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James Pate

That's a good point you make about wish projection, John. If Christians were doing that, they'd all be universalists.

Thanks for this post. It's sad that life is so hard for some people, that they just feel they can't take it anymore. I'm not sure what advice I'd give them, but it's an issue worth struggling through.

Justin (koavf)

John,

Suicide is a topic that is very meaningful to me, and I appreciate any thoughtful treatment of it. Consequently, I was pleased by your post, not because of its content as much as its form.

Allow me to please respond to one point in particular: the notion of suicide as selfishness. There are selfish suicides, but there are other suicides that do not have selfish motives at all. I imagine that like many actions in life, a given suicide is probably partially selfish and partially others-centered. As you probably know, Jewish ethics has emphasized these competing motivations of selfishness and selflessness.

I think the selfish motives for suicide are broadly understood, so there is no need to repeat them here. The unselfish reasons should also be obvious, but I suppose they are not to some. In the mind of the person contemplating or committing suicide, their continued material existence causes pain to others, so they seek to end that pain through death. Regardless of whether you accept this premise as true, it is still the motivation for the action, and that is the dispute. Someone in the state of mind to kill himself may well be irrational (possibly to the point of dementia or psychosis, even.) The matter of whether or not suicide is rational is simply a different - if inter-related one - to whether or not it is selfish from the perspective of the person taking his own life.

Imagine, for instance, someone terminally ill with a painful disease that is costly to treat and impossible to cure with present medical technology. There might be someone who through his own sense of cowardice at facing pain takes his life. There might be someone else who does not want his loved ones to bear the prolonged pain of seeing him wither away nor the enormous cost of the medical treatment. My guess is that most persons who do kill themselves in these circumstances have both motivations in mind.

And, as you point out so deftly, there should be no opprobrium for these persons. It may well be that suicide is immoral - again, that is a different, if related issue - but we should not hold those who commit sins in a position of judgement and bitterness. This is especially true for someone who commits a sin in extraordinary circumstances. Thank God that not all of us are afflicted with depression or the kinds of degenerative diseases and harsh conditions that motivate suicides.

Regardless of the motivation for suicide - which is almost impossible to know with any certainty, even if there is a note - we must forgive the person who has killed himself. Forgive him his moral faults for his sake and forgive him for our sake so that we can continue living without his presence.

I also think it says something about someone's theology if he was to make the claim that God *cannot* forgive a suicide. Is suicide somehow stronger than grace? Does man trump God if he kills himself? How can all other sins be forgivable (save blasphemy?), but suicide not? And even if God is somehow incapable or unwilling to forgive the suicide, should we then be the same?

As always, I offer these considerations in love for you and whomever else may read them. Suicide is a painful fact of life for a small minority. I wish it didn't exist, but when such a tragedy occurs and causes pain and difficult questions for so many, we need to continue in our love of God and humanity all the more.

-JAK

Justin (koavf)

James,

Your point about Universalism is well-taken. Let me say two things in response:

1.) There are Christian Universalists. While this may not be the majority opinion, nor the one you take (I have no idea), I think it's only fair to admit that this is a legitimate position and one that does have a Biblical and historical basis.

2.) There are Christians who are not Universalists, nor would they even want to be Universalists. Again, this disposition is not where my biases lie, but I have to concede that hyper-Calvinists (e.g. the Westboro Baptist Church) who desire God to damn as many as possible do have some historical connection to Christianity and craft Biblical arguments. I am inclined to believe these arguments are essentially a proxy for a hate-filled ideology that they had prior to Christianity and is deeply contrary to the most basic commandments to love in Christianity, but I have to concede that they somehow view themselves as Christians and there may well be sincere believers amongst that crowd who are not primarily hate-filled bigots looking for a justification for their dispositions.

-JAK

JohnFH

Thanks, Justin, for a sweet and illuminating comment. You will not be surprised that I concur with all of your points.

Did you see my earlier post about Jochen Klepper's suicide?

Justin (koavf)

John,

I did ( http://ancienthebrewpoetry.typepad.com/ancient_hebrew_poetry/2008/01/war-and-peace-i.html#comment-99009792 ), but thank you for the reminder - reviewing the story and comments are moving the second time around.

I appreciate that you take this matter seriously and even if you view suicide as a sin, that is no impediment to love or forgiveness. I finished N. T. Wright's Evil and the Justice of God. In the final chapter he makes the following claim (by way of Miroslav Volf's Exclusion and Embrace): forgiveness requires a recognition of wrong-doing (exclusion) in order to reconcile (embrace.) It means nothing to "forgive" if you think no sin has been committed - what exactly are you forgiving?

So, for those who consider suicide to not be a sin or for whom suicide is situationally a sin, the proper attitude is compassionate love directed toward the person who is dead as well as those who are living without him.

For those who consider suicide a sin, the proper attitude is compassionate love to the departed and the remnant, with forgiveness for the one who committed the deed.

And between the two who have may have passionate and deeply-held but mutually-exclusive beliefs about the sinfulness of suicide, the proper attitude toward one another is compassionate love.

-JAK

JohnFH

Volf is a class act. Previously at Fuller in Pasadena, if I remember, Harvard wanted him to head up their entire program, but he refused. Harvard wants Divinity in a post-confessional mode - or, more likely, it wants that and its opposite at the same time.

Volf went to Yale instead because it has a more traditional understanding of what Divinity is about as a subject matter.

It's probably more complicated than that, but that's the word on the street.

Justin (koavf)

John,

I don't know Volf outside of Wright's synopsis and endorsement - and now yours. I get excited about the prospects of Exclusion and Embrace; who is more credible a source about forgiveness than a Croatian Baptist?

-JAK

G.M. Grena

I'll preface my remarks by acknowledging it's a complex issue, & hope I can make a useful/helpful point.

I hope we're never in a situation of being in such poor health that we'd want to kill ourselves, but what I seldom hear in discussions on suicides is whether the person was faithful; I usually hear things you & others commented on: Did the person go to Hell? Was the person selfish? Did they want to end their own pain? Did they want to relieve others of their anguish? Did they think their life didn't matter? Etc.

In your other post from January that was referenced, you quoted the Lutheran Wiki mentioning this as a classical argument against suicide: "it is rebellion against God, a denial of trust in God..." However, I disagree. This line of reasoning presumes the person to know about God. Many people don't understand much about the Biblical God, or the importance of faithfulness vs. the common misperception: the importance of being "good" & not hurting others.

You didn't provide the particulars surrounding this "Ethan", or whether he believed he evolved from pond scum, or was created in God's image, so I can't address this specific case (& maybe that's a good thing). I'll assume it was a physical health issue since that's an important social issue (especially medically assisted suicides). It's unfortunate that most people in this horrific condition have probably not been taught or reminded about the critical importance of being faithful to the end, & that God is the best Healer of physical and spiritual problems regardless whether the afflicted person actually gets healed or not (Hebrews 11:1; Romans 4:20-2).

I'm not sure who wrote this song, but I love these lyrics:

If I die in the process of believing what God said
If my last days of life are spent in a sickness bed
As the breath leaves my body, the Promise I'll still claim
And, with Faith on my record, I'll go out in Jesus' Name

So I have to disagree with you. I believe the right question to ask is, Was this person faithful/trustworthy to the end? Did he/she worship a God capable of healing them completely & instantly in response to their faithfulness?

To elaborate on the comment by Justin (koavf), I believe the taking of one's own life causes greater pain to a loved one than does the valiant endurance thereof. I would not want a friend who says, "I'm glad G.M. killed himself so I don't have to see him suffer anymore." I prefer friends who say, "I hope G.M. continues trusting in God to heal him."

JohnFH

Thanks for commenting, G. M.

It is not appropriate to dissect the life of anyone, I think, when people are still in mourning and coming to terms with an unexpected event.

