Discussion by: KyllanBefore I explain my dilemma I think it
is necessary to very briefly explain my current world views.
- I do not believe in anything. I
estimate statistically where required time/effort and available
evidence allows and use experiential intuition where it does not.
- I am an atheist and a physicalist
in the strictest sense. (Physicalism, as explained succinctly by
Wikipedia, means “a philosophical theory holding that everything
which exists is no more extensive than its physical properties”.)
I have been brought up as a protestant Christian and decided to be an atheist at the age of 20. Since then
I’ve struggled with many of the typical issues that young atheists
struggle with, but I worked through them. However, I feel that
because I was subjected to a predominantly Christian society for so
long and during such a critical phase in my life I am now
ill-equipped to deal with some of the big questions in life.
One such question is the subject of
this discussion: How do we as atheists reconcile our own complexity
as human beings with our limited life span? How do we stave off the
depression caused by the simultaneous knowledge of our ability to
experience and enjoy life so deeply and that of our impending doom?
How can we hear about how rovers are driving around on Mars, imagine
what it would be like to go there someday, realise
that we will never experience it in our lifetime and then deal with
the inevitable feelings of missing out on something great?
These feelings may very well be a great
contributor to the fact that modern people cling to religion. That is
just a theory and I’ll leave it up to someone smarter than myself to
It annoys me greatly when people say “I
can die now; I’ve had a full life”. I personally feel that I’m
living with the infinite regret of having to die in the infancy of my
mind’s lifespan. I’m not in any way saying that there is no enjoyment
in life because it is going to end, but that looming sadness that
gnaws at me constantly does make it less enjoyable. I also fear that
these feelings will only get stronger as I grow older.
I understand that there is currently no
cure for death and that this is all just part of the current human
condition, but perhaps someone has a different way of looking at it.
If you do, please do share. I you don’t, but you feel the same way
then please do share your feelings or thoughts.