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Friday, November 21, 2008

World Nut Daily: "The God Delusion" Responsible for Young Man's Suicide

A 22 year old from an Evangelical household commits suicide, and the parents find "The God Delusion" under his bed. Guess what the parents blame as the cause of his depression and lack of morality!

http://www.worldnetdaily.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=81459

60 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. From link-
    " his father said, "He believed in the rapture, the evangelical concept of the Lord coming back."
    ..... Jesse described himself as "conservative and mainly independent. I am a culture warrior and traditionalist.."

    Someone been watching too much O'Reilly Factor.

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  3. MFT,

    The article describes the kid as a "Republican, as a Christian, and as a conservative who believed in intelligent design."

    Suicide is a sign a severe, but often treatable, mental illness. Reducing this sad story* to an us vs. them story, as World Net Daily does, helps no one. The idea that reading one book could drive a perfectly healthy person to suicide is absurd.

    *If it's even true, considering the source.

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  4. Yeah, this whole story is ridiculous.

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  5. What do you guys think about nihilism?

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  6. Perhaps the Father, more than the book, influenced the boy's decision.

    There are cases of kids with a Father of very strong belief that cannot bear the thought of coming out to their father.

    J8ust thinking out loud, as they say.

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  7. "Then another friend at the funeral told me the same thing," Keith Kilgore said. "This guy was his best friend, and about the only other Christian on campus.

    ....

    Keith Kilgore believes it was a biology class that raised questions for his son, and a biology professor at Jefferson Community College in Watertown, N.Y., where his son was attending, who suggested the book.

    Obviously, the whole story is conjecture at best, but I am going to take on this claim. With this little excerpt from this website http://www.basiclives.com/campus/#jefferson :

    Jefferson Community College
    Mariya Clemons
    The group is sponsored by New Life Fellowship, Pastor Jack Bushey
    Beaver Falls, NY

    Yes, that would be a Christian group I found in no time flat at the college he was attending. World net daily is garbage masquerading as reporting.

    There was a whole lot more going on than the filth they spewed out.

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  8. "What do you guys think about nihilism?"

    It's a concept that most people stop thinking or talking about once they get past, say, their sophmore year in college, and since it's a word used mostly by college sophmores and their close peers, the word is vague.

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  9. "Reducing this sad story* to an us vs. them story, as World Net Daily does,"
    I don't think they try to reduce it to an "us-vs-them" situation. I do think it will raise some questons to atheists .
    Is there objective meaning to this guy's life?If not why shouldn't he take it if he pleases.
    Why proselytize atheism to someone who is going to react to the philosophy badly?

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  10. [It's a concept that most people stop thinking or talking about once they get past, say, their sophmore year in college]
    I guess I've still got another year of it :)....
    But still what do you think.

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  11. My thought would be to ask Keith how much he told or taught his son to not let what other's think of you, to get to you.

    I agree that to blame the book as a major factor in his suicide is absurd.

    I'm sorry for the father's loss.

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  12. This is a more seriously and soberly written article about a young person's recent suicide. It'll make you feel lousy to read it. It did to me.

    link

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  13. I'm with Geoff on that (re. nihilism). It's an interesting concept to play with intellectualy, but if you take it to its logical conclusion, it's destructive to human society.

    I make a similar argument in regards to "predestination". Although it's fun to ponder the possibilities, ultimately it leads to the conclusion that you have no choice over your fate - and are thus not accountable for your actions.

    ---

    The WND article is sad, but it made me mad too. It touches on a lot of the issues I've been arguing for.

    However, I'm a verbose guy, so I'll instead quote something from the article that, sadly, I agree wholeheartedly with:

    "Here's another thing," he continued. "If my son was a professing homosexual, and a professor challenged him to read [a book called] 'Preventing Homosexuality'… If my son was gay and [the book] made him feel bad, hopeless, and he killed himself, and that came out in the press, there would be an outcry.

    Even if I disagree with the analogy, the statement appears to be logically correct.

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  14. It is interesting to note that the boys dad is a retired military chaplain. I don't see any mention of the boy's mom. Where does she fit into the picture?

    I know several people who grew up as military brats, continually moving from one base to the next, not being able to establish continuity, or roots before the next upheaval. This in itself causes at least some degree of maladjustment.

    Perhaps the boy couldn't correlate the crap he had been indoctrinated with for years, from his dad, and from the military, when he discovered rationality.

    But for the dad to blame it on the boy reading a book? Bullshit!

    And World Nut Daily? Nothing but pure, refined, unadulterated bullshit.

