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Do you fear death?

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Johnny Neuron
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Do you fear death?

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In conversation with a few atheists I have heard some of them say that they do not like the idea of death being "nothing." I find this hard to understand. Sure, I don't like the idea of dying but I cannot say I fear death. So after my last thought flickers out of existence and my body starts it's slow decay into atoms there is nothing (at least I am mostly sure of this). What is so bad about that? It's not like I can "feel" the time pass by and I'm bored by it or anything. I often compare it to the time before you were born. Did you miss the Renaissance because you were not alive? No, you didn't have any consciousness to be able to miss it. It's the same thing.In a way, we are immortal. When we were born it was as if time began, for our own consciousness anyway. When we die it is as if time is obliterated. Everything in between is reality. From our perspective, and only our perspective, it is as if we are immortal since we exist when time begins and ends. I know this is a weird way of looking at it but that's nothing new for my thinking.B
fundimentalist

fear death

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No and I was not concerned about being born either. 100 years from now or the second I die my concerns will cease. I do not believe in hell and if heaven exist than thank you if not sleep oh beautiful sleep. Jesus came and brought the concept of heaven and hell. I thank him for the concept and deplore him for the concept of hell.
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Chris OConnor

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Re: fear death

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JohnnyHow anyone can not be afraid of death is beyond me. I would argue that these individuals are more in a state of denying the inevitability of their own death. To "not be" is a horrific thought to me, and I think to most people.I understand that after I'm dead I won't be around to worry about this new status. But the idea of not existing anymore is the scariest concept imaginable. It is the eternal nothingness that freaks me out.Here is a question for you...What would you like your gravestone to read?Chris
Timothy Schoonover

Re: fear death

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I agree with Chris. The problem of death is not something to be underestimated. You cannot simply shrug off the reality of your own mortality.
Johnny Neuron
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Re: my gravestone

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Chris,Of course, since I am only in my mid-twenties and in near perfect health it is easy for me to talk about death being no big deal. When I experience turbulence on a plane, trust me, I don't like it. So my post was more of a philisophical speculation made when all is well, the cold reality of the fact of death would be much harder to swallow if the grim reaper were at my bedside. Okay, now for some more philisophical speculation. Does anyone think we will actually live again? No, I'm not talking about a ressurection by some deity or our "souls" floating off into space, I mean this from a completely scientific standpoint taking into consideration the principles of infinity and probablity. Given infinite time could another universe (perhaps in a larger multiverse) appear where everything is exactly like the one we are in now, where everyone would have a duplicate of themselves living a life that is nearly identical to the one we now have? If that person had exactly the same genes and neurological wiring that we have now could we in essence say that they are *ourselves*?My tombstone? Deluxe with extra cheese. B
Timothy Schoonover

Death

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BradleyIf this universe is but one of an infinitude of universes, and if the state of any given universe is governed by the probability of its likelihood, then not only is there more than one of *you*, but there is an infinite number of *you*. That is to say, given an infinite sample, every possible outcome becomes a reality.Of course this is all dependent upon the existence of innumberable alternate universes. It is fun to think about. If I remember correctly, some have also conjectured theories of time travel based on this concept...(i.e Michael Creighton in Timeline).To comment further on your statements about death...I would agree with you provisionally. By definition death is inconsequential. That is, there is not, nor can there be any consequence to dying. Nonexistence precludes consequences thus death in this sense is inconsequential. The problem for me is that this doesn't really help to understand being and mortality, nor aid in the quest for the good life. If fact, I almost feel cheated of coming to terms with my mortality because I am almost encouraged to disregard it. If you've come from a background similar to Christianity, you will remember how believers were told not to fear death, and that they would be compensated in the afterlife for the suffering in this. They are told to feel good about something bad. They are told to betray the reality of their emotions, to deny their humanness and embrace illusion. In a sense, I see indifference to death in the same way. I am encouraged not to fear death through logical rhetoric in order to avoid confronting the grim truth of mortality.These are good questions Brad, and I don't really have any answers. If I'm just an organism, why shouldn't I just get drunk and end it all with a bullet? Seriously. Why is my life worth living? Am I somehow more special than the cockroaches I feed poison to? I don't give a shit about the future of evolution. I don't give a shit about my genes or anyone elses genes for that matter. Why should I?- TimNote: These questions are meant to induce thought and are not necessarily and affirmation of their implication.
Johnny Neuron
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Good points...

