Author Topic: Are you afraid of death?  (Read 9058 times)

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Offline Omega

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Re: Are you afraid of death?
« Reply #35 on: June 16, 2012, 09:35:39 AM »
None of the atheists or agnostics are afraid of death, but the Christian who posted is.  I find that interesting.

I'm not afraid of death.

It's an interesting pattern. I've got two theories: A) the religious are afraid they selected the wrong religion or weren't good enough to enter heaven or B) the religious aren't really all that excited by the prospect of immortality.

My theory would rather be that people who are afraid of an unknown like death are also likely to turn to a framework that promises them protection from that unknown.

rumborak

It is true that a fear of death, a craving for cosmic justice, and a desire to see our lives as meaningful can lead us to want to believe that we have immortal souls specially created by God who will reward or punish us for our deeds in this life. But it is no less true that a desire to be free of traditional moral standards, and fear of certain -- real or imagined -- political and social consequences of the truth of religious belief, can also lead us to want to believe that we are just clever animals with no purpose to our lives other than the petty purposes we choose to give them, and that there is no cosmic judge who will punish us for disobeying an objective moral law. Atheism, like religion, can rest on a will to believe than on dispassionate rational arguments. Indeed, as the philosopher CFJ Martin has pointed out, (I'm paraphrasing here) the element of divine punishment -- traditionally damnation in Hell -- shows that atheism is hardly less plausibly motivated by wishful thinking than theism is. For while it is hard to understand why someone would want to believe that he is in danger of perpetual hellfire, it is not at all hard to see why one would desperately want not to believe this.
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Offline theseoafs

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Re: Are you afraid of death?
« Reply #36 on: June 16, 2012, 10:37:49 AM »
None of the atheists or agnostics are afraid of death, but the Christian who posted is.  I find that interesting.

I'm not afraid of death.

It's an interesting pattern. I've got two theories: A) the religious are afraid they selected the wrong religion or weren't good enough to enter heaven or B) the religious aren't really all that excited by the prospect of immortality.

My theory would rather be that people who are afraid of an unknown like death are also likely to turn to a framework that promises them protection from that unknown.

rumborak

Exactly. Fear of death is one of the main reasons religion exists (the other being a way to fill in the gaps in our knowledge). But shouldn't the religion be assuaging their fear of death?

Offline Odysseus

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Re: Are you afraid of death?
« Reply #37 on: June 16, 2012, 11:22:10 AM »
But it is no less true that a desire to be free of traditional moral standards, and fear of certain -- real or imagined -- political and social consequences of the truth of religious belief, can also lead us to want to believe that we are just clever animals with no purpose to our lives other than the petty purposes we choose to give them, and that there is no cosmic judge who will punish us for disobeying an objective moral law. Atheism, like religion, can rest on a will to believe than on dispassionate rational arguments. Indeed, as the philosopher CFJ Martin has pointed out, (I'm paraphrasing here) the element of divine punishment -- traditionally damnation in Hell -- shows that atheism is hardly less plausibly motivated by wishful thinking than theism is. For while it is hard to understand why someone would want to believe that he is in danger of perpetual hellfire, it is not at all hard to see why one would desperately want not to believe this.


Interesting.  It is certainly possible for people to claim to be atheists without ever having thought through the issues involved, much like religious people can do, but in my experience atheists are generally atheists due to a lack of evidence for anything that would lead in the direction of religion rather than fear of some religious idea that has nothing to support it other than stories in a very old book.  Often, many people would tend to settle for the more socially acceptable label of agnostic if they don't care to think things through, I would imagine.  Some people just aren't interested in metaphysics and all that....


Exactly. Fear of death is one of the main reasons religion exists (the other being a way to fill in the gaps in our knowledge). But shouldn't the religion be assuaging their fear of death?