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  15. MFT,

    I've heard a lot of defitions. I don't think life is worthless, if that's what you're on about. Seriously, though, I remember thinking and talking about it in college, but's more of a phase than a serious intellectual or philosophical position. I go on living and make the best of it.

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  16. MF'er,

    Did I tell you the one about the English man, the Irish man and the Scotsman?
    [Nihilist shoots joke-teller]

    or

    A man walked into a bar. It was pointless.

    I think that true nihilism ignores the joys of tribal/societal interaction and the satisfaction of meeting the challenges of life.

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  17. There may be no point to life, but I have acquired a liking of it.

    And I didn't believe in reincarnation in my last life either.

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  18. You can have that both ways: My mother blames the Divine Comedy (Dante) for her mother's suicide.
    Do I have to mention that my grandmother had (at least) severe depressions?

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  19. BF,

    I agree. Perhaps his Fatherr was a "Jean."

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  20. MFT wrote I do think it will raise some questons to atheists .
    Is there objective meaning to this guy's life?
    Yep. But as far as I can tell, that meaning is mostly the one he defines for himself.


    If not why shouldn't he take it if he pleases.

    He should take it if he pleases, regardless of whether there's an objective meaning to it or not. It's his - he gets to decide.

    With that said, suicide is pretty selfish, and especially harmful to the people left behind to deal with it.


    Why proselytize atheism to someone who is going to react to the philosophy badly?

    Let's be honest, MFT: that kind of rationalization goes both ways. If a Christian prosletizes and converts an atheist who gives up his worldly possessions and rejects his friends to go evangelize for Christ, just as much damage has been done.

    The real problem here is twofold:

    1) the kid was psychologically vulnerable. If you place so much faith in a belief that the removal of that belief will be harmful to you, you're part of the problem. It's a bit cold to put it this way, but it's accurate. If destroying my belief that Barney is the only Good Person on this planet causes me to stick my head in the oven, the problem is me and my dependence on that belief for my well being.

    2) The cognitive dissonance between dogmatic Christianity and "spiritually empty" atheism. The former requires that you stop thinking, and simply have faith. The latter demonstrates that the former is illogical. Having and buying into both of these is going to cause problems, intellectually.

    The kid had a belief system which demands strict adherence to it - eroded from underneath and replaced with nothing. If that belief system had any meat to it, it'd be resilient to such erosion.

    He bought a lemon, and couldn't deal when it broke down.

    ---

    Sorry, but this problem is not with atheism. The proof of this is that the kid himself, who'd been faithful all his life, was destroyed by reading a book.

    You (MFT) are exposed to atheism on a daily basis, and yet you don't appear to be eager to change your opinion, let alone kill yourself; I can read The God Delusion and not have the urge to drink the coolaid; I can even read the Bible without having my worldview destroyed.

    ---

    The boy was propping his worldview up with dogma, and was unable to handle when it failed.

    Blame his parents, friends and community who all eagerly provided that dogma.

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  21. But the thing is that Dante's dead. The guy might sue Dawkins.

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  22. "Is there objective meaning to this guy's life?"

    Is there an objective meaning to life under the Christian world view? You will say there is because you want there to be one, but think about it, what is it? Why in the Christian viewpoint did God create people? He was lonely? What could God have gained from creating people, he was perfect already.

    Similarly, humans can do nothing to glorify God since God supposedly is already infinitely glorified. In other words, we don't enhance God because there's no possible way to "enhance" a perfect being.

    After the fall, God left us, so what's the point of life? To get saved? That's a shallow point to living.

    Living because God commanded it to be so is not bring an objective meaning to your life as well. If anything, it takes away meaning because if it were true, we would be nothing more than peasants to the all-powerful King who rules over all parts of our lives and thoughts.

    "If not why shouldn't he take it if he pleases."

    Even if we assume there's no objective meaning to life, that doesn't mean that there are no subjective meanings, nor does it mean suicide is desirable.

    Certainly there are reasons to treat yourself and others with dignity and respect even within nihilism.

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  23. [If a Christian prosletizes and converts an atheist who gives up his worldly possessions and rejects his friends to go evangelize for Christ, just as much damage has been done.]
    I think that it would be for a better cause. It is better he has trouble here than spend eternity in Gehenna (the place of shame).

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  24. MFT wrote I think that it would be for a better cause. It is better he has trouble here than spend eternity in Gehenna (the place of shame).

    Except that your opinion isn't important in this case.

