A month or so ago one of the guys at my workplace commited suicide.  They had a ceremony that talked about him and his life and the usual funeral stuff.  Our chaplain went on a tirade about how if we all found Jesus, we wouldn't turn to suicide as an option.


Then the chaplain used it as an opportunity to blast everyone with grief about how we should have tried to help him, and by the end of his speech he all but blamed the suicide on all of us for not stopping it. 


This bothered me on so many levels.


1) There are people who show signs that they are thinking about suicide, and there are those who do not.  In this case he had made no prior attempts, and made no effort to get help for his affliction.


2) A funeral or memroial service is not an opportunity to guuilt people into joining your faith.  This is the worst kind of opportunism.  Shame on this man for taking advantage of people's grief.  I fully believe this is a perfect example of how these Chaplains serve no useful purpose, and that if they remain they should be forced to get formal training as a Counselor or Therapist...Theology does not equip a person to deal with another persons emtional well being.


3) No of us know for sure a person's reasons for suicide.  In their mind this is their best option; I don't believe that it is taken litely or rushed in to.  This is about personal choice; if someone wants to end their life, that's their choice.


4) When it comes down to it, if a person wants to kill themselves, they're going to find a way to do it.  A few kind words probably won't make a difference, but if you want to try anyway, at least you can remove your personal guilt from the situation.


This post will most likely make several people think I'm not being respectful, but what can I say, I don't truly understand the concept of empathy on any non-intellectual level.  Or to put it more simply, I don't care if you disagree with my opinion on this matter.

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I personally would have walked out right in the middle of it. I would NOT have stood for that insult to the family and to the friends.
1. agreed

2. agreed but that is what you get when a religious person does a funeral.

3. agreed

4. agreed

Do you care that anyone agrees with your opinion on this matter? Otherwise your post was pointless...
Do you care that anyone agrees with your opinion on this matter? Otherwise your post was pointless...

I will consent to this arguement. What I more acurately should have stated is, if you'er going to attack this post make it on the basis of logic and reasoning, and not because emotionally, you diagree with my feelings on suicide.
Ages ago when in the Army I used to have arguments with the chaplains. Had to be careful, they are officers and I was enlisted. For the most parts I think chaplains are parasites, feeding off the challenges of military life to gain converts and keep people in the fold.

He should have reached out to the people affected, tell them that they are not responsible for this loss, it's a time to support one another and a reminder that we all have losses and challenges and need to reach out to one another.
I didn't find anything disrespectful in this post. I think what you said is right on. Your point about how the clergy "counsel" people and it's allowed based simply on the fact that some asshole got a paper that says he knows I bible verse or two and using the bible as a therapy manual is ok? Yeah, that is complete bewl she-ut! Anyone else counseling without a license would be put in JAIL.
Suicide is one of the worst things imaginable to have to deal with. For those left behind, there is no closure. You can't know all that goes on in a person's mind that would lead them to such a desperate act, I call it cancer of the soul, and it is every bit as painful as any other type of cancer, and in some cases terminal. For some people, it really is a choice. You don't have to like it, but ultimately it was their choice. I'm all about choices. Even ones I don't like.
I've gone to some funerals that were just commercials for Jesus too. I realize theist funerals are going to talk about God most likely--fine. Making it nothing more than a commercial is insulting, and most likely they hope to get people when they're feeling the worst.

I would have walked out too. People often blame themselves when a person commits suicide, or even find reasons to feel guilty when someone dies unexpectedly ("how could I have not gone to see grandpa that weekend? I could have seen him one more time!"). People should be good to each other but you are not responsible for anyone else's behavior, whether it's in reaction to you, or in general. He still chose his actions and a person had no way of knowing.

Also, some people become calm and seemingly happy right before they kill themselves, because they have their plan worked out.
In keeping with this discussion, I found an interesting article on Scentific American on waht it feels like to kill yourself. I'm highlighting some of the key notes, but if you'd like to see the main article go to:

Step 1: Falling Short of Standards
To summarize this first step in the escape theory, Baumeister tells us that, “it is apparently the size of the discrepancy between standards and perceived reality that is crucial for initiating the suicidal process.” It’s the proverbial law of social gravity: the higher your majesty is to start off with, the more painful it’s going to be when you happen to fall flat on your face.

Step 2: Attributions to Self
It’s also necessary for you to loathe yourself for facing the trouble you find yourself in. Across cultures, “self blame” or “condemnation of the self” has held constant as a common denominator in suicides.

Step 3: High Self-Awareness
...it is this ceaseless and unforgiving comparison with a preferred self—perhaps an irrecoverable self from a happier past or a goal self that is now seen as impossible to achieve in light of recent events...

Step 4: Negative Affect
...and since cognitive therapy isn’t easily available—or seen as achievable—by most suicidal people, that leaves only three ways to escape this painful self-awareness: drugs, sleep and death. And of these, only death, nature’s great anesthesia, offers a permanent fix.

Step 5: Cognitive Deconstruction
“Suicidal people have an aversive or anxious awareness of the recent past (and possibly the future too), from which they seek to escape into a narrow, unemotional focus on the present moment.”
“...the present seems endless and vaguely unpleasant, and whenever one checks the clock, one is surprised at how little time has actually elapsed.”

Step 6: Disinhibition
“...it disallows the high-level abstractions (reflecting on the inherent “wrongness” of suicide, how others will feel, even concerns about self-preservation) that, under normal conditions, keep us alive...”
“...while there is a considerable number of people who want to kill themselves, suicide itself remains relatively rare. This is largely because, in addition to suicidal desire, the individual needs the “acquired capability for suicide,” which involves both a lowered fear of death and increased physical pain tolerance. Suicide hurts, literally. One acquires this capability, according to these authors’ model, by being exposed to related conditions that systematically habituate the individual to physical pain. For example, one of the best predictors of suicide is a nonlethal prior suicide attempt.”
What the preacher did was completely innappropriate. I haven't ever heard of such a horrid berating at a funeral. Makes me think the preacher knew the person who committed suicide personally and may have his own feelings of guilt regarding what he did or didn't do to help that person and so is dealing with his own guilt and unfortunately projected that onto everyone at the funderal.




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