To Be Or Not To Be
A Pastoral View Of Suicide In Today's World
by William V. Rauscher -- Published 2000
More than 30,000 people (many of them teenagers) commit suicide in the United
States each year, while an estimated ten times as many attempt it, leaving family
and friends at a loss for what to say or do. William Rauscher believes the time
has come for all of us to look long and hard at an issue that, as A. Alverez wrote,
"has permeated Western culture like a dye that cannot be washed out"
- for the question of suicide affects people from all walks of life, and is more
complicated today than ever before. To Be Or Not To Be is dedicated to the prevention
of suicide and it speaks to those who contemplate taking their own lives, as well
as to parents, teachers, doctors, clergy, counselors, and friends of individuals
troubled by doubts about life's worth.
Rauscher provides a well-balanced look first at the arguments in favor of suicide,
arguments bolstered in recent years by the right-to-death movements, and others
who ask, "Is life always and under all conditions better than death?" He then
goes on to refute these arguments, thoughtfully drawing on religion, psychology
and most important, his extensive experience as a priest and counselor to individuals
and families in moments of crisis. Numerous case studies throughout support Rauscher's
position that finally, suicide is not the answer, despite the logical arguments
than can be raised in its favor. Sensitive and mature, To Be Or Not To Be is a
rational, readable guide that gives useful and inspiring counsel on one of the
most disturbing problems facing us today.
Chapter titles include: Preface; The Case
for Suicide?; Suicide and Mystical-Psychic Experience; The Temptation of Death;
The Ways and Means of Suicide; Guidance: Religion or Medicine?; The Case Against
Suicide; The Philosophers and Theologians; The Case Against Rational Suicide;
What Does the Bible Say?; Afterword; Notes and Bibliography.
Rauscher is a retired Episcopal Priest. His ministry of nearly forty years
provided him with a wealth of pastoral experience. In his last parish, Christ
Church, Woodbury, New Jersey, he served as rector for 36 years. His many interests
include ascetical and mystical theology, parapsychology, the study of consciousness
and the many sense and nonsense pathways of religion. His insights into contemporary
religion in today's society and practical approach provide an unusual and thought
provoking exploration of the ever-controversial subject of suicide. He is an Honorary
Canon of Trinity Cathedral, Trenton, New Jersey, and for many years has enjoyed
stage magic as a hobby, while also known nationally and internationally as an
historian and author of the subject. He lives in Woodbury, New Jersey.
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"It is a wonderful Christian evaluation with excellent
"Provides a balanced account of the arguments
in favor of suicide, then goes on to refute them, drawing on psychology, religion,
and most importantly, his experience as a priest andcounselor to individuals
and families in moments of crisis."
"An ideal popular counseling tool."
"Canon Rauscher tells both sides of the suicide
issue through the views of philosophers and theologians from ancient to modern
"Considering the alarming suicide rate in our
times, this work appears as a most relevant and provoking dialogue. Admirably
presented so that it's easily comprehended."
" & a time of stress, it could save some lives from self-destruction."