    The father is the one who's hurting; the story is told from his perspective. In my example, the perspective would be of a friend of the converted atheist.

    Of course you, as a Christian, think that the conversion was for the better. Maybe Dawkins feels that exposing people to the reality of existence (even if it leads to unhappiness) is better than a life lived in complete fantasy.

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  25. MrFreeThinker referred to Pascal's Wager...

    "I think that it would be for a better cause. It is better he has trouble here than spend eternity in Gehenna (the place of shame)."

    Why do you assume that Gehenna or Hell or even Heaven actually exists? There's no evidence of them existing outside of the Bible.

    And who's to say your interpretation is the correct interpretation of Christianity? Maybe only the Catholics are right and everyone else is going to hell?

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  26. And incidentally, if it turned out that Dawkins was 100% right (assuming he believes that there's no God or heaven or Hell), the I would have to agree with him.

    Better to walk uncertainly through life with your eyes open than to skip happily while blinded.

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  27. And it used to be heavy metal music. And the parents have no responsibility whatsoever, do they?

    How long before Ray uses this sell his bullshit?

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  28. "How long before Ray uses this sell his bullshit?"

    Oh, come on! Ray isn't that callous!

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  29. 5:3 odds on Ray taking advantage of this story. I'm taking bets.

    Anyone?

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  30. BREAKING - MUST CREDIT REX MUNDRUDGE: The God Delusion has now teamed up with Video Games and Comic Books to go on a Nationwide Killing Spree. Police are at wits end combating this threat to the people. Citizens are urged to be very very very afraid of anything that doesn't fit into the worldview you had a decade ago, as it is probably evil.

    To MFT, you know, this kid probably thought as you do, that doubting God's existence is a horribly shameful thing. Bet his parents thought that too, and his friends, his church of course, his community at large... so now he reads a book that lets him question what he thinks, and he knows that the people he surrounds himself with will never accept him... and neither too should he...

    Maybe this whole notion of perpetual "shame" is an unhealthy one. Why do you enjoy clinging to it so?

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  31. A nihilist can have his cake, but he doesn't care about eating it.

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  32. Ohhh...this is gonna be a long one...


    First, I really don't think anyone knows exactly what is going through the mind of a person who actually goes so far as to kill themselves, especially the people who do it in a very deliberate way such as gunshot. People who do that aren't playing around and looking for attention. But to say a book did it, I think, is the parent looking for someone to blame out of pain and anger.

    As far as him being taunted for his beliefs, some people do have really thin skins when it comes to the opinions of others. But again, no one knows if they was what caused his suicide or not.

    Personally, it sounds to me like the culprit would be a lack of an internal locus of control and a lack of coping skills, but again, I wasn't inside his head at the time of his suicide so I do not know.

    I personally, would never hand a copy of TGD to anyone of faith and say 'Here, read this', as a way of attempting to destroy that faith. It can have psychological detriments that can seriously screw someone's psyche up forever if they are very hard core in their beliefs.

    I think people have to find their own way in or out of a belief system, not be forced out. Think about it, if you take a scared animal that is cowering in a hole and force them out of it, it does nothing to teach them how to come out on their own and cope.

    I most certainly chide theists and use logic and reason when it's appropriate in an attempt to broaden their minds, but as far as deliberately prying loose some integral part of a person's psyche just for my own enjoyment or because I think I know best what they should believe? Hell no!

    I take more of the approach of just calling it as I see it when it comes to individual beliefs and religion in general. If someone gets a nugget of understanding from it fine, if not that's fine too.

    Now, let me tell you a short story. When I was in high school there was a neighboring high school that was super Christian. They had a lot of very bizarre rules that reminded me of Bob Jones University type stuff. One of the students who was known quite well since he was the son of a local minister blew his brains out one day.

    Everyone was very shocked because this kid was what appeared to be a Jerry Falwell in the making. He left behind a note that said the reason he was doing it was because he had such strong faith in Jesus and was so eager for the second coming that he couldn't wait any longer, he knew that Jesus would understand and would take him into heaven since he was so in love with him.

    I, of course, thought to myself that if someone hadn't gone and filled the kids head with fairy tales about magic sky men then this most likely wouldn't have happened.

    It dawned on me that what he had been taught was actually a dangerous thing for some people because they might think if something goes wrong,instead of dealing with it, you can just kill yourself and go be with Jesus.

    There was a lot of talk about who to blame in that situation, just like there is in this one. I don't know who to blame, per se, but I don't think blame is nearly as important as figuring out ways to keep people from killing themselves due to emotional pain and lack of resources to cope with life.

