Unless you are suffering interminable excruciating pain. For such a person death might be considered a reward. For people who die without pain, there is no reason to call it punishment, since there can be no punishment without an awareness of being punished, and there can be no awareness without being alive and awake (with normal brain function and mental state). The punishment is imposed on the grieving loved ones. Notice how religion tends to ignore the reality of the trauma and suffering of the grieving survivors. Somehow they suddenly disappear from the radar of compassion of the so-called Personal God. Life is a biological process. Do you assume that a skin cell is cut off from God when it dies? We are systems of cells integrated into tissues which are integrated into organs which are integrated into systems, which integrate into the body. The integration of the complete human is more complex because it involves the integration of the mind into the brain which is barely understood, if at all. Being cut off from God (as in being brain dead, asleep, or being an atheist) has no bearing on whether a person is alive or dead. You appear to be referring to the Personal God of Judeo-Christian Orthodoxy and/or Christian Fundamentalism. That adds the rest of people who believe in God to the group above. I don't know abut you, but I see life teeming all around me. The living dead are the cells of your body, programmed in your DNA to die (apoptosis). Fundamentalists and atheists have the same life expectancies. Not at all. The body stops functioning when vital tissues, organs or systems becomes physically or functionally separated from the integrated body of systems. (Here I'm treating blood as a tissue.) In general it happens when fresh blood is separated from the body cells by lack of circulation. At the molecular level, you could say it occurs when cellular respiration ceases when blood stops flowing. There is no spirit. If there were, it would have to reside in all living things, including the prokarytes/eukaryotes (like bacteria) from which we evolved. The idea of an animal spirit has been superseded by the discovery of Brownian motion and its role in all cellular activity. It's also the means of diffusion in non-living liquids. Therefore if there are spirits in us, then there are spirits in the jar of formaldehyde (in Brownian motion) into which the dead tissues and organs of the biologist's lab are kept. This would restore the "separation" of the spirit from the inanimate tissue or organ (such as a sectioned brain). However, the specimen remains dead, so your statement can not be possibly be true.