I would just say that the question you pose, "was the person faithful to the end," is often answered in the negatively, and self-evidently so, in the wake of a suicide. When that is the situation, the question that follows is the one I heard often in these last few days.

Justin (koavf)

G. M.,

I also doubt that anyone would say "I'm glad G.M. killed himself so I don't have to see him suffer anymore," but that is not the kind of economy that a person who commits suicide probably has. In his own mind and from his perspective, his death is preferable to his life - regardless of whether or not he is correct in that assessment.

And certainly there are times when suicides will result in less suffering - this is why euthanasia exists. If you suffer through a terrible disease, your loved ones will grieve while you are suffering and after you have passed. If you kill yourself or are killed in a mercy killing by someone else, then they will still grieve your death, but not the pursuant suffering that would have happened.

Your point about faithfulness is well taken - that is a germane question to ask, but I do not believe it is *the* question, nor as John points out, a particularly tactful question to ask in most circumstances. If we are to be compassionate, we should bear that in mind as we approach someone who is mourning.

-JAK

James Pate

Thanks for your response, Justin. I see you're a Hoosier. So am I--I'm originally from Brazil.

I like your point that various sides can support their positions with the Bible and Christian tradition. I've heard Christian universalists say that most of the second century church supported universalism, but I've not seen their references to support that. I just know that, when I read the New Testament, I don't see it.

Justin (koavf)

Oi James,

If you want a quick overview of Christian Universalism: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_reconciliation

I read a journal article in a Reconstructionist publication this past October about a "fourth way" Christian eschatology - rather than damnation, annihilation, and universalism - in which some souls are reconciled to God but do not live in Paradise, or live in different levels of seventh heaven.

-JAK

Nell 1

If one was to even consider suicide, they have clearly lost connection with their Savior, Jesus Christ. Suicide is not something that those strong in their faith would want to consider. Everyone may be afraid of death and even be afraid of their future, but suicide is not the answer to any of the questions. God promises to send Jesus again to save us all from the pain and agony of the sinful world. There are many accounts in the Bible about people taking their life into their own hands, for example: Judas, Samson, and Saul. However, God has a plan for our lives. He created each and every one of us with a specific plan and purpose in mind. Jeremiah 29:11 states, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”. Jesus wants us all to have life and in John 10:10, it is written, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full”. The thief referred here is the devil. The devil may tempt us to end our life but faith in God will help those considering suicide to get through. Our life belongs to God and it is not our place to take our life, or anyone else’s. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 states “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you received from God? You are not your own, you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body”. It is clear that God does not want us to take our own life in our hands, regardless of the situation. One must turn to God for guidance and keep strong in the faith.

True Grit 1

It is my understanding that there are plenty of different ways to commit suicide, as well as reasons. I caught myself agreeing with a previous blog post pointing out the fact that not all suicides are to be for selfish reasons. Yet, it is common to find that others indeed are. As for me, never have I considered suicide to be a sin. It always breaks my heart to hear these stories and everyones hearts feel for the friends and family of the particular person. I guess for me, I would expect God to do the same and welcome this person to heaven with open arms and help repair the damage of the ones left at home. After all, these are the people who suffer most.

Part of me also sees how people may feel it to be a sin, and wondering if the person may be headed for Hell. It is my duty as a person to respect everyone’s views.

Breaker Morant 2

Nell 1,
I disagree with your view on “Suicide is not something that those strong in their faith would want to consider.” People who think of suicide or have tried to commit suicide do so for all different reasons. One very common reason is depression, which is often caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. Obviously a chemical imbalance would not be something that someone can control, it just happens. So there may be some people who are very strong in their faith that are just having a hard time, but that does not mean that they are any less faithful to their religion. Suicide prevention is something that I myself and very passionate about. I hope that one day I can stop somebody from making this choice that their life is not worth living. As for people who commit suicide going to hell, I don’t think they do. How many of us had made some mistake in our lives, done something we shouldn’t have? I’m sure all of us have at some point in their life, because no one is perfect. So does that mean that we are all going to hell? I don’t believe so, because I believe that God is a forgiving being and he will let everyone into Heaven to live forever with him. I believed that if you love God he will love you back, and if you stray from God, he will lead you back, and if you sin, God will forgive you.

Pulp Fiction 4

Suicide is committed for many different reasons. I have to agree with the passage from 1 Corinthians 4:5, "Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men's hearts; and then each man's praise will come to him from God." I know many may think that suicide is a selfish act, but for me, I feel that sometimes in peoples' lives things happen to them, maybe physically, but also mentally, that they think they can just not deal with. I have never had a close family member or friend take their own lives, but I have heard many sad stories around my community of other people who have had to deal with this kind of thing. I feel that God being a very forgiving and nonjudgmental person, he would accept these people up in heaven, and try to help them through what ever there problems might be.

The Mission 2

I think that if people go to Hell for committing suicide, they get a very raw deal. They are subjected to a life of misery to the point of ending it, then have an eternity of torture to look forward to? Those who are so unhappy with life and want it to be done at least deserve a good afterlife, right?

Pulp Fiction 3

Suicide has always been a touchy subject for me as well as people in my community. A much respected man in my hometown community committed suicide a few years ago and has definitely left a hole in many people’s hearts. The pain and anguish that is left with the friends and family is unbelievable. That’s why I believe that committing suicide is a selfish thing to do. You leave your friends and family heartbroken wondering what to do next. There are tons of resources out there for a person to get help in getting through the problems they are facing throughout their lives.

I do also understand that some things are just hard for a person to get over, and that they feel as if they have nothing else to live for. People encounter many different things throughout their life that bring about many struggles and challenges for them as person that seem to be impossible to deal with.

Chariots of Fire 5

When a suicide occurs no one has the right to judge. No matter how well you knew that person you didn’t know everything that was occurring to them mentally and/or physically. God is the only one to be able to judge his child.

Even those of strong faith have their hard times and it is normal to have doubt. Everyone has their own faith journey—it is good to doubt in God at least once in your life. If you never doubt how strong is your faith really? If you always believed because that was how you were raised and never questioned it at all, you have never really truly believed for yourself. If you doubt God sometime in your life and make it through and decide for yourself that God is there; then you can say that you have strong faith because your faith came from you and not what you were told to believe.

When people commit suicide it isn’t the question that they did not have strong faith. You can have strong faith and still end your life. Some people have mental diseases which causes them to take their life into their own hands. Those people cannot control what they think or what’s going on to them. To the others who do not have mental issues and commit suicide are, in my opinion, forgiven by God. God is known for being a forgiving person and I believe that if he understands why they did this act, he will forgive them. Everyone makes mistakes— just some are bigger than others. And who knows, maybe it is just the person’s time to go and be part of Gods Kingdom in heaven. God will be the judge of that, and none of us imperfect people have the right to criticize and talk poorly about the dead.

Praying with Lior 2

Nell 1,
I do not believe that all those who consider suicide have lost their faith in God, because people commit suicide or attempt to for many different reasons. You cannot fully understand what the life of someone who is depressed is like or the pain they endure, until you have experienced it first hand. One of my cousins has been dealing with depression for numerous years and has attempted suicide. She is extremely active in our church by attending it frequently, singing for the church often, and occasionally reading for it. I know she believes in God, even though she may have some dark days were she does not understand his plan for her.

Nell 5

I thought that the Bible passages you gave were very insightful. 1 Corinthians 4:5 is saying that wait until the lord comes and takes your life. Don’t make the choice to take your own. Also, it’s saying that even in the worse times of your life, God will find something good to come out of it. There is hope. In 1 Corinthians 3:13-15, it is saying that if you get through these hard times, you will get a reward. But, if you throw your life away, there unfortunately will be consequences. When it says, “by passing through the fire”, I believe it is referring to hell. Suicide is a very selfish act. The person committing it should think about the people they’re leaving behind and the grief they are causing them. It’s sad to think that people think that there is no other way out. There is a way. Turn towards God and others, and seek their guidance towards the road to happiness and peace.

