By definition, I am pretty much an atheist.  I don't believe in any personal, intervening type god.  You could say I am a deist, pantheist or my favorite, pandeist, but often these are the "religions" of atheists.  However, I still leave open and unanswered the question of life outside of the body, both from my own personal experiences, thoughts and understanding of energy, and those of others.  Is anyone else in this category, or know of people in this category?  Maybe I just need some good sense talked into me ;-)

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G-man,
I like your thoughts.
What I think, however, is we do need some kind of philosophical belief that can relieve the anxiety of knowing we "just end." This is disquieting to me. However, it seems that most people find a sense of peace as their death becomes imminent. At least I have that recollection. So I need something to believe in that relieves the anxiety that I feel that my life is all I have; I am gone when dead.

Gypsy, you have good thoughts as well. We do wrestle with the idea that without religion, there may be a vacuum that needs to be filled with, "something."

Also, just a simple point, sociologists do understand that we have a personal belief that we are rational, but we all have irrational beliefs we are blind to.

I think we, as a community, on this board, help each other by discussing this topic. I am grateful to you all for contributing to the discussion.
Edward and G-man,

Great thoughts!

@Edward--it seems that you have ruled out an afterlife, correct? What have you found to relieve the anxiety?

Excellent point about irrational beliefs that we personally are blind to--makes me wonder what mine are! ;)
@ Gypsy

You asked Edward how he deals with the anxiety that is caused by not believing in an afterlife, but I think I have a good answer for you. I myself don't believe in an afterlife at all. At first it haunted my mind, and I hate thinking that I will some day just cease to exist. However, if you think about it, if there is no life after death, then you really can't care about anything when you are dead. you don't exist. It is like when you sleep and you don't dream. You wake up several hours later and it feels like you just went to sleep. Death would be like sleeping without dreaming, except you don't wake up. So in a sense we do know what it is like to die. It is like an eternal sleep with no dreams. When I think about it that way it isn't so bad. The only thing that bothers me is the dying part... I hope I go quick!
If one is an atheist than they do not believe in god or an afterlife. The afterlife scenario is what keeps god alive. If one is not sure than then are an agnostic.
Personally, I subscribe to deistic and theological noncognitivism because it helps alleviate the nonsensical definitions and vocabulary associated with explaining our beliefs with the uncertainty they deserve.

That said, I'm an self-identified ignostic that recognizes the value of using the term "atheist" loosely because people identify with the label very loosely.

Technically speaking, everyone is an atheist in some form or another. They lack a belief in somebody's version of god. Mormons are atheists in that they don't believe in Zeus (unless it could be proven that Zeus is Heavenly Father's new temple name that he received eternities ago, but I digress). Trinitarians are atheistic in that they'd have no belief in at least two separate gods (take their pick) because for them, their god is only one, with three names, and three manifestations.

Atheism, by definition, subscribes to no certain belief or disbelief in any defined or undefined version of an afterlife.

I haven't found any clever portmanteau that would work to describe an atheist with a belief, or lack thereof, of a continued existence. Any takers want to create a clever label for such an approach?

Hereafterists, wishfulthinkaliciousnists, OMG-I'm-a-zombie-now-ology, and perhaps a few others but I'm in a hurry so I can't delve into it like I'd want to.

So you're an atheist who rejects a belief in an afterlife? Perhaps you're an atheistic annihilationist.

While I haven't seen any convincing evidence for an afterlife, throw me in the category of a curious, open-minded theological noncognitivist.
Agree worthless words
Interesting discussion here!  I see that it was a long time ago but still a very pertinent subject for all humans really.  I feel that one of the major reasons religion was invented was to decide what happens to people after they die.  So with out religion, of course we still want to know.  I still wonder about it myself.  I have really enjoyed reading through all the different angels on this topic.  So many very valid points made for both cases, afterlife versus no-after life.  The eternal family idea was very very hard for me to let go of.  Lets face it, when you have a wonderful spouse and 5 amazing children of course being with them forever is the ideal.  After losing my faith in Mormonism and then god and Jesus all together I felt like my family and husband were all I had left and it made me hope even more that there is something afterlife, some way that we do have a spirit that lives on.  It is all fairytale as far as I can research, but so long as I am willing to admit that I am not afraid to keep a quiet belief about it.  Hoping for that is ok to me.  Having said that, I too like many others have said here, do not wish to live for the next life.  I am not holding my breath about it, or even planning on it.  And someone mentioned that if it never happens then you never know!  Your right! LOL.  So it is ok in the end either way.
PS, who doesn't want to live forever without the physical problems of having a body and eat chocolate in the clouds? LOL.  It is really fun to dream stuff up!  Just so long as we all don't try and start a church about it right?
Right.  I agree Roz.