Possibly, but if that religion is a social control tool as much as anything else, then there needs to be positive and negative sanctions on order for the religion to function, death being an integral part of that.  Guilt is a big part of religion.  Pray to Jesus, give to the church fund and thou shalt be guaranteed a seat next to the baby Jesus himself in heaven.  Be an infidel and your purty little butt will be roasted for all eternity by a big red dude with a forked tail. Mwahahahaaa!*

*For the humourless among us, that is not intended to accurately represent heaven and hell ;-)

Offline MrBoom_shack-a-lack

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Re: Are you afraid of death?
« Reply #38 on: June 16, 2012, 12:17:39 PM »
Whose death? My own? No. Someones that I love? Yes.

For me, the fear of death isn't the actual dying. It is the people left behind who have to deal with it. I don't really care if I die, but I care that my parents would have to deal with the consequences of that.
I could not have said it better myself!  :tup
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Offline theseoafs

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Re: Are you afraid of death?
« Reply #39 on: June 16, 2012, 10:10:08 PM »
It is true that a fear of death, a craving for cosmic justice, and a desire to see our lives as meaningful can lead us to want to believe that we have immortal souls specially created by God who will reward or punish us for our deeds in this life. But it is no less true that a desire to be free of traditional moral standards, and fear of certain -- real or imagined -- political and social consequences of the truth of religious belief, can also lead us to want to believe that we are just clever animals with no purpose to our lives other than the petty purposes we choose to give them, and that there is no cosmic judge who will punish us for disobeying an objective moral law. Atheism, like religion, can rest on a will to believe than on dispassionate rational arguments. Indeed, as the philosopher CFJ Martin has pointed out, (I'm paraphrasing here) the element of divine punishment -- traditionally damnation in Hell -- shows that atheism is hardly less plausibly motivated by wishful thinking than theism is. For while it is hard to understand why someone would want to believe that he is in danger of perpetual hellfire, it is not at all hard to see why one would desperately want not to believe this.

On the whole, this is an interesting prospect which I hadn't given much thought to beforehand. However, this:
Quote
a desire to be free of traditional moral standards
is off-base. Your morality doesn't necessarily change as you become atheistic; in practice, the only thing that atheistic and theistic people disagree on morally are things like nonheterosexuality, eating meat on certain days of the week, and prayer infrequency, all of which were never strictly immoral in the first place.

Re: Are you afraid of death?
« Reply #40 on: June 17, 2012, 02:55:29 AM »
My only fear is not living life to its full potential. Dying when I feel like I still have work to accomplish on Planet Earth.

Offline rumborak

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Re: Are you afraid of death?
« Reply #41 on: June 17, 2012, 05:30:38 AM »
On the whole, this is an interesting prospect which I hadn't given much thought to beforehand. However, this:
Quote
a desire to be free of traditional moral standards
is off-base. Your morality doesn't necessarily change as you become atheistic;

Just fyi, you barely will get an Omega post that doesn't have his theistic morality argument shoehorned into it.

rumborak
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Offline HarlequinForest

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Re: Are you afraid of death?
« Reply #42 on: June 17, 2012, 06:09:31 AM »
Yes.  Don't believe in an afterlife and I believe everything in life is ultimately meaningless, but we're just biologically programmed to be afraid of death, so that's why.

Offline El JoNNo

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Re: Are you afraid of death?
« Reply #43 on: June 17, 2012, 06:28:49 AM »
Yes.  Don't believe in an afterlife and I believe everything in life is ultimately meaningless, but we're just biologically programmed to be afraid of death, so that's why.
I don't think we are biologically programmed to be afraid of death. I think we are biologically programmed to prefer survival.

Offline the Catfishman

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Re: Are you afraid of death?
« Reply #44 on: June 17, 2012, 07:11:33 AM »
The reason adults don't believe in santa clause is not because it doesn't make sense to them, it's because they can't deal with the consequences of being naughty boys and girls and in turn not getting presents...   
« Last Edit: June 17, 2012, 09:13:03 AM by the Catfishman »

Offline theseoafs

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Re: Are you afraid of death?
« Reply #45 on: June 17, 2012, 09:31:42 AM »
On the whole, this is an interesting prospect which I hadn't given much thought to beforehand. However, this:
Quote
a desire to be free of traditional moral standards
is off-base. Your morality doesn't necessarily change as you become atheistic;

Just fyi, you barely will get an Omega post that doesn't have his theistic morality argument shoehorned into it.

rumborak

I know that, but something about it is just so blatantly incorrect that I can't resist baiting him.

