Home > People, Science > Contemplating Suicide (1 of 2)

Contemplating Suicide (1 of 2)


There is a certain amount of cowardice that is indistinguishable from madness.

Xenocrates

Suicide

Suicide, from a concatenation of the Latin words sui (self) and caedere (to kill) is perhaps the most tragic form of death known to man, largely because it’s performed by one’s own hands. When someone takes their own life, there are powerful psychological processes at play as it involves denying our natural instinct to survive. So how could anyone override that instinct?

Why Suicide?

When I contemplated death last week, there were a number of items on the list that touched very closely on suicide. Dying at the hands of uncontrollable forces is one thing, but dying at one’s own hands however, is a whole different ballgame. Unlike dying at the mercy of a wild animal, a fiery inferno, a frozen wasteland, or an airplane, suicide victims have control of their situation. The decision to live or die is in their own hands. That is a wholly different scenario.

Now while there are a number of ways to take oneself out of the gene pool, that is not even my primary concern. What interests me is why someone would want to end their own life. I used to think that there was a certain degree of cowardice that predicates suicide. However, the more I looked into it, the more I realized that there is a certain amount of cowardice that is indistinguishable from madness. It is madness, not cowardice, that is the root of all suicide.

Try to understand something here: The instinct to survive is stronger than the instinct to have sex. The instinct to have sex is stronger than the instinct to satisfy passive hunger. So being faced with a life threatening situation will bring about an intense psychological recoil far more powerful than the desire to self sustain or procreate. Imagine wanting to die so bad that not even sex appeals to you. Can you imagine something like that? Probably not, right? Precisely!

There’s a very good reason for that:

For anyone to successfully commit suicide, that natural recoil instinct to save your life must first be broken beyond repair. So how could that be possible? Can a mind be so broken that it abhors life? Well there are five broad categories would quickly take the mystery out of that:

1. Psychological Disorder

The large majority of suicide cases stem from pure, simple madness. That is expected, since to deny one’s instinct to survive requires a powerful electrochemical distortion in the brain, the type that could be predicated on something bad like bipolar disorder, clinical depression, and other such extreme mood disorders. Schizophrenia also ranks highly as a recurring precursor.

In this particular circumstance, I totally get why a sufferer would want to commit suicide. For example, people with bipolar disorder suffer extremities in their mood due to a very severe electrochemical imbalance in the brain. That’s the same thing as buying a computer with bad software. It’s going to continue to do some strange things until the software is finally fixed.

People with clinical depression have extremely low amounts of serotonin production in their brain. So they never feel happy about anything. Bright colours, copious amounts of sunshine and a room full of hot naked 18 year old virgins would never perk them up. Their brain is so broken, that even stopping to smell the roses has no effect. That is a very painful existence.

Depressed in the city

Let’s refer back to the computer analogy. Have you ever had a computer that ran really slow no matter what you did with it? You might install software to clean up the hard drive, but even that isn’t guaranteed. It’s not a permanent fix. That’s how antidepressants and other mood modifying drugs tend to be. They treat the symptoms of the disorders, not their cause.

The cause tends to be genetic. So there are no medicines to permanently fix that issue (yet). With a computer, would be just like a case of a corrupted hard drive. In a case like that, the best way to repair it is simply to erase everything and start all over. The problem is, humans don’t have reset buttons. You can’t reboot a person (at least, we don’t know how yet). If left unchecked, these people will get to a state of desperation where they try to fix it themselves:

…by putting a bullet through it.

The pain felt by someone who is clinically depressed is essentially the same as grieving for someone you lost — forever. If you have ever felt deep grief, the type that would cause you to break down and cry, then you know how intense and dejected that feeling is. However, you get over it after a while, right? People who are clinically depressed have that feeling all the time and for no good reason. They will spontaneously break down and cry when no one died.

Their grief is very real (but only because their brain is broken).

The situation is pretty much that their brain won’t shut off the electrochemical flood gates that fuel the water works. Some even get to a stage where they know that their grief is totally irrational. When faced with a life like that, it’s not hard to imagine it occurring to someone on multiple occasions that if they can’t shut off the grief, then they will just shut off their brain.

Permanently.

