Jump to content

Are We More At Risk?


Garnet
 Share

Recommended Posts

I just found out that someone whom I used to interact with on another board committed suicide last night. To say I am shocked is an understatement. This gentleman always seemed so calm and cheerful. He was a pillar of strength and kindness. He was an activist for atheism in a thoughtful manner. In fact, he used to sign his posts THOUGHTfully yours.

 

A few months ago, another young man on the same board committed suicide. He was a young man with an overt fascination with guns and prior to his death seemed to be sliding towards nihilism. Yet he was also bright and often stunningly funny.

 

I struggle myself sometimes. I find the thought of death to be comforting rather than frightning. There are times when things aren't going so well, times when I'm struggling with depression, that it would be so easy just to give it all up. So far, I hold on to the notion that my death would be devastating to my loved ones. So far, I cling to my stubborn refusal to give up. But sometimes, the idea of going to sleep and never waking up is so appealing.

 

I wonder if those of us who do not believe in an afterlife are more at risk for suicide. I've read a lot of statements that basically say that we are less at risk because this life is all we have and it's precious. I don't know. Perhaps I'm blathering because I'm upset.

 

I'm interested in the thoughts of those on-line here. Are we less risk or more risk or just on par with the rest of the population?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I dont think we are more at risk. I think that certain thoughts or principles (like nihilism) perhaps combined with certain atheistic thoughts, like no afterlife/ no "better place" after death can make a single individual more likely to commit suicide. Maybe there is a study whmewhere that could confirm this?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would imagine there is some researcher out there with some "answers" but I don't know if I'd trust it. I imagine if I were to do myself in tonight that I'd probably end up, despite my wishes, being branded a "Christian." People will label me, after the fact of course, what comforts them and not what I truly happened to be.

 

I doubt that non-believers are really at any more or less risk than any other group (all things being equal). Believers don't off themselves because of some divine punishment. Non-believers value life all too much. Perhaps these are things we tell ourselves because, ultimately, we really don't want to take that final step into death no matter how much we think we might want to in those dark moments.

 

mwc

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with all those who have guessed that we, the "unbelievers", are not at greater risk for suicide. I don't feel at all inclined in that direction. I will not go quietly into the night, much less enter of my own accord.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I believe that the risk for suicide is not necessarily related to any religious belief.

 

I also believe that the choice to commit suicide, regardless of one's religious belief, though a right, is almost always the wrong choice. That belief is grounded in the belief that there is no basis to believe that any life after this can be reasonably expected. It follows therefore that if we believe that this consciousness is the only one we will ever know, then we should do what we can to preserve it, make any changes to the course of our lives that we can, and try, a day at a time, to make it the best it can be. Because there is no alternative to it but non-existence.

 

And I think that we can find a reason to continue existing, until all our strengths are exhausted, if we are willing to try. While I do not condemn in any way those who believe there is no hope left, I still say, "Try harder". Look closer, for your hope to keep trying for sustaining life. Try to find a reason, any reason, to live one more day. After all...what is the alternative? When it's done, there's no going back.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm truly sorry to hear about his suicide. I really do hope there is some sort of afterlife, that he may continue to exist in a better realm,

 

As with all external influences, I think religion merely exaggerates who a person is anyway. In many other ways, too, religion is like a drug. I refuse to believe that alcohol makes people violent. Rather, alcohol makes violent people more violent. Similarly, religion or a lack thereof makes people more or less inclined to suicide depending on who they are anyway,

 

Religion and a lack of are such complex belief systems that so much can be found in them. If you are inclined to find the positive, you do, and if you are inclined to find the negative,you do. As a humanist, I occasionally find the idea that we are the be all and end all terrifying. But, as a generally optimistic humanist, I find this profoundly encouraging.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have drafted a living will to cover my likely end... pulling the plug when I can no longer swallow isn't suicide, it's spitting in Death's eye one last time since I'm picking my time. The idea of death has never bothered me, even as a child. I've always considered dying as far worse than being dead, and I have no intention of dragging months into years as a vegetable...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hubby and I have living wills too. They are damned detailed as neither one of us fear death but we are both horrified by a long, painful dying process.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I just found out that someone whom I used to interact with on another board committed suicide last night. To say I am shocked is an understatement. This gentleman always seemed so calm and cheerful. He was a pillar of strength and kindness. He was an activist for atheism in a thoughtful manner. In fact, he used to sign his posts THOUGHTfully yours.