Omega is irresistible.

Offline MrBoom_shack-a-lack

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Re: Are you afraid of death?
« Reply #46 on: June 17, 2012, 11:45:45 AM »
This just happend at a wildlife park in Sweden:

http://sverigesradio.se/sida/artikel.aspx?programid=2054&artikel=5155370

I canīt think of a more aweful end of your life than to be killed by a predator!
"I said to Nigel Tufnel, 'The door is open if you want to do anything on this record,' but it turns out Nigel has a phobia about doors." /Derek Smalls

Offline Odysseus

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Re: Are you afraid of death?
« Reply #47 on: June 17, 2012, 12:31:46 PM »
This just happend at a wildlife park in Sweden:

http://sverigesradio.se/sida/artikel.aspx?programid=2054&artikel=5155370

I canīt think of a more aweful end of your life than to be killed by a predator!

Kind of makes me aware of what it must be like for most other species.....

Offline Scheavo

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Re: Are you afraid of death?
« Reply #48 on: June 17, 2012, 12:52:42 PM »
This just happend at a wildlife park in Sweden:

http://sverigesradio.se/sida/artikel.aspx?programid=2054&artikel=5155370

I canīt think of a more aweful end of your life than to be killed by a predator!

The actual experience, or what? Because honestly, I'd say dying in a car accident because some dumbfuck can't correctly judge how fast your moving and pulls out in front of you is a worse way to die. At least if a predator eats you, you're death is somewhat constructive.





Offline MrBoom_shack-a-lack

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Re: Are you afraid of death?
« Reply #49 on: June 17, 2012, 01:21:16 PM »
This just happend at a wildlife park in Sweden:

http://sverigesradio.se/sida/artikel.aspx?programid=2054&artikel=5155370

I canīt think of a more aweful end of your life than to be killed by a predator!

The actual experience, or what? Because honestly, I'd say dying in a car accident because some dumbfuck can't correctly judge how fast your moving and pulls out in front of you is a worse way to die. At least if a predator eats you, you're death is somewhat constructive.
Yeah i mean the actual experience. The wolfs werenīt attacking her out of hunger apparently and she was in the hands of the wolfs for 30 minutes before they could do anything. Itīs just a very gruesome thing to be eaten alive and the slow process it would take before you pass out and die!
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Offline Omega

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Re: Are you afraid of death?
« Reply #50 on: June 17, 2012, 07:33:45 PM »
a desire to be free of traditional moral standards

This is off-base. Your morality doesn't necessarily change as you become atheistic; in practice, the only thing that atheistic and theistic people disagree on morally are things like nonheterosexuality, eating meat on certain days of the week, and prayer infrequency, all of which were never strictly immoral in the first place.

To begin with, allow me to make it clear that I wasn't making any sort of ontological moral claim in the particular passage in question here. And I'm not too sure what you mean by "off-base" or what, really, the disagreement is here. I don't think what I posted was controversial in the slightest. If I may, I get the distinct feeling that you're simply "disagreeing" with me merely for the sake of disagreeing with me. But, to the point: one's metaphysics and philosophical approach (under which morality resides) cannot fail to change as one makes a transition from atheism to theism or vice versa. For on theism, (at least in most forms of theism; e.g. Christianity, etc) morality is to be understood an objective and binding reality which is ordained and a reflection of God's paradigmatically good nature. In most forms of atheism (emphasis on most; there are multitudes of approaches to morality on an atheistic worldview though, not surprisingly, I believe they all ultimately fail), morality is nothing more but an subjective human construct with no binding value which varies from cultures and across continents or else is nothing more than a mere tool that natural selection deemed helpful in the advancement of the flourishing of the species homo sapiens.