2. Substance Abuse

Substance Abuse

Statics show a very positive correlation between substance abuse and suicide. Everything from Extacy to Cocaine can produce an uncanny withdrawal phase that is deeper than any human being would normally experience. The same is true of alcohol and other substances affecting mood. Once a psychoactive substance is involved, it greatly increases suicide risk.

In a recent post where I explored the very real prospect that love is a drug, I elaborated on the fact that every emotion you feel is a chemical reaction in your brain. If you tamper with that sacred balance of chemicals in the brain, it can create an imbalance that could trigger bouts of sustained depression, at which point one may wind up trying to scratch that nagging feeling out of their head, that is sitting at the back of their mind, slowly driving them mad.

And how do they do this? Well if someone doesn’t strap down such an individual and let the brain burn away the nicotine born compounds driving them mad, or mount a very serious intervention that has a very far reaching psychological impact, powerful enough to render such desires moot, then, they will continue to feed their habit until they can no longer afford to. When the withdrawal symptoms drive them to the edge of madness, they will kill for a fix. Literally. If they can’t get a fix, they will kill themselves just to end their permanent madness.

3. Deep Despair

Murder Suicide

I have examined a number of murder suicide cases recently. They mostly involved men who had very serious control issues and women too stupid to know when to get out. The story is always the same: Woman falls for uber-masculine male who has an insatiable need to exert an unreasonable amount of control over her. After years of building tension, she may finally decide to break up, which only causes him to emotionally snap — killing her in the process.

He having realized the horror of what he’s just done either kills the children next and / or her parents (and anyone else he feels may have contributed to his relationship’s demise) or any other witnesses before finally turning the murder weapon on himself. What is perhaps the least violent of these episodes is the murder-suicide involving a high profile Florida couple.

Notice the curious similarities.

These types of cases are not unique to the United States. They are fairly common worldwide, with incidences in every corner of the globe. In fact, there has been a recent explosion of such cases in the Caribbean lately, involving everyone from prolific businessmen to police officers. The deadly irony of these cases is that the weapon of choice is usually a licensed firearm. It goes to show that men charged with protecting their families often destroy them.

A lot of people are inclined to say that the men involved in these cases are cowards. I beg to differ. The men in these cases all suffer from deep, unrelieved stress that builds from their own insecurities. The reason why they feel the need to control their women is usually born out of a deep sense of delusional paranoia. The women in turn fail to recognize the mental disorder for what it is and continue to get involved in pointless fights that trample his ego.

In everyone of these cases, the men seek no suitable cathartic release for their stress and so the tension continues to build. The massive adrenaline buildup not only causes his heart to race every time they fight, but it channels more strength to his muscles as a natural fight or flight response. This is why men often pound on a hard surfaces during a verbal domestic fight (like punching into a wall or a table surface). It’s a safer method of cathartic stress release. Women tend to throw things. Either way, it’s the first sign of a dangerous adrenaline buildup.

The only problem is that sometimes he loses self control and a domestic battery case is born. He isn’t justified in hitting her, but every man has a breaking point. Either way, women should use this as an early warning indicator that he’s about to snap and so continuing the verbal warfare is not going to help. Quietly scaling down the emotional tension would be wise here.

Most domestic battery offenders are less likely to commit murder and suicide as the catharsis usually happens in the form of battery. In murder suicide cases, there is usually less domestic battery involved and so the tension will continue to build. When she finally drops the ultimate bruiser (threatening to leave), all that unreleased buildup of emotional tension blows at once.

Think of it as the straw that breaks his ego’s back.

In that moment of blind rage, a man with that much built up tension becomes a vicious, rage engorged animal. There is very little control at this point and all the humanity has left his swollen eyes. His frontal lobe’s intention is simply to put her in her place as the subservient female. Every man has this primal animal instinct lurking somewhere at the back of his mind.

What his brain stem wants however, is to silence her — permanently. In the split second war between human and animal that happens in a man’s adrenaline poisoned brain, the primal id usually wins and his empty fist is subconsciously (and sometimes unknowingly) filled with a deadly weapon. You can tell from the excessive blood spatter patterns on the wall behind her, that the kill is passionate and erotically satisfying — but the satisfaction is short lived.

When the cathartic kill cools his grey matter enough for his frontal lobe to assess what he has done, several things happen in quick succession. First, is the powerful onset of sorrow. He weeps bitterly for his dead lover. Having realised his worst fears (losing control over her), he is rebuffed at realizing that the only person he should have feared losing her to, was himself.

