In this article I hope to demonstrate the individuals right to suicide. I will argue that a persons freedom gives them the right to commit suicide, and by refuting religion and defeating the opposing views I hope to validate my conclusion. I also hope to address the reader with enough information as to not leave any room for gray areas in the final analysis. In the western world, suicide is taboo. While it would be easy to attribute this to Christianity, it is more accurate to attribute it the human fear and denial of death.
The religions of the world create coping factors for dealing with the idea of death. The result is that in cultures where the major faith accepts and/or celebrates suicide the indoctrinated do not feel bothered by it. Fear of death is a survival mechanism. It is the belief system of certain cultures that is able to overcome this fear. Religion in some cases serves to enforce the natural human reaction to the issue of suicide and in others to reject the natural reaction. This simply demonstrates the wide range of differences between world religions.
Arguments from a religious base are entirely invalid in this case. For example, the argument: God says that suicide is a sin, and it is therefore wrong. Of course, you must respond: But this other deity says that to sacrifice yourself is the highest honor to them. As you can see, in most cases it is not even necessary to use reason to defeat a religious argument. Whenever a different valid religion contradicts their argument, it should be obvious how useless religious arguments are. They act as an appeal to popularity on one hand and an appeal to ignorance the other.
Now that I have proven the invalidity of religious arguments against suicide, I shall address the moralistic arguments. A very strong argument against suicide could be: It is wrong to commit suicide because it can have a great negative impact on others. The response to this would be that, even if conscience of the harm that will be done, they are not creating any extra-ordinary circumstance for those affected. The reasoning for this is that the impact of suicide is like the impact of the person dieing in a car crash or, more closely psychologically, murdered.
These are both forms of death involving extra-ordinary means, as are all forms of death except natural causes. Suicide is merely another of the many forms of extra-ordinary death that exist. As such, those committing suicide need not feel any guiltier for that act as they would for the harm that would be caused by them being murdered or dieing in a car accident. The opposition may say that this is not a fully adequate response because these extra-ordinary forms of death do not account for all of the death that occurs, and thus there is a chance that a person committing suicide may actually die of natural causes.
However, this charge can in fact be defeated. If a person continues living they are taking a chance of causing less pain or even possibly more pain from their deaths at a later date. This leaves life as a gamble, with suicide being the only real choice you can make in the matter. As to the argument for suicide being unnatural and therefore wrong, I feel that I refuted it earlier when I showed that death by any means other than natural causes is unnatural. I wont argue that death by anything other than natural causes isnt wrong, but it is just as unavoidable as natural death.
Also, the argument that unnatural equals wrong negates itself necessarily. For it to be a valid argument, they must recognize insulin shots as wrong, and thus diabetics would diequite naturally of course. An argument could be made that it is wrong to commit suicide, as it is criminal. This argument is obviously flawed though. The result of a criminal offense is some sort of punishment, and you cannot punish someone that is dead. They may rebut by saying that they could punish the living family members, as a deterrent.
This is flawed as well because it makes the government commit acts of cruelty against its citizens without any real justification. To extend the criminal argument, one could say that to commit suicide is the same as committing a murder. While it may be murder in the basic definition, it is usually not done with any malicious intent. Furthermore, even if suicide is murder it is not necessarily wrong. In the case of murder you infringe upon someone elses rights, but with suicide you do not. If you do not infringe upon anyone elses rights, you cannot be said to be acting against anyone else.
Committing suicide is like deciding to go to the grocery store to get some guava and being hit by a bus on the way. It could also be argued that since humans have a natural fear of death, then it goes against human nature to commit suicide. However, bravery and courage are also survival traits. Though the person committing suicide is acting against a survival mechanism, they are using a survival trait to do so. And it is important to recognize that cowardice is a survival trait as well, and is at the core of the fear of death.
Thus, it is natural that bravery or courage should overcome this cowardice. Most humans hold that all life is precious. This is more of the survival traits that humans have developed. Suicide can outrage some because they see it as throwing away something precious and also because it is hard to understand how someone could face their fear of death directly. While suicide is often considered an act of cowardice, to face death without sacrifice or any noble cause takes more courage than most people possess.
I do not intend that we should honor those people that commit suicide for the act of suicide, but we should recognize and respect their great courage. Though this article can be used to justify all suicide, I feel that it is important to note that there is a strong distinction. In this paper I am defending and arguing for rational suicides that are well thought out by those committing them. However, I do not endorse irrational suicide of any kind. In the case of these irrational suicides, prevention is really the key.
It is important to look for signs that someone might be suicidal. It is especially important among teenagers, where many irrational suicides occur. I would also like to clarify that I do not promote suicide. I recommend that people live until they used up all of their options: when youre dead, you dont have any more chances to improve your lot. And before committing suicide, I think that the person in question should consider all of the consequences and decide if they can live with them. Or, more accurately, die with them.
I feel that I have successfully demonstrated the individuals right to suicide in this article. By invalidating the religious arguments, I have taken care of a large portion of the opposition. I would now like to address those who would say that no one has the right to commit suicide. The majority of people that commit suicide are in a great deal of physical and emotional pain. Would you rather that they continue to suffer? People are in control of their own lives, and the more you attempt to control them, the closer you come to an authoritarian state.