A Group for Terminally Ill Atheists July 10, 2012

A Group for Terminally Ill Atheists

A reader named Chantelle was recently diagnosed with ALS. The only support group in her area met at a church and was all religious-y. So she’s curious if there are other atheists with life-threatening illnesses who may want to talk to each other.

She created a Facebook group and would love to hear from people in the same situation.

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  • Actually, Hemant, there are a lot of us out there. I have MS.  I know of others that are also willing to converse.  Please have her contact me.  There are networks in place.

  • Will do!

  • Hollynaranjo

    I am a social worker who works at helping those with a cancer diagnosis navigate the health care system. I am also an atheist. I think it’s wonderful that this is happening! I would also be interested to know where I can refer my clients, because I am not aware of many support groups for atheist patients.

    Thanks for the info!

  • Jeff Akston

    Great that these exist.    I’ve always wondered what I would do, if I was in a situation like this, or if I ever became an addict.  It seems like (especially for addicts) the answer is “well, drrrr, God is the only one who can fix it”

  • “Why fear the void from which we emerged unscathed at birth?”

  • allein

    I don’t fear the void but I sometimes fear the potential process of getting there.

  • advancedatheist

    Atheists can put a stop to this “terminal illness” nonsense by pushing for the development of brain cryopreservation, and by signing it up for it themselves. Cryonics does have a basis in science, you know, and I’ve had my own arrangements for cryonic suspension with the Alcor Foundation since 1990, funded by life insurance. Cryonicists want to develop “medical time travel” or an ambulance ride across time to try to benefit from the better medical capabilities of future societies. 

    Refer to:

    1. General but outdated background information on the idea, mainly of historical interest now:

    The Prospect of Immortality (1964), by Robert Ettinger:


    2. “Cryopreservation of rat hippocampal slices by vitrification” (a peer-reviewed scientific paper):

    “Microscopic examination showed severe damage in frozen–thawed slices, but generally good to excellent ultrastructural and histological preservation after vitrification. Our results provide the first demonstration that both the viability and the structure of mature organized, complex neural networks can be well preserved by vitrification. These results may assist neuropsychiatric drug evaluation and development and the transplantation of integrated brain regions to correct brain disease or injury.”


    3. Mike Darwin’s Chronosphere blog:


    Mike goes back nearly to the beginnings of cryonics in the late 1960’s, and his blog offers a metaphorical gold mine of information, including references to a lot of scientific papers, about the field and its current but probably surmountable problems.

    4. MIT neuroscientist Sebastian Seung defends cryonic suspension as a feasible scientific-medical experiment in his book Connectome, and I have it on good authority that he plans to speak at Alcor’s conference in Scottsdale, AZ, this October:





  • Barbara

    Atheist addicts also have Smart Recovery and Rational Recovery groups to turn to. Found them online by chance when I was looking for a non-religious weight loss/binge eaters group. Haven’t found one yet in my area, but it’s good to know that there are other options besides AA for alcoholics. I’ve listened in to AA meetings when I used to bring a friend there and those meetings are breeding grounds for depression and relapse, IMO. 

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