He realizes at this point that in trying so hard to exert control over her, he has unwittingly destroyed her. The despair that sets in is an incredible mix of self hatred and loss. He thinks to himself that he now has nothing else to live for. The woman he loves is dead and he is going to hell. He now realizing the irony of the universe’s poetic justice, turns the weapon on himself. Like I said, this type of suicide is not an act of cowardice. It’s an act of abject despair. Compare a similar case where a teen accidentally shoots his girlfriend and then kills himself.

A coward would try to escape — not take their own life. A person who commits such brutal acts of murder, especially when it involves multiple individuals, has been psychologically broken. The mere fact that suicide is involved is a testament to their level of angst where despair replaces their need to continue living. It is also why the Columbine and Virgina Tech killers also committed suicide. Murder-suicide is no mere act of revenge. It’s much deeper.

I know it seems impossible to fathom at this point (especially for women) but men in this case don’t premeditatedly kill their lovers (even when it appears that he traveled a great distance to find and slaughter her). A passionate kill is one that is so incensed, that the vile act of killing doesn’t stop even after it is obvious that the victim’s brain is splattered on the walls.

You can tell by the excessive nature of the killing.

These men were not trying to hide their identities. They weren’t trying to escape prosecution. They have all gotten to a point of intense pain (usually heavily tempered by guilt) that they have decided that life isn’t worth living with or without her. The final act of suicide in these cases is not an attempt to escape justice. It is a final act that is meant to end their suffering.

Selfish is what it is. Cowardice is what it’s not.

4. Escape Physical Suffering

World Trade Center Suicide JumperNo one should have to choose between suicide and certain death

Adolf Hitler and Socrates committed suicide to avoid judgment by their enemies. In fact, I can imagine why it would be necessary to reserve enough bullets for yourself and any other survivor of an apocalyptic zombie attack. It’s the same kind of suicide committed by people who jumped out of the World Trade Center. This is why I really sympathize with those who euthanize sufferers from final stage cancer. A quick death is better than a long painful one.

Some would argue in this context that euthanasia is morally wrong and that suicide to escape any kind of terrible pain is unjustifiable. The trouble with these arguments is that they are not being made by the people who are suffering. They are therefore as valid as the arguments of German holocaust deniers, male anti-abortionists, and white folks denying Tea Party racism.

It is impossible to rationalize suicide from the comfort of your couch at home watching a news flash about some act of suicide that was committed by someone in an obviously very extreme circumstance. You are not in a state of utter desperation. You are not in any pain. You are not surrounded by a collapsing sky scraper set ablaze by jet fuel or dying of final stage cancer.

It is therefore remarkable to me that there are people who have very little bearing on what extreme suffering is have all the say in what a person should or should not do to end their suffering. It is much easier to talk about the flawed logic of St. Thomas Aquinas who coined the concept that suicide is a moral sin when you are not faced with such dire circumstances.

St. Thomas Aquinas reasoned that killing oneself is in direct disobedience to the sixth of the ten commandments. What Aquinas positively failed to factor into his logic was that the sixth commandment should have read “thou shalt not murder“. Other than that, there is no Biblical reference whatsoever on the spiritual fatality of suicide. That idea is all man made conjecture.

Don’t get me wrong — I’m not saying that suicide is justified. I’m merely saying that the Bible is silent on it. It does not explicitly prohibit suicide. I don’t support the idea of suicide for any reason. Then again, I’ve never been in a situation where suicide might be the most rational option. Most of you reading this haven’t. That’s why it’s easy to say when you’re not in pain.

5. Environmentally Triggered Depression

Kevin Carter's famous Sudanese Photo

I can even understand the spiral descent into abject guilt that comes with an experience that would breaks one psychologically. Such is the case of famed photojournalist Kevin Carter, who took a now iconic photo of a Sudanese girl dying of hunger while a vulture sits patiently awaiting her death in the background. The photo soon became an icon for poverty in Africa.

Carter later suffered severe bouts of sustained depression thereafter, opting to end his life by means of carbon monoxide poisoning. He was haunted by a combination of images from an apartheid stricken Africa, rife with men doing evil things to innocent people, plus the abject suffering and death that he encountered working as a photographer and his financial status.