 

A few months ago, another young man on the same board committed suicide. He was a young man with an overt fascination with guns and prior to his death seemed to be sliding towards nihilism. Yet he was also bright and often stunningly funny.

 

I struggle myself sometimes. I find the thought of death to be comforting rather than frightning. There are times when things aren't going so well, times when I'm struggling with depression, that it would be so easy just to give it all up. So far, I hold on to the notion that my death would be devastating to my loved ones. So far, I cling to my stubborn refusal to give up. But sometimes, the idea of going to sleep and never waking up is so appealing.

 

I wonder if those of us who do not believe in an afterlife are more at risk for suicide. I've read a lot of statements that basically say that we are less at risk because this life is all we have and it's precious. I don't know. Perhaps I'm blathering because I'm upset.

 

I'm interested in the thoughts of those on-line here. Are we less risk or more risk or just on par with the rest of the population?

 

This is the same kind of issue as something dealt with in the first Matrix movie. The rule about not 'saving' people who are too old. Some people base so much of their lives on it and, become so comfortable and accoustomed to the lifestyle that they literally can not take a world without god. It literally becomes so ingrained that they cannot survive without it.

 

Christianity = The Matrix. It's a secure delusion.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Actually, you are more at risk if you are a Mormon. I believe Utah has the highest suicide rate per capita in the US. I'm sure it has to do with the huge amount of guilt heaped on those poor kids about masterbation and such. I had a good friend of mine commit suicide BTW. He was Mormon.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Christianity = The Matrix. It's a secure delusion.

 

The funny thing is, I once went to a church where the pastor was into pop culture and liked to make a lot of movie references. He actually claimed that non-believers lived in 'The Matrix' and were brought out into the real world through Christianity. I didn't really see the logic in that at the time, and I can totally see the errancy of it now. The Matrix certainly is much more like Christianity (or Islam for that matter), in that it gives you a false sense of security, safety, and purpose. The real world, and knowledge of reality, is much more difficult.

 

Along those lines, I also think the original transition to atheism is the worst part if it is rushed, just as any major life changes can be stressful and depressing. My transition was pretty rushed, and I seriously considered suicide. I wasn't in my right mind though, had no vision of the future, and was also very alone. Looking back on it now, I don't feel that it was related to my disbelief.

 

To sum up, the major contributors to my suicidal tendencies were:

1) a rapid, major life change

2) inability to think clearly

3) lack of vision

4) loneliness

 

What brought me out was simply waiting it out. Once the initial shock wore off, I started to think more clearly. After a while I started to develop positive goals for my future. I also realize that companionship is important, and getting some good close friends is one of my goals.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hmmm. Well, speaking from experiance, suicidal ideation comes around where you have more problems than resources to cope. You don't really care about where you are going, so long as it's away from HERE.

 

(I'm speaking about people who are on the very verge...people waffle between fear and numbness of their deaths and their beliefs can affect their decisions a lot while depressed, but at the time it actually comes to decide, there isn't anymore distinctions or rational going on except the urge to make it stop.)

 

So I don't think we're more at risk. There can be lots of different anchors for people during emotional crisis, but nothing feels is as strong as it once was when you are so worn out and in chronic pain from your problems that death is a very real possibility.

 

I'm sorry for the loss of your friend.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Christianity = The Matrix. It's a secure delusion.

 

The funny thing is, I once went to a church where the pastor was into pop culture and liked to make a lot of movie references. He actually claimed that non-believers lived in 'The Matrix' and were brought out into the real world through Christianity. I didn't really see the logic in that at the time, and I can totally see the errancy of it now. The Matrix certainly is much more like Christianity (or Islam for that matter), in that it gives you a false sense of security, safety, and purpose. The real world, and knowledge of reality, is much more difficult.

 

Along those lines, I also think the original transition to atheism is the worst part if it is rushed, just as any major life changes can be stressful and depressing. My transition was pretty rushed, and I seriously considered suicide. I wasn't in my right mind though, had no vision of the future, and was also very alone. Looking back on it now, I don't feel that it was related to my disbelief.