Chariots of Fire 2

I agree with Breaker Morant 2. There are so many reasons behind why people commit suicide and it is no one’s right to pass judgment on that person. They could be suffering from severe depression which affects them physically, mentally, and emotionally. It has nothing to do with their faith in God. Merriam Webster’s Dictionary defines suicide as: the act of killing oneself purposely. If you were to jump in front of a bus to save the person you love, wouldn't that be considered suicide? There are so many reasons why people do what they do and sometimes it is out of their control. God forgives, and so should everyone else.

Dead Man Walking 2

I am glad to see that not everyone believes that the act of suicide is an immediate path to hell. I would take great problem with this seeing as god is concerned all loving. What kind of all loving being would allow someone who knows how someone is feeling suffer more in their life by sending them to hell? I also would like to put a more personal spin on this. I personally have suffered from depression for many years and have contemplated suicide more than once. It is easy for you, Nell 1, to pass judgment right away if you have not experienced what it is like. I mean this not as an attack, but rather a chance for you to understand. Imagine getting up for weeks at a time and just hating everything that is you. You no longer find enjoyment in what you once loved. You have to force yourself to go to class, you no longer care. You have no energy and you hurt for no real reason. You feel alone in the world and feel like no one cares. It is very hard to see a “plan” for your life or a reason to keep living it. Thankfully for me a close friend noticed the change and forced me to get help. I am now hugely supportive of anyone who is suffering and would never dream to tell them that they are going to hell. You don’t think straight in that state anymore and I feel that if there really is a god and he is all loving he would understand what these people have gone through and accept them with open arms into his kingdom.

Nell 6

I agree with you Nell 5 people do commit suicide for many different reasons. No one should have any reason to judge a person who has done this until they have walked in that person’s shoes. No one knows what it feels like to even think committing suicide until they are actually in the situation. I also don’t think that it is fair for people to think that just because you do commit suicide you are going to go to Hell. Like Nell 5 said there could be so many reasons that you did it in the first place. It could have been for a good reason that was actually better for someone else. Those are no means for you that person to be going to hell.

The Truman Show 4

In my middle school and high school experiences, I have had to deal with suicide on a very personal level. One of my friends and someone who was in my small groups for church was hurting herself and thinking about suicide. Also, two girls had committed suicide when I was in high school. It was a very hard concept to grasp, that someone could even think about taking their own lives; Especially when I was 13 years old. Thankfully, leaders in the church helped talk through things with my friend and she stopped hurting herself. No one in my high school had a right to judge them, so I don't think many did. Instead we were all just trying to figure out why someone would do that.
This said I believe that suicide is not a straight sentence to go to Hell. As it was mentioned many times before me, suicide happens for millions of different reasons that we will never know. However, God does know the answers and he will be the final judge.

Breaker Morant 5

Suicide is a touchy subject for obvious reasons. I believe that it’s a topic (among others in the bible) that doesn’t give a clear answer and leaves people to come to their own conclusions about it. “Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes.” Paul’s quote from 1 Corinthians sounds like the decision between going to heaven or hell isn’t decided by the Lord until the very end. Even at this point it looks like God has the final word-no matter how your life ended. It seems to me that suicide and what happens in the afterlife is open to interpretation and ultimately God has the final word.

True Grit 1

Although I have previously posted to this blog, I decided to do further research and discuss this topic with my friends. It was very surprising to me to find that some people believe we would go straight to Hell after committing suicide, so I thought I would gather a few more opinions and actually have a discussion regarding this heavy thought.

Most of friends agree that God loves everyone unconditionally as long as the love is mutual. We discussed how there are multiple reasons that suicide would become a thought and everyone is different. A different viewpoint came from some of my friends who don’t even believe in religion, and they brought up how they don’t believe a Hell exists. I just thought it would be an interesting discussion to have with people whom are not in this class, and to hear their firsthand opinions.

Praying With Lior 10

Although I understand your statement, Nell 1, I do not agree with your statement that if someone were to want to commit suicide they have lost their faith. It is impossible to make such a bold statement without considering each individual situation. A part of life is struggling, and sometimes people have trouble dealing with the hard parts in life.
I think calling suicide “selfish” is not necessary either. As a psychology major, I feel strongly about trying to solve the problem of suicide instead of waiting for it to happen and then simply calling it a “selfish” act. If a suicidal person, who already feels like they are worthless, hears that they are just being “selfish,” they will just feel worse. I feel like the majority of people who hear about suicide are quick to judge, yet if put in a situation where they could help a person going through hard times in their life, they would be quick to turn their cheek.

Shawshank Redemption 3

I never know how to feel or what to say when I hear that someone has committed suicide. It's a very complicated topic. I remember having a long discussion about suicide in my catechism class. We were discussing with our pastor about whether or not a person who commits suicide would go to hell. Even after that long discussion I still don't know and I never will. Some of my classmates made the point that if you commit suicide you go to hell because there is no way to ask for forgiveness of your final sin. Then the question was raise about asking for forgiveness before you commit suicide, like many characters in books and movies do, asking God to forgive them right before they take their own life. But I don't think that would work either, because you can't expect to show God that you acknowledge what you are about to do is a sin and then expect his forgiveness afterward. Then some other students raised another very good point which makes everything else even more confusing, which was the fact that Jesus died for all our sins, even the ones we do not repent. In my catechism class I was taught that when God looks at us he doesn't see any sin because they are covered up by Jesus. If this is true, then would he be able to see the sin of committing suicide?

Nell 4

When I hear that someone has committed suicide, it devastates me. I had an uncle that committed suicide when I was younger and other soldiers I knew throughout my military career. This is a very complicating, and touchy topic for most people, but one has to understand where one person comes from.

I would have to agree with Shawshank Redemption 3, when I attended catechism class I also was taught that when God looks at us he doesn't see any sin because Jesus died on the cross to save our sins. So wouldn't committing suicide be seen as a sin and all sins are supposed to be forgiven?

shawshank redemption 5

Suicide is never an easy topic. My high school class consisted of around 525 people. During my four years there, there were a few student deaths, but only two of them committed suicide. It sounds awful to say only, but I thank God it wasn’t more. I obviously wish it had been zero, but with such a large class, so many endured the hardships of high school along with personal struggles. I’m so glad they found ways to cope.
When I was in seventh grade, a lot of terrible things happened to my family and one of my closest family members attempted suicide three times. She had to stay at the mental health center for two nights and was then monitored much more closely. If she had succeeded, my life would’ve changed so incredibly much. In a way, I would’ve died too. Thankfully, she’s gotten a lot of help and is doing very well.
My best friend’s mom Rozlynn was not so lucky. She didn’t get the help she needed and sadly gave in the temptation of escaping the pain. She was a beautiful good person, but she had been through a lot in her life. She was sexually and physically abused by her father at a young age and she also went through a messy divorce. The younger of her two sons was my best friend. I’d go over to their house all the time, I was the only girl allowed there when she wasn’t home. She loved her him so much. She was always a little too strict and occasionally let her anger overtake her and used violence as punishment. I know he forgives her and we both know she just wanted the best for him, for him to always do good things and stay out of trouble. He lived with her his whole life until part way through sophomore year when they had a huge fight and he left to live with his dad in North Fond du Lac. He never left before that because he was afraid she’d do something awful, but he couldn’t take it anymore. He blamed himself for a long time, but he knows she was sick and he couldn’t help her, it wasn’t his fault.
That is one of the very worst effects of suicide, other people blaming themselves for someone taking their own life. It is never, ever anyone else’s fault. The choice is always the person themselves, they either choose life, with all its hardships and pain, or death, leaving everyone you know. I do not condone suicide in anyway shape or form, but sometimes, like in the Bible, I think it might be acceptable to die for your beliefs. Taking your own life can also be sheepish and cowardly. Some do it because their life seems too hard, but they must think of others. Suicide is possibly one of the most selfish things you can do. You hurt others, leave them with regrets and questions, and also maybe with family and financial issues. I wish everyone who feels they want to end their life could listen to people like me, who’ve seen how much pain it causes.
I can’t say if everyone who takes their own life goes to heaven but I know Rozlynn did. She had done some bad things in her life, but horrible things were done to her and they went unpunished. She loved God and knew he would still love her despite her awful decision.

