Last week I received an email from a fellow atheist and friend of the site. The topic was “Facing death as an Atheist.” The full correspondence is posted on the latest page of Fan Mail, but his initial email is posted here so that you can share your thoughts & feelings in the comments below.
(This was the last time I heard from Peter – 2015 Normal Bob)
Subject: Death of an Atheist
I’ve been getting a bit short of breath so I went to the doctor who sent me off for a chest x-ray.
I was told the results would take about a week so when the doctor phoned me the very next day it wasn’t going to be good news. Since then I’ve had a CT scan and next week I’ll may be having a lung biopsy.
If I do have lung-cancer words and phrases like “too late to do anything” and “abrupt” keep cropping up. In short don’t buy me a Christmas present as I may not be around to receive it.
So what’s this got to do with NBS? Well, faced with one’s own mortality is a very interesting experience and there’s certainly things to learn form it.
My “religious” feelings are and have never been strong but I think for you and many of your fans they have been. If confronted with the prospect of death it’s would be easy to seek reassurance in the familiarity of a religion and as the religious are not above exploiting the weak and vulnerable how can their clutches be avoided?
The best thing you can tell people and what I’d recommend being central to what you tell others is “Which one?”.
It’s too easy to fall back on superstitious beliefs that were firmly indoctrinated in childhood and arguing/reasoning against them is giving them a reality and credibility they don’t don’t deserve.
“Which one?” avoids this path. Don’t argue against specifics as it’s too easy to get entangled.
“Which one?” puts them all into perspective. Focusing on one, the one true one you were lucky enough to be accidentally born into, gives it a reality it does not warrant.
If there was just one thing you could say to your fellow atheists say “Which one?”. It could be more important and telling than you think.
With regards and sincere best wishes
Zoo aka Peter
Continued on a new page of Fan Mail