Don’t Fear the Reaper November 20, 2010

Don’t Fear the Reaper

Jeff Stahler tells the truth in his comic strip Moderately Confused:

Reader Dan, who lives in Columbus, Ohio, adds:

The cartoonist is local. It’s surprising to see something like this in a town as preachy and Jesus-y as C’bus. Maybe I’m not the only godless infidel in town after all!

(Dan, you live near the Students for Freethought at OSU and the Humanist Community of Central Ohio, not to mention the headquarters of the Secular Student Alliance! There are heathens all around you!)


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  • Thanks for the shout-out! Columbus is just crawling with heathens! 🙂

  • Indeed! Columbus may be crawling with aggressive goddies at every turn, but we’ve got scads of non-beileivers here, both of the organized-meeting variety and of the just-living-among-us variety.

  • Columbus is full? Well, add me to that tally! Hello!

  • Ouigui

    More cowbell!

  • Dan

    Lived in Columbus for 10 years. Never met another freethinker here ’til now.
    I’m happy!

  • Now if we can just get some more mainstream stuff like that going on up here in Michigan. Many of the folks up here in the Wolverine state are transplants from the south (1970’s-80’s).
    Sure, bus ads in Detroit, billboards in Flint and the usual stuff in Ann Arbor are fine, but we need more low key (but not necessarily subtle) messages like this one. Less “in your face” is a better (as in probably more effective)angle to take with the people around here.

  • bigjohn756

    Very good, all caps. Sir Terry would be proud.

  • bigjohn, that’s the first thing I thought of, too! I’ve felt for long while that, on the off chance that I’m wrong and there is, in fact, an afterlife, as long as Pratchett’s Death comes collecting, I’ll be okay with it. The guy’s got style, at least.

  • The religious will never learn this.

    Unfortunately, reality does not offer this insight to anyone unwilling to accept the realities of life while they are living.

    And when you are dead – you are just dead.

  • Hilary

    I often have thought it would be great to have just a moment like this after I die where I could celebrate knowing I’m right and then… nothing. Then, all the religious people could have their moment of surprise that they were wrong. It really doesn’t make sense and it couldn’t really happen, but damn it would be nice to get validation.

  • Jeff b

    Please, enough with the baby eating bullshit. It’s not funny and does not help the free thought cause. As for the cartoon, it makes no sense to me. The foundation of my mindset in atheism is that I don’t buy into the fables. That being said, I have no idea what might happen when I die. Maybe my energy transfers to another being or system. Maybe the light extinguishes. I have no idea. This cartoon implies that nothing happens…that’s an unknown that is both depressing and unproven.

  • Xena

    I loved this cartoon. I did actually flatline once. I was officially dead for several minutes. I don’t want to discuss the circumstances. VERY traumatic.

    There was no white light. Just nothing but the feel of my heart stopping and my consciousness dimming with each convulsion, like passing out from heatstroke, but with pain. It hurts to die. Then I opened my eyes (maybe 10 or 15 minutes later) and the paramedics had revived me. There was nothing in between.

    Dead is just dead. Flesh is too precious and life is too short to waste on praying and fingerpointing and misogynistic fairy tales whose proponents say they think I should prove myself worshipful with a fullblown case of Stockholm Syndrome.

    I live in a beautiful growing, changing, loving, thinking and yes, dying but also replenishing world. I’m going to cherish and nurture her the best I can in the few short decades I have left here.

    The only way that organized religion can be right now would be if I’m going straight to hell when I die, and nonexistence is it. In that case, the above still applies. I love being alive 🙂

    That’s about the closest thing you’re going to get to validation without going through that yourself, Hilary. And I would NOT recommend it.

  • Xena

    I made the mistake of trying to talk about my experience with death with a religious person. He treated me like I’m the crazy one. Go figure. Same thing they do when they see an actual bona fide cro mag skull. They walk out on the lesson.

    I’m afraid there will never be any moment of gloating. People will believe what they’ll believe until they decide to change their minds. The best the rest of us can do is to keep them from doing too much damage with the view that their “heaven” is more important than the living things they can see and touch.

  • Love it! Only thing I’d add is a don’t worry at the beginning of the reaper’s sentence.

    Jeff b, what are you on about? Who mentioned babies in this thread? Did I miss something? Also, what’s so depressing about ceasing to exist? Life is great but, hell (no pun intended), going on forever would get so freaking tiresome that we’d probably be begging for it to end.

    Xena, decades ago I tried to go to sleep permanently with sleeping pills. All I experienced (other than some other hallucinations) was a black void reaching out for me. I could literally turn away from it. I knew that if it got me, I’d cease to exist. I was literally begging the paramedics to not let me die. Guess I wasn’t really ready to stop existing quite that young.

    Frankly, still not. But age brings wisdom (well, sometimes) and a certain philopsophical attitude. I hope I go on for another 30 – 35 years at least (I’m 52) and see how my grandson turns out as an adult (he’s been determined to be a cop for a couple of years now and he’d be a good one, smart but likes to do physical things and cares about people a lot) and a great-grandbaby or two born first but I’m at the stage of life that even if I went tomorrow, I’m now satisfied because I’ve lived a full, happy life.

  • Dan

    Woo-Hoo! Go Buckeyes!!!!

  • Veronika

    columbus is an atheist haven compared to most of the rest of ohio.

  • the one thing i like about some religious traditions: those that are honest enough to admit that nothing lasts forever. that’s at least a step in the right direction and if we had more believers in this country who thought that way instead of “and then it’s ponies and rainbows and candy forever because i was better than those nasty thinking people who are all now burning in a lake of fire!” types, things would be much better today. (this of course does not mean i in any way accept “reincarnation” or bullshit like that)

    but i don’t really like the cartoon. first off, “death” isn’t a person. no one and nothing “comes for you” when you die. depending on the circumstances of your death, you may or may not even be aware as it happens. like other posters here, i’ve come close a couple times; i don’t remember anything about it. i do hope when i die i’m not in a lot of pain; i fear that much more than death.

    as a serious gardener, i’ve come to accept that death is a GOOD thing. for most living creatures, death is release: from pain, from incurable disease, from having to live beyond “your time” and watching all your fellow creatures pass away while you linger on, from the grief and weariness of life… if i were a myth writer, i would *always* posit death in the form of the most beautiful creatures possible. i’m such a sucker for “watership down” for this very reason. i won’t spoil it for those who’ve not read it, but i always burst into tears when i get to the part that goes, “Do you know me, Hazel?” i can’t believe, but if i did it would be like that. one of my jobs is eldercare nursing, and i’m telling you: very few people are so enamored of life that they would want to live until they were 125 or some such; immortal youth is a myth and given the harsh truth of age, most humans who are very old when they die welcome that release.

    i will say as a science type that i accept the possibility of other dimensions and planes of existence, and the very slight chance that my molecules/energy will somehow resonate in one, in some way once my current mind and body cease to function. like how i know plants die, but their seeds/roots/rhizomes/whatever can go on “forever,” which is to say as long as my garden remains. but i really don’t believe that the mind/consciousness that i consider to be “me” will last more than the span of my natural life. and if i’m wrong, it hardly matters, as no human in the history of this planet has ever come back from death in any truly meaningful way.

  • MadScutter

    Well Dan, for what it is worth, add another Columbus atheist (make it two more, since my wife is as well) to your tally. Heck, you aren’t even the only atheist Dan in C’bus. 😀

  • Loueelouah

    As a Humanist in C-bus I applaud the cartoon. Any published opinion of a nonbeliever lets others know we exist. And that is important for everyone.