This was not Carter’s first attempt at suicide. While it is understandable how such an extreme form of depression can poison one’s mind, we also have to factor in that some minds are more susceptible to depression than others. It has a lot to do with brain chemistry. We are tempted to say that Carter was brought down by his guilt (or even that he was a coward).

The trouble with both of these observations is that they are coming from minds that are quite stable. It’s easy for us to judge a man like Carter when we don’t suffer from bouts of clinical depression. Clearly, there are people in the world in far worse situations than Carter that would never take their own life. However, most of these people are not clinically depressed.

Up until recently, I could not appreciate the significance of clinical depression — especially when it is brought on by circumstantial factors. I, like most other people, failed to understand that clinical depression is a dangerous state of mind that can break a person’s will to continue living. Some forms of depression are genetically propagated and environmentally triggered.

If pharmacists were to produce a drug that would significantly inhibit your brain’s ability to produce serotonin and dopamine, it would artificially bring about the same kind of clinical depression that claimed Carter’s life. It would be called the suicide drug, because it chemically alters the brain in such a way that thoughts of suicide would preoccupy its conscious states.

Kevin Carter didn’t take his own life out of guilt. He didn’t kill himself because he was fearful of dealing with his life’s problems. He didn’t commit suicide to get the haunting images of death and suffering out of his head. Carter killed himself because his brain just happened to be one of those that was easily broken by life’s traumatic experiences. It could have been any of us.

The Point Is This

The next time you hear that someone has contemplated suicide, always remember that it is easy to judge them as cowards for being unwilling to deal with whatever life challenges they are facing. However, the human brain is all that we have to think with. Just like any other organ, sometimes the design is inherently flawed. If it is, they may be more prone to suicide.

Barring extreme survival and fight-or-flight situations, the human brain was designed to make quick survival oriented decisions. If its architecture is slightly flawed, then it only means that just like a computer with a bad processor, data can go in and garbage comes out. Be careful how you treat these individuals. They need professional help although they won’t realize it.

However, minds that are genetically or environmentally broken are not the only cases where suicide occurs. There are cases where suicide is committed by people who are perfectly fine from a neurological point of view. It is in these cases, more than any other, where cowardice becomes indistinguishable from madness as people who commit suicide bombings aren’t mad.

To be continued…


E-mail: accordingtoxen[at]gmail[dot]com

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  1. Lily
    May 8, 2011 at 12:11 am

    Suicide hotlines and help pages often claim that depression occurs when pain outweighs coping resources. Would you agree with this?

    And if depression were only or mostly caused by genetics, then how do stories of people overcoming depression exist?

    I’m not really trying to start a debate; I’m genuinely curious. This is because suicide and self-harm have recently become a huge part of my life–and I’m not the one who’s cutting.

    Which brings me to my next question. If you knew someone close to you was suicidal, what would you do?

    • May 9, 2011 at 5:25 pm

      Lily, this is Xen’s blog, but I’m going to cut in and offer you an answer, because it’s an important question. Your first priority is to keep the body alive. Do that, and chances are excellent that we can heal the mind. Your second priority is to get the person to help. Exactly what form that help will take is highly situational and will depend on the person’s age, station in life, situation, and so on. You mention cutting, so I’m guessing that this is a younger person. Excellent sources of help would be teachers, guidance counselors, and the like. Doctors, priests and ministers can also help. Anybody in one of these roles can either provide the help this person needs, or can direct you to someone else who can.

    • May 9, 2011 at 9:24 pm

      Hi Lily,

      Sorry for not responding sooner. Let’s answer your questions:

      Lily:

      Suicide hotlines and help pages often claim that depression occurs when pain outweighs coping resources. Would you agree with this?

      Yes. Absolutely. My second post in this series goes into that somewhat.

      Lily:

      And if depression were only or mostly caused by genetics, then how do stories of people overcoming depression exist?

      Simple. A genetically predicated illness can be mitigated. Some can even be cured (using Stem cells). There are two ways to treat depression depending on its severity:

      1. The Pscyho-cognitive/analytical approach [Mild to Chronic Depression] — This is where the patient is counselled by a professional, usually a trained counsellor or psychologist who will, with successive sessions, get the patient to do what is called “observing ego”. The idea behind the technique is to get the depressed individual to understand their depression, why it occurs and how to circumvent it. The psycho-cognitive approach uses the power of the mind to heal itself by introducing trains of thought that would causally bring about the necessary changes in the person’s brain chemistry to dissolve their depression naturally. The results vary depending on the person’s natural brain chemistry. However, it is usually the safest route with the fewest side effects. But this approach tends to work best where the depression is environmentally triggered.

