Sharing Kevin"s feeling of never having felt the need to think in God, maybe my answer will certainly be that interest.

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I have always felt that as soon as I die, i am dead and gone, my mindful life will end, mine interactions through others will end, and also I will certainly be simply GONE. Ns don"t recognize what causes consciousness (call the spirit, contact it soul, ns don"t typical to choose sides v my words), yet I intend that it will end. My immortality will it is in in the storage of those ns knew, those that loved me, those who lug me on in their hearts. I, myself, cease to exist.

This offers me a beautiful, shockingly beautiful feeling of the Now. Gift in the present, the here and now, is the ultimate reward of life. I am continuous gobsmacked through the minutiae the life; ns stand in awe that the things approximately me ideal fucking now. There"s no reward, no judgment, no heaven, no hell. Ns live appropriate fucking now.


Another writes:


I think that when I dice I"ll cease to exist, and also in some ways I"m happy around that. Life is hard work. Life is good, worthy work-related that I"m proud of and also that renders me feel good, because that the most part, yet even despite I"ll probably be sad to die (and I"d hate to think i was about to die any kind of time soon), I"m quiet glad, in principle, that part day life will cease, and also my burdens will dissolve with my joys. I don"t want to live forever.


Another:


Speaking together someone that shares Kevin"s check out on this topic, what we think happens once we die is that us die, just our contribute to the world we room departing will certainly live on, and that"s every there is come it. We"re no going to be approximately to experience it afterwards. Would certainly it be nice not to die? Maybe, absolutely sounds amazing (although I could see myself wishing fervently for fatality to put me the end of my boredom as soon as I turn a million, and also considering it an inhuman and sadistic torment come deny the to me...). Yet if us wish come live in a fact based civilization we have to acknowledge the there is no rational reason to think this to it is in true and it is a monumental case of group wishful thinking to put it politely. World are afraid of dying, lock don"t want to resolve it, and believing they"ll never have to *really* deal with it due to the fact that they"re no going come *really* die is just easier.

How perform I feel around it? Meh. I welcomed my mortality (and the of everyone else ns know) a long time ago, I dealt with it, and also now i rarely provide it lot thought uneven circumstances contact it to mine attention. I have better things to execute with mine life 보다 obsessing over a time when it"s walk to it is in over. And also no, the is no me advertising how very brave and also stoic in the challenge of fatality that renders atheists, i don"t imagine I"d be any type of less scared dealing with the imminent ending of my life when the time comes 보다 your typical person... The is simply not a worry of mine now. Wringing mine hands end it would be around as pointless together wailing end the gravitational continuous of the universe not having a different value much more to mine liking. Reality is what that is. And reality is that people aren"t immortal.


Yet another:


"I wonder what Kevin think happens to him when he dies?"

I think the reality that you need to ask this question at all claims a lot about how the are afraid of fatality is inextricably tied come a id in greater powers in the minds of theists. To one such as I, that shares Kevin"s views, the prize is fairly obvious and also intuitive. Naught is going to happen to him when he dies, because there won"t it is in a "him" because that anything to take place to.

As for her follow up question- "And exactly how does that feel about that - not just emotionally but existentially?"- I can only speak for myself, however again, the reality that you feel the have to ask this inquiry says a lot about the source of your faith. Pardon me if this sound overly judgmental, yet to me terms like "faith" and also "spirituality" are simply shorthand for an individual"s i can not qualify to cope v the concept of oblivion. Why need to one feeling anything particular about that in the first place? i am. One day, I will not be. This doesn"t bother me and also I don"t understand the should waste the priceless gift of sentience agonizing about such things.

I identify that some civilization can"t shrug turn off the idea of no existing in some form. Take my husband because that instance. He has an overdeveloped fear of oblivion but can"t bring himself to believe in fairy tales. The takes comfort in philosophy. In the indigenous of (probably) Marcus Aurelius:

‘Live a good life. If there are gods and they space just, climate they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have actually lived by. If there space gods, but unjust, then you should not desire to praise them. If there room no gods, then you will be gone, yet will have lived a noble life that will live top top in the memory of your loved ones.’


Another:


As an atheist who has just recently had actually two friend die, I have the right to say that not all atheists room as lucky as Kevin. Because that me, the are afraid of death is far and also away the most prompt and daunting aspect of mine atheism. Fatality affects me in a profound way, because I understand it"s not a issue of id at this point, because that me that this life is all us get. As much as i would prefer to believe platitudes like "He"s in a better place now" and "I know he"s smiling down on us," I watch them because that what they are, and also what they represent: attempts to avoid facing the reality of death.

