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In The Zombie Survival Guide: Recorded Attacks by Max Brooks, one of the tales depicts a tribe in the Pacific who, in a sense, worship the zombie virus as a gift for immortality. When the villagers become terminally ill or very old, a raft brings them to the beach of a nearby island, where the pilots of the raft blow a horn to attack the infected and then leave. Images of the displayed "sacrifice" show they do not fear this fate; rather, they look forward to it.

My question is, how does this tribe survive? If the afterlife is a state that one can easily achieve, a state considered to be a good place after death; the equivalent to Heaven even, what is to stop the villagers from allowing themselves to be bit willingly, even seeking out ways to the zombie island? How do you justify zombie worshipers, who look forward to being a zombie, not going out of their way to achieve this goal?

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  • $\begingroup$ Something I forgot to ask earlier is about the details of the religion. Does it involve a god/supreme being? Is the virus mysterious, or looked at from the standpoint of science? $\endgroup$ – HDE 226868 Aug 5 '17 at 21:34
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    $\begingroup$ @HDE226868 in the comic the event was "recorded" in the 1500's by a pirate, so yeah, pretty mysterious $\endgroup$ – TrEs-2b Aug 5 '17 at 22:19
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Fear of Death

Death is uncertain and its nature can't be described unless one experiences it. If the tribe believes that zombie induced death is extremely painful and intolerable for a healthy being, the fear of death itself could prevent the tribe from committing suicide. Only terminally ill and old aged people look forward to this because they are certain their life is coming to an end.

Uncertainty about Afterlife

The tribe worships zombies and may believe them to be facilitator of life. The belief that zombies would not attack a healthy person and may leave them to die a natural death is enough incentive for not seeking death.

This also depends on what they believe about natural death. If they believe of terrible fate awaiting them if they die naturally and zombies would curse them for such afterlife, such suicides are less likely to happen.

Strict Rules against Suicide

The tribe has certain​ rules on who could attain immortality. Young and healthy individuals who could benefit the tribe are not permitted to enter the zombie island.

If anyone found guilty of committing suicide are sentenced with​ lifetime imprisonment, such suicides are less likely to happen. Again this depends on what they believe about afterlife by natural death.

No Unauthorised Access

The access points to the island are under strict scrutiny and no-one can bypass it without permission from village council/tribe head. One willing to attain immortality should seek clearance from the council. Trespassing without permission may lead to severe punishment worse than death (Natural death if it is that dreadful).

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A related question you can ask yourself: How do religions in our world deter suicide?

I could go on to non-Abrahamic religions, but I think you get the gist. The synopses I've given above, I should note, are condensed and simplified.

In other words, there's a loophole to the death-by-virus-gives-you-immortality, making it impossible to gain immortality though suicide. The elders/leaders of the tribe simply have to codify a rule against it, stating that anyone who kills themselves in good health will not gain immortality, but will suffer some suitable punishment instead.

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I mean, let's just look at Christians.

If the afterlife is so much better, if Jesus is so dang cool, why don't we all just end it?

We don't.

Why?

In Catholicism suicide is a sin, and as it's your last act, you aren't going to heaven.

But in other branches of Christianity, suicide is not the unforgivable sin. But Christians who really believe in Jesus aren't committing suicide in droves, despite the fact that they claim that they believe in paradise.

Why?

Whatever reasons you can think of as to why Christians do not commit suicide, these people will not all go over to zombie island for the same reasons.

Christians don't want to die. The afterlife is pretty easy for them to achieve. And yet, they do not.

Suicide is not thought of as God's will. Some branches frown on it, some have specific rules against it.

Loved ones have to fend for themselves. Your story isn't yet over.

Like suicide, getting bit is pretty final.

If they occasionally get zombies in camp, which they might, if they fight against them, some may have a somewhat different view. Custom and seeming piety is one thing, and it will help you get ahead politically and in business sometimes, but true faith is a different thing.

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