Dead Man Walking 2

With Easter here it occurred to me to bring a point back to this topic. If one person knowingly goes to find their death and walks into it, god will send them to hell correct? Well then how does this apply to the story of Jesus? He knowingly walked into his death and embraced it with open arms isn’t that suicide? Isn’t that worthy of a trip to hell? Now I understand that you can say he was the son of god, but according to what I have heard claimed in church aren’t we the children of god as well? So how can you say that god would let someone whom he knows and understands go to hell for being in pain and not really thinking straight and doing something stupid when his own son did the same?

JohnFH

Good question, D2.

There are people who think the most important thing is: do right by yourself; what happens to others is their problem.

Of course, people like that benefit from those who think otherwise, beginning with their parents. That is, we all depend on the fact that others have, would, and will make sacrifices on our behalf, the ultimate sacrifice included.

That's different from a young man or woman taking their own life because they find life unbearable. However understandable suicide is in a few instances (the example of Jochen Klepper), in most instances it is insult and an offence against those who lay their lives down for others.

If a firefighter dies trying to save a young mother from a blaze and another succeeds in saving the mother, is it not a betrayal if the mother then turns around and kills herself, leaving her children and everyone else to their own destinies?

If Jesus was self-deluded, that's one thing. But if he provided an example of selfless love by accepting death on a cross - that is what Christians believe - that is another.

I hope this clarifies.

True Grit 3

I don’t think anyone really understands what the person that committed suicide was feeling, I feel like you have to be in their shoes to fully understand. The age of people committing suicide gets younger every year and it is such a sad thing to see. I believe that if you take your own life, that you will still go to heaven, because God forgives all sins, and committing suicide would probably fall under that category. Some people look at suicide as an act of selfishness and I don’t agree with that at all. You never know what other people are dealing with in their personal lives, so it’s impossible to say that they are being selfish. Suicide is sometimes the out come of someone who is depressed and that is all psychological, nobody can help it if they have depression or not.

Break Morent

I agree with Breaker Morant 5 that it is God's decision completely in the end. There are things here on earth that we do not understand, suicide being one of them. Just like the verse you mentioned, 1 Corinthians 4:5, 'Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men's hearts; and then each man's praise will come to him from God.' It is God that understands these things that happen. Yes, it may be a sin but sins are forgiven.

True Grit 2

I agree with everything True Grit 3 posted except that suicide is not a selfish act. In most cases someone isn't committing suicide for anyone else but themselves. I also wouldn't say that death is an answer for the questions that someone may have on Earth. It is interesting to that that God would make the decision about someone committing suicide. I believe someone can be ready for death and still have a healthy relationship with God but I don't think suicide is being ready for death but a way out.

Dead Man Walking 3

A guy on my floor always thought about suicide and scared us a lot of times by the way he acted. He was a guy that experienced emotions on an extreme level. Usually he would have tears in his eyes and walk in and talk to you about his problems and they would never be solved. Day after day it would just get worse. When you had to get stuff done you felt terrible if you would had to turn him away. One time he did go to the hospital for overdosing on pills. His emergency contact people were one of the guys he barely knew on the floor, and the two CAs that helped him. Not even his family or any of his old friends he would talk about. He looked at pictures of his family all the time but would always talk about his parents divorcing, and his setbacks being an alcoholic. He couldn’t focus on his grades anymore so he had to drop out. He would text a couple guys on the floor every day and everybody didn’t want to deal with him. You have to think as he looks for a job and sits at home in defeat how could God Punish a man who is sick and afraid?! I see how everyone thinks it’s selfish if he would commit suicide. We were there for him trying to help him many times, but not every time. He always thinks about those couple times that people had to get things done and pushed him out of the room. You can see something is wrong with him, they didn’t know what, but some kind of illness. He just saw suicide as an answer. I don’t think it’s a sin if someone is confused, and just made a mistake. Like the people said in the earlier blogs it would be terrible if this life was bad, but then they have to go to hell where they are tortured the rest of their afterlife! Maybe it is another sign from God like in John 9, where the blind man was given his vision back so he could see, but really it gave a different view for the community on faith in the Lord. Maybe it shows everyone to appreciate their life, and it shows them that they are doing alright.

Lior 7

When I was in 8th grade there was a girl, my age, who was a member of my church that committed suicide. I remember that it was an eye opening experience for me. Before then I had always thought, this affects other people it doesn't affect me. That situation really opened my eyes at how much a person affects others even when he or she doesn't think they do. Life never gets bad enough that you need to take it away.

True Grit 4

Suicide is very sad. It is a very hard thing to deal with when it happens to a loved one. It is hard even when a loved one is having suicidal thoughts. Suicide according to the Bible is a sin. It is considered a sin because it is showing a lack of trust in God and by not trust in God above all else one is breaking the first commandment. A lot of Christian religions hold to the teaching that those who commit suicide go to hell. The reason for this is because the person who committed suicide committed the sin but they could not ask for forgiveness for their sin since they died as a direct result of it. This is what I was taught in Senior high school religion class. I was also taught that we do not know for certain that everyone who commits suicide goes to hell. There could be extenuating circumstances, such as a person wasn’t in his or her right mind when they committed suicide or they could have also been able to realize what they did was wrong and asked for forgiveness from God and God maybe granted that forgiveness.

breaker morant 2

The question i guarantee everyone who has been affected by suicide asks is, why would someone kill themselves? What is going horribly wrong that they don't think living is worth it anymore? We sit at funeral wondering how they could do this to you, and all their loved ones? Sometimes suicidal thoughts are hidden and undetectable. Who brought the idea of suicide on earth? Did God put this occurrence on earth for a reason? Does one know this reason? Just more questions one may have after reading the bible.

The Mission 3

I guess the question I have is, do you really believe an individual that follows the word of God with their heart would commit suicide? By this I mean to say that an individual that is suicidal is often an individual that there is no hope; if an individual feels no hope they probably don't follow the word of God and the Bible.

The point of my comments are not to offend, but simply state that I don't believe those who are suicidal are the most religious individuals.
I also agree with True Grit 4 in stating that suicide could be seen as showing a lack of trust in God.

In the end its clear that suicide is a question that mankind will continue to stress over. I don't believe there is a clear-cut and simple answer to such a tough question. Instead we are left to remain confident in our Lord God to remain just.

Shawshank Redemption 1

There are topics like these that I do understand why some people have a problem with Christians. For some reason beyond my understanding, many of Christians believe that they have the right to cast judgment and even state what God’s judgment is and how He thinks. Yes, we are told by Paul that we should judge each others actions, and works, but we are to judge them according to what is in the word and that alone. How quickly it is forgotten what God says in the book of Isaiah when he states that, “your thoughts are not My thoughts, nor your ways My ways, because My ways are higher than your ways, and My thoughts are higher than your thoughts”. As Christians we are very quick to speak on God, and proclaim to the world things other than what are stated clearly in His word. If we truly follow God, than we should be able to state that we are unsure of what will happen, and only the One who is truly without blemish will cast judgment, and not ourselves, and He will determine heaven and hell for each person.