So if you truly believe that "Facing is ours life"s task," might I indicate you shot atheism? religious beliefs is how human being AVOID encountering it. It"s the usual thread in all religions, indigenous the most ancient to the many modern: "When us die, it"s no really the end. So don"t issue so much." yet for many religions that doesn"t protect against there. Many of them teach that life after fatality will not just exist, but it"ll be way more awesome than stupid ol" life v all the trials and tribulations. A choir the angels! forty virgins! Nirvana! All her old friends, her family, even Mittens and also Fido will certainly be over there to provide you a big hug and welcome you come eternity!

Eternity. Life forever. Whatever philosophical contortions you desire to twist yourself through, if you believe in eternity, you are not facing death. Atheists confront death. We have to pertained to grips v the finality that our finish without the help of any type of comforting fairy tales. It"s no easy, yet neither is life. Atheists and theists have the right to agree on that, in ~ least. We just don"t think death is going to be any type of different.


A leader asks:


When atheists case that faith is simply a fanciful way to attend to the uncomfortable inevitability of death, the faithful often decry together a reduction as unfair. And also yet her main solution to Kevin Drum"s unapologetic summary of his absence of spiritual impulse is come ask "Then what do you think happens as soon as we die?" As another of those "untragic" atheists, I deserve to only scrape my head regarding why mine answer come that concern would it seems ~ to it is in revelatory come you... Unless, the is, the avoidance of death readily available by religious beliefs is its vital selling point. Therefore which is it? and also how does reassuring my fear (be they reasonable or irrational) make something like religion more likely to be True?


A last thought:


I think we have a "soul," however not in the feeling of a spiritual gift apart from ours bodies, however in the sense of a consciousness that transcends our physics limitations. It is, first, the essence of our beings, the thing that connect the person we space today come the human we have gone to all the step of our lives. The boy I as soon as was is in some feeling the man I to be today and the old male I will be, and I think this persistence of gift - this connective line, this inner self - is part of what I typical by "soul." In addition, through "soul" I additionally mean our capacity to contemplate time and room and probably a feeling of harmony far outside our very own physicality. And also finally I average a greater morality - the part of our us that renders us not just human, and thus animal, but additionally humane, and also in that feeling spiritual beings with a greater morality 보다 self-interest and also even survival. This emotion no doubt has actually a physical reason as well, however at some level ours higher-processing brains and also our experiences and also learning offer us feelings that seem unconnected to physics sensation. And also it is below where the finest of humankind resides and expresses itself.

When ns worry around my own death, that is not death that ns really problem about, yet the path of death, and the lead approximately it the decline, decrepitude, helplessness, pain. (If i knew I would certainly be relatively healthy till the end, and also then dice peacefully in my sleep, lot of my tension would be gone.) fatality itself does not scare me. I remember undergoing general surgery for some minor problem, and was given some anesthetic drip prior to being wheeled right into the operation room. At one moment I was talk to the surgeon, and also the very next minute - a nanosecond later - I remained in the recovery room. I had no awareness of a dimming of consciousness. One instant I to be there, an instant later ns was gone. This, it seems to me, is what death is like, just there"s no reawakening. Consciousness ends, and together with it any awareness and sensation. Over there is not even a emotion of absence.

Another method I look in ~ it is the life after ns am dead will be similar to life prior to I was born. Ns don"t regret no being below sooner 보다 I was, and also I had no sensation of existence before my birth. So it will be after my death.

The only fatality that yes, really scares me is the death of those i love, far an ext than my own. This is not to say that i don"t desire to live as long as possible, so long as ns can duty in some means and not be an extreme burden. And also this desire, it seems to me, is itself strong proof that there is no afterlife. Freud"s thanatos notwithstanding, also our souls hunger because that a concrete existence. We may long for transcendence, however it is a transcendence in our lives, no in some desire come be totally spiritual beings, gotten rid of forever from connection to the real. At least not for lengthy - that means lies madness. Sooner or later, we want to reconnect come the world. And also we continually hunger because that the clearly shows world, the streams the sensations that feed our consciousness and also being. It is the very opposite that an afterlife idealized by major religions. And that leader me to my final point (probably a startle one, from your suggest of view): ns think life after fatality would it is in stupid.

By this ns absolutely perform not mean that it is stupid to think in an afterlife or come desire that (though such a desire may be a an outcome of naivete, irrationality, or good pain). I median that such an visibility would chin be stupid. It would be there is no of something that gives our intelligence any significance, and also our existing lives any meaning. It would not in any kind of sense be human. I remember telling my brother that if i died and also there was a God and he said me the he indeed developed the human being in six days, I would be exceptionally disappointed, for I find the human being as the is far an ext miraculous and awe-inspiring than its biblical description. Similarly, a life after fatality devoid that physicality would median very small to me, and also I don"t desire it. Maybe it would matter to whatever essence or soul survived me, but to the living person being i am, this human being - you and also me and everyone else - is all that really matters.

