Teen Suicide: The Epidemic of Stupidity

I just saw a news story with some horrifying stats.

Teen suicide is through the roof! Yikes.

Some scary thoughts:

–60% increase in suicide in 45 years

–Suicide is in the top three leading causes of death for people ages 15-44

–In 2005, more than 32,000 people committed suicide in the U.S. (there are 1 million suicides a year globally)

Now to these freakish like statistics I have to say: WHAT THE FUCK?

I don’t want anyone to look at the title of this entry and think that I am in any way diminishing the seriousness of depression.

Trust me–I understand depression. I spent way too much of my life suffering from depression without understanding what it was. But I also know that suicide is an act of selfishness and stupidity.

As an atheist, I believe that this life is the only one I get. And even if I’m unsure (maybe there is a heaven or hell) — I’m not going to take any chances.

And this is where I really do believe that religion is harmful.

(I’m sure there is a more recent study…but this is what I found) 77% percent of Americans identify themselves as Christian. That is Christianity alone. It does not include Judaism, Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, or the various other religions which make up much smaller proportions of the United States.

That is 77% of people believing in Heaven and Hell. And while many people believe that taking your own life is a sin great enough to get you a one way ticket to hell, I am going to go out on a limb and say there must be some who are willing to take the risk (because it sure as hell cannot be that Atheists are the only people to commit suicide).

In fact, though I would imagine stats on religious affiliation of people who commit suicide would be incredibly hard if not impossible to find, I am willing to bet that the number of atheists who commit suicide would be very small. They don’t believe in the after life…they aren’t going to throw this one away.

But what Howard Ditkoff of SystemsThinker has pointed out to me in our here and there conversation about BPD and the word epidemic is that especially epidemics, but even the word contagion, can be applied to things that do not necessarily spread biologically. Ditkoff pointed to a book titled Emotional Contagion.

I think the combination of depression having the ability to become an emotional contagion, religion spreading the idea that there is an afterlife that is better than this one, and peer pressure making teens feel like suicide is a way to be noticed is what has our nation with thousands of teens killing themselves.

This goes way beyond people killing people.

This is rage, contagion, and hatred for yourself. You are your own disease.

This is why every day I become less and less of an atheist, and actually become anti-theist. I am not really content sitting by and saying “religion is okay for them as long as they don’t try to force it on me” — I am pissed. I am angry that the ideas religion puts into the minds of teenagers may eventually lead them to believe they will “be alright” in some other life, so it’s okay to end this one.

It’s stupidity, and yet…it’s not entirely their fault. Religious indoctrination has probably destroyed them.

Okay, wow. That was quite a rant, and I am sure I have pissed more than a few people off and maybe lost myself a couple of readers. But that’s how I feel about it.

I’m also posting this over at Homosecular Gaytheist so you if you want to follow the discussion, their may be more than one to follow.


The Pandemic Threat Conference


I read a post this morning over at the Avian Flu Diary announcing a conference taking place tomorrow from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm EST in Wisconsin on Preparing an Organizational Response to Pandemic. They are also broadcasting the conference over the internet, so I am lucky enough to get to watch.

You have to register, which you can do here.

I probably won’t watch the entire thing, because I just don’t have five hours of my life to spare on it. If I get into NYU Gallatin then perhaps I WILL have five hours to spend watching something like that. Ask me more on that later.

So look for an update tomorrow with news from the conference and thanks again to FLA_MEDIC at Avian Flu Diary for the information!


Also, Reed has added me as an author at his blog here. Homosecular Gaytheist covers a huge range of topics and I am thrilled to be added to the team! I will periodically post there and link it here, and vice versa.