Dealing With Death as an Atheist


I recently lost a parent and while my grieving and healing process has progressed at a steady pace, I have been wondering how differently I have dealt with my loss compared to my siblings who are practicing Muslims.

For starters, you don’t really come face to face with your own mortality until you lose a loved one. Losing a parent has made me come to terms with the finality of my own life and has helped me accept and expect the inevitable. We are alive for a mere cosmic moment in the grand scheme of things: life is undeniably and brutally short and the only meaning it has is what we can give it during our brief existence.

Grieving in Pakistan is made harder by the constant, well meaning reminders of those who care: “they are in a better place now” or “we will all be united one day.” These are very tempting propositions and as a grieving ex-Muslim, you desperately want them to be true, yet knowing full well that they are not: There simply isn’t enough evidence to believe that consciousness can survive death. And belief without evidence is wishful thinking.

On a positive note, I have found that my rationality has enabled me to provide better emotional support to my religious family in dealing with this great loss. Evidently – belief in the afterlife does not make it as easy to deal with the demise of a loved one as a realistic, rational secularism can; which is of course ironic given that the fear of death is one of the key contributors to religious belief.

Death is inevitable and final. Yet, we are immortal in the sense that we live on in the hearts and memories of the loved ones we leave behind. And when our loved ones are no more, they in turn are lovingly remembered by their children – and so on.

This is how death loses and life wins.


5 thoughts on “Dealing With Death as an Atheist

  1. As an atheist myself, I can attest that death does truly sound like something Id rather face if it were of the religious type. To know that whoever you see in this life will forever cease to exist once they die and you will never meet them again is quite a saddening thought.

  2. So if there is no God how will your parent be judged on whether he lived a good life or a bad one? What about if he hurt someone? If he was a good person then what is the difference between him and Hitler?As both are in the same place , according to you.

    • The issue of judgement after death is a bull sh***
      For the matter of living a good life, well, it all depends on what good life is to you. You as a muslim you stupidly believe that non-muslims live a bad live and vice-versa. You will be remembered based on the legacy you left behind. There is no such thing as judgement day rather than illusion!

  3. its a fact that we can never understand our true feelings unless one of our loved one dies. Still, I think believers have an edge on death as they can justify death with whether completion of a greater goal of our life as set by the the God or just to by saying they are in a better place. In a society like Pakistan where your beliefs are forced from the childhood I feel hard to believe that any atheist will truly be an Atheist. This continuous brain washing in schools, mosques and about any social exchange we have with each other have this religious element in it.
    When one of my friend died, I wanted to believe in God because I felt alone. Pakistani Atheist just cannot be an Atheist unless he has seen realities of life very closely. That is why I consider most of the Pakistani Atheists as Agnostics or wanna be Atheist but chains are too strong for them to break.

  4. Apni hasti par kbi ghor karo!aj se kuch sal phly ap me zndgi ka ehsas ni tha koi feeling ,khushi,gham,pain etc kuch b ni tha.ALLAH created u from nothing.after ur death ur story will end.jb apni hasti ka ykin ni to ap kainat k creator k bary me kasy bat kr skty ho?apny anjam par nazar rkho

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