Do Agnostics Fear Death?
I can’t speak for all agnostics, but I can offer my perspective on death. I don’t know if there’s a God or an afterlife. I don’t know why we’re here or what happens after we die. I don’t know how much our lives matter, or if they even matter at all. But I do know one thing, that the universe is amazing. Its size, complexity and power are unfathomable. Its design is beyond genius. The more I dwell on what little I know about the elegance of the observable universe, the less I worry about death.
As scary as death is, I take solace knowing that our life and death were engineered by the same genius that designed the stars. If I had to pick someone to determine my eternal fate, I’d pick whoever or whatever designed the universe. Even if the universe is simply the product of existential probability, I would volunteer to put my fate in the hands of existential probability, because apparently it’s doing a really good job so far. Conveniently for me, the same force that created the universe is the very force that will determine my fate. So… whew.
For selfish reasons, I would like for my consciousness to continue to exist after the death of my physical body, but I’ve never seen any hard evidence to support that that’s even a possibility… except for the fact that I came into existence once against all probability. If it happened once, there’s a statistical precedent that it could happen again. Surely, the same force that created this universe could create another opportunity for us if it were logical to do so. And it did see fit to give us this opportunity. So why not another?
But even if I just go into an eternal, nonexistent sleep when I die, I’ll preemptively accept my fate graciously. That wouldn’t be my first choice, but everything the universe has done to create and manage life has been “good” so far. So, as much as my survival instincts make me hate the idea of eternal unconsciousness, if the same power that manages the subatomic particles of stars has computed that it’s logical for me to spend eternity in a nonexistent sleep, then who am I to argue?
Even if I’m wrong about most of this, any fool can look at the night sky and see that we’re part of a grand design, and that design is awesome. If death is a part of the majestic work of staggering genius that is the universe, then whatever happens after death will be mathematically logical, if nothing else. But… since we’ve already got the weight of the universe pushing in our favor so far, we’re in as good a position as we can be to hope for the best.
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- Agnostic nihilism
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- Do agnostics fear death?
- An agnostic theory on why God is so cruel
- An agnostic take on God
- An agnostic take on Pascal’s Wager
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- Reason vs faith: part 1, part 2
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Originally published at thewisesloth.com on October 13, 2014.