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Economics helps explain why suicide is more common among Protestants

By anonymous follow anonymous   2019 Jan 19, 12:05pm 421 views   2 comments   watch   nsfw   quote   share    


Protestantism is good for some people and bad for others. At least that is the conclusion if we are to judge by the stark matters of life, or death, and prosperity. For the majority of the population, Protestantism tends to raise economic prosperity through better education. But for people who are in a suicidal state of mind, the individualistic qualities of Protestantism can tip the balance towards ending their lives. In fact, the two aspects might be related in a ‘dark-contrasts paradox’: unhappy people can be particularly prone to suicidal behaviour when they live in well-off places and compare their fate to the better-off around them. In life and death, religion clearly matters.

To test the prediction that Protestants have a higher propensity to commit suicide than Catholics, we studied data from 19th-century Prussia. We looked to the 19th century for two reasons. First, it is when the French sociologist Émile Durkheim engaged with the question of suicide in one of the classics of social science and, second, because religion was more pervasive at the time. This does not mean that belief was uniform and always aligned with Church doctrines, just that virtually everyone adhered to a religious denomination, and that religion pervaded virtually all aspects of human life. Prussia also has the advantage that neither Protestants nor Catholics were small minorities of the population. They lived together in one state with a common setting of government, institutions, jurisdiction, language and basic culture. In several library archives we found – and digitised – data from the Prussian statistical office. For the years 1869-71, local police departments meticulously administered data on suicide from 452 Prussian counties.

In principle, perhaps the biggest challenge for an empirical identification of the effect of Protestantism on suicide is that people with different characteristics might self-select into religious denominations. For example, are people who are depressed more likely to become Protestants? But the self-selecting factor is less of an issue in 19th-century Prussia. There (as in many other places) individual change of denomination was almost unheard of, and religious affiliation derives from choices of local rulers made several centuries earlier. For the social scientist, Prussia presents another advantage. During the Reformation, Protestantism spread in a roughly concentric fashion around Luther’s city of Wittenberg. This pattern can help to link cause and effect between Protestantism and suicide.

More: https://aeon.co/ideas/economics-helps-explain-why-suicide-is-more-common-among-protestants

#Religion #Protestantism #Suicide #Economics

1   Patrick   ignore (1)   2019 Jan 19, 12:31pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

I was raised Catholic. It was made clear that suicide is essentially murder according to Catholic doctrine, and that it is an insult to God, who was "nice enough" to put you here on earth.

In addition, the Catholic ethos is more one of accepting the will of God than of going out and being industrious enough to change things. So when things go bad, Catholics seem more likely to not take it as a personal failing, but rather as a test of one's faith.

Finally, Catholics in general seem to have large and closer families than Protestants. This might provide more of a support group.
2   Ceffer   ignore (4)   2019 Jan 20, 2:40am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

There we go with the data mining stuff again and applying false significance. An incidence rate does not say ANYTHING about a WHY, even if one presumes the underlying incidences to be absolutely true. Any INTERPRETATION comes strictly from the jaundiced eye of the observer.

It could just be that Protestants are more likely to report suicides accurately, while Catholics, who consider it a mortal sin and a straight ticket to Hell, are more likely to stigmatize, and thus, call suicide something else as an exoneration.

Incidence of suicide is already fairly low in any given population, so you are talking about a low incidence occurrence compared to a slightly less low incidence occurrence, an area where significance is blurred rather than enlightened.

Lots of suicide are called something else for political, economic (insurance, inheritance, legalities etc.), or stigma, so there is unlikely to be any 'data set' that represents it accurately.

I have had clients who have told me relatives committed suicide, but it was reported as something else, and I had a neighbor who committed suicide, and it was called death by natural causes because he was an old drunk/addict and nobody, including the police wanted to get mired in the paper work otherwise.

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