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Tim,In the grand scheme of things I guess any of us could just end it all and it wouldn't *mean* anything. Life seems to have no intrinsic purpose nor does anything have intrinsic worth (whatever that could even mean). You are definitely correct in your assesment of my assesment of death; it is a thought experiment meant to lessen the sad reality of our mortality. The difference between this thinking and the Christian "opium" of an afterlife is that the latter does not encourage changing your conditions, just putting up with life as it is. My thought experiment on death tells nothing of how we should live our day to day lives.I guess I'm sort of a utilitarian when it comes to thoughts. If it truly makes you feel good, and you are not inhibiting your intellect, well then go ahead and think it. I could sit around all day long worrying about horrible things happening that are completely within reason. Does thinking like that ameliorate my life? Nope. Does not thinking about death, or boldly laughing at it rob me of anything good? Again, no. In fact, thinking in this manner helps me concentrate on the present and focuses my energies on pursuits right in front of me. So I choose not to think about it. Again, I reiterate that much of this is a new thought to me since only a couple years ago I thought I would never die (what a concept!). Thanks for the input.Bradley
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Re: Good points...

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Johnny & TimThis subject would make for an awesome conversation outdoors, under the stars, sitting around a campfire having a few drinks with friends. I'm going camping with a group of about 16 friends Jan. 31 thru Feb. 2 and we alays have some quality conversations around the fire late at night. It would be great to have you both there. Someday we should do a BookTalk camping trip. Don't laugh! It would be very cool. TimQuote:If I'm just an organism, why shouldn't I just get drunk and end it all with a bullet? Seriously. Why is my life worth living? Am I somehow more special than the cockroaches I feed poison to? I don't give a shit about the future of evolution. I don't give a shit about my genes or anyone elses genes for that matter. Why should I?Holy shit you need to read Carl Sagan's "Pale Blue Dot." He covers this subject...in fact one could argue that the entire book is about this subject. If anything, go to Barnes & Nobles and read the first several chapters. Nothing profoundly new will be introduced, but you might gain a brand new perspective on life.And I know you aren't actually sitting there wondering whether or not you should just throw in the towel and kill yourself. I understand your points. I've thought about this crap soooo much Tim.I'm not capable of capturing emotions with words the way Sagan and Ann Druyan are, so please check out this book. The bottom line is Carl acknowledges that there is no intrinsic value to life, so we must assign it value ourselves. We could be the only intelligent lifeforms in the universe, although most astronomers think this to be highly unlikely. But as of right now...we are unique. We are special. We are so friggin lucky to be alive.And this is where the value lies. It is incredible to actually defy the odds and be alive and to be able to spend a short time on this rock checking things out. This is better than winning the lottery (not that I wouldn't like to win the Lotto!). It is when I am reading about cosmology that I am the most energized and excited to be alive. I'm at a loss for words right now, but read a few chapters in this book Tim.Chris
SeanDom57

Re: Do you fear death?

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I want to die an old, relatively healthy, active, person. My first choice is to die in my Lover's arms, second choice is during a motorcycle ride, at age 106, slamming into a mountain, following a heart attack. But, die I will. And, if my Lord Jesus Christ keeps His word, I will be going to Heaven. To turn to worm dirt is precisely what my body will do, if I am lucky, I will help a few people catch a few fish, and that is good too, by the way! If my father, who has no belief in anything, at all, is correct, I will have nothing to look forward to, except the latter, it is only through faith that I know that I am going to a "far, far better place..........". I have tried to be a positive force in as many lives as I have been able. When I die, if I am only worm dirt, then I hope they are fishing worms, or in a garden to help some tomato plant. It is true, "we all continue the journey, the secret is no one knows where that journey is going. Afraid, no. Hopeful, yes. I have loved, been loved, helped, been helped, learned, and taught, and after that, I worry not.
Jeremy1952
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Re: Do you fear death?

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I have noticed that I, personally, fear death. I also understand that it is quite irrational. No matter how bad things get, humans rarely commit suicide. I attribute both facts to the same source: evolved survival attributes. Not killing ones self and fearing death both have survival value. Neither is especially rational. If your kids don't need you, why not just off yourself whenever life becomes inconvenient? After all, what difference does it make? But we don't, because our instincts tell us to cling to life.That being said, if someone (Einstein was one who claimed he had), is able to adjust their own viewpoint to be at peace with thier tiny place in the cosmos and give up fear of death, I say, bravo. My personal goal is to emotionally accept myself as part, not only of all humankind, but of all life. Of course our instincts tell us there is an "us" and a "them", and that "us" is our local tribe. I want to feel my "tribe" = "Life". Its not going to happen! Yet, I feel comfortable having an unattainable goal, AND I feel comfortable striving to overcome instinct.
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