      2. Psycho-Active Drugs [Chronic to Severe Depression] — In cases where the person’s depression is sustained to the point where it causes real pain or can spawn thoughts of suicide, psychoactive drugs (such as Zoloft) are usually introduced. These medications directly interfere with the patient’s brain chemistry to affect its production of a neurotransmitter known as Serotonin that is commonly associated with positive moods. The only problem with antidepressants is that some of them can become addictive.

      However, most psychologists use a combination of psycho-cognitive and psycho-active treatment to achieve the best results.

      Lily:

      I’m not really trying to start a debate; I’m genuinely curious. This is because suicide and self-harm have recently become a huge part of my life–and I’m not the one who’s cutting.

      — Why does its seem eerily like denial? I hope I’m wrong.

      Lily:

      Which brings me to my next question. If you knew someone close to you was suicidal, what would you do?

      — My buddy Alamanach has already done a great job answering this one. I would only expand on: “keep the body alive“.

      I once fished a young woman out of the harbour about a month ago. She was trying to drown herself. When I prompted her for a reason, she claimed that her boyfriend had cheated on her. To cut a long story short, she couldn’t handle not living in bliss with him anymore. She is only 21 years old.

      After I pulled her out of the water, the first thing I noticed was the remarkable look of embarrassment on her face. I then went into a long winded explanation about how difficult it would be to drown herself (and now you know the inspiration for these series of posts). I further elaborated on the presence of Jellyfish in the harbour. Apparently she had not considered how slow and excruciating a death she would have after being stung by box jellyfish and drowning in salt water polluted with excrement from nearby ships. As it turns out, that was enough to shake her to her senses.

      She was so depressed about her break up, she had only thought of death, but not dying.

      This is a common trend among people who feel the need to commit suicide. Their mind is broken by a psychological pain so intense, that they become preoccupied with thoughts of death, but are usually unaware of the difficulty with the process of dying. Furthermore, in her particular case, she failed to realize that her ex-boyfriend would have simply moved on to the next available girl. He would never kill himself with that much tail available on the market.

      It was only then that she realized the extent of her folly.

      I capped it off by telling her that killing herself in the name of love lost would only rob her of the ability to be loved by someone else. It’s not that she could not have had that thought herself, but rather that her mind was so broken that the thought never got a chance to manifest itself.

      When you see someone exhibiting masochistic or suicidal propensities, try to run down this quick list:

      1. Interfere with their thought process. Their ability for rationale is broken. You need to be the rational mind for them.

      2. Be the person they can look to for some quick and easy doses of affection. You have no idea how powerful something as simple as a hug and smile can do for someone who is clinically depressed. It is 10x more powerful if it is done to someone you barely know.

      3. Notify their family — even if it pisses them off and causes them to want to hate you. Remember, they’re not being rational. Don’t let their anger at being discovered fool you.

      4. Get a Trained professional involved. Alamanach mentioned a few good sources. If you can’t get to a trained professional, a clinical counsellor will do. Failing that, find a minister of religion who is trained in the science of counselling. Try to avoid those who would quote scripture to the people who want to commit suicide. Suicide risk patients do not feel the need to be judged. They need to be loved. Reminding them of their risk of going to hell will not change their minds about killing themselves. So it is important that if you have to rely on a person who is a minister of religion, that you are certain that this person is also a professional counsellor or psychologist.

      Trust me on this one. I found that out the hard way.

      5. Check up on them regularly. Drop in on them uninvited. Share food with them. Help them to celebrate life even if they don’t feel like doing it. Even if they push you away, do it ANYWAY. They usually come around after a while. People with clinical depression can be a little cynical and perhaps even a bit hurtful. Don’t buy into it. They’re just trying to make you feel as bad as they do. Remember the adage about misery loving company. It is dually true. Miserable people may love miserable company, but misery loves to be dissipated by love.

      Even if they accuse you of crapping rainbows, don’t stop doing it. They need you there. They would be far worse off if you decided to become frustrated and give up on them. If you walk away, they will just make another attempt at killing themselves in the hopes of making you feel guilty about it.

