The big question

One of the big things theists try to use against atheism is how we deal with death. I wish they could all meet my mother. She went to church for 8 hours a week when she was a child and now she is an atheist. She doesn’t argue with theists and her family has not disowned her. We always talk about her dying when we visit and this time she had a little card with all her important papers that I’ll need when that happens. It said, “funerals are for the living”. She told us to do whatever we want. She’s awesome.

My mother know I’m an atheist, but is in denial and believes, despite me coming out to her as a non-believer, that I still believe. She doesn’t want to admit to herself that I don’t believe because that means if I don’t believe she will not see me in heaven. Therefore, she has to believe I and my sons are believers or it causes her to lose it due to the belief she will never see us again and we’d be burning in hell. Yes, it’s insane and sounds like bizarre reasoning that spins in circles, but that’s religion. IMHO, the religious do not deal with death very well, because they must believe there is an afterlife and that everyone they love will be there, lest they don’t believe, then they burn in hell for eternity. To me, that is an inability to face the fact that when we die, that is it and it’s just like before were born. They are too terrified to admit there is nothing more after we die.

Matt Dillahunty made peace with his mother by telling her that if she was in heaven and saw her son burning in hell, or just knew he was there, and did nothing about it, then to him, that would no longer be his mother. That would be some person who changed in some way upon arriving in heaven. So, he told her, it’s okay, that he can accept that both of them will have something afterlife (which will be nothing for him), but they won’t have a mother/son relationship. I don’t think that conversation would work with all mothers though.

No, I don’t think it would work with all mother’s either. It maybe worth a try, but I can see it being like, “then we don’t have a relationship now”, but I don’t see my mother believing that.

As Anil Seth concludes his lectures. “When the end comes there is nothing to be afraid of…nothing at all”.

It said,

“funerals are for the living”.

She told us to do whatever we want. She’s awesome.

Truer words were never spoken!

Behind every great man, there is a great mom.


(not necessarily biological!)

I had to toss that in since I’m a step-dad and realize there’s more to being a parent than blood.

Though the blood part is cool too, it’s the love and the commitment that matters.

When I was young I used to do power naps 1/4-1/2 hour. Now that I’m getting old I like real naps, deep sound sleep. I’m about as sure as I can be of anything that, that awaits me when a die. A deep eternal sleep I never wake from. Seems pretty simple and easy. :wink:


Though the blood part is cool too, it’s the love and the commitment that matters.

My sons can tell you that too. They know it’s the love and commitment that matters too.

… and it’s among the best feeling we can have bounding around within our hearts.


I think your boys are lucky to have you.

My funeral plans are for the wife to call around to medical colleges and say, “He’s dead. Come get him before he starts stinking up the place!” I am very anti-funeral, at least in the traditional sense. It’s all about some slimy a-hole trying to convince the living that they must spend absolutely as much as they can afford to prove how much they loved the dead. When helping my sister-in-law with my brother’s funeral a few years ago I saw some metal roses for sale in one of their displays for $250 each. From what I found online that’s a 1,000% markup at least.

As for the wife, she has her heart set on the “body farm” she saw in some show she watched. They leave corpses out in nature to rot to improve forensic science and their understanding of human decomposition.

What I’d really love to do is get some land and to a funeral pyre. There’s a funeral you’re not likely to forget. And how can you not have a good time at a giant bonfire?

Not that I’m insensitive to death and the rituals most people feel they need to get through it. I’m just not stupid enough to think that the amount of money spent is directly proportional to how much the departed was loved. The rituals would be fine if they didn’t start with a minimum of a 5 digit debt.

I’m already pre-signed up. :wink: Check out “LifeLegacy Foundation” - When you die, your kin call to make final arrangements, the morgue sends your body to them. They divvy up your body as they see fit, keeping a record so your loved one’s can learn what was done with your remains. When everyone is finished scrapping your bones, they cremate you and send the ashes back to the morgue. The only weirdness is dealing with the uppity irritated undertaker thinking of his lost commissions when you pick up the ashes.

