The news of the loss of Robin Williams is saddening. I however can't help feeling that it is the shared delusion of a better place to go that was likely the cause. This is not a new idea as suicide to speed along the journey to "heaven" that caused the church to announce that it was a sin. Those who say religion isn't harmful if practiced alone I believe are mistaken or have never lost a loved one who was alone with their ideas of a better place. Maybe this idea is ill timed, but I have seen many instances where life was lost due to someone hoping for the promised land because their ideas were allowed to manifest unchallenged.
Just my thoughts
Any god that can make a woman out of a man's rib...is enough to convince me, he/she/it is a made up fantasy of a looney tunes human with a very creative mind..
Freethinker31, excellent observation! Why didn't I see it earlier?! Well, that is part of the disease.
I never associated suicide with religious concepts. As a survivor of a failed attempt myself, I can speak first hand as to the motivations behind suicide, at least from my perspective. For me, suicide was an attempt to end my existence. I did not care whether or not there was an afterlife at the time. The pain of living just seemed to be something I wanted to escape. If that meant the complete end of my existence, I found that potential end more palitable to the suffering of existence.
As many religions prohibit suicide, or rather have a set protocol that ends badly for those that take their own life, I don't see how the idea that suicide is a quick way to get to heaven could be justified. At the core, suicide is an irrational response to suffering in this life, that one finds reasonable when in a deep depression as a potential escape from that suffering. As such, I am not sure how the existence of an afterlife would have any bearing on someone making that flawed decision.
This was a couple decades ago for me, so rest assured I am fine now. I was having a crisis of faith, coming out of fundamental Christianity at the time. Upon obtaining a greater understanding of science and the nature of logic, I was ultimately able to abandon irrational thoughts, including those that caused my depression. And as I finally emerged as an atheist, I have never been so satisfied with existence, and have found a new sense of purpose and value for THIS life, the only one we likely will have.
I had a long drawn-out emotional cataclysm in the late 80's when a lot of buried trauma and pain surfaced from my early childhood. At times I wanted to kill myself. I wanted to go to the desert with a gun and blow the pain out of my head.
The sad thing is that suicidal people are stigmatized. To my way of thinking, they are for the most part the best of humanity. They are the ultimate protestants -- in the sense that they protest. One of the early markers in the gradual unfolding of my atheism, my loss of thorns to get at the flower (puns intended) was my father's chagrin at being unable to bury a client he had become close to, a cop he defended in court against a charge of accepting a bribe. When the cop lost his case, he was so humiliated to have attained to the rank of captain only to have two underlings with "o'erweaning ambition" take him out with perjured testimony that he offed himself with his service revolver. The RCC would not allow burial in consecrated ground. That's right, a priest goes out and sprinkles some holy water on some dirt and grass with little (or big) granite monuments all about, and then pronounces the cemetery "sacred ground." (Now, all of you wags quit saying that is the sort of place you wouldn't be caught dead in!) I questioned it as a teenager and witnessed my father's anger at the rebuff and the incident planted in my young mind the notion that religion was nothing but hypocrisy under another name. One of Shakespeare's character, I think, said "the law is an ass." Must be true, since it is actually illegal in some states to take your life. Think about that.
@Gregory Phillip Dearth, great post! I thought about suicide lots as a teen, possibly as adolescent. I never had the courage to go through with it. I believe it takes courage. I never could understand the opinion of that suicide is a "cowardly" act. Most who say that are also believers, I suspect. The last line of your post is just what both suicides and their detractors need to hear. Thanks for posting.
Sorry James.....It bothers me when you say it takes courage to commit suicide.....I believe it takes courage to raise yourself up and defeat the idea of such an unfortunate act.....Gregory is the one who had courage...It must have been a brutal time but he managed to win the fight....He is an inspiration and should be commended ....
I stand by my original statement. When Bill Maher stated on "Politically Incorrect" that he thought the 9/11 jihadist pilots were acted with bravery when they flew into the twin towers, I knew what he meant: Islam aside (and 72 virgins, or raisins, aside) knowing that one's consciousness will not only end with one's death is simply a terrifying proposition. It takes courage to go through with it. I suspect that the reason Hemingway shot himself was because he had absolutely nothing to live for. He could no longer do any of the things he enjoyed, things that made life bearable despite the slings and arrows. (Of course, it might be said he is a bad example because, after all, he had undergone shock therapy, a sort of electrical lobotomy, and might not have been in his right mind when he did the deed, but he was not crazy.) Writing, no. Sex, no. Eating what he liked, no. Hunting, no. Fishing, no. He could not do a thing he liked doing. When I reach that point I hope I have the guts to off myself as he did. I am not calling Gregory a coward, I am simply saying that I regard suicide as courageous. It is certainly as courageous as attempting it and failing. That took courage, courage I lack.
@James ..... I love Bill Maher's show and respect him.....Does that mean I have to agree with him all the time?....He was criticized , and rightfully so, for those comments......It was strictly the religious views of those Jihadists which were as radical as one can get, that made them fly into the twin towers and the Pentagon....Courageous , I think not....Stupid, absolutely..........Hemingway was a brilliant man who may have had bipolar problems as did Robin Williams......Only they could have said why they did it.....I was not courageous but deep depression and reaching their lowest point that they succumbed to the suicidal thoughts....If only they could have reached out to someone........
I stand by my statements.
@ James.......I have learned that one has to respect another's opinion even if we disagree......As long as you feel comfortable with it, not much anyone can do....
@Gregory....Eloquently stated.......It seems many have no idea what they are talking about on many topics....It usually takes someone, like yourself, who has actually experienced , in this case, attempted suicide, to give a true realization of what the person is feeling and going through.......I can't even begin to imagine such a low point in one's life....and Gregory, I commend you for turning yourself around and living your life, for life is too short as it is.......