Just a few thoughts on suicide…..

There appears to be a suicide is/isn’t selfish debate erupting on twitter.

As an ex mental health nurse, I have had many encounters with suicidal people, some who acted on the impulse and some who didn’t.

The uncomfortable truth is that suicide is by nature selfish. The aetiology of depression and suicidal ideation is such that the individual is unable to focus on any viewpoint but their own.

That is not to say that I committing suicide is a lightly taken decision or that it ranks alongside the attention grabbing acts of selfishness we see every day in our modern society.

By all means, argue for greater understanding of the position of those who feel depressed or suicidal, but the whole selfish/unselfish debate just serves to distract the populace from real discussion about suicide into a “cul de sac of dichotomous debate” and cheapen a serious mental health condition.

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I had the misfortune to watch Ray Comfort’s latest offering this morning. Amidst the careful editing and quote mining, I noticed something that in many ways angered me.

For those who don’t know me, my academic background is quite eclectic. I am a qualified Mental Health Nurse, with a degree in Psychology, Sociology and Politics. I also have a masters in Education. I now work as a Teacher teaching Sociology and Health, but I spent 5 years before this teaching Psychology. I suppose this leads me to think more on the psychological side when thinking about religion and atheism.

Back to Ray Comfort…..

In the video, he seemed to place a lot of significance on the phrase “Do you believe in Evolution?” and appeared to infer that this in some way was comparable to a belief in god. This is kinda where Ray and I fell out. He is making a fundamental mistake that is often made by theists and that is to consider the words belief and faith to be interchangeable. This is a very big mistake, and I shall explain this here:

Belief: In terms of psychology a belief is the cognitive acceptance of an idea or premise. Psychologically an idea must be believed before it can be internalised to that person. That is to say, to accept any idea as having meaning to yourself, you have to believe it first. Philosophy declares that if a belief is accompanied by facts and evidence, then this becomes knowledge. Therefore, one cannot acquire knowledge without believing in the idea and supporting it with evidence.

Faith: On the other hand, faith is having complete trust in an idea, even when unsupported by evidence, and internalising this idea without the need for any rigour of questioning or proof that it may be substantiated.

Whilst similar, and in some cases overlapping, these two terms are not interchangeable. To have faith, one needs to have belief. Conversely, however, one can have belief but it does not require faith. Belief can be supported by evidence, whereas faith does not require any evidence at all.

Ray Comfort is good at twisting words and semantics. Add in a few leading questions, some questionable College students, careful editing and quote mining and you have the recipe for the perfect self serving, non-accurate film that Ray is so “Comfort”able making.

Well this is me. You may have arrived here from twitter, where my screen name is RO88. 

I decided it was time I started a blog and let you into my corner of the atheist world. I became an atheist in 1993 when I had, excuse the pun, an epiphany! I actually awoke at 3am to a blinding light of realisation that god did not exist – hence the born again bit. 

My realisation went like this…….

humans evolved and perhaps the most significant element was our brains. As a consequence of this brain development, we also developed a sense of consciousness. It was this that became both our greatest strength and our ultimate weakness. With a sense of self comes two issues:-

1) the question of “why we are here?”

2) awareness of your own mortality

Early humans resolved these questions by projecting properties onto things around them like rocks, trees and weather. As societies became more complex these were given names and powers. 

Societies then become more sophisticated and these properties/powers are given to a single deity, and this is written down in a book. 

And the rest, as they say, is history!

As for the two issues…….

We adapted best, there is no purpose and when you die, you die!

i hope this helps you to understand where I am coming from 🙂