Atheist Meme of the Day: “I do not fear death”


Scarlet letter I’ve decided to make it Quotations Week on the Atheist Meme of the Day. Here’s today’s Atheist Meme of the Day, from my Facebook page. Pass this on; or don’t; or make up your own. Enjoy!

“I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.” -Mark Twain

Comments

  1. teammarty says

    I’m sure that you’ve heard the old Woody Allen (and probably even older) joke:
    “I’m not affraid of death, I just don;t want to be there when it happens

  2. says

    Weird, I totally fear death.
    I’m having a really hard time with it. This is all I get and I’m trying to squeeze every bit of joy, companionship, self growth, social improvement and a variety out of other things out of these short 80 years I might get.
    I dont fear death because I fear something dreadful on the other side, I fear death because I’m really enjoying my time and I don’t want it to end.

  3. Robyn Slinger says

    But the difference is, after you have lived, you know you’re dead, whereas before you didn’t realise ;-)
    It sort of reminds me of another wise man’s quote: Stupidity is a bit like death; the dead don’t know they’re dead, it’s the others who are sad.

  4. archy says

    some people i told him inhabit
    a vacuum all their lives and
    never know it then he said it don t
    hurt them any no i said it don t but it
    hurts people who have to associate
    with them and with these words
    we parted each feeling
    superior to the other and is not that
    feeling after all one of the great
    desiderata of social intercourse

  5. Maria says

    I do not fear being dead. It will be like not being born, yes, because there will be no me to fear or experience anything.
    I still fear losing this life, at least now when it’s relatively good and I have things I want to do and finish, and people I love and things I enjoy. I get old and sick enough I might see it differently, I don’t know, but for now I do fear that.
    The difference is, I guess, that before I was born there never was a me that could contemplate not being born yet. Now there is a me that can contemplate not being anymore, and that is painful to a certain degree.
    Once it has happened though, it won’t even be that I won’t care, there won’t be a me that can care, or anything else. In that aspect it’s rather meaningless to think about death, but I admit that the fear of losing this life is there and is sometimes big. But it’s not like I think about it every day. I think I fear other’s death even more than my own, that the ones I love will die before me.
    I’d say that being an atheist in itself does not take away the fear of death (or to be more precise the fear of losing a life you are now acutely aware off and can’t think away, not being dead per se). But all those worries about what will happen after death, eternal punishments or rewards and all that, are of course not there at all, which is a whole bunch of things less to worry about in the only life we have.

  6. Valhar2000 says

    Well, perhaps it would be inaccurate to say I am not afraid of death; I would certainly attempt to prolong my life if I ever found myself in a situation in which I was in genuine danger of dying.
    However, it is not something that worries me at all, even when I think about it, and the fear that other people sometimes express, of what may or may not happen after death, is something I find incomprehensible.
    I’m fine with the idea that there is nothing after death, that what makes me “me” will cease to exist, and a corpse will be left behind, but without me being aware of it or anything else beyond that point. I cannot bring myself to see it as the most evil, most scary thing that could possibly happen, which is how so many people seem to think about it.
    Well, that was kind of a meandering comment, but I think you see what I mean.

  7. says

    @Maria:
    “I’d say that being an atheist in itself does not take away the fear of death (or to be more precise the fear of losing a life you are now acutely aware off and can’t think away, not being dead per se).”
    While I’ve never been religious, I’d say that being religious would take away the fear of death. After all, you will just go on living for eternity… Being an atheist means you decide to acknowledge the facts and you learn to live with them.

  8. Maria says

    While I’ve never been religious, I’d say that being religious would take away the fear of death. After all, you will just go on living for eternity… Being an atheist means you decide to acknowledge the facts and you learn to live with them.
    I agree. I’ve never been religious either, and learning to live with the fact is exactly what I’ve done, I guess. Which doesn’t make me happy about death, but the thought of it doesn’t disturb my life terribly much.
    The thing is it doesn’t seem like theists are that significantly much less afraid of death, even if they do believe these things. Most of them are in no hurry what so ever to get to heaven (and isn’t that weird?) and feel the same mortal dread if you stick a gun in their face, and so on. Most of them react with the same kind of grief dealing with loved ones dying, too. So, it doesn’t seem to work all that well. It just gives them more to worry about because not only is there an afterlife, there are several kinds of afterlife, and you don’t want to end up in the wrong one, and be tortured in hell for all eternity. So, unless they are 100% certain of going to heaven (a concept that is really rather horrifying in itself if you really think about what it would mean – which they seem to not think about) the idea of an afterlife will not be all that comforting either and doesn’t seem to really take away the fear. Of course some of them are 100% certain they will go to heaven, which are, in worryingly many cases, the worst kind of religious people here on earth.
    Atheism seems much better suited to help a person do exactly what you say, acknowledge the facts and learn to live with them. But I also think that fear of dying, or being killed, is a rather deeply rooted fear that you probably can’t completely get rid of. There are after all thousands of horrible and extremely painful ways of dying on, so I don’t think atheism helps with that, and no religion will either. But yeah, being dead, should not really scare us because there is nothing after death that we can be scared about, and there will be no ‘us’ that can be scared. With that I think religions are no help at all, since they propagate that there are both a consciousness after death, that can go on suffering, and places to go to – and not all of them are nice.

  9. cathy says

    It really does not follow from ‘death is scary’ to ‘god and/or an afterlife exist’. It might even explain a psycological motivation for believing in something (that it gives comfort) but it gives nothing in the way of truth. There are lots of things that are true that I wish were not, but pretending they aren’t doesn’t fix the problem and sometimes makes it, or other problems, worse. I wish we lived in a world without murder, but pretending like we do is really not helpful and actually makes it harder to reduce the problem. Religion doesn’t fix death, improve life expectancy, etc, that’s just a pretty lie.

  10. Josh L says

    Are you sure this is a real Twain quote?
    Billions of years wasn’t his time-scale. I’m sorry. It wasn’t the time-scale of any science of his time. He thought of starlight traveling hundreds of thousands of years. He thought of the dinosaurs as a few million years ago.
    This is a great thought and a great quote. It’s just too modern to be authentic.

  11. William Mayes says

    I’m not afraid of being dead. It’s the process of becoming dead that bothers me.
    Mark Twain like all living things was alive before he was born. All life comes fom life. There was most likely only one beginning of life, so Mark Twain like everyone else could only be said to have been dead before life began.

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