Atheism and Suicide


From: “leon”
To: “Positive Atheism”
Date: November 13, 2006
Subject Atheism and Suicide

Do you happen to know of any type of statistic on the suicide rate for atheists vs that of theists? I’m assuming that atheists would admit they really don’t know what will happen when they die as there is no evidence to come to a conclusion. I would also assume that the most logical explanation would be simple non-existance.

If these assumptions are correct, I would also assume that an atheist might reason that if they felt like they were in so much pain that they didn’t want to live, and the alternative is non-existance it may make it easier for them to go through with suicide.

I think that most theists believe suicide is a good way to go straight to hell. Does this deter them from going through with suicide?



From: “Positive Atheism”
To: “leon”
Date: November 15, 2006
Subject: Atheism and Suicide

Were this even an issue, the tough part would be determining just who is an atheist.

Does this deter them...?

I suspect that it deters only those who need a reason to be deterred. Another problem involves the fact that so few theists (Christians, even) are definitely your garden-variety Heaven-and-Hell Christians.

However, from what I hear, suicide is, for the most part, a component of biologically keyed mental illness. Thus, I would expect the data to reflect equally on both sides. When it comes down to it, morality is not what’s on a person’s mind, but despair, despondency, desolation, dejection, and, well, defeatism. All these are products of depression which, among other things, make up the suicidal death wish.

On the other hand, when we were struggling to carry Oregon’s Death With Dignity Act, the desire was to hasten the inevitable as well as to prevent the quality of life from being overshadowed by the degradation of terminal, debilitating illness.