Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.
― Marcus Aurelius
It seems to me like the quote above was fabricated based loosely on another.
Marcus Aurelius was NOT an atheist, the actual quote should show this quite clearly, though much of his philosophy was very practical, and for the most part disinterested in the supernatural.
“Now departure from the world of men is nothing to fear, if gods exist: because they would not involve you in any harm. If they do not exist, or if they have no care for humankind, then what is life to me in a world devoid of gods, or devoid of providence? But they do exist, and they do care for humankind: and they have put it absolutely in man’s power to avoid falling into the true kinds of harm.”
—Marcus Aurelius, Meditations 2.11
So, who was Marcus?
A Roman emperor from 161 to 180 A.D., Marcus practiced Stoicism and wrote about his own Stoic practice in his journals. It is worth remembering that Marcus is one of history’s most exemplary leaders and one worth emulating in our own lives. Matthew Arnold, the essayist, remarked in 1863, that in Marcus we find a man who held the highest and most powerful station in the world—and the universal verdict of the people around him was that he proved himself worthy of it. Machiavelli considers the time of rule under Marcus “golden time” and him the last of the “Five Good Emperors.” Machiavelli would also describe Marcus Aurelius as “unassuming, a lover of justice, hater of cruelty, sympathetic and kind”
Despite his privileges as an Emperor, Marcus Aurelius had a difficult life. The Roman historian Cassius Dio mused that Marcus “did not meet with the good fortune that he deserved, for he was not strong in body and was involved in a multitude of troubles throughout practically his entire reign.” But throughout these struggles he never gave up. He is an inspiring example for us to think about today if we get tired, frustrated, or have to deal with some crisis.
And during those years of struggle, particularly while he was directing military campaigns, Marcus would write twelve books of his private journals, which is estimated to has been between 170 and 180 A.D. They have become one of the most influential philosophy books in the history of the world. Meditations originally had no title and was written by Marcus Aurelius for his own benefit, not for an audience. And it’s funny to think that his writings may be as special as they are because they were never intended for us to be read. Almost every other piece of literature is a kind of performance—it’s made for the audience. Meditations isn’t. In fact, their original title (Ta eis heauton) roughly translates as To Himself.
“Let not future things disturb you, for you will come to them, if it shall be necessary, having with you the same reason which you now use for present things.”
Read more about Marcus Aurelius: https://thepaintedporch.net/2017/03/16/marcus-aurelius-death/