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Why are most religions against suicide?

Wilson Wilson

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Is it about controlling people? Yes, but only in the same way all laws and regulations and social rules are.

I agree with the rest of your comment, but as for this paragraph, I actually think it's different.

For example it's a social rule that I shouldn't litter because then someone has to clear up after me. It's not a huge deal for me to just throw my empty can in the bin so I can follow this with no pain to myself.

Regarding suicide though, presumably no one is suicidal without a reason, whether that reason is mental, physical, or external - there is still some type of reason.

In telling someone not to end their pain because it will upset others, you are not only asking them to think about others, you are asking them to live daily through pain just so others don't feel pain instead. This seems to me a highly selfish request, and the fact we live in a society where we call suicidal people selfish is backwards to me.

Imagine telling someone slowly dying of a terminal illness "no you can't kill yourself because it will make me sad."

Nevermind the fact that person is in constantly physical and mental pain and can barely move.

To be clear I'm not advocating suicide as a good thing. Only questioning the social views around it.
 

JessFR

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I agree with the rest of your comment, but as for this paragraph, I actually think it's different.

For example it's a social rule that I shouldn't litter because then someone has to clear up after me. It's not a huge deal for me to just throw my empty can in the bin so I can follow this with no pain to myself.

Regarding suicide though, presumably no one is suicidal without a reason, whether that reason is mental, physical, or external - there is still some type of reason.

In telling someone not to end their pain because it will upset others, you are not only asking them to think about others, you are asking them to live daily through pain just so others don't feel pain instead. This seems to me a highly selfish request, and the fact we live in a society where we call suicidal people selfish is backwards to me.

Imagine telling someone slowly dying of a terminal illness "no you can't kill yourself because it will make me sad."

Nevermind the fact that person is in constantly physical and mental pain and can barely move.

To be clear I'm not advocating suicide as a good thing. Only questioning the social views around it.

I wasn't really trying to argue that such rules against suicide are morally right. Just that society generally opposes suicide because of the harm it will do to the victims loved ones, rightly or wrongly, and religion is just an expression of those rules.

I'm only arguing for a reason why religion opposes it, not that the reason itself is correct.
 

Xorkoth

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The reason I hate the "it affects others" argument is that some people don't have anyone and these people around a suicidal person almost certainly wouldn't have done much to prevent it. Do you think it's wrong for a homeless person to end their life?

I have heavily mixed feelings about this, having experienced a close loved one commit suicide (well we're 95% sure, it was a drug OD but with a recent threat of suicide). I don't that viewing suicide as selfish by those surviving a person is wrong. It is understandable. The specific type of pain for those left behind from someone who kills themselves (I mean except in such as cases as terminate illness or whatever when it has been discussed amongst the family) is intractable and absolutely devastates family and friends. Particularly the pain felt by parents if their child kills themselves. On the other hand, the pain that the suicidal person feels on a daily basis is also horrific.

I think that in almost every case, though, it is possible for someone to work through their pain and come out the other side and no longer wish to die. I can't even tell you how many cases I have been told by people about themselves, or read about, where someone who attempted suicide and failed looked back years later and is grateful they did not succeed. Except in some cases, suicide is a permanent solution to what could be a temporary problem. Most of the time, depression is a symptom that something needs to change in your life. And usually those things are possible to change, which is why generally I personally find it pretty fucked up, because you know how much it is going to permanently devastate your friends and family. A family I knew growing up had a terrible tragedy where their teenage son killed himself. It destroyed his family, the mother ended up also killing herself because the pain was so great and she couldn't get through it.

Anyway I think religions (and indeed society as a whole) is pretty unanimously against suicide is because it is usually a poor solution, and the problems that be fixed and life can be improved, and it causes horrible pain to those surviving, destroys families, when it's someone's child it destroys the parents, when it's someone's parents it grossly disturbs a child's potential to be stable as they grow up. Religion's purpose is to provide a moral framework for society, so although they use different "reasons", the real underlying reason is an attempt to avoid a destructive act that could be dealt with in a much bettter way.
we do a horrible job both at addressing mental health issues, and at providing a societal framework to avoid mental illness. :\
 

cowardescent

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I have heavily mixed feelings about this, having experienced a close loved one commit suicide (well we're 95% sure, it was a drug OD but with a recent threat of suicide). I don't that viewing suicide as selfish by those surviving a person is wrong. It is understandable. The specific type of pain for those left behind from someone who kills themselves (I mean except in such as cases as terminate illness or whatever when it has been discussed amongst the family) is intractable and absolutely devastates family and friends. Particularly the pain felt by parents if their child kills themselves. On the other hand, the pain that the suicidal person feels on a daily basis is also horrific.