Truman Show 2

Suicide is a very heartbreaking event that hurts everyone. Is someone who commits suicide destined to go to hell, is a question that I have heard brought up a lot when someone dose commit suicide. 1 Corinthians 4:5 tells us “not to pass judgment before the time but wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men's hearts; and then each man's praise will come to him from God”. This tells me that we do not have the right to pass judgment whether some has gone to hell or not because of something that they did, because God is the only one who has the right to judge. I agree that not everybody will receive forgiveness because not everybody is truly sorry about what they have done, but those who are truly sorry about what they have done and ask for forgiveness will receive it.

Shawshank 2

The Bible is not clear in saying whether or not an individual will go to Hell if they commit suicide. There is a very good reason it is not written. If we were all suppose to feel that we would automatically go to Heaven should commit suicide, wouldn’t we all go that way? If the Bible said you go to Hell if you commit suicide, just imagine the pain people would feel knowing this and have had a loved one commit suicide. Suicide is tough enough to comprehend without the debate of going to Heaven or Hell. With this being said, what the Bible does say about a possible ticket to Heaven or Hell is this: Mark 16:16, [The one who believes and is baptized will be saved; but the one who does not believe will be condemned.] The judgment of those who have passed on is not for us to decide. I feel it is safe to say remembering loved ones for the wonderful memories and how they touched our lives is the best way to cope with such a hard situation.

Chariots of Fire 5

I totally agree Shawshank 2, no one but God has the authority to judge people and whether or not they are going to hell. They only thing we can do is live our lives for the Lord and pray for the individuals that have committed suicide. Based on the theory that we don't know what happens to someone when they do commit suicide, I do believe that it is a very selfish act because your loved ones have to live with the fact that they don't know if they will see you in the afterlife. That may be heartbreaking for a family member to live with.

Pulp Fiction 4

I can’t help but think of those who loved the person that committed suicide. Suppose they go to Heaven. Heaven is much better than anything on Earth. To me, that means everything and everyone I loved on Earth would be there, because otherwise I would miss them, which would diminish the greatness of Heaven.

So does the one that committed suicide go to Heaven because of the loved ones that would want to see him or her again? Do they get just a representation of that person instead of the actual being? Or are God and His reward so awesome that no one would miss anything from Earth?

Breaker Morant 2

Regarding suicide in the Bible, I believe that there are mixed messages being interpreted from what the text says and how our society shapes our responses to suicide. In reading the passages for today's lecture, I was drawn toward 1 Corinthians 3:13-15. I interpreted this passage as saying that it does not matter how the person died, but how they lived. If their "work" (the good deeds they did in life) can withstand the "fire" (God's judgment) they will be rewarded, most likely with heaven. This then begs the question, how do we measure rights from wrongs and what could and will get someone into heaven? Do we disregard the person who committed suicide for that one act, regardless of what they have done in the rest of their life? According to 1 Corinthians, I do not believe so. This is one example of what the Bible is telling me. Another is the story in Judges of Samson who sacrifices himself to kill all of the Philippians. This offers a different view of suicide, because Samson is considered a hero, not a man who killed himself for no reason. In our society, I believe that we glorify and oversimplify what suicide really and truly means. Yes, we have heroes who sacrificed themselves, but what if they sacrificed themselves for nothing? The response would then be similar to the responses we get when a high school student, college student and even adults kill themselves, everyone is asking "Why?” I believe that we need to find a way, as a society, to work together to help look for the signs and for the expressions that people give off when they could or will commit suicide. I also believe that if the worst happens and the person we are trying to help does commit suicide; we need to remember the good times with the person, rather than wallow in guilt about if we could have saved them. The choice for life is ultimately made by the one committing suicide.

The Mission 2

I disagree with most of your statement Breaker Morant 2, except for your last few sentences about the need to stop suicides. 1 Corinthians 3: 13-15 can be and was taken out of context in our lecture as well as in your post. The verses before explain the “work” that the believers are doing.

“By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw his work will be shown for what it is…”

The “work” is the way people “build” off the foundation Christ has laid. These passages emphasize the importance of teaching the pure word of God. The question Breaker Morant 2 asks about what could and will get someone into heaven can easily be answered using a passage from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith, and this not from yourselves it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9) Nothing you do on this earth can get you into heaven. God already sent His Son to die for the sins of the whole world. He cleaned us of our sins and made us pure in His sight. It’s not our place to judge whether or not a person made it to heaven but I agree we shouldn’t mourn over someone’s death but rather celebrate the life they had and the faith they hopefully showed in their life.

The Mission 21

I really like what The Mission 2 had to say about suicide. When someone kills themselves they are trying to get out of their sorrows. But to think that by trying to get away from one sorrow and going to spend the rest of eternity in complete torture is really depressing. I'm not advocating the act of commiting suicide. I believe that there is always an alternative. However, the people that end up killing themselves do wait/listen to others long enough to see through the troubling times. What I believe is that the troubles in your life are Gods way of testing you. Some people are not strong enough to handle these "tests" but the struggles will keep reoccuring in your next lifetime untill you learn how to evolve as a human being

Praying with Lior 3

Being brought up a strict Catholic I was always taught to believe that if someone took their life, they were destined for hell. But as I have gotten older I have taken on a different viewpoint. I believe that unless we have walked in someone’s shoes, we have no idea what their experience is and why they may choose the road to suicide. God is the judge and jury when the time comes and He knows our reasons. Like it is stated in 1Cor4:5 tells us not to be quick to judge because God will do that. In the next passage, 1Cor3:13-15, I took it to mean that we don’t need to judge others or make others aware of one’s character because their true character of their works will come through. Then after talking about the issue in class, I see that my point of view may be right. Christ had a hand in helping Samson commit suicide. So who really knows when the act is an example or a contribution against moral enemies? God knows.

Pulp Fiction 3

1 Corinthians 4:5 breaks down into the simplicity of “Only God can judge me.” I am sure many of you have heard this before, but I have only just recently tied it to this verse from our readings. It stands very true, that we can live a positive life if we believe and trust in God’s judgment. No one else matters in any situation of our lives, to judge us but God. We may think that suicidal people will be judged more harshly, and we don’t entirely know the truth on that, but everyone is getting the fair shot at judgment. Just because they ended their life does not necessarily mean they will go to hell. We can pray and hope for them while they pass through judgment into the gates of heaven. I have known a number of very close friends, who have committed suicide, and they lived a good, pure, and God filled life. I do not believe they went to hell, because God knows the good in their lives tops the bad, no matter the conclusion.

Shawshank Redemption3

As my peers have stated before me, the Bible is rather unclear about its stance on suicide. However did these people stop to think that suicide is a sin, it is murder. As awful as I may sound right now I truly have sympathy for families that have lost loved one to this act, because I too have lost family members to this act. However that does not change the fact that I feel suicide as a sin, which breaks my heart. My mother always taught us that sin is a selfish act, doing things your own way, rather then what will please God. Killing one’s self because your life is not what you want it to be is selfish act thinking only about one’s own life, and not about whom it will effect in the end. Your parents, your siblings, your friends, and others who knew you will all be faced with a horrible reality, a reality that God wants no one to have to face(Ezekiel 18:32). The young man at the end of this post is faced with this reality, and with little to no knowledge of Heaven and Hell and what gets you there this young man comes to the conclusion that his friend could be going to hell. That is a terrible thing for people to have to think about but for this young man did he used logic to come to this realization. Logic that I could guess may have looked like this: Suicide is murder, murder is sin, and if the last thing you do on earth is sin you have no chance to repent for your sin, you go to hell. This is the logic I use, but that doesn’t mean I am right. One could have very easily asked for forgiveness before ending their life, but that is something we won’t know until we get to heaven

TheMission 7

1 Corinthians 4:5 states, “Therefore don't judge anything prematurely, before the Lord comes, who will both bring to light what is hidden in darkness and reveal the intentions of the hearts. And then praise will come to each one from God.” Like many before me have stated, suicide indeed is the most selfish act there is. However I cannot judge a person by their actions because it’s not my place to do so. God is the one true judge and I believe that he does so by looking into people’s hearts and seeing their true intentions when they committed suicide. Still, I cannot speak for others because I know for a fact that once someone chooses to make that decision, and it is a matter of CHOICE, they have also allowed others to forever judge them by their actions.