But I digress... Look at me, I'm running my mouth off again on morality. Anyway, you've read too much into the term "traditional moral standards," I think. For I only meant to convey a very non-controversial and simple point with that section of text; that a desire to be free of the traditional moral standards established and maintained by a theistic worldview (which go far beyond the mere ritualistic establishments you mention; abstinence from sex before marriage, a singular and faithful marriage, opposition towards abortion, euthanasia, some forms of capital punishment, a marriage grounded in reason and the Natural Law -- you guessed it: between one man and one woman -- etc, etc, etc) is more than capable of leading some to seek to abandon theism and turn to atheism. The main point, again, is that atheism, like religion, can and often does rest on a will to believe rather than on dispassionate rational arguments.
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Offline Sigz

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Re: Are you afraid of death?
« Reply #51 on: June 17, 2012, 07:35:47 PM »
The main point, again, is that atheism, like religion, can and often does rest on a will to believe rather than on dispassionate rational arguments.

I think we can all agree on this.
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Offline Scheavo

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Re: Are you afraid of death?
« Reply #52 on: June 17, 2012, 07:57:07 PM »
Quote
else is nothing more than a mere tool that natural selection deemed helpful in the advancement of the flourishing of the species homo sapiens.

I'm not sure you quite understand evolutionary theory. But that's a huge sidebar.

Offline theseoafs

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Re: Are you afraid of death?
« Reply #53 on: June 17, 2012, 08:00:00 PM »
Quote
else is nothing more than a mere tool that natural selection deemed helpful in the advancement of the flourishing of the species homo sapiens.

I'm not sure you quite understand evolutionary theory. But that's a huge sidebar.

His understanding seems fine to me.

Offline El JoNNo

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Re: Are you afraid of death?
« Reply #54 on: June 17, 2012, 08:05:17 PM »
Quote
else is nothing more than a mere tool that natural selection deemed helpful in the advancement of the flourishing of the species homo sapiens.

I'm not sure you quite understand evolutionary theory. But that's a huge sidebar.

His understanding seems fine to me.

The sentence does imply that natural selection is an entity but I'm sure that is not at all what Omega meant.

Offline theseoafs

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Re: Are you afraid of death?
« Reply #55 on: June 17, 2012, 08:26:21 PM »
That's the understanding I assumed.

Offline Scheavo

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Re: Are you afraid of death?
« Reply #56 on: June 17, 2012, 10:43:25 PM »
It implies there was a design, or that there was something more than just the happenstance and pure whathappenedness of reality and evolution. It's not that natural selection chose anything, it's that certain traits were more advantageous, at least in combination with other traits. Furthermore, there was no "advancement" of the human species, or any species for that matter, as this heavily implies that there is a goal, an end and that humans are "progressing."

Basically, there's several themes in how he described evolutionary theory which are off-base, or at least out-of-date.

Offline Omega

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Re: Are you afraid of death?
« Reply #57 on: June 18, 2012, 11:53:18 AM »
The reason adults don't believe in santa clause is not because it doesn't make sense to them, it's because they can't deal with the consequences of being naughty boys and girls and in turn not getting presents...

Boy do I love the smell of straw men in the morning...
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Offline comment

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Re: Are you afraid of death?
« Reply #58 on: June 18, 2012, 01:57:17 PM »
@OP:  No.  Death is not the end it's only a transition.
« Last Edit: June 18, 2012, 02:25:04 PM by comment »
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Offline Ħ

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Re: Are you afraid of death?
« Reply #59 on: June 18, 2012, 03:02:28 PM »
Natural selection is all about survival and reproduction. Biologically, we're programmed to fear death. I believe almost every mentally sane person fears death. I believe (EDIT: pretty much) everyone that claims to not fear death is lying.
« Last Edit: June 18, 2012, 03:19:13 PM by Ħ »
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Offline Sigz

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Re: Are you afraid of death?
« Reply #60 on: June 18, 2012, 03:05:50 PM »
Biologically we're programmed to reproduce. Does that mean someone who's asexual isn't mentally sane?
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Offline Adami

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Re: Are you afraid of death?
« Reply #61 on: June 18, 2012, 03:13:27 PM »
Biologically we're programmed to reproduce. Does that mean someone who's asexual isn't mentally sane?