I think that in almost every case, though, it is possible for someone to work through their pain and come out the other side and no longer wish to die. I can't even tell you how many cases I have been told by people about themselves, or read about, where someone who attempted suicide and failed looked back years later and is grateful they did not succeed. Except in some cases, suicide is a permanent solution to what could be a temporary problem. Most of the time, depression is a symptom that something needs to change in your life. And usually those things are possible to change, which is why generally I personally find it pretty fucked up, because you know how much it is going to permanently devastate your friends and family. A family I knew growing up had a terrible tragedy where their teenage son killed himself. It destroyed his family, the mother ended up also killing herself because the pain was so great and she couldn't get through it.

Anyway I think religions (and indeed society as a whole) is pretty unanimously against suicide is because it is usually a poor solution, and the problems that be fixed and life can be improved, and it causes horrible pain to those surviving, destroys families, when it's someone's child it destroys the parents, when it's someone's parents it grossly disturbs a child's potential to be stable as they grow up. Religion's purpose is to provide a moral framework for society, so although they use different "reasons", the real underlying reason is an attempt to avoid a destructive act that could be dealt with in a much bettter way.
we do a horrible job both at addressing mental health issues, and at providing a societal framework to avoid mental illness. :\

I don't think this is a good reason to continue living no? Why should someone live for their family/friends? No one asked to be born so the least we should get is the right to die.

I've been to a suicide (the death of my basketball coach) and a death from cancer. The grief didn't seem any different.
 

F.U.B.A.R.

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I think the real question here is "why are most religions against rational thought..." :whistle:
 

Xorkoth

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Well a football coach is hardly the same as a family member, a parent or a child or a sibling. I've been left behind by suicide and it's a very particular level of pain. I stand by that suicide is usually not the correct response to pain for someone to take, because there are usually ways to improve your life (not always though and that's why I support the right to take one's own life). It makes sense to be against it, because it hurts other people very much, and usually it's an act of desperation and the person could get to a better place instead of killing themselves.
 

F.U.B.A.R.

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All death hurts other people. But it's unavoidable. Quite why certain religions view suicide as the 'wrong type of death' escapes me. I believe that our lives are our own to do with as we wish. Its certainly not a route I would ever take and I can't begin to imagine the hurt one must feel when suicide seems to be the only viable solution. But making taking control over your own life a 'sin' is totally fucked up imo...
 

Purposefull

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I spent the lion's share of my now 60 year old life in a suicidal mindset. All the guilting never meant a thing to me in all those years until my kids grew up and began expressing just how they felt about me, the appreciation for the little things I taught them and so on.. Now when I feel suicidal the guilt I feel has nothing whatever to do with religion. I'm an atheist so religion means exactly squat to me. I now feel bad for the grief my kids may feel once I'm gone even knowing I'm closer to death (dying of old age) than ever before in my life, but that was true also the day I was born..
 

cowardescent

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All death hurts other people. But it's unavoidable. Quite why certain religions view suicide as the 'wrong type of death' escapes me. I believe that our lives are our own to do with as we wish. Its certainly not a route I would ever take and I can't begin to imagine the hurt one must feel when suicide seems to be the only viable solution. But making taking control over your own life a 'sin' is totally fucked up imo...

It's a form of social cohesion. Religions have to close the loop of suicide otherwise what's the point of persevering in this life?
 

F.U.B.A.R.

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It's a form of social cohesion.

I see it as more a form of social control. That's all that organised religion ever has been and ever will be. There is no spirituality in religion, just guilt and threats...
 

PriestTheyCalledHim

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But should this really be the reason people don't kill themselves? Shouldn't people find a reason to live for themselves?

The reason I hate the "it affects others" argument is that some people don't have anyone and these people around a suicidal person almost certainly wouldn't have done much to prevent it. Do you think it's wrong for a homeless person to end their life?
It would depend upon too many factors. If the homeless person has a terminal disease that they are suffering from, or extremely intense chronic pain and makes the choice to end their life I am alright with their decision. But if it is 'spur of the moment' or mental illness I am not alright with this as two of my friends killed themselves and they had many reasons to live.
 
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