Again, Andrew, what perform you think happens when you die? your body and individuality recreated in some recognizable way, through friends lengthy gone again accessible to you? Andrew Sullivan together a disembodied spirit, glowing since you - or it - are in the presence of Jesus? girlfriend must have actually some view. Share it. And tell us if you really like that afterlife, to every the pain and also glory of this actual one.


One the the starkest things I psychic from mine one afternoon invested conversing with the subject of my doctoral dissertation, Michael Oakeshott, to be his an answer to a concern I make him about the concept of salvation and also the after-life (he died the complying with year). It to be "who would desire to it is in saved"? Oakeshott"s
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critical unwritten essay (I suspect he had actually been writing it in his head lot of his life) was going to be around a conception that salvation which had nothing whatsoever v the future.

I have two intuitions about what happens as soon as I die. The very first is that i cannot recognize in any method for sure; and I surely recognize that whatever heaven is, the is so beyond our person understanding that it is perhaps much better not to shot an answer. The second is that ns will continue to exist in my essence but more firmly and totally enveloped in the love and expanse of God, together revealed mainly in the life of Jesus.

I guess girlfriend can believe there is nothing there (atheism/agnosticism); or that there is something there right into which everything disappear - human and divine - i m sorry is a sort of non-material unit of love and compassion (Buddhism). Faith gives me the hope of the Christian alternate to both, that we will remain who us are, the distinct objects of God"s love, and yet part of together a miraculous sea of divine love, we will certainly be both ourselves and also yet far less restricted by ourselves, freed from the sin the keeps us from learning one another, forgiving one another and loving one another and also loving God together parent, child and also spirit.

My most indelible connection with fatality was being by one of my closest girlfriend of my own period as he confronted his very own mortality. Ns was there at the hour that his death; and also I was there once he was completely and healthily alive; and also I to be there once he challenged his death, work by day, for two years, until he died at the age of 31 in his mother"s arms.

One memory, associated in Love Undetectable, came as soon as Patrick, toward the end of his life, was enduring damaging sweats. In one of the lulls in i m sorry his body appeared to rest, i lay down next to him ~ above the bed and also asked the hardest question:


I asked the what the thought fatality actually was. He to be shivering and we spooned, the candlewick bedspread hold our body inches apart. Ns remember feeling his bones beneath it because that the first time, the skeleton start to shape the once firm, rosy flesh the his body. 

"I don"t know," he said. "I don"t yes, really know. Sometimes it seems favor some blackness coming towards me. And also sometimes it doesn"t feel choose anything." that paused and also I felt unqualified to add anything. So us lay there for a if in silence, staring in ~ the ceiling, me wondering if I"d request him since I was in reality curious as to what a dying man could actually think, together if he might know a little better and help me navigate what I assumed was front of me; or whether ns asked him due to the fact that somebody required to, and also no one else would dare; or due to the fact that I was his just close friend encountering the same prospect, nobody else might ask him. That shivered again, and the phone rang. Yet death became one an ext of those banalities we had in common.


Where is Patrick now? he is with me whenever mine thoughts rotate to him; that is alive and vivid, if transfigured sometimes, in mine dreams. That is with me at the finish of the Cape every summer, as a seagull paris close to me in the night sky. The is in my prayers. He is. I deserve to prove no one of this. I deserve to only witness that watching mine dearest friend die, after being in the AIDS bunker v him for two years, aided me recognize that my girlfriend lives. You will certainly mock me because that this wish-fulfillment. Yet they mocked the disciples also who knew that the mr was alive, and also that death was no the understand of Him.

I live in this awareness. Yet I additionally live in the awareness the eternity is below already, the the majesty and also miracle of God"s creation resonates through every second of our lives and every fragment of issue within and also without us. That is exactly how I interpret Oakeshott"s deeply Christian (and rather Buddhist) knowledge of salvation as having nothing whatsoever to execute with the future. The unity and individuality and wonder we room told we will only recognize then is actually below now, shielded from our very own eyes through our very own mortal fear, by our own avoidance the death, by our very own inability to understand that this struggle we fear is actually currently over, the God loves us now unconditionally, overwhelmingly, this expertise prevented specifically from penetrating united state by our very own sense that inadequacy, or ours looking away, or are losing ourselves in the human and also worldly points that I recognize by sin.

So I carry out not believe our consciousness is utterly various after death than now. Ns believe, v Saint Paul, the this is the same divine experience, however through a glass darkly. I think it is Love, because Jesus showed me so. And I await with an excellent fear because I am human and I await with great hope because of the incarnation and resurrection the God in person history.

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To philosophize is to learn how to die.

To believe is come hope for light in the confront of "some blackness coming toward us."