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How do agnostics handle their own death?

 
 
Reply Tue 6 Sep, 2005 12:03 pm
I searched thru A2K and found a closely related thread, but not quite an answer to my question.

How do agnostics reconcile their impending death (assuming they know its coming)?

Seems to me that religious folks would be comfortable with death, because they are confident of where they are going. Of course, they might be wrong, but they are confident.

Atheists are similar. When they die, they typically feel its all over and go into a void (become worm food, whatever), so I understand how they can deal with it as well.

But agnostics must agonize over it, not knowing for sure one way or other. My only guess is that somehow at the end, they lean toward a theist or atheist position, or rationalize that whatever god might exist simply won't care about them.
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Phoenix32890
 
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Reply Tue 6 Sep, 2005 12:09 pm
slkshock7 wrote:

But agnostics must agonize over it, not knowing for sure one way or other. My only guess is that somehow at the end, they lean toward a theist or atheist position, or rationalize that whatever god might exist simply won't care about them.


At one point in my life, I was in a position where there was a good reason to think that I was going to die. At that point I considered myself an atheist. (I have subsequently changed my position to agnostic).

Anyhow, the morning after I received my diagnosis I sat bolt upright in bed, and thought to myself, "Holy sh!t, I'm still an atheist".

I think that if I knew that I were going to die tomorrow, I would have a drink, sing a couple of choruses of, "Is that All There Is?", and ride quickly into the sunset!
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edgarblythe
 
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Reply Tue 6 Sep, 2005 04:57 pm
I am incapable of being other than an atheist. No argument, no personal experience will ever sway me. I don't spend a great deal of time agonizing over my inevitable demise. Why should I? That just cuts into my enjoyment time.
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Setanta
 
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Reply Tue 6 Sep, 2005 05:46 pm
How do agnostics (or atheists) handle their own deaths?

They keel over, and have nothing further to say on the subject.
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slkshock7
 
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Reply Tue 6 Sep, 2005 05:47 pm
Phoenix, Edgar,

I understand the atheist perspective, but don't understand the same glib attitude as an agnostic.

Seems to me that anybody really facing imminent death has to decide one way or other, either there's no God and the end (literally) is near. Or there is a God and you may very well be meeting him soon.

After further reflection on my first post, I think the "god simply doesn't care about me" is not an entirely correct third position. Because what if I'm wrong? How do I, as an agnostic, deal with the other possibility that the god does care about me? Does the agnostic simply ignore that possibility?
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husker
 
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Reply Tue 6 Sep, 2005 05:49 pm
good question for Frank
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edgarblythe
 
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Reply Tue 6 Sep, 2005 06:00 pm
Yeah. We'll leave the answers up to the agnostics.
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yitwail
 
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Reply Tue 6 Sep, 2005 06:19 pm
slkshock7 wrote:
After further reflection on my first post, I think the "god simply doesn't care about me" is not an entirely correct third position. Because what if I'm wrong? How do I, as an agnostic, deal with the other possibility that the god does care about me? Does the agnostic simply ignore that possibility?


speaking only for myself, since i have no knowledge of god's existence, let alone god's attributes, i have no way to prepare for an encounter with god. it would be no different than preparing for an encounter with an extraterrestrial visitor, which i doubt many atheists or religious people bother doing.
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flushd
 
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Reply Tue 6 Sep, 2005 06:20 pm
I honestly feel this would be a completely personal question.
What is more personal than meeting death?

Whatever your beliefs or lack of beliefs; death is an individual experience.
Sometimes, we can be near those who are passing: but the experience is their own. Much of what is to be learnt at death is brought to the grave.

No one can say what will happen, or how they react, until they are there.

Death seems to take stock of a man/woman. They may have a change of heart and mind, or they may pass in exactly the fashion they lived.

