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Why do so many people commit suicide?

The evolution connection



Published: 3 January 2013 (GMT+10)

It is obvious that suicide rates, particularly in young males, have escalated in the past several decades.

The causes are widely debated but the connection to evolutionary teaching would not necessarily be made by many.

But the two situations are real; as the evolution-as-fact dogma has reached saturation point in education and the public arena, so suicide has increased exponentially throughout the world.

Researchers have made the connection between religion and fewer suicide attempts1. They found that those who held to a religious affiliation—and were depressed—were less likely to kill themselves: “[The] greater moral objections to suicide and lower aggression level in religiously affiliated subjects may function as protective factors against suicide attempts.”

Conversely, they found that those who had no religious connection had fewer reasons to live and fewer moral objections to suicide.

As well, they linked anger and aggression in adolescent boys with suicidal behaviour in later life.

We get a hint of how secular humanists view the results of such research: “Indeed, compassionate tolerance for suicide and euthenasia [sic] are widely regarded as hallmarks of many secular societies.”2 Why wouldn’t they be, from an evolutionary you’re-just-a-bag-of-chemicals paradigm?

Rather, it underscores that the relationship between evolutionary teaching, atheism and suicide is real, as creationists have long pointed out.

In an Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC) program3 that discussed depression, a man named Gerard raised the connection between evolution and suicide.

He spoke of having contemplated suicide several times.

He said: “I’m just a bit concerned by the tendency of the medical profession and society in general to want to put a label on us as depressive people and therefore that there’s something wrong with us. I think that some people may have an inability to cope, and maybe this might sound a bit extreme, but that might be Darwinian theory, the Darwin theory of survival of the fittest. Maybe some of us aren’t meant to survive, maybe some of us are meant to kill ourselves because the only people that really suffer are the ones left behind, but the person who kills themself may in fact be liberated from this body.”

Clearly, there are complex factors involved in many suicides, including the very real phenomenon of clinical depression. But not only is there a rising rate of depression in our increasingly post-Christian Western culture, it makes sense that there is also a greater likelihood of a depressed person taking the exit route of death if life has no ultimate meaning, which is the logical corollary of evolution (a world that made itself). What would it ultimately matter, if we are all just reorganized pond scum destined to be, at best, recycled as fertilizer, with neither hope beyond the grave, nor any accountability to our Maker?

Police investigating the recent Colorado shooting-range death of 29-year-old Kristin Hermeler and the simultaneous attempted suicide of her twin sister Candice, report that the twins had “an unusual interest” in the 1999 massacre at the nearby Columbine High School.4 And among the twins’ belongings the police found a copy of The God Delusion by outspoken atheist Richard Dawkins.

Atheism is existentially unfulfilling. As we summarise elsewhere:

Atheism is a journey without a destination, a body without a soul, a religion without reason, life without meaning, a faith without hope, and a universe without God.5

Sigmund Freud concluded, “The moment a man questions the meaning and value of life, he is sick, since objectively neither has any existence.”6

It’s true that believers and non-believers alike get angry and depressed but it doesn’t need to lead to suicide, as the research survey shows.

In contrast to the purposelessness of evolution, those who call the Lord Jesus Christ their personal saviour have a purpose for living—they know they are “fearfully and wonderfully made”.7


  1. Dervic, K., et al., ‘Religious Affiliation and Suicide Attempt’, accessed from ajp.psychiatryonline.org on 14 Nov 2012. Return to text.
  2. “Religious Affiliation, Atheism and Suicide”, access from adherents.com/misc/religion_suicide.html on 14 Nov 2012. Return to text.
  3. ABC (Australia) radio, Life Matters with Norman Swan, 4 May 2000: “Black Dog Days—The Experience and Treatment of Depression”; Wieland, C., Darwin, Spurgeon and the Black Dog , Creation 22(4):54–55, creation.com/suicide. Return to text.
  4. Catchpoole, D., Creation 22(1): 17, creation.com/bomb. Return to text.
  5. Kumar, S., Sarfati. J., Christianity for Skeptics, 2012, Creation Book Publishers, Atlanta, Georgia, USA. p89. Return to text.
  6. Ibid. Return to text.
  7. Psalm 139:14. Return to text.

