Atheism and self-esteem
There are preliminary studies indicating that individuals who reject Christianity in Western cultures have lower self-esteem than the Christian population. There are studies indicating that lower self-esteem is associated with suicidality. Atheists have higher rates of suicide than the general population.
Atheism, uncharitableness and depression
A number of studies have confirmed that there is an inverse relationship to doing volunteer work and depression. The atheist population does less charitable works and volunteering per capita than the theist population (see: Atheism and uncharitableness). As noted above, atheists have a higher rate of suicide than theists (See: Atheism and suicide).
Richard Dawkins' book "The God Delusion" along with a community college biology class, have been linked to the tragic suicide of Jesse Kilgore. Kilgore had several discussions with friends and relatives in which he made it clear Dawkins' book had destroyed his belief in God. This loss of faith is considered the cause of his suicide which is not surprising given that there is evidence which suggest that atheism can be a causal factor for suicide for some individuals.
Jesse's father is quoted as saying "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. He would have been a victim of a hate crime and the professor would have been forced to undergo sensitivity training, and there may have even been a wrongful death lawsuit. But because he's a Christian, I don't even get a return telephone call."
Jesse's blog remains online after his death.
Atheism, obesity and self-esteem
Obese individuals can have lower self-esteem related to their obesity. In the United States, obese people are often stereotyped as being "lazy, lacking self-discipline and being mentally slow". In March of 2011, USA News and World Report declared that an Arizona State University study suggests that fat stigma has gone global and that parts of the world that once viewed being overweight favorably now hold negative views concerning having extra pounds and also hold negative views concerning overweight individuals. Poor self-esteem has been linked to an increase in suicide attempts and atheists have higher rates of suicide than the general population. Obese atheists likely have higher rates of suicide than the general public (see: Atheism and obesity).
- Resources for leaving atheism and becoming a Christian
- Atheism and depression
- Atheism and suicide
- Atheism and Mental and Physical Health
- NY Times, September 17, 1894, ATHEISM A CAUSE OF SUICIDE.; Dr. MacArthur Preaches on the Sin and Cowardice of Self-Destruction