After considerable thinking and reading the definitions again, I'm at the point where I would rather not define myself with the term Atheist, because although I'm sure there are no Gods, I'm also sure there is no life after death or anything supernatural, things that the definition of Atheist seems to allow.

I now think the term that best describes me is "Scientific Realist".

Probably my favorite quotes is:  "I have a personal relationship with reality."

I may be playing with semantics here because of having faith, hope, and belief being shoved down my throat for so many years, but I now don't BELIEVE anything.  I ACCEPT as true only those things science has proven to be true beyond any reasonable doubt, by the accumulation of enough evidence.  Scientific evidence is the only thing I trust. 

I cannot trust my desires and feelings, as they can be very easily manipulated by others, as well as by myself.  Even my reason and logic can lead me astray if I don't check them with good scientific evidence. Perhaps those could be called beliefs, however, there seems to be enough evidence to be fairly certain of those conclusions. 

I do have theories, based on logic and reason, but I don't allow myself to become attached to them in a dogmatic fashion anymore.  Generally, I also do not HOPE for them to be true.  I just accept what can be proven to be true.

I see no scientific evidence for an afterlife in the religious sense.  That being said, I do find it interesting to ponder immortality.  So, for what it's worth, here are my theories on the subject so far:

To me, it seems quite reasonable to think that immortality will be accomplished by humans themselves.  My guess is we will accomplish it in about 100 years.  We will probably create artificial bodies that are much better than these fantastic but imperfect bodies that came about through evolution.

An artificial brain will probably be the last thing we invent.  It may take considerably more than 100 years, however when we do accomplish it, we will be close to being immortal.  We could then store all our personal knowledge and memories in several safe places, periodically backing them up, and if something happens that destroys us, we could be resurrected by friends, or machines we’ve programmed to do the job.

The second possibility I see, is that before we do it ourselves, an advanced race from another planet will contact us and show us how to do it.  With the vast distances between suns, this scenario is the least likely.

I think it possible that we could start making some people immortal in as little as 20 years, if medical advancements continue at an accelerated pace.  In 20 years, we could advance enough to prolong most peoples lives another 20 years, then another 40, and etc, until we live forever.

I will probably be dead in 20 years, so I won’t get to see my theory realized (“Missed it by that much!”), but since I left religion behind, I don’t fear death anymore.  I’m sure death will bring an end to worry and suffering because I will cease to exist.  I like what Mark Twain said: "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."

I do feel a little sad that I won’t live forever.  That’s probably because a desire to live has developed in me by natural selection.

I would also love to see my version of the next life because it would be greatly satisfying to see religion die quickly when humans have mastered immortality and have learned how to resurrect themselves without any help from a “God”.

I agree with you.  I don't believe in any kind of loving, caring, or anthropomorphized god.  I guess as far as that goes, that makes me an atheist.  However, I'm not willing to put a blanket statement out there saying that there isn't some form of existence after the death of this body.  I've found that when I have made references to this possibility, other atheists have gotten pretty upset about it.  they've told me that I am not an atheist, that I am more along the lines of agnostic.  Well, just because I haven't ruled out the possibility of some form of existence after this life does not mean that I believe in a god.  They are not mutually exclusive.  As far as I see it, I am still an atheist.  I'm a little bugged because it kind of feels like I'm not accepted among "my own."  It's left me jaded and a little bitter.

 

You're definitely not alone in your views...and you CERTAINLY don't need any sense beat into you. ;)

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