Helpful Resources

Christianity for Skeptics
by Drs Steve Kumar, Jonathan D Sarfati
US $17.00
Soft Cover

Readers’ comments

Matthew L.
The tie between atheism and suicide is indeed very strong. Perhaps a better question for opponents to consider, and search their world views for, would be: If Christ is not the Creator, sustainer, and redeemer who has revealed Himself and His work in His innerrant, authoritative word, why shouldn't we all kill ourselves today, and bypass years of suffering for ourselves and potential offspring? Hope and meaning are two of the first causualties of denying God's word.
Joe M.
This was a good read and a great site. Keep up the good work …
Joseph Allen K.
A person’s religion is the set of core values/beliefs by which that person gives the meaning to his/her life/world. Everyone who chooses to go on living has a religion and has found some kind of meaning in his/her life. Jesus Christ is the meaning of meaning itself.
David J.
I fail to see the point of the article. Just because some religious people are disinclined to commit suicide doesn't make the religion true or false.

Jonathan Sarfati responds: Where did we claim that it did? As I pointed out in another article, ‘Christian’ vs evolutionary atrocities:

The two main logically independent issues that CMI addresses are:

  1. Is evolution right?

  2. Why does it matter?

When we point out the horrors done by followers of Darwin, we are not even pretending to address #1, since this would be the fallacy of appeal to consequences. Rather, the articles address #2, since many even in the Church think “creation/evolution is just a side issue”, so we show why it makes a huge difference even in practice.

DJ: You fail to mention that some believers in the same god as you are only too keen to commit suicide (9/11 is a good example).

JS: This makes the glaring error that Muslims believe in the same God. They most definitely do not. For example, see this friendly debate with a Muslim about the Trinity. For further discussion of the fallacious moral equivalence, see Unfair to Islam? and Unfair to Islam? Round 2

DJ: You might also like to consider that the death of Jesus of Nazareth would have been suicide—he chose not to prevent his own death.

JS: This is a substantial distortion. Just as there is a difference between murder and lawful killing (e.g. self-defence), there is a huge difference between suicide and “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends” (—Jesus John 15:13). When a soldier throws himself on a grenade to shield others at the cost of his own life, this is a case of the latter.
D. G.
It would be interesting to run the same statistical comparison with people who espouse 'theistic-evolution. With their holding two incompatible ideas simultaneously: 1. that the universe was created, but in a way such that it is fully explicable without a base in the personal, and 2. God did this creating and uses his creation to link his identity to our world-experience, making a god who represent himself by something that has no obvious connection with him.
This peculiar idea quickly falls back to an understanding of the world that is hard to distinguish, in the final analysis, from the idea of a world not created at all.
Caleb B.
Very disturbing. As a college student, I’ve heard roommates and friends talk about suicide but, praise God, I’ve always viewed suicide as a foolish idea. I think that part of the reason for my steadfastness in this area was my parents’ dedication to creation science. Even during the darkest days of my early teens, I always knew that the world was created and any thought that may have been even slightly suicidal was chased off by the reality of an eternal Creator God.
God bless,
F. G.
Many people who push atheism/evolutionism are mainly interested in the “I can do whatever I want in this life without accountability to a god” aspect of it, and seem to fool themselves that no other, deeper implications will be seen by the children they push it on.
Robert S.
If life has no ultimate purpose or meaning then what's the point of fighting on when it gets rough and one cannot see his way out of it? And what is there to be gained by fighting on if there is no assurance of victory?

But, if life has purpose and meaning i.e. through the truth of God’s word, then even when it gets rough we will simply “count it all joy” (James 1:2) and gladly keep punching on (1 Corinthians 9:26) in order to gain the crown of life (1 Corinthians 9:25; James 1:12; Revelation 2:10) in spite of any circumstances.

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18

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