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December 31, 2011 / itsnobody

Morality and No Afterlife

Is there any room for morality for those who believe that there is no afterlife?

Most atheists I’ve met also do not believe in an afterlife, although it’s possible to be an atheist and believe in an afterlife.

No afterlife basically means no consequence and that things end up the same regardless of your actions.

Let’s look at what this means in terms of basic morals:

If I lie, cheat, steal, or kill then after death there’s no more consciousness, no more stress, no more worries, no more problems, I can never ever remember anything that happened, it’s just like sleeping in all the time, everyone on Earth would eventually die anyway and everyone’s feelings, emotions, pain, thoughts, and memories are nothing more than meaningless electrical signals the meaningless result of meaningless evolution and meaningless natural selection.

If I do not lie, cheat, steal, or kill then after death there’s no more consciousness, no more stress, no more worries, no more problems, I can never ever remember anything that happened, it’s just like sleeping in all the time, everyone on Earth would eventually die anyway and everyone’s feelings, emotions, pain, thoughts, and memories are nothing more than meaningless electrical signals the meaningless result of meaningless evolution and meaningless natural selection.

I guess this is great news for people who want to lie, cheat, steal, or kill (or commit any other sinful action).

Similar for murder and rape:

If you brutally murder and rape someone then after death there’s no more consciousness, no more stress, no more worries, no more problems, you can never ever remember anything that happened, it’s just like sleeping in all the time, everyone on Earth would eventually die anyway and everyone’s feelings, emotions, pain, thoughts, and memories are nothing more than meaningless electrical signals the meaningless result of meaningless evolution and meaningless natural selection.

If you do not brutally murder and rape someone then after death there’s no more consciousness, no more stress, no more worries, no more problems, you can never ever remember anything that happened, it’s just like sleeping in all the time, everyone on Earth would eventually die anyway and everyone’s feelings, emotions, pain, thoughts, and memories are nothing more than meaningless electrical signals the meaningless result of meaningless evolution and meaningless natural selection.

Since the belief that there is no afterlife is linked to the belief that consciousness is composed of electrical signals in the physical brain this would mean that killing a human (or animal) would be equivalent to killing a radio or TV, since radios and TVs also function through electrical signals, further lessening the significance of murder (for those who believe that there is no afterlife).

This same thing would also apply for suicide:

If you commit suicide then after death there’s no more consciousness, no more stress, no more worries, no more problems, you can never ever remember anything that happened, it’s just like sleeping in all the time, everyone on Earth would eventually die anyway and everyone’s feelings, emotions, pain, thoughts, and memories are nothing more than meaningless electrical signals the meaningless result of meaningless evolution and meaningless natural selection.

If you do not commit suicide then eventually you’ll die anyway and after death there’s no more consciousness, no more stress, no more worries, no more problems, you can never ever remember anything that happened, it’s just like sleeping in all the time, everyone on Earth would eventually die anyway and everyone’s feelings, emotions, pain, thoughts, and memories are nothing more than meaningless electrical signals the meaningless result of meaningless evolution and meaningless natural selection.

This would also matter for wasting your life:

If you waste your life then after death there’s no more consciousness, no more stress, no more worries, no more problems, you can never ever remember anything that happened, it’s just like sleeping in all the time, everyone on Earth would eventually die anyway and everyone’s feelings, emotions, pain, thoughts, and memories are nothing more than meaningless electrical signals the meaningless result of meaningless evolution and meaningless natural selection.

If you do not waste your life then after death there’s no more consciousness, no more stress, no more worries, no more problems, you can never ever remember anything that happened, it’s just like sleeping in all the time, everyone on Earth would eventually die anyway and everyone’s feelings, emotions, pain, thoughts, and memories are nothing more than meaningless electrical signals the meaningless result of meaningless evolution and meaningless natural selection.

In conclusion, if you believe that there is no afterlife and that life is meaningless then this means that all your actions are completely irrelevant and have virtually no meaning, regardless of your actions the end result is the same:
After death there is no more consciousness, no more stress, no more worries, no more problems, you can never ever remember anything that happened, it’s just like sleeping in all the time, everyone on Earth would eventually die anyway and everyone’s feelings, emotions, pain, thoughts, and memories are nothing more than meaningless electrical signals the meaningless result of meaningless evolution and meaningless natural selection.

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26 Comments

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  1. anonymous / Jan 14 2016 12:27 am

    How can you possibly not be an atheist if you don’t believe in an afterlife?