    Empathy and logic, not blame.

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  33. Acouple of you have touched on an issue that I have thought about quite a bit.

    I have been discussing religion with people over the years and get overcome with a fear that if I were successful at showing them their belief system was irrational and they ran with the idea, they may lose the support of their family and friends.
    I am convinced that this drives soe of them deeper into their defense of their beliefs, no matter how irrational they are.

    As was mentioned, many (most?) of these people were culturally conditioned by their parents and their coping skills are dependant on staying in good graces with their social group. If that group is taken away, they are a bit defenseless. I believe I "hear" that in some of their writings, yet they are afraid to just say, what the hell would I do if I didn't go to the church I was raised in and my parents and family hate me and think I am a pariah? And they are correct. What would they do?

    Take a guy like my friend Mark who, while fot a fundy, has raised his kids in their church and they like the social events, etc. He works at the fundraisers and teaches Sunday school.

    When I have pressed him (because I know he doubts the miracles and does not take the bible literally)he finally once told me that, "This is a cement that bonds us together as a family and the lubricant for a satisfying social life"

    What he is not saying is, "what the hell would I tell my wife and kids in whom I cultivated these beliefs all these years?"

    That is a conversation stopper because I would have to say, "I don't know."

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  34. @Kaitlyn
    [Is there an objective meaning to life under the Christian world view? You will say there is because you want there to be one, but think about it, what is it?]
    To do God's will
    [Why in the Christian viewpoint did God create people?]
    To serve him
    [Living because God commanded it to be so is not bring an objective meaning to your life as well. If anything, it takes away meaning because if it were true, we would be nothing more than peasants to the all-powerful King who rules over all parts of our lives and thoughts.]
    Well I don't know about you Kaitlyn , but I get fulfillment and joy from obeying my King and doing my duty. I think there is honor in following the law.

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  35. @WeM
    [Better to walk uncertainly through life with your eyes open than to skip happily while blinded.]
    Why? he's just gonna die anyway and you said he should be allowed to make his own purpose. Why can't he at least have fun while here?

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  36. MrFreeThinker,

    Ponder this for a moment. What does God gain from you "serving" him? He's already perfect. Isn't it pointless?

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  37. Kaitlyn,
    God needed someone to love and others to torture doncha know?

    He spent eternity + 1 hanging out, and about forty five billion years ago he spontaneously had this urge to create something.

    So, I am sure that you can see that the bible so eloquently tells the rest of the story.

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  38. [Ponder this for a moment. What does God gain from you "serving" him? He's already perfect. Isn't it pointless?]
    But it's not for his sake Kaitlyn. Its for my sake

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  39. [MrFreeThinker referred to Pascal's Wager...]
    I wasn't referring to the wager. I was referring to how it could be better to be a Christian and give up stuff. (I happen to think the wager is rather poor)

    [Why do you assume that Gehenna or Hell or even Heaven actually exists? There's no evidence of them existing outside of the Bible.]
    I do because I have accepted that God exists and has revealed accurate information in the bible. I know you don't accept it. That's just why I accept it.

    [And who's to say your interpretation is the correct interpretation of Christianity? Maybe only the Catholics are right and everyone else is going to hell?]
    Usually I look for internal coherence to see if something's right in the case of different sects.But I do think that the catechism says that other Christians can attain heaven.

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  40. My opinion on suicide, from a purely selfish point of view, goes like this:

    If you commit suicide, you upset all of the people who care for you, who love you. On the other hand, people who don't like you will at best say, "huh", but some might think, "good, I'm glad I don't have to deal with that person any more."

    So, you're making a choice that hurts your allies while benefitting your enemies.

    From a strategic point of view, it's the most stupid thing you could possibly do.

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  41. Of course, my viewpoint assumes that the person contemplating suicide is sane.

    Which, for people over the age of 21 or so, probably isn't the case.

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  42. [So, you're making a choice that hurts your allies while benefitting your enemies.]
    What use do you have for allies or enemies when dead?

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  43. "But it's not for his sake Kaitlyn. Its for my sake"

    So the objective meaning to life is to serve God, not for God's sake, but for yourself.

    So you give meaning to your life by serving God for yourself so you can give meaning to your life by serving God for yourself so you can give meaning to your life by serving God for yourself so you can giving to your life...

    Interesting...

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  44. MFT,

    Sorry, I assumed that people would understand that "contemplating or committing suicide" is something that living humans do.

    I apologize for the confusion.

