An Atheist Still Fearing Death

I don’t know why but death still scares the shit out of me. I mean what if we are wrong, and there is something after death? The other night I woke at about four in the morning and for some reason I was scared that if I went back to sleep I wouldn’t wake up.

Anyone else have any fear about death?

I know it is possible that death is nothing, one ceases to be, like before I was born. The world still goes on too. But the idea of dying still scares me.

Anyone else?

In my opinion, we are programmed via “evolution” and “nature” to fear death, think about it: if we humans did not have fear of death. Many of us would not survive to adulthood and reproduction and care/raising of our kids. We fear harm, and we fear the loss of “everything” that occurs in death, and we certainly also fear the death of other humans in our lives that are important to us.

This seems unlikely to me. Everything I have learned in this life points to the brain being machinery, almost like a computer, and if we damage or kill the brain, then there is nothing, for the parts of the brain that are gone/dead. If we suffer major injury to our hippocampus and/or neo-cortex and/or amygdala, our memory functions cease in the corresponding ways based on damage to this area.

Think of terms of the computer. Take out the highspeed level 1/2 cache, and the computer performs much slower, being forced to use the much slower Random Access Memory. Take that out, and the computer is forced to use the even slower “physical” memory that can store data even in the event of a power loss (long term memory.) Take all 3 out, and the rest of the computer can do nothing at all. (Technically, w/o any one of these, the computer will stop functioning w/o a robust work around, but the human brain is much more adaptable and “elastic” then the ultra rigid processes of a computer.

I am going to guess you are 20 years old. 20 times 365 = 7300. That is roughly 7300 times you went to sleep for a couple of hours and woke back up. Double that number (at minimum) if you count naps. Especially when you were little. You are well out of the higher risk zone as well, (you are not an infant so you (well your parents) no longer have to worry about SIDS. Also look at the statistics, how many people around your age “die” in their sleep? My guess on any given night, its 1 in many millions.

I think everyone does as I said above, it is only natural. The real question is, do you let your fear control you? I fear death, and I use that as motivation to “Carpe Diem” (seize the day) instead of worrying about the future. We can safely assume our lives our finite, so we should take advantage of the fact that we are, instead of worrying about when we are not.

Yes, the world goes on, but the person that dies, that person’s world ends.

Me personally I realize I am 99+% (genetically, the instructions of life) the same as all other humans on this planet, we humans as a race, a subspecies of apes, continue on. I consider myself a part of the human race, and that part will very likely continue on, only my part in it will end. So far I have lived my life like it is finite, and I am very grateful to be alive. I think that is all we can do to help alleviate the fear of death.

Sure, we can pick up unevidenced superstition to fool ourselves and make ourselves feel better, but I personally think there is a heavy price to be paid for that.

1 Like

Sorry Fievel, can’t help you …
Death to me is the Big Rest. No more problems. No more worries. A simple journey into a state of dreamlessness from which I will never return. I like a little Douglas Adam’s quote here… “Goodbye, and thanks for all the fish.”

Basically, “Goodbye and it was a great life. I have enjoyed it and now it is time to go.”

So… what is there to fear?
I have a suggestion for you. Get a piece of paper out and start writing. Write down why you fear death. Whatever comes to mind. After you write it out… directly under what you have written… write the words… "and if that is not the reason the next reason would be… " and write whatever else comes into your mind. Force yourself to sit there and keep writing until you are sure you have run out of reasons… You may surprise yourself.


I wish I was in my twenties, but I am 50. I realize at this point that if I am lucky I have 50 more years to go. I hope to live those 50 years and will make everyday count. Will try not to think or dwell on death too much, as I do realize death is painless.

It still bothers me at times or I wouldn’t have posted this thread.

“Nothing nothing nothing.” I can not think of many things to fear about death itself, but for some reason I still do not want to have to die. It is something I must deal with, so I will do my best to enjoy life.

Life for me only has the meaning of having a good time if I can.

Based on what exactly? What objective evidence can anyone demonstrate that a human being is capable of surviving their own death in any meaningful way? Also assuming there were “something” to experience after death, why should we fear that, I mean if death isn’t to be feared why would I fear not dying?


Is there any, ANY real evidence of ghosts, or spirits, or supernatural beings? When I am presented with them, then I will start thinking about that subject.

I don’t live my life fearing and preparing for Groschkensiabley, that alien overlord preparing to invade Earth, I don’t live my life fearing the supernatural, and I don’t plan my life around a purely hypothetical unproven entity.