 

To sum up, the major contributors to my suicidal tendencies were:

1) a rapid, major life change

2) inability to think clearly

3) lack of vision

4) loneliness

 

What brought me out was simply waiting it out. Once the initial shock wore off, I started to think more clearly. After a while I started to develop positive goals for my future. I also realize that companionship is important, and getting some good close friends is one of my goals.

 

Well, actually the list is in line with my Matrix theory here. Though, I also agree it's something that should be eased into when possible.

 

It's a house of cards, take a card out of the wrong place, and the whole thing comes down at once. If you're careful and take your time it's possible to dismantle it piece by piece.

 

The thing is, sometimes you knock one of the cards out by accident while building, and the whole thing just comes crashing down. These are the most likely suicide cases I'd think. As I said, there are people who literally can't exist outside of their Matrix. It is kind of funny and disturbing that Church fits that description so well.

 

I also don't recall those cases in Utah being related to deconversion so much as depression over the precived evil of sin.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I haven't checked statistics, but I suspect that the number of suicides in Europe (more atheistic/agnostic than US) is not significantly higher than US. So my suspicion is that since the culture is so strongly Christian and most atheists/agnostics in US are former Christians, it's easier to lose grip of reality and never be able to find a new and good platform to build your life upon. It's not enough to come to a conclusion about if god exists or not, but also to find new meaning in life, or as I'd rather say it, find a goal in life. When religious people talk about "meaning of life" and connect it to their faith, basically it is all about having a goal - like "going to heaven and see Jeeezus", and when you lose that goal, you have nothing to work or strive for. So what I'm saying is that I do think the risk is higher for American non-believers, but not because of the un-belief, but because it is an un-belief in a culture that is soaked in belief. You strongly get the feeling that you don't fit in. Kind of a peer presure on a larger scale. It's unfortunate, and hard to change, only if America slowly become more secular again there might be easier to breath for us all.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Christianity = The Matrix. It's a secure delusion.

 

The funny thing is, I once went to a church where the pastor was into pop culture and liked to make a lot of movie references. He actually claimed that non-believers lived in 'The Matrix' and were brought out into the real world through Christianity. I didn't really see the logic in that at the time, and I can totally see the errancy of it now. The Matrix certainly is much more like Christianity (or Islam for that matter), in that it gives you a false sense of security, safety, and purpose. The real world, and knowledge of reality, is much more difficult.

 

Along those lines, I also think the original transition to atheism is the worst part if it is rushed, just as any major life changes can be stressful and depressing. My transition was pretty rushed, and I seriously considered suicide. I wasn't in my right mind though, had no vision of the future, and was also very alone. Looking back on it now, I don't feel that it was related to my disbelief.

 

To sum up, the major contributors to my suicidal tendencies were:

1) a rapid, major life change

2) inability to think clearly

3) lack of vision

4) loneliness

 

What brought me out was simply waiting it out. Once the initial shock wore off, I started to think more clearly. After a while I started to develop positive goals for my future. I also realize that companionship is important, and getting some good close friends is one of my goals.

 

For even more nauseating nonsense of the type you experienced on The Matrix, take a gander at Hollywood Jesus... I laughed aloud at them levering the gospel into 'Tokyo Drift'...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I remember the phrase "hopelessness and helplessness" from my college days. I don't remember the context; it was probably in one of my criminal justice classes. Regardless, I think it sums up what may lead people to suicide. I know that the closest I've ever come was a couple of years ago when I realized that every goal I'd set and acheived was nothing but a fart in a tornado. It was also when I realized, harshly, that hard work, expertise and ability just aren't enough to keep a job. I felt hopeless and helpless. I suppose it really doesn't matter what ones beliefs are when one reaches that particular state of mind.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sorry about your friend's suicide. I've lost too many friends to suicide.

 

I have a disease that many people would choose suicide vs. life. Jack Kevorkian helped a woman commit suicide who had the same degenerative disease as me. The long slow dying process? It's my reality. My two choices are progressive, crippling, incurable disease treated with chemotherapy, or suicide. My life is most people's nightmare scenario: rare disease that kills people slowly so they can watch it happening, execution in slow motion, relentless as the tide. Cane, walker, wheelchair, powerchair, bedridden, dead. No cure. No hope of remission. No miracles.