Asexual? No. Just gay people.
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Offline Ħ

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Re: Are you afraid of death?
« Reply #62 on: June 18, 2012, 03:17:59 PM »
Biologically we're programmed to reproduce. Does that mean someone who's asexual isn't mentally sane?
I meant to keep my statement from being a concrete absolute (hence the word "almost" in my post). Clearly there are sane people that don't fear death or are asexual, or both. But I highly doubt it is anywhere close to being the majority that we've seen in this thread.
"All great works are prepared in the desert, including the redemption of the world. The precursors, the followers, the Master Himself, all obeyed or have to obey one and the same law. Prophets, apostles, preachers, martyrs, pioneers of knowledge, inspired artists in every art, ordinary men and the Man-God, all pay tribute to loneliness, to the life of silence, to the night." - A. G. Sertillanges

Offline Sigz

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Re: Are you afraid of death?
« Reply #63 on: June 18, 2012, 03:20:45 PM »
Fair enough.

But you're failing to make the distinction between 'death' and 'dying'. I doubt (m)any of the people here who say they aren't afraid of death would be perfectly fine staring down the barrel of a gun.
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Offline Ħ

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Re: Are you afraid of death?
« Reply #64 on: June 18, 2012, 03:24:48 PM »
I doubt (m)any of the people here who say they aren't afraid of death would be perfectly fine staring down the barrel of a gun.
Aaaa too many double negatives! I think you are saying that many people, while being afraid of dying, are not afraid of death? If so, I disagree on the basis of what we know about biology.
"All great works are prepared in the desert, including the redemption of the world. The precursors, the followers, the Master Himself, all obeyed or have to obey one and the same law. Prophets, apostles, preachers, martyrs, pioneers of knowledge, inspired artists in every art, ordinary men and the Man-God, all pay tribute to loneliness, to the life of silence, to the night." - A. G. Sertillanges

Offline Dublagent66

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Re: Are you afraid of death?
« Reply #65 on: June 18, 2012, 03:54:18 PM »
Natural selection is all about survival and reproduction. Biologically, we're programmed to fear death. I believe almost every mentally sane person fears death. I believe (EDIT: pretty much) everyone that claims to not fear death is lying.

Well, instinctively we fear death because of self preservation.  But, looking at it from a logical perspective, death is inescapable so why fear it?  I would be more afraid of the suffering and anticipation before death than death itself.
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Offline Ħ

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Re: Are you afraid of death?
« Reply #66 on: June 18, 2012, 03:54:53 PM »
24 people have stated that they do not fear death.
6 people have stated that they do.

Biologically, we would expect a given species that has fear potential (e.g. humans )to fear death. Historically, the fear of death is everywhere, including our last two millennia of logic  - it's in countless religions and mythologies that have come and gone.

So either 1) DTF is a very special community, or 2) someone is lying.
"All great works are prepared in the desert, including the redemption of the world. The precursors, the followers, the Master Himself, all obeyed or have to obey one and the same law. Prophets, apostles, preachers, martyrs, pioneers of knowledge, inspired artists in every art, ordinary men and the Man-God, all pay tribute to loneliness, to the life of silence, to the night." - A. G. Sertillanges

Offline Sigz

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Re: Are you afraid of death?
« Reply #67 on: June 18, 2012, 03:57:47 PM »
What motivation would there be to lie about it?
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Offline Ħ

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Re: Are you afraid of death?
« Reply #68 on: June 18, 2012, 03:59:57 PM »
I don't know, but I've a hunch. It might offend people if I stated it, though.
"All great works are prepared in the desert, including the redemption of the world. The precursors, the followers, the Master Himself, all obeyed or have to obey one and the same law. Prophets, apostles, preachers, martyrs, pioneers of knowledge, inspired artists in every art, ordinary men and the Man-God, all pay tribute to loneliness, to the life of silence, to the night." - A. G. Sertillanges

Offline Sigz

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Re: Are you afraid of death?
« Reply #69 on: June 18, 2012, 04:01:28 PM »
 :lol I figured.

Either way though, the majority of people who responded no in this thread are not religious, so I don't really see how this:

Historically, the fear of death is everywhere, including our last two millennia of logic  - it's in countless religions and mythologies that have come and gone.

Is relevant.
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