Cross posted @ God Is For Suckers!
“He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts - for support rather than illumination.” - Lang.
Fresh off a discussion at the NoGodBlog about the value of life and atheism (starts right about...here), I engaged (and still am) a theist who made an incredibly brave statement: that secular countries have a HIGHER suicide rate, based on a study here, carried a little further here - which I think I dissected properly.
(I really wonder though - how many suicide notes were collected that stated that "There is no God! I can't live without Him!")
I think said fellow derived this nonsense from Andy Gadfly's errant idiocy - Conservapedia!
Ah yes, the bane of our existence! The most ill-informed source on the web, more like.
I can name one prominent atheist who committed suicide - Ernest Hemingway. But one pea does not a pod make.
I will make a bold statement here - that the afterlife cheapens this life, rather than enriching it. It sure beats the epistemology of 'gee, it makes people HAPPY!'
For the most part, I'm fairly tolerant for a 'militant atheist'. If it helps you sleep at night, I'm down with that. But, as many of you know, I tend to crook a critical eyebrow at such pronouncements, and usually five minutes is all it takes to gnaw the bones of said philosophy, and find little marrow in them.
And really - if you're working towards a reward AFTER this life, then you're essentially working at nothing. The root source of your efforts to aid others is the result of a complex Pavlovian conditioning. A religious person is seeking a reward, after all. Brownie points. A pat on the head from on high. Call it what you will.
And, on a serious note (and a bit different one, but not by much), there's this 'minor' caveat:
I find it terribly sobering that of all the countries, there's only two of them that are atheist on the list - Russia and China. For the most part, the Russian religious engagements aren't between atheists and theists, but between theist and theist. The Chinese government - they tend to be a bit fucked up in re: their human rights record. A lie that costs upwards of millions of lives, in the divisiveness it creates?
So, to nutshell:
Suicide is a serious issue. But to conclude that it's preventable by accepting some foolish anachronistic codex from the Bronze Age is...well, the philosophical question then becomes this: is it preferable to save a life with a lie? Is reality that insurmountable for some?
Food for thought.