When it comes to suicide and judgment, this is what I believe in, but I also wonder if my views would be different if I knew someone who has committed suicide. Many people like to say that individuals who do commit suicide are not victims, and many might argue that, but no matter how you think you know someone, you can never really know them. I always used to think that was what made humans so special, that they were always mysterious and unpredictable. Nevertheless, a great strength can also be a great weakness. Suicide is a serious matter and God will judge with a serious manner. Whatever becomes of the person, if they go to hell or not, is between God and themselves.

Nell 2

People consider committing suicide for many different reasons. It is not just a random act; done with no purpose. Some see suicide as a way out of an unbearable situation, crisis, or problem. Many see it as a way to end the pain. Some of these reasons may be serious illness, fear of the future or failure, as a way to communicate or even because they feel that their life is no longer worth living. Depression can also play a major role in one considering suicide. This chemical imbalance really makes life a struggle. I don’t think that all commit suicide as a selfish act. However, in some cases this may be true. Suicide prevention is something that has been taken very seriously within the past few years. I am really moved by these efforts as a similar story as the one in this blog post happened in my high school. I hope that I do play a positive role in others life and try to treat everyone with the respect that they deserve. As for people that question whether one goes to hell for committing suicide; I feel as if they don’t. Everyone sins and falls short of the glory of God. Simply put, no one is perfect. I believe that God is very forgiving and will continue to love us, even if we don’t love ourselves. What makes a situation following a suicide difficult is that there are so many unknown answers. One of these is what God’s judgment on suicide is. There clearly are passages that we read from class that discuss suicide. However, none of these passages are clear on exactly what will happen and is a major unknown. I think that is one of the hardest parts to try to move on from the act itself.

The Mission 3

It’s always so heartbreaking to hear about a suicide, even if you don’t know the person that committed it. You just sit back and think how sad their life must have been and what kind of great accomplishments they could have done had they not committed suicide. Like 1 Corinthians 3:13-15 says: “Every man's work shall be manifest; for the day of the Lord shall declare it, because it shall be revealed in fire; and the fire shall try every man's work, of what sort it is. If what a person has built survives, he will receive a reward. If any one's work is burnt up, he will suffer the loss of it; yet he himself will be rescued, but only, as it were, by passing through the fire.” I interpret this passage as a “work” being a life that God has given to you and you have to figure out what you are going to do with it. The devil will try to capture us in all parts of our life but it is up to us to stray away from him. Suicide is that of the devil’s work. I do believe that a person who has committed suicide will go to hell. It is very sad to think about it that way but that is how I was brought up. I feel like suicide wouldn’t be the escape route a person is looking for because once they’ve escaped one life of hell, they go straight to the real thing. Which leads to another question – will God still forgive you in hell and take you into Heaven?

Niccole Dolde

I agree with 1 Corinthians 4:5, “Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men's hearts; and then each man's praise will come to him from God.” We should not judge our own lives. God created us and gave us life and it is not our decision to take them away. God gives us choices, as long as we follow his commandments. He forgives us when we ask for it. In other words the choices we make are our own faults. If anyone feels worthless I believe it is because they did not try and are giving up. Life is not always easy and if it was, we would all be bored. We all have to keep trying every day and our struggles make us stronger. Many people that commit suicide or judge themselves are depressed. Depression can happen for many reasons and can be controlled with medication once it is diagnosed. Understanding depression is hard for me personally to understand because I have a very positive attitude toward life. I am very grateful for what I have and I work hard for what I do not. I think everyone’s attitude should be that way. Do not judge yourself for the Lord will. He will decide when it is your time to go.

True Grit 2

I agree with 1 Corinthians 4:5, “Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men's hearts; and then each man's praise will come to him from God.” We should not judge our own lives. God created us and gave us life and it is not our decision to take them away. God gives us choices, as long as we follow his commandments. He forgives us when we ask for it. In other words the choices we make are our own faults. If anyone feels worthless I believe it is because they did not try and are giving up. Life is not always easy and if it was, we would all be bored. We all have to keep trying every day and our struggles make us stronger. Many people that commit suicide or judge themselves are depressed. Depression can happen for many reasons and can be controlled with medication once it is diagnosed. Understanding depression is hard for me personally to understand because I have a very positive attitude toward life. I am very grateful for what I have and I work hard for what I do not. I think everyone’s attitude should be that way. Do not judge yourself for the Lord will. He will decide when it is your time to go.

true grit 5

The act of killing oneself is going to be judged by God and God alone. When asked a question if someone is going to hell or not is in favor of God and not us. We as a body of Christ do not have knowledge beyond us because we are not all knowing. You can look at the type of suicide and see at as possibly selfish, to the point where they believe nothing in this world matters and that there is nothing left for them and that no one would care. At the point of that time they’re right. We are too focused on our own life that we don’t do as we are commanded, and that is to do as Jesus did, which is love. And in this case we don’t do enough, even though we may know people just would like some light shed on their bad day, we still choose to walk by and carry on with our day. Then we question we should have done something, if he/she is going to hell it may be my fault, and your right but it’s too late because you didn’t do something. You never know the person you reach out to and talk to might make a difference in their day.
We also have the suicide where God might have a favor in you. As Samson had his eyes gouged out and in the hands of his enemies he asked God to grant him strength once again and defeat his enemies while killing himself. God did so and Samson was favored in His sight for all he had done for the Lord. So if someone does something out of love for the Lord and in return end up killing themselves it pleases the Lord or according to the story of Samson it would seem so. But to kill yourself out of fear, to hurt someone else I feel is not pleasing because they didn’t look at all they’re options in life.

Nell 5

true grit 5, that was well put and I agree with most of what you are saying. However, we cannot openly say that killing ourselves out of love to the Lord is acceptable or is even viewed as right to Lord. Look at suicide bombers in todays age. They claim to be doing these acts out of love for God, but who is to know. I just wanted to clear that up before going on.
Suicide is horrible, but who am I to judge? Sometimes, life gets so rough to bare. The people who are more than likely willing to committ suicide are people who have experienced abuse, either at the hands of loved ones or even just peers in general. They feel unloved and, in their own mind, unwanted. It can happen to anyone, religious or not. Yes you can argue that those with religion would more than likely not committ suicide, but what if you were put into the situations that Job was put into in the Bible? Losing everything.....how would you feel? In the end, you have to realize, that we all are weak in some way shape or form and we all are vulnerable to these thoughts. I will be the first to admit that I have thought about it, but in the end, it all comes down to who you have around you.

True Grit 3

I agree, I was also raised as a strict catholic but as I have gotten older I have strayed from many of the beliefs I was taught in catechism as a child. I feel as if you have no idea what a person goes through who decides to commit suicide. So many people can label it as selfish and wrong, but someone or something had to drive that person to such a conclusion which also most likely includes selfish and wrongful actions or words. Also, all my life I have been taught that God is forgiving, and I feel as if God would forgive you in the case of suicide, but since it does not only affect you, it affects everyone around you this may also be a reason people believe that you go to Hell as a result. I would hope this isn’t true and that they get a chance to experience God in heaven, because after all of the suffering that led them to that conclusion I would wish nothing but an eternity of relief.

breaker morant4

Suicide is the worst thing that could happen to a family. I think there is always a way out other than suicide. I wish every one new how much other people care about them. When I lost my cousin last year to suicide it was the worst thing that happened to my family. If he would have talked to some one I know he could have done something different. After the funeral I had the same questions on where he would go and I always felt that he would go to heaven because jesses died for are sins and god would expect him.

