. Messages to humans typically come today from other humans. To ensure its actually from Heaven we usually see Maria. Not a direct message to the church apparently – but it goes to somebody chosen … The most interesting recently was Fatima revelations around 1920′ties in Portugal. A lot of people come around with this kind of stuff. But the stuff told came true and that always increases credability – does it not? So it is not that hard. Even if you find yourself at distance. Some believers fear church might be holding stuff back. Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict, before his was Pope, got cited for some stuff they know. But they don’t go media – because it supposed to be taken seriously … not sensational … it’s reality, he was cited to say that in the 80′ties. It is really interesting to read.

    It also warns Europe distancing itself by not asking God for his blesing – say protection and leaves itself to natures devices or the Europeans own devices.

    So if atheist are afraid to die … then don’t be afraid and pray to God. The best gift in life – beyond being born – is to live life? Like one stated above “my appreciation of the now has never been greater” … by life is dynamic and loves changes … changing the now … there is no risk because if you do what God loves you get protected.

    No one should be afraid to die … that’s actually the basics of Christ an easter.

    Start living, take chances, sacrifice yourself and help others and dont be afraid.

    No conservatism for the moment. We’re still working to change the World.

    • aerie

      What part of WE ARE NOT AFRAID OF DYING don’t you understand? Not one comment here even mentioned a fear of death. Quite the contrary, we are NO LONGER afraid of death since letting go of religion.

      Quite presumptious & asinine of you to come in here and dump your woo over everyone without even bothering to read others’ posts. Typical self-absorbed, emotionally retarded godbot.

    • Sunny Day

      “Do you guys know that socalled “gravity” does only behave that way in certian circumstances – but is not really a fact in the Universe. Well known in physics – but not part of undergrade school education.”

      There we have it, if its not taught in grade school its not real.

  • Jimbo

    Going into space is impossible but not for supernaturals. In space there are no animals from earth – only the human being. So no plurals there. We ressurect people every day at hospitals only geeting better and may soon be able to change the body. Death is something else and intensional. Its a solution to a problem with the “biomechanical” machine – the body. So the life of the body is more or less intensionally shortened.

    In the old days chemistry was considered magic. Today that magic fills our world and takes us out of industrial age – now in the intermediary hybrid of industrial age and nuclear age – to go nuclear.

    Its all magic if you took some previous human and installed him here today. Even refrigerators – nothing like that before the 60′ties. We can do destructive magic wasting the planet or blow everything up …. even may be just a single human … or do great things like terraforming new planets.

    Things are well up to speed now. Now big science sensations like Einstein. Einsten happens almost every day now.

    It all comes down to values and learning to cultivate that magic. The wand should be in the hands of angels. So lets hope that. We’re still on track. If values dissiminate – and those values still here in Europe come from God and his believers … then we stay on track. If not may be we blow up or God does somthing about it as he usually does … its his sandbox. So don’t worry. But see Stephen Hawking being afraid of that on his old days … thumbling around in being afraid instead of high hopes for what he learned and knows about physics in nature.

    I’d rather believe in God than not – and follow directions. And I don’t have to be afraid of dying. Why waste your time on such specualtions?
    So

    • aerie

      I never did like following directions very much and I’d rather know the truth of reality than not. The *not* being silly beliefs of unicorns, bigoted bronze-age ideas, & Pascal’s wagers.

  • Jimbo

    BTW I did something unreasonable in my life many years ago. Very talented but somewhat dellussioned I decided to do something that nobody really would do … help somebody else … just a quick decision in a moment … and for life … and every day. I moved in. I recall them images not only imagining myself dead but finansially dead from that moment – and accepted the fact I might end up in the gutter. My brain actually pumped me up with feelings or irrational thoughts about that “risk”.

    Anyway people kept telling through years I did something very good for that person. No problem – a lot easier if you believe God keeps his end of the bargain. I stopped worrying … like taking the 10 meter plunge into a pool for the first time.

    Anyway no matter how rotten things got I was always happy for some reason … and best of all money just seems to come by itself. Everything just works out fine. I have a lot of stuff I wanted during those years … guess I really don’t need it. Anyway life became easy. I don’t come to things – they seem to come to me???

    I just can’t dismiss it – life should have been hard for what I got into if I go rational … danger … danger. Nobody apparently jumps into what I did for free … they may get subjected to something like it… but I entered with (some) trust in God. When I spend all my money they come back some kind of way. I even got great jobs thrown at me from international vendors and got involved in politics. Rich life … I can do what I want to.

  • aerie

    You sound like a frakkin’ infomercial for jesus. It’s disingenuous & condescending. The woo. The flight of ideas. Enough. Take your pills.

  • aaron

    I am a Christian. I am not in the least afraid to die.
    Truth does not have to be proven. I am not sure I can prove it. But, I still believe it, and it still true.
    Also, Muse is a good band.
    That is all I wish to say at this time.


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