17 Things Atheists Think Will Happen to Each One of Us After Death

Atheists don’t believe in a higher being, nor do they have faith in things not proven by science or rational thought. Following this, they also don’t believe in the existence of the afterlife or life after death. For them, death is the end of all ends; if you’re curious about how this manifests in their thinking and view of life, read on, as we’ve got the top 17 things atheists think will happen after death!

Death Is Simply a Great Opportunity to Donate and Help Others in Need

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Some atheists have a simple, straightforward approach to life—and the end of life. They believe in science and rational thought and think that the best way to make the most out of their death is to donate whatever functional organs they have to someone in need. For them, a lifeless body is just a cadaver—something empty with no life or spirit, and therefore, if they can help someone, why wouldn’t they?

Death Is Equivalent to Simple Nothingness

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Facing death without the belief in a higher being can be challenging. However, most atheists have accepted the fact that death is death. It will lead you nowhere because after death is simply nothingness. It is darkness, blackness—possibly an endless, dreamless sleep.

When You Die, You Cease to Exist—That’s It

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Atheists believe that when one dies, that’s it; they cease to exist in this world. National Louis University explains, “Atheists believe that there is no God and no life after death and that death is the cessation of the existence of the individual.” It may be difficult for religious people to believe this, but some atheists find comfort that death is the end. For them, it’s comforting to think that they won’t live forever, nor do they have to think consciously about what will happen next.

Death Will Chuck You Into Eternal Oblivion

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Similar to nothingness, atheists believe that death is equivalent to oblivion. They think that when they die, they will just be chucked into a void with simply nothing in it—no pain, joy, misery, happiness, memories, and more. An article explains, “The idea that people have a soul that carries into an afterlife contradicts the Eternal Oblivion Theory, which states that after death comes a lack of awareness. This theory comes from the idea that the brainstem is what creates and controls the mind, and when a person dies, the mind ceases to function or exist.”

Death Is Proof of Our Finite Existence

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The concept of death itself means people are mortal beings who will face their end at some point. We are finite beings with a finite existence. Because of this, atheists believe that death is the end; it’s tangible proof of our finite existence as humans.

Death Is the End of Suffering

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Life is full of beautiful and wonderful things we could never experience elsewhere. However, though that’s the case, there’s no denying that life is also full of suffering; for some, that suffering—that pain, that hopelessness—may feel never-ending. Because of this, for some atheists going through rough patches in life, death and the fact that nothing comes after it may be viewed as a source of comfort or peace. They may feel that, after years of suffering, they may finally find peace in nothingness after they die.

When You Die, You Return to Nature as Part of Nature

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For most societies, the most traditional way of honoring the dead is by burying them in the ground. Through this comes the belief that you return to nature after you die; you become part of the Earth through the soil you are buried in. WebMD shares, “Human composting is the practice of breaking down human remains into fertile soil. The green burial movement, which is at the forefront of human composting, is an initiative dedicated to offering more eco-friendly options for the disposal of a body after death.”

When You Die, You Transform Back Into Your Most Basic Form

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Similar to returning to nature or being reverted back to energy, some atheists who rely a lot on science believe that death turns a human body back to one of its most basic forms—an atom. This has been evidenced by many scientists and authors, such as Bill Bryson. He said, “We are so atomically numerous and so vigorously recycled at death; there’s a significant number of our atoms—up to a billion for each of us. So we are all reincarnations, though short-lived ones; when we die, our atoms will disassemble and move off to find new uses elsewhere: as part of a leaf or another human being or a drop of dew; atoms themselves, however, go on practically forever.”

When You Die, You’ll Continue to Exist in Your Loved Ones’ Memories

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Atheists don’t believe in a life after death, nor do they believe your soul gets reincarnated into another body. However, they do think that although your physical body is no longer around, you can still live on this Earth by living in your loved ones’ memories.

Death Means You’ll Transform Into Energy

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As much as some people would like to glorify the process around one’s death, the fact of the matter is that humans are made up of organic compounds that have potential energy stored in their bodies. When someone dies, the chemical potential energy stored in their dead body will be decomposed by bacteria. This will, in turn, start the recycling processes of the said energy into the environment as heat and other chemical forms of energy. This is another scientific approach that atheists believe will happen once we die, as they are driven by rational thought and evidence—not faith or religion.

When You Die, You’ll Float around as Part of the Cosmos

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Before C.S. Lewis became a Christian, he was an atheist, and he believed that life is provided by and comes from what he calls the cosmic slime. The C.S. Lewis Institute explains, “All life springs from inert or nonliving matter; life comes from non-life through evolution: our origin, in other words, is out of death. Since there is no life after death, our destiny is death; what, then, is the point or value of life? Life is merely an unnecessary chance interruption in the midst of cosmic death.”

Death Means Being Part of Space and the Universe Once Again

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Some atheists believe that death is just the end of their physical form. However, the energy that comes with their bodies doesn’t die with them; instead, they believe it rejoins the universe in some way, shape, or form. According to the principles of thermodynamics, energy cannot be created nor destroyed; its state simply changes and adapts. Given this, some atheists think that the essence of their energy will echo and float around in space forever.

Your Legacy Lives On, Even When You Die

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A more idealistic view that some atheists hold is that their legacy lives on even after they die. When we say legacy, it doesn’t mean the kids they might have left behind. Instead, they believe that their actions, influence, and decisions continue to live in the minds and actions of the people they have met and affected. Each of us would have impacted at least one individual—in one way or another—while we were living. That impact we have on others is our legacy that will live on even after our physical bodies cease to exist.

Death Is Inescapable; It’s a Natural Process We All Go Through

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While religious people tend to stress and worry about death, atheists are simply calm and accepting of it. This is because they are rational people who have accepted that death is a natural process or part of life every single person goes through. For them, thinking about what happens after doesn’t really matter because it will happen anyway.

Death and Life After Death—if There Is One—Will Always Be Unknowable, Incomprehensible Mysteries

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We get it; you want to know every little detail about what you’ll face in life because facing the unknown is scary. However, some atheists have come to the conclusion that death and life after death—if any—are things they could never understand; these are mysteries of life a human could never know until they’re already inside that door. A user on Reddit shares, “Death is incomprehensible because it means a return to chaos; it’s the antithesis of all life’s effort.”

Death Is Comfort and Peace

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For atheists, death and knowing that nothing comes after it means comfort. After all, many religious people are conditioned to believe they’ll end up in Hell or some similar space with never-ending suffering if they commit acts that go against their religion’s teachings while they’re living on Earth. This kind of mindset gives atheists a sense of freedom that no other person with a religion can have.

There Is No Sense in Thinking about What Comes After Death

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Though different kinds of atheists have different thoughts about what death is and what comes after it, for most, death is just death. For them, there is no sense in talking about or thinking about it because it will happen—no matter what we think, feel, or say.

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Author: Karen Danao


Karen is a writer and also a marketing and advertising professional. Beyond the keyboard and the screen, she is someone who’s out to enjoy every bit that life has to offer!

Poetry, philosophy, history, and movies are all topics she loves writing about! However, her true passion is in traveling, photography, and finding common ground to which everyone from different cultures can relate.