1 Like

Me too mate. At 73 I’m closer to death than away from it. The instinct to survive is the most powerful instinct we have. If it were not our species would probably not survive.,

What if we’re wrong? Yeah, I sometimes think of that. I’m an agnostic atheist, which means I do not believe but do not claim to know. That means I’m not certain, and have niggles. I think having SOME doubts is a perfectly rational position to take. Ruminating about it is not rational imo.

All I can say is that if the monster of the Torah is real I’m fucked. I prefer to think any god(s) might just as reasonably be some of the nicer Hindu gods such as Krishna and Ganesh.

Excessive fear of death/dying is a pathology called thanatphobia and is considered to be the result of a genera anxiety disorder.

Well I can hardly imagine life if it does extend past death, and what would I do with myself. I guess my biggest fear is that the what if there is something. And if so, what would a god do when meeting them when it comes to me being an atheist? Would that mean I spend eternity in some hell?

I am sure life is long enough, and only fear the unknown. If there is something maybe I’ll get answers to things we can not answer.

Like I know the Big Bang happened, was there a cause or did it just spring to be? I have a feeling I will make peace with all of that and not mind dying.

  1. If there were something after death what in the hell makes you think it would be the butchering asshole Christian or Jewish God and not one of the millions of Gods that came before or any of the versions that came after?

  2. You seriously think that if there is a God it would be something like the torturing butchering piece of shit in the Bible? How did you rule out Brahma, Nirvana, Hindus reincarnation, The six destinies of the Buddhists, What if we live on as Ghosts in a parallel dimension, Plato asserted good souls went to islands and bad souls were chastised, The Mormons assert you will get your own planet and be a god who rules over it.,

For the pharaohs of ancient Egypt, death was temporary. You died and went on a spiritual journey. Your soul was then weighed against a feather and you were eaten by a demon of allowed to move on to another existence.

According to some quantum physicists, life creates the universe and not the opposite. In this conception of the world, bodies die, but consciousness continues to exist. Your consciousness (The collective consciousness) merely returns to the universe.

According to proponents of solipsism, you are the only person who exists, and the entire universe is but the fruit of your imagination.

According to the Aztecs, soldiers who died during battle were reincarnated as butterflies or hummingbirds four years after their demise. But if you drowned you would go to a heaven after spending four years in hell.

What if all this was just one big dream? Are we the result of a huge computer simulation?

According to the Rastas: heaven corresponds to Ethiopia. In other words, if you were a good person, when you die, you will find yourself in a third-world country where the infant mortality rate is 68%.

According to nihilism, life after death doesn’t exist.

Islamic terrorists are motivated by the belief that 72 virgins await in heaven.

Aboriginals believed in a place called the “Land of the Dead”. (the “sky-world” ) and were then resurrected back into the world in Australia.

Yucatec Maya believed that there were different routes after death deceased ancestors can still contact their descendants, answering advice when they are asked. (This is a form of ancestor worship.) After Christianity the Maya too developed a story of torture and damnation in the afterlife. Heaven was believed to have 13 layers, and each layer had its own god. Uppermost was the muan bird, a kind of screech-owl. The Underworld had nine layers, with nine corresponding Lords of the Night. The Underworld was a cold, unhappy place and was believed to be the destination of most Maya after death.


1 Like


Not me mate. If I had my druthers I’d druther be alive and miserable than dead. So much so that if I could refused to go, I would.

These days, it seems as if my life has passed within the blink of an eye. To make matters worse, it seems to me today that the passing of a year seems as long as the passing of a month once did… The passage of a single day is very swift indeed.***

OF COURSE I have no idea how I’ll feel in say 10 to 15 years. My mum dies last year at 92. This occurred then because she refused any but palliative care. The event was common for mum and was usually resolved with blood transfusions. She was perfectly lucid, and had just had enough. So she just faded way in a morphine induced coma. I can think of worse ways to die.


The relative speeding up of time as one ages is common. Physics has an explanation:

his effect is related to saccadic eye movement. Saccades are unconscious, jerk-like eye movements that occur a few times a second. In between saccades, your eyes fixate and the brain processes the visual information it has received. All of this happens unconsciously, without any effort on your part. In human infants, those fixation periods are shorter than in adults.

There’s an inversely proportional relationship between stimuli processing and the sense of time speeding by, Bejan says. So, when you are young and experiencing lots of new stimuli—everything is new—time actually seems to be passing more slowly. As you get older, the production of mental images slows, giving the sense that time passes more rapidly.