True Grit 4

I agree that suicide is a horrible thing, and yes, life is hard, but it can't be the only option for someone going through rough times. I think the biggest thing parents, friends, educators and the like can do when being faced with someone who may be contemplating suicide is to talk with them. Find out what the problems are and what may or may not be the reasons why they feel like suicide is their only option. I think what we learn from passages that 1 Corinthians 4:5, or 1 Corinthians 13 is that we cannot pass judgement on those who may be blameless, and that love conquers all. And that love for our fellow man is what we need to show to someone who is going through a rough time in their lives.

Shawshank 4

I was raised to believe that suicide is a sin and those who commit the act will go to hell. Then, a few years back, an incident very similar to the memory from this post happened in my own community. An amazing person took his own life, and when he reached out to someone for the last time it was to say “Whatever hell God is going to send me to, can’t be worse than this hell I’m living in.” Before I had a view of this downward spiral of a life I believed only a “selfish” individual would take the life that God created for them. After witnessing the strongest, most faithful person I knew take his life, it seems insulting that “selfish” be included in words that describe him. He was lost, hurt, and scared. I do not consider the life he took to be the one he was given by God because if God is as good as everyone says He would never want anyone to feel the way my friend felt.

Dead Man Walking 6

People who think of suicide or try to commit suicide do so for all different reasons. One of very common reason is depression, which is caused by psychological or mental problems. Or, yes through guilt or regret or number of things. It can be physical or clinical. People with depression have a hard time overcoming their own problems; but that does not mean they are less faithful to their religion. Therefore, we cannot judge anyone who has considered suicide. In my opinion, suicide is a somewhat selfish thing. It is not the answer or solves any problems at all. One will leave your friends and family heartbroken, wondering what to do next. We, the community, should do something to prevent suicide by talking calmly and personally to the person who wants to or thinks of ending their life; if you think you need to talk to their family about that situation, do so. We all make mistakes in our lives or have done something wrong, but that does not mean our life should be end. There are always lots of ways to solve the problem we have to face, better than suicide. I believe God is a forgiving being and he does not want us to take our own life in our hands, regardless of the situation.

Dead man walking 4

DMW6,
You say suicide is selfish and we should prevent suicide as a community. Through our eyes that seems like the proper understanding of the situation but what about cultures and religions in the middle east that have a very different view on the subject? They suicide bomb and sacrifice their lives for their God and it doesn’t leave their families heartbroken. It makes them proud like it is a type of honor for what they have done. Why do you think worships can have such different interpretations and ideals on the topic? I’m not agreeing on one side or the other, just bringing forth that others outside of these borders have very different belief on the area on suicide.

The Truman Show 1

It always interests me how people try to interpret and defend controversial topics when they are not clearly stated one way or another in the Bible. For suicide I think that it is purposely done because there is no set answer to what happens when someone does kill themselves. It all depends on, their reasons, purpose, faith and help from others. However I do also believe that God doesn't give us more than we can handle so by commiting suicide we are showing that we don't fully trust in Him and are being a bit selfish because we are focusing more on our life than God. Dead Man Walking 4 made an interesting point on suicide bombers, but I'm not sure how familiar you are with them. They represent a very small minority of Muslims or other religions in which the large number of practitioners don't support them or their actions. Also they take their sacred text to the extreme and misinterpret what it says about death, killing others and suicide, their name just gets mentioned more because they are much more radical. However just because they are more extreme doesn't mean they are right or better than those who also practice the same religion, if you can say they are the same religion at all that is. Overall i think suicide is a terrible thing to exist in this world, but it's mostly from the way society constantly puts pressure on us, and our lack of faith, both of which need to change soon so that the numbers of those who die by suicide may start dropping instead of increasing at record breaking rates.

Breaker Morant 1

The sixth commandment, thou shall not kill. A more literal translation, thou shall do no murder. Suicide, from the Latin sui – oneself, cidium – kill. In other words, to kill yourself, or as Augustine called it, self murder. Whether it was Judas hanging himself over the guilt suffered for selling out Jesus for thirty pieces of silver, or a terminally ill neighbor across the street, seeking Kevorkianesque means to their end, it is the most final and complete form of escapism.
Society evaluates the validity and context of this issue through two different colored lenses, depending largely on their faith – or lack thereof – in God. Since I have faith, I embrace the biblical teachings regarding the shedding of innocent blood. If two men are working in the woods and one man swings an axe, and the axe breaks and kills his co worker, he has killed a man but is not guilty of murder. However, if a man comes presumptuously upon his neighbor to slay him with guile, he has shed innocent blood and is guilty of murder. This teaching is mirrored in American law. My first example being manslaughter, the second, murder. In my opinion, suicide is self murder, which, by the way is illegal in America, even if only attempted. Is anything we have done so terrible that we deserve for it to end this way? Is the pain you feel worthy of sentencing yourself the death penalty? If we make an honest assessment, the answer would have to be no. Have the same mercy on yourself that you give others and embrace life. Be a living sacrifice, not sacrificing our life but our selfishness. We all have God given gifts and talents. The greatest blessing in life of those who have committed suicide throughout the ages may have been the selfless act they were to complete tomorrow.

The Truman Show 3

Suicide is a tremendous and deeply saddening circumstance. It can send shock waves through families, schools, and communities. I can recall when a boy from my school had commit suicide and the response that it had. He was a few years ahead of me and I only knew him as an outsider would see him. He was incredibly well versed in American history, smart, and quite social. He always wore an army coat to school and was always talking passionately about history. Max took his own life. I began to question why somebody so seemingly happy would do such a thing and I was left without answers. It certainly could be seen as a selfish act. He left behind family, including a little brother, who will now have to grow up with a void in his life and the unanswered question of what life would be like had he grown up with a brother. I can't help but wonder what God's plan for Max was, or what lessons his suicide was meant to teach his family, his classmates, and his community.

True Grit 1

Suicide is one of the most saddest thing to do and have in people's life. I personally sometimes think of suicidal but at the same time I thought of what is behind me such as my friends and family that loves me so much. The reason why I did not do it because I also think that it is a sin to God, because he gave us the life to live and not insult our lives like that. Most of the reason why I think of suicide is having to much stress and that nobody will understand what you are going through. But after believing and having hope in God gave me more hopes that everything I do God will be there to help. Since than I have not thought about suicidal. Going to school hearing that people wants to suicide because of girl friend and boy friend breaking up and having stress. It makes me have the encourage of talking to them and helping them get out of it. When I have friends who believe in God that wants to suicide, I will go on and talk to them about what God has planned for them to do and that they have not completed that yet. Also that God gave them a life to live for a reason and that reason is to complete what he had planned for them to do. After talking to them about these things made them feel better and it also made me feel better because I did it for them and for myself that God does really work in your lives and that God speaks through me for talking to my friends about it and got them out of thinking about suicide.

Shawshank Redemption 3

I spent some time thinking about this post after my above comment. I feel I came across saying anyone who commits suicide is going to hell, but after some thought I know that that is not true, and not what I meant. I was trying to focus on the fact that a person who has never accepted Christ as there savior will end up in hell and I never even mentioned that. I recently had a conversation with my mother about sin and she reminded me that God sees all sin as sin. He doesn’t see one sin as greater than another, or less than another. So if someone murders a person or if they just lie to someone they have different judgments here on earth, but God sees them the same, both are sin. Christians know that Jesus came so that all our sins may be forgiven and so if this young man accepted Jesus in his life he will/ is in heaven. Just because he chooses to sin and end his life doesn’t “damn” him to hell, as long as he was saved.