My Dad started the tradition which I as medical guardian had to deal with. My sister with her medical background can tell you exactly was done with his remains. I forget, didn’t seem important to me. As for me thinking about my body being sliced and diced, I’ve been an omnivore all my life, so I find something wonderfully poetic about my remains being passed around to do a last little bit of good for someones, somewhere, in some ways.

Awesome. I’ll look into that.

The devil is in the details… I can’t remember which comedian explained the afterlife, maybe it was LouisCK. Anyway he wanted to know what the rules were. Like supposed a guy dies and goes to heaven. He goes on with his life, meets a nice lady, falls in love, etc. all in heaven - it’s a heavenly afterlife for like 10 years. Then his wife dies, and finds him…uh oh. :slight_smile:


Green burial. That’s what I told my sons to do with my body. The chemicals you talk about @meera could harm the environment, just as cremation does and embalming fluids. I figure a Green Burial is a fitting burial for a vegetarian, like myself.

For me death is an end. I don’t fear it, I fear pain and loss of mind and body due to aging.

What I have seen is that at some time, old people ask for death when they connot bear anymore the agony. During his last days, my father was in pain did not want to eat anymore, asking for an end. But, the morning of his death, he asked for a doctor. The doctor said that he could not do anything more except to send his in palliative care. My father choose to stay home and he died a very few hours later.

My funerals ? Why not a cremation followed by a scattering of ashes in a symbolic place? Anyway, the living will decide !



Who said anyone here feared death?

Why not a cremation followed by a scattering of ashes in a symbolic place?

Why? Especially when cremation contributes to Climate Change. If the living decide they will have a service that reminds them of the late person they loved and my sons know that a Green Burial is fitting for me. If they know you and how you lived, it will be a reminder of you to them, not just a scattering of polluting ashes. If you are a polluter, then cremation is OK, but if you’re not, and have always been one who tries to protect the environment, then a Green Burial is fitting and my sons know this.

Why not a cremation followed by a scattering of ashes in a symbolic place?
Because it's back to the problem of compounding numbers. We've made too many of ourselves, and everything we do has externalities that are harmful to others* in other situation.

*(people & critters & landscapes)

Bartlett’s Math Lesson 4.5 Compound Inequalities


I’d alway thought I’d want to be cremated also, until a few years ago. When I read some articles about the implications of the massively increasing numbers of cremations happening. Doesn’t seem that cremation is near a goovy as I thought. Although plans have made for my body to go to a medical outfit, who will harvest what they can, experiment with what they want, and then its cremate what’s left over, though the thought of a Green Burial sounds wonderful to me.

My mom used to tell us kids a story about a famous wonderful old man in a community whom the kids loved. He asked to be buried with an apple in his mouth so his decomposing body could nourish a tree. Today there’s a wonderful apple tree there, that kids love to climbing in and picking apple from in season. Now that would be my kind of burial, if I had the power to direct it. But, I’m taking what they’re giving, 'cause I’m working for a living. :wink:

If anyone is actually looking, Wisconsin has been a leader in this.

Oh, wow! You’re right that’s taking it into the right direction. Can probable even use that magic word ‘sustainable’ to it.

I had no idea.

Hey, this is a great example why some of us like it here at CFI. One can find out about interesting things, ya never had a clue about.


Welcome To Natural Path Sanctuary

Natural Path Sanctuary is a nature preserve burial ground also known as a green cemetery. Located near Madison, Wisconsin, it is the first cemetery in Dane County, Wisconsin that exclusively follows natural/green burial practices—no embalming, no vaults and only biodegradable containers and shrouds are allowed. It offers a natural and traditional alternative to modern-day burials.

Set amidst 25 acres of woods and meadows on the Farley Center land, the Natural Path Sanctuary is a way to preserve the natural beauty in perpetuity. As you walk the wooded paths among those who are buried here, the fullness of life balances the sorrow of death. Family/friends of the deceased and others in search of meditative quiet, are welcome to enjoy the peace, tranquility and beauty of the Natural Path Sanctuary burial grounds during daytime hours.