Confirmed, life long atheists have called to God on their deathbed. Those with faith has seen it dissolve into a puddle of nothing at the face of death.
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Intrepid
 
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Reply Tue 6 Sep, 2005 06:23 pm
husker wrote:
good question for Frank


My thought exactly. I would almost wager on his response. ;-) , but I won't cause I make no judgement.
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flushd
 
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Reply Tue 6 Sep, 2005 06:24 pm
I suppose I didn't answer the question directly:

How would they face it?
With eyes wide open, with presence, and ready to see what is to be seen during this experience called death.
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Phoenix32890
 
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Reply Tue 6 Sep, 2005 06:42 pm
slkshock7 wrote:

Seems to me that anybody really facing imminent death has to decide one way or other, either there's no God and the end (literally) is near. Or there is a God and you may very well be meeting him soon.


It is interesting. For years, I believed that there was no God, because I have never seen the slightest shread of proof that there is one. As I became older, I realized that I did not really know, one way or the other.

The one thing that never changed for me was that I really didn't care if there were a God or not! For me, it is a non-issue. If I were not confronted by it, I would not think about a God at all.
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Phoenix32890
 
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Reply Tue 6 Sep, 2005 06:55 pm
flushd wrote:

How would they face it?
With eyes wide open, with presence, and ready to see what is to be seen during this experience called death.


I believe that death is simply the final part of the life cycle as a human being. When the time comes, I will observe the entire process, with great interest, for as long as I am mentally and physically able.
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slkshock7
 
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Reply Tue 6 Sep, 2005 07:18 pm
phoenix wrote:
If I were not confronted by it, I would not think about a God at all.


But confronting the God you've continually ignored only after you're dead seems like an extremely awkward position for one to be in.

phoenix wrote:
When the time comes, I will observe the entire process, with great interest, for as long as I am mentally and physically able.


Instead of "with great interest", I'd say "with great trepidation" especially if I had no idea what was coming next.
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Setanta
 
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Reply Tue 6 Sep, 2005 07:20 pm
Trepidation? Silly thought, that . . . once out of life's pain, there is nothing to be feared from that voyage from which no man returns . . .
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slkshock7
 
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Reply Tue 6 Sep, 2005 07:34 pm
yitwail wrote:
slkshock7 wrote:
After further reflection on my first post, I think the "god simply doesn't care about me" is not an entirely correct third position. Because what if I'm wrong? How do I, as an agnostic, deal with the other possibility that the god does care about me? Does the agnostic simply ignore that possibility?


speaking only for myself, since i have no knowledge of god's existence, let alone god's attributes, i have no way to prepare for an encounter with god. it would be no different than preparing for an encounter with an extraterrestrial visitor, which i doubt many atheists or religious people bother doing.


Yitwail,

It is very much different than meeting ET, unless you see God as simply a disinterested being with no interest in humanity (in which case I'd throw you in the atheist camp). But that's not God, IMO, and certainly not the god that theists believe in and atheists not believe in, which is the whole focus of my question.
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Setanta
 
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Reply Tue 6 Sep, 2005 07:51 pm
Do you suggest that there is a particular god in which atheists do not believe ? ! ? ! ?

Yer a laugh riot . . .
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yitwail
 
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Reply Tue 6 Sep, 2005 08:02 pm
slkshock, don't throw me in the atheist camp, please. they deny that god exists; that's quite different from not believing in any particular god. what about Hindus? they believe in multiple gods, not "the god theists believe in." does that make them atheists?

if the focus of your question is, how do agnostics deal with the possibility of meeting the monotheistic god of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, the best outcome would be doing time in Purgatory, assuming that's not a Roman Catholic fiction; if not, then i accept whatever torments heathens & non-believers like Mohandas Gandhi & Bertrand Russell are enduring.
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Setanta
 
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Reply Tue 6 Sep, 2005 08:04 pm
Although a dictionary definition of atheist might say that an atheist denies the existence of god, the word itself only means "without god." To that extent, i am an atheist. I don't deny anything--i simply don't care.
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squinney
 
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Reply Tue 6 Sep, 2005 08:11 pm
How do agnostics handle their own death?

They aren't sure.
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