  2. Helge / Jul 20 2015 2:43 pm

    One of the cornerstones in the christian faith is that you need to believe in Christ to get to heaven. Jesus died for our sins, right. So with this logic a rapist believer go to heaven and a truly good person would go to hell, simply because he/she does not believe in the correct God. Then Buddhism makes much more sense as you are judged by your actions, not for your faith.
    In Catholicism you could even perform a grave sin, go to confession and then be relieved of the sins right away by doing some p(r)aying (purgatory was even invented by the Catholic Church to get money for forgiveness of sin).
    Some Christians believe that the 10 commandments has anything to do with morals. It was rules for the Jews to survive for many years in the desert (and of course many selfish commandments about Gods). If “Thou shalt not kill” would have any general appliance, God would not order the Jews to perform genocide in Amalek (Samuel 15:3) etc.
    An atheist have to live with their wrongdoings. And be good, simply because being good is the right thing to do, not because of the threat/reward of hell/heaven.
    If any of your ramblings made any sense, wouldn’t the jails be overrepresented by Atheists, not hugely underrepresented.

  3. sugarcanegray / Jul 22 2012 8:16 pm

    Some rather obvious questions:

    • In the US, for example, atheists account for some 16% of the population, but only account for some 0.21% of the prison population. How does this fit into your idea that you need afterlife belief to have basic morals? The evidence actually suggests the opposite.

    • Why, when most murder is committed by believers, do you think that a non-belief in God would not give someone the understanding that murder is wrong, and it is simply like “killing a radio or TV?”

    • Furthermore, why is it that societies with a greater belief in God and the afterlife function worse on almost every indicator you can use to measure a society’s health?

    Your premise here is one of the typical myths pushed by the religious, that religion somehow makes people more moral. The evidence is the exact opposite. You might want to read these:

    http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/our-humanity-naturally/201103/misinformation-and-facts-about-secularism-and-religion
    http://www.pitzer.edu/academics/faculty/zuckerman/Zuckerman_on_Atheism.pdf

    The more religion a given society has, the more crime, more poverty, more pregnancy, more violence and murder it has.

    You’re painting a false image of atheism here, claiming that because atheists view humans as biological, they have the moral flexibility to rape and murder more because people are simply biological wiring. This is false.

    You are correct, however, about increased suicide rates amongst the atheists, however, there is no evidence to support your hypothesis. This might make an interesting read as this phenomena is being studied: http://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/article.aspx?articleid=177228

    • Dannaday Coats / Apr 29 2013 6:03 am

      It’s good atheists commit suicide more.

      • S.M. / Apr 19 2015 10:41 pm

        wow. What a Christian way of looking at things…

  4. hubris / Feb 7 2012 9:56 pm

    Yes – That was great stuff.

    And you impeccable logic is backed up with the statistical data that 83.6% of atheists are murders or rapists and 37.3 of all atheists are currently in jail.

  5. Richard Eis / Feb 7 2012 4:11 am

    Apparently itsnobody doesn’t run out and kill people because sometime in the indefinite future after he is dead he thinks that he will be punished. Ignoring any effects and feelings he will experience right now.

    What a terrible waste of a life that what is real and relevent right now is ignored for a vague future possibility.

    Anyway, your god is perfectly fine with rape and murder when it’s convenient for him. And i can’t help noticing that “eternal damnation” didn’t stop the catholic priesthood from becoming the largest child sex ring on the planet.

  6. TheDancingGeek / Feb 6 2012 9:59 pm

    I think your main problem is that you believe that not believing in an afterlife would make you take a nihilistic view on life. For very few people, this is true, and they do believe that there is no morality. This has been a huge and often very painful philosophical debate for hundreds of years – “what if it all is meaningless?” It is a disturbing thought on extremely personal levels, and one pretty much everyone, theist or atheist, has to face in their lifetime. But just because it can be interpreted nihilistically doesn’t mean it has to! You seem to have no knowledge of existentialism or Humanism. These concepts argue that because life is painfully short and there is nothing after death, then there is all the more reason to live a fulfilled life and help other human beings out as much as possible. If you knew for certain that your existence will stop after death, then which would make more sense to you – to live life like a filthy animal, hating and stealing and hurting in a nihilistic, anarchic rage, or to live life fully, to try your hardest to help all the other human beings around you, to spend your short existence helping others in their short existence? What would a nihilistic approach to life achieve? Why would any sane human being, atheist or not, want to live like that?

    I want to revise what I said at the beginning of this comment. Your problem isn’t that you think atheism=nihilism. Your problem is that you don’t believe atheists are humans. You’ve said it all over the blog; you call us racist, lying, fallacy-peddling, delusional, spiteful, subhuman beasts. You are actually the first person I’ve seen who called atheists subhuman. At least Ken Ham and Fred Phelps acknowledge that we are human while they are saying we’re going to hell! Get a brain.

  7. Ric / Feb 6 2012 3:21 pm

    For someone who is a self-proclaimed logic master, you sure commit a lot of fallacies. Let me point out your main fallacy here: for something to have worth, it does not need to have eternal worth. For example, my home has worth. However, it will not last forever. It is valuable to me now, though, and I find it worth working for and on. Morality is the same. While my actions may not mean anything 1 million years from now, they mean something now. That alone is enough to base moral decisions on, and it provides reasons to be moral.