    ...

    Wait, what??

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  45. Who saw the Supernatural episode with the wishing well?

    MFT reminds me of the teddy bear.

    "Tea parties! Is that all there is?"

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  46. It's very sad when someone feels driven to kill himself. But to get to that point by reading a single book is impossible. He must have had doubts and concerns with his beliefs before he started reading. I know the book. It is written in a calm and sober tone, polemic at some points but never driving into the readers's emotional core. If this book alone could unhinge someone's faith that severely, his faith was apparently resting solely on the conviction that all of it was rationally irrefutable - which means he didn't really have faith as much as a certainty of holding objective evidence and facts. TGD doesn't go deeply into the philosophical and theological traditions and complex argumentations. It merely pokes holes into unfounded presuppositions and the fallacious claims apologetics overflow with. If his faith rested on that, it's not surprising reading the book felt like a blow to the stomach for him. Many people have reported similar experiences with TGD, and losing their faith during or soon after reading it - but then finding new vigor and hapiness in a life uncontrolled and unwatched by an invisible being, and unthreatened by hearsay punishment for committing imaginary crimes against a concoction of laws written by ignorant and superstitious patriarchs.
    The young suicidal man would have been well advised to find something to read on positive humanism and ethics, as there is relatively little content in that direction in TGD.

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  47. Here's a link to what I think is the best comment on this story I've seen so far:
    http://richarddawkins.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=64322&st=0&sk=t&sd=a&start=75#p1530079

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  48. Not sure if anyone mentioned this yet as I did not get through all the comments. I read the World Nut Daily article and it seemed more like an advertisement than a story. It plugged the book The Marketing of Evil a couple of times in the article complete with links to the WND store to purchase it.

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  49. mjarsulic,
    yeah, they also intertwine ads with articles in the side bars and everywhere else on their site, and advertise esoteric superstition products. Note that these are not 'ad sense' type placements by a computer program, they are consciously placed to generate revenue for the site owners. If you don't care about honest reporting in the articles you publish, why would you even think about not exploiting your readers' credulity otherwise? If you are willing to accept lies as truth, don't be surprised if you get more.

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  50. MFT, what exactly might poor Jesse's father sue Richard Dawkins for?

    Writing a book which Jesse was not required to obtain?

    Writing a book which Jesse was not required to read?

    Writing a book which Jesse was never required to agree with?

    Please educate me on this point of law.

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  51. @WMA
    I wasn't claiming that the man would be right to sue Dawkins. I think it would be wrong, but you can't deny that is it possible he would sue.

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  52. What Jesse really needed was to read Ray Comfort's book after The God Delusion........................lol
    But seriously did anyone read Ray's last post?
    He was talking about how he was able to reach a poor University student named Patrick who felt there was no purpose in life,didn’t know why he was alive, where he was going, where he came from.And felt sad and frustrated.He didn't believe in logic or absolutes and certainity and felt like nothing made sense.
    Hopefully Ray was able to prevent another suicide by reaching out to people like this.(scmike should talk to him too.)

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  53. scmike should talk to him too.

    Wait... so you WANT the college kid to off himself?

    ;-)

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  54. [Wait... so you WANT the college kid to off himself?]
    lol

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  55. That's Ray Comfort's take on what this student Patrick said. I'd have to hear what Patrick said himself. I'd have trouble believing Ray Comfort if he told me water was wet and fire was hot.

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  56. http://www.adherents.com/misc/religion_suicide.html
    Did anyone see this?

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  57. No, but it makes sense to me, instinctively. Religion provides comfort in many forms: a sense of purpose, community (family/friends, support, etc) and usually some guideline as to how you should live your life.

    It does this very well, and few other social institutions provide such things as effectively.

    Of course, this says nothing as to whether such institutions are "right" about what they teach.

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  58. My atheism is one of the main reasons I would never contemplate suicide. From a selfish stand point, if I commit suicide...well...I'm dead, aren't I? I don't believe in an afterlife so if I die...that's it. I can't imagine a pain so great that I would wish death.

    We're all going to die, sometime. I, for one, want to hold that inevitability for as long as I can. Personally, I hope that, when I'm close to my death, I'll have access to the technology to escape it.

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  59. Trust the unethical one to bring up artificial life-extension.

    It always made me wonder in Demolition Man - if you were living in a time when hard-core criminals were kept in suspended animation (why, I have no idea!) instead of kept in prison, would you not want to commit a crime just so you could wake up in the future and see what advances had been made? ...and then commit another crime!

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