 

Someone mentioned, "When I can't swallow anymore..." I'm losing the ability to swallow. Lost it entirely in 2004-2005. It's back now. For how long, I don't know. I do know that life without eating sucks. There is so much more to eating than just satisfying hunger. There is a social connection. We celebrate everything from births to funerals with food. When I could not eat anymore, I was depressed. I missed being able to connect with people. It's isolating losing the ability to eat. It hurt. But, it wasn't enough to make me want to stop living.

 

I choke on food because I've lost my gag reflex. The muscles in my mouth don't always move food around. My esophagus cramps around food and it just stays there in a lump under my breast bone. Hurts like someone hit me with a lance. Sometimes, I have to throw up because I can't get the food to move. I've learned what I can and cannot eat. Cold foods. Ice cream. Ice water. Can't eat them. Chewy foods. Can't eat them, either. I'm slowly losing the ability to eat. And it sucks.

 

My life looks like a nightmare from the outside. But, from here suicide is unthinkable. WHY? Why fight so hard to survive? I'm still loved. I'm still able to love. I'm still able to give. I'm still able to receive. I can laugh. I can cry. I can celebrate life. Disability is something I've learned to embrace. And I had to fight past bitterness and rage to get here. I had to despair and cry. I cycle back to rage and despair sometimes. But, then I get up and dance anyway.

 

For those of you who struggle with suicidal thoughts, I understand. I've struggled with them, too. But, when I find myself walking toward the abyss, I turn around and choose life. Choosing life isn't always easy. Sometimes choosing life means screaming questions into the night. Choosing life means dealing with pain so bad all I can do is curl my hands into fists so tight my fingernails cut my palms. But, then I get up, and I dance anyway.

 

Life can be hard. Life can be unfair. If you find yourself walking toward the abyss, let me encourage you right now, turn around. Choose life. Get up and dance anyway. That is what I'm going to do. I'm going to choose life. No matter what happens to me. No matter how painful. No matter what I lose. I'm going to get up and dance anyway until the final note when the grave takes me. Hopefully, that will be years from now.

 

Cello Chick

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh Cello Chick, I think you are so beautiful. I don't have the words to describe it. Your struggle is the struggle of all life against death. So beautiful.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No we are not more at risk. Nor are we less. Whether a person chooses suicide or not depends very strongly on their cultural paradigm. Suicide is quite common in Asia....but you do not ask your Asian friends if they've ever considered suicide solely based on their ethnic background.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultural_views_of_suicide

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am going to have to agree here. Atheists are no more or less likely to commit suicide. Although I have no facts to support my claim so please do not take it too seriously.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No we are not more at risk. Nor are we less. Whether a person chooses suicide or not depends very strongly on their cultural paradigm. Suicide is quite common in Asia....but you do not ask your Asian friends if they've ever considered suicide solely based on their ethnic background.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultural_views_of_suicide

 

Funny you should make the comment that I wouldn't ask my Asian friends. I have a good friend from my college days who is Japanese. I did indeed ask her the question. Why wouldn't I? We talked at length about suicide in her culture.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No we are not more at risk. Nor are we less. Whether a person chooses suicide or not depends very strongly on their cultural paradigm. Suicide is quite common in Asia....but you do not ask your Asian friends if they've ever considered suicide solely based on their ethnic background.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultural_views_of_suicide

 

Funny you should make the comment that I wouldn't ask my Asian friends. I have a good friend from my college days who is Japanese. I did indeed ask her the question. Why wouldn't I? We talked at length about suicide in her culture.

 

Depends on the manner in which the conversation comes up. And you mentioned discussing the topic of suicide in her culture. Did you ask her point blank (without pre-warming) if she'd ever considered suicide based on her being asian? Or did you warm up to the question by discussing suicide in asian culture in general before narrowing to the specific (specifically her as an individual)?

 

There's a certain courtesy ethic when it comes to asking our friends if a general statistic applies to them. Especially topics we can reasonably assume that our friends may be sensitive about.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Guidelines.