Does death make life more meaningful? 1) 2) 3) 4) How does this picture make you feel? What does it make you think about?
What can you see? What is here that you cant see? Metaphors If death were a .. what would it be? Shake a dice, fill in the blank with the word below, answer the question, and explain why. 1) 2) 3)
4) 5) 6) Animal Type of weather Colour Sound Feature of the natural world Food
Which is scarier? The existence of an afterlife? Or The non-existence of an afterlife? Humanist beliefs about death Humanists believe that death is the end of our existence and that this is the only life we have. Humanists see no good evidence that we live on
after we die. Epicurus arguments (341270 BCE) If death is bad then for whom is it bad? Not for the living, since they are not dead, and not for the dead since they dont exist. Death involves neither pleasure nor pain. The only thing that is bad for us is pain. Therefore, death is not bad for us. Anyone who fears death should consider the time before he
was born. We do not consider not having existed for an eternity before our births to be a terrible thing; therefore, neither should we be afraid of not existing for an eternity after our deaths. Humanist attitudes towards death Fear of death is a perfectly natural emotion. Death is a natural part of life. We can find ways to cope with the idea that death is the end. It need not necessarily make us afraid.
Not being afraid of death does not mean that we should not try to avoid death or desire to keep living. Does the absence of an afterlife mean our lives are a worthless waste of time? The British Humanist Association Making the most of life Humanists believe:
We are lucky to be alive We should try to make the most of the one life we know we have The finite nature of life is what gives it its structure and value The absence of an afterlife makes this life all the more important and meaningful Belief in an afterlife can distract attention from this life Believing that we do not have an afterlife can have positive consequences in this life
Quotes about death We are all going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Arabia. Richard Dawkins Do not act as if you were going to live for a thousand years... while you are alive, while it is still possible, become a good person.
Marcus Aurelieus (121-180) I dont believe in heaven and hell All I know is that as an individual, I wont allow this life the only thing I know to exist to be wasted. George Clooney Death and meaning Do you think that the absence of an afterlife makes this life more important and meaningful? Which would be more meaningful: a
finite life or a life that went on forever? How might the absence of belief in an afterlife affect the way you live your life? How do humanists believe we do live on? 1) After our bodies break down, our atoms will go on to form other things. 2) Our genes can live on in our children and grandchildren if we have them.
3) Our actions, thoughts, and ideas can live on in the memories of others. We have an impact on other people while we are alive and that impact lives on after we die. 4) Our works may live on after we die. This could include the words we have written, things we have created, or influences on society that we contributed to. How would you like to be remembered after you die? Humanist Funerals
Key humanist attitudes towards death Death is the end of individual existence Funerals can celebrate a life that has been lived as well as acknowledge sadness at saying goodbye Funerals are an occasion for the living The absence of an afterlife makes this life more meaningful and means we need to make the most of the one life we have We can live on after we die through our atoms, genes, works, shared ideas and experiences
Poems I fall asleep in the full and certain hope That my slumber shall not be broken; And that, though I be all-forgetting, Yet shall I not be all forgotten, But continue that life in the thoughts and deeds of those I have loved. Samuel Butler (1835-1902) Is it so small a thing To have enjoy'd the sun,
To have lived light in the spring, To have loved, to have thought, to have done; To have advanced true friends, and beat down baffling foes; That we must feign a bliss Of doubtful future date, And while we dream on this Lose all our present state, And relegate to worlds yet distant our repose? Hymn of Empedocles, Matthew Arnold (1822-1888)
Key humanist attitudes towards death Death is the end of individual existence Funerals can celebrate a life that has been lived as well as acknowledge sadness at saying goodbye Funerals are an occasion for the living The absence of an afterlife makes this life more meaningful and means we need to make the most of the one life we have We can live on after we die through our atoms,
genes, works, shared ideas and experiences Humanist responses How might a humanist respond to these questions and statements about death? 1) Arent you scared of the idea that death is the end? 2) If there is no life after death, then life is meaningless. 3) Do you think anything of us survives
our death? understandinghumanism.org.uk Understanding Humanism 39 Moreland Street London EC1V 8BB British Humanist Association (registered charity 285987) 2015
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