If you haven’t already, check out the story of R. J. Stove, son of the late atheist philosopher David Stove, who killed himself when his life went south. R. J. converted to Roman Catholicism eight years later.
It’s clichéd to ask why more atheists don’t commit suicide. Like most clichés, the question gets near the heart of the issue without properly hitting it. After all, it’s not as if suicide is somehow logically consistent with atheism. For one thing, atheism isn’t a principle: it’s the negation of a principle. And you don’t get something from nothing.
That is the heart of the problem. Atheism doesn’t necessitate a reason to die, but it certainly doesn’t offer a reason to live. It doesn’t offer a reason for choosing between the two options and it couldn’t offer a methodology for choosing between them, anyway. It doesn’t offer anything.
Some atheists, especially of the belligerent leftist bent, like to argue that the mere asking of the question points to moral deficiency in the one asking it (“you’d kill yourself just because God doesn’t exist?!”), even as they themselves argue for the legalization of suicide due to suffering. Why should people be treated as morally suspect, though, just because the meaninglessness of Godless being is itself a source of pain for some? And why shouldn’t it be the case that the atheists’ refusal to accept this argument is evidence of moral deficiency on the part of his opponents and not simply a failure of imagination or understanding on his own part, a failure borne of his own investment in the claim that life can be made meaningful even when severed from the transcendent ground of all meaning?
I suspect this is why I hadn’t heard of David Stove until a few months ago. He makes clear the fact that atheism is not unambiguously compatible with recognition of the duty to live (or recognition of any duty, for that matter), and it’s this kind of recognition which fashionable modern atheism can’t permit. I’m sure my older colleagues had heard of him, but even in my heavily atheistic days, I never once encountered even a single reference to him that I can recall.