      Do you know someone who is trying to kill themselves?

      Please let us know.

  2. May 7, 2011 at 4:51 pm

    When soldiers stare death in the face and despite insurmountable odds against survival press on – that is considered bravery/valour etc. It doesn’t take a coward to take one’s life – it takes a brave person to even contemplate suicide – that was what I was gonna say but while writing my response it occurred to me that suicide is one of those inexplicable acts that can be carried out. No amount of studies and and pondering can fully explain it. Why – those who are directly involved are dead so – what now. We can only stay on the outside and comment but we are not privy to the thought processes of the individual.

  3. olya
    May 5, 2011 at 5:16 am

    Interesting thinking.

  4. Woman
    May 1, 2011 at 10:20 pm

    There are many thoughts swimming around my head at the moment after reading this. I might babble..

    Firstly; interesting and thoughtful post.

    Secondly; you mentioned you do not support suicide for any reason, but you have never been in a situation where you needed to contemplate it. I do beleive in assisted suicide. Whole heartedly agree with it. I have sat at people’s bed sides withering in such pain while their cancer kills them, as well as listened to my grandmother on those rare lucid days, cussing at us for not have the balls to help her end her life as her she got lost to dementia and alzheimers.

    I might get a world of slack for this, as I always do. Human’s are just another part of the animal kingdom. We show such compassion to a dog, a raccoon, even a bird that the cat decided to maul and leave for dead… yet we are so selfish as to think about how it will affect us, many just do not consider the person.

    I think the only question that someone can be asked, is what would you want if it were you in terminal pain, facing the calendar with very few tomorrows left, stuck in a hospital because you need the machines to live? Whatever ones choice is in the matter, I do beleive that their wishes should be respected and honoured.

    But. All that being said, I do have a line drawn in my head in regards to the preciousness of life. I do not agree with people otherwise who want to kill themselves because of depression, a chemical imbalance, pressure, or such. It is their choice though and people are going to kill themselves no matter what anyone else says or the laws of religion or state. Hell, I’ve known people who have killed themselves because of honour (which of course I think is immensely weird).

    I do not quite comprehend why can’t people who do want to do this, be able to make one final selfless act and donate their bodies; organs and such to medicine or science?

    w

    • May 7, 2011 at 7:34 pm

      Woman,

      As you and Xen point out, we (the three of us here) have never been driven to suicide. We can’t know just what that kind of pain feels like. There are some people who have attempted suicide, survived it, and then went on to work things out and get on with their lives. If we cherish any such individuals, then we have to be glad that, in their case, the suicide attempt failed. And if we are glad that it failed, then we have to conclude that it would have been better if the attempt had not been made in the first place; better for that person if he had persevered with his struggle. Maybe there are others who are better off dead, but there are certain attempted suicides out there that are not.

      None of us are in much of a position to judge, because we haven’t been there, and even if we have, we still can’t know the precise level of pain that another individual is in. Some of these terminal patients who want to die are, perhaps, in that much pain, but how do we distinguish them from others who are just getting a little carried away, and really ought to keep fighting?

      It is for that reason that assissted suicide brings huge problems. Saving lives is hard enough, to then ask us to choose which sick patients are better off dead– a job which we are utterly incapable of performing– is simply too much. It is better if we focus our efforts in just one direction– keeping people alive. If this or that patient thinks he wants to die (and he might be right!), we should resist him and he should have to carry it out on his own. If he’s really in that much pain, let him prove it by leaving us out of his decision. We won’t think less of him.

      Is that insensitive of us? Not really; what we are really hoping for is that the person will be restored to health and happiness, so that we can continue to enjoy his company, because we love him. We don’t want to see him in pain, but we also don’t want an irrevocable mistake to be made that ends his life prematurely.

      I don’t really expect you to see it that way, but that’s the other side of the argument.

  5. May 1, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    The Bible is silent on suicide. Remember that Samson shot a last prayer before pulling the pillars and sending the temple upon himself. Consequently, he became the first recorded suicide killer. He was honored as a good follower of God.

    • May 2, 2011 at 9:19 am

      Samson may have committed suicide. However, the Bible neither openly nor explicitly condemns suicide (unlike the religious book of Christianity’s competing religion). I cover these issues in greater detail in part 2.

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