    You, sir, are no genius.

  8. William / Feb 6 2012 1:47 pm

    I’m a little bit confused by this. Are you suggesting that our actions have no impact while we are still here on Earth? If I hit someone, and they say, “Ow, that hurts,” I can empathize and understand that hitting people is immoral (generally). Isn’t morality just as effective based on your in-life actions?

  9. inkhat / Feb 6 2012 9:25 am

    If you found out a woman was a not a virgin when she was married would you stone her? No, but the bible says you should. You have developed a morality beyond the bible. It’s no different for me. I still understand right and wrong even though I have left religion.

  10. Nobull / Feb 6 2012 12:49 am

    Please get help

  11. Chris P / Feb 5 2012 9:00 pm

    Are you really that clueless about how your brain works? The information in your brain is stored as chemical and electrical signals. When you die that information is gone. You only have to see somebody with advanced Alzheimer’s to see the problem. They don’t know who their friends and relatives are BEFORE they die – how would they know afterwards.

  12. Sugarcane / Jan 24 2012 11:41 am

    How do you explain moral behaviour in animals then? They have no idea of a god, nor do they have the ability to think about the possibility of a God, yet, animals exhibit moral behaviour, albeit in much simpler forms than we humans do. Animals do not believe in an afterlife. So how do you explain that?

    Also, you claim man cannot be moral without there being an afterlife. By this you are saying:

    “I act morally to avoid punishment in the afterlife!”

    This is a very disturbing view point. What is being implied by you saying this is that if the afterlife was conclusively disproven to you, you would no longer have any moral basis. If you honestly believe that, and only behave nicely because of fear of punishment by God, then you are a highly immoral person.

    Most people act morally because it’s the right thing to do. And the right thing to do is decided by society as a whole, not by God.

    As for the afterlife in general – with zero proof of this, and the fact that it flies in the face of everything we know about the universe, we can safely say with a 99.9% certainty that it does not exist.

    • Dannaday Coats / Apr 29 2013 6:05 am

      Ah, yes. Morality decided by the society as a whole… like in Nazi Germany, where society decided it was okay to slaughter Jews. Vomit-inducing argument.

      • Ken Schauer / Aug 13 2016 6:06 am

        Hence today I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord. (p. 65) From Mein Kampf This was not an Atheistic horror. It had religious connotations. Any other stupid replies?

  13. Gilbert Smith / Jan 23 2012 1:47 pm

    Case in point, wolves don’t believe in an afterlife but they care for one another anyways. How do you explain that?

    Why don’t you try really thinking about something instead of just trying to back up your own beliefs with this bullshit?

  14. Gilbert Smith / Jan 23 2012 1:44 pm

    What kind of monster only refrains from rape and murder out of fear of consequences? Haven’t you ever heard of empathy?

    It sounds to me like you suffer from anti-social personality disorder, an inability to care about the feelings of others.

  15. chelsarrr / Jan 2 2012 11:00 pm

    Please read up on moral development: http://faculty.plts.edu/gpence/html/kohlberg.htm

    • itsnobody / Jan 4 2012 1:43 am

      How is moral development or the psychology behind morals relevant to what I wrote?

      When an atheist does a good deed they do it DESPITE their atheistic beliefs

      • Gilbert Smith / Jan 23 2012 8:21 pm

        They do it in addition to their atheistic beliefs. Atheism is indifferent to morality. AtheISTS are not.

        There is a big, big, big fucking difference between an atheist and atheism. Atheists are human beings with their own thoughts and feelings. Atheism is merely one of many lenses through which they see the world.

        If you think that atheism defines every atheist to their core, then I’m sorry but you’re just plain stupid as shit.

      • Zak / Feb 6 2012 3:36 pm

        I have gained this by philosophy: that I do without being commanded what others only do out of fear of the law.

        The fear of punishment is a poor basis for a moral system. It is better to wish to do good as an end to itself. This is what an atheist must achieve, given we do not have any crutch like the afterlife to force balance in the world. In this sense, an atheist must be a more enlightened individual that the fearful theist you wrote about.

  16. Sandeep Bhalla / Jan 1 2012 9:10 am

    An unusually easy perspective. But things are more complex. Every action has a ripple effect. After life is irrelevant if one can see the life in motion. Keep it up the light will not miss you. Regards and Happy New Year.

    • itsnobody / Jan 4 2012 1:42 am

      How is an afterlife irrelevant?

      I don’t see how it’s more complex…

      • Gilbert Smith / Jan 23 2012 8:22 pm

        You don’t see much of anything, do you?

  17. the warrioress / Dec 31 2011 10:41 pm

    Wow..good stuff! That was great! I hadn’t thought of it like that before.

    I hope your New Years is super (hugs)

    God bless..

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