Fatigue also influences saccades, creating overlaps and pauses in these eye movements that lead to crossed signals. The tired brain can’t transfer the information effectively when it’s simultaneously trying to see and make sense of the visual information. It’s designed to do these things separately.

This is what leads to athletes’ poor performance when exhausted. Their processing powers get muddled and their sense of timing is off. They can’t see or respond rapidly to new situations------,related%20to%20saccadic%20eye%20movement.&text=So%2C%20when%20you%20are%20young,that%20time%20passes%20more%20rapidly.

1 Like

“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.

1 Like

Truly yes time seems to pass much faster as 50 and a half is near here already. Time when I was preteen sometimes seemed to go slow, but now it’s hard for me to imagine that I am actually the big 5 0. I just hope I have another 50 to go, then I think I’ll be happy to die into nothing.

I like Mark Twain, and that’s exactly right. Before I was born I experienced nothing, no pain, anger, happiness nothing.

I am sure that’s what death is too. But it still somehow scares me some.

It scares everyone. But I don’t waste time on such angst because I have a limited time here, and I intend to cram it full of fun, wonderful memories, and good times.

This …

Or this …

I choose the latter.

1 Like

You need to volunteer in a Nursing home or Hospice where you can watch people lingering into old age, going senile, rotting away of cancers, or being eaten away by gangrene. You will think twice about lingering for as long as you possibly can and then end up begging for it all to end. (I have witnessed hundreds of these situations>) Live your life now so that when the time comes you will be glad to say goodbye.

1 Like

When I make either my late 70s, 80s or 90s I will probably welcome death. Regardless if there’s something afterward or not.

Of course keeping in mind how much evidence there is of an afterlife, there’s probably nothing there at all. No consciousness no memories no pain just nothing.

I wasn’t alive for many years and never minded then before my birth in 1970. I figure things will just be like that like before I was here. I was at Nursing Homes a few times in my life, but that was when I still believed that a God was real. I believed in Jesus Christ and thought he was hung on a cross. I believed that God the Christian god was real, and believed that when people died that they went to some heaven.

About a year or so ago I went on a personal quest to find some answers and actual evidence for the god I believed in. The only evidence I ever found was all listed on religious websites and I couldn’t find evidence elsewhere. Even Wikipedia lists God(s) as beliefs but doesn’t list any as fact. So little by little my faith faded further and further until there was nothing left. I realized basically the only ones pushing any evidence was religious websites, and the real evidence for a god equals to 0.

I figure once I hit a much older age, I will be more and more ready to say goodbye to everything. I have given Larry King’s idea thought though, if there’s anyway it could be achieved. And if so, I would want to have my brain placed in an eight-year-old-boy.

But that just seems like a fantasy like believing in a god.

Signing this one off. Fievel. :wink:

The idea that life extends passed death is an oxymoron, since by definition death and life are negations of each other.

I already covered this…

Who cares, it can’t kill you so who gives a fuck, I’d laugh in its face, especially if it was the capricious and immoral deity of Abrahamic religions.

You may want to cut back on the pot, seriously…just saying. Or not, it’s your life after all.

1 Like

Yeah it is, and I want to smoke as much and as often as I can. It is the way I enjoy my life, getting high.

Here in PA our governor is pushing hard for legalization, and I have a feeling he’ll get it passed before he has to leave office in 2022. The way it is going right now it might pass before spring of 2021. If it does I will be planting the max of six plants in the back yard. Let them get as big as possible then I’ll have a large supply for awhile.

Oh and yeah there were some things you had already covered… DOH!


I love everyone’s posts, they are usually straight on, unless it’s coming from a theist.

I disagree, I think with an unevidenced claim as fantastical as just about all the religious/god claims I ever heard of, is an irrational position to take.

Is it possible that if I buy 1 powerball lottery ticket a month in 2021, that I will win a billion plus dollar powerball jackpot, every month of 2021? Yes.

Should I start planning on the possibility of living the life of a multi billionaire in 2021 now? No, that would be irrational. Just because it is possible, does not mean its rational to consider the possibility of it in any meaningful way.

Everything I have learned in this life tells me, that the possibility of any particular god being real and accurate description of said god, is even lower than the possibility of me winning billion dollar lotto jackpots 12 times next year with 12 tickets.

The god claim is so unlikely (to me) because they are trying explain all the complexity of the universe with a far more complex entity, that the purveyors of this myth admit we cannot even understand, let alone evidence. (What lots of these folks call evidence of their god, all us regulars here know is NOT actually evidence.)