JohnFH

Thank you, Shawshank Redemption 3, for sharing your most recent reflections. It is a tribute to both you and your mother that you were able to find a new line of reasoning together.

Truman Show 4

You stated in this article, and also in class that nearly everyone has had some connection or can relate to suicide in some way. Well I can honestly say that besides TV or hearing stories like this, there is no one close to me who has committed suicide nor have I had to deal with it at all in my life. I have almost no experience with the feelings of those who have dealt with it, and I really do not think there is any way I can comprehend that pain unless I've been close to it in some way.
In regards to asking if someone who commits suicide is destined to hell, I do not think it is an automatic bid to hell if you take your own life. To me it is like any other sin, if someone commits murder for example, then repents and still believes in Jesus as their Savior (according to Christian beliefs) their path to heaven is still paved. I believe the same is true for suicide. What Paul says about judgment not only goes for suicide, but for the sin of murder too and many other sins. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that suicide is the one sin out of all of them that is the non-refundable ticket to hell.

The Mission 5

I do not believe that suicide automatically means a person will go to hell. Most suicides result from depression, a mental illness, so the person is not in their right mind. But I think most people ignore that part because they are embarrassed to admit a loved one may have any kind of mental ailment. I have been a caregiver to the mentally ill for 10 years. I have witnessed the state of mind people are in when they make suicidal thoughts, and they are not thinking rationally. Mental illness is a disease so I think God would take that into consideration. As far as an issue like teenage suicide, I think it is hard to spot depression because teenagers are generally very emotional. Many teenagers go through painful breakups but most do not result in taking their own life. It is the ones that fall into a deep depression that actually take their own life.

True Grit 12

I find the ongoing discussion of whether suicide is a selfish act to be somewhat unanswerable. For any person who has ever considered or gone through with suicide, I believe that there exists more emotional turmoil and confusion than any non-suicidal person can realize. That is why I do not take a stand one way or the other on if the person who commits suicide is in hell or not. Obviously, for those loved ones left behind, there will be questioning, guilt, and pain. It may be easier for some to think of this person as selfish, and perhaps rightly so. However, I do not believe that an answer exists to the question of damnation of those who commit suicide. When I read 1 Corinthians 4:5, I see it as God saying that it is useless for us to predict where someone has ended up posthumously. Only God knows, and all we can do here on earth is grieve for the loss of a loved one and move on with our lives.

Pulp Fiction 1

I feel that Paul wanted to “believe that everything we do in faith, hope, and love abides forever, and has eternally positive consequences” (1 Corinthians 13), but based on how Ethan took his life how would anyone come to believe that he will eternally have positive consequences? If Ethan left all of his loved ones and escaped a life that God had planned for him, he should still be alive to this day. God may decide when people go, but our free-will gets the best of us at times. People who get depressed feel that no one loves them and that is completely untrue. God loves you, for who you are, and who you are to become; to worship him and lead the path that he feels you should take to make sure you have a significant spot in heaven with him.

Becky Gwinn

Suicide is an extremely tough subject for me to discuss due to the recent loss of one of my closest friends. Lindsay Faith Heunink was a beautiful, popular, talented girl destined for an amazing future. She was friends with everyone and if she wasn't friends with someone she would go out of her way to influence their life in a positive way. It seemed she had everything anyone could have wanted. She was an amazing basketball player and had scholarships lined up for college. She was going to be someone someday and everyone knew it. Our entire senior class was called into the gym one day and a select group of people were pulled out into the hall. Teachers all over school were crying, but no one knew what had happened. When our principal explained that one of our classmates had been hit by a train, we were all shocked and concerned, whispers were exchanged, everyone trying to figure out who it was. When our principal announced who it was, Lindsay, everyone was silent. 364 senior students at Brookfield Central High School, a group of the loudest and most outgoing people you would ever meet, so many different personalities and 'clicks' all stunned by this moment. It took about 20 minutes before anyone could move. There was later an announcement to the entire school and classes fell silent, studies stopped, everything stopped. Everyone handled what had happened in their own way. Most people close to her went to SJV church in order to be with friends and try to understand what had happened. Her funeral was an extremely hard day for everyone. It seemed the whole school was there, over 1000 people, along with everyone she affected outside of the school. there must have been at least 2000 in attendance. Listening to her older brother, Ryan, give a speech about her was the hardest thing to hear and people who don't even know them couldn't listen to the whole thing without shedding a tear. It took months for our school to become the loud vibrant place it once was. People will still ask about that day and about my bracelet which I wear every day in remembrance of this amazing girl. People tot his day do not know it was a suicide. Only people close to the family were told. But, when you get hit by a train at 4 in the morning, people will always have their suspicions. I know she is up there shining down on all of us every day and I encourage everyone who reads this to take a minute to type her name in Google and look at the affect one person can have on a community. She's up in heaven dancing with the angels to her favorite Britney Spears music and watching over us on our toughest days. She is my angel and will always be there when there is no one else to turn to. Shine On. LFH.

JohnFH


Hi Becky,

Thank you for a profound witness to grace under fire. The story you tell is touching in the extreme.

Becky Gwinn

Thank you.
When something like this happens it makes you realize how precious life is and how what happens to someone today can affect everyone's tomorrow.

Chariots of Fire 4

Suicide is also a tough subject for me to handle because I have seen far to many in my life. In middle school my best friend that I spent every day with took his own life. Then in high school my father drank himself to death over my parents divorce. Finally just a few weeks ago my girlfriends best friend and my relatively close friend committed suicide. The one thing that gets me through it however is knowing or at least believing they are happier now and up in heaven.

Dead Man Walking 5

Suicide does seem to be a very selfish act in all its aspects. 1 Corinthians 4:5 says that you should wait until God comes in and takes your life rather than taking it into your own hands. Also, it is getting at the fact that no matter how bad your life gets, God will always find a way to lift you out of it. In the second passage, says that if you survive the hard times, God will reward you. Unfortunately, if you take your life, there will be consequences. The person that commits the selfish act should have thought about the people that they love and also loved them that they are leaving behind. There are other ways to solve their problems, by turning to God or others, someone will always listen.

The Truman Show 5

I disagree with the idea of how people strong in faith don’t think about suicide. Everyone has trouble in life, and just because a person has one little screw up in life they shouldn’t be condemned to an eternity in hell. People don’t just want to be depressed enough to commit a suicide, it usually is due to a chemical imbalance in the brain.
After reading some of the above comments I can see that I am not the only person that feels this way. Most of us have known or know of a person who has committed suicide, and we all hope that they are not in hell.

Praying with Lior 2

Suicide is a very sad subject. It’s discouraging to think that some people that killing themselves is the only solution to their problems. There are a number of reasons why people kill themselves, and almost all of them are not good. Bullying is a major contributing factor among young adults. It’s upsetting to think that young people can cause such harm to another to make that person want to kill themselves and almost hard to believe. On the other hand I can understand suicide when someone who is dying from a fatal disease. When quality of life is nonexistent, I understand how suicide can be a way out.

Breaker Morant 3

Part of me feels that suicide is a selfish act. I understand that people who commit suicide feel there is no other way out, but I have been taught to trust the Lord, if he brings you to it, he will bring you through it. When I think of suicide I think of the verse Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the Lord your God with all your heart, not in your own understanding. I see suicide as entering God's kingdom uninvited. I don't think that people who commit suicide go to hell, but I do believe they are held to some degree of accountability for in a sense "playing God" in their own lives. However, I have never felt suicidal so it is easy for me to say it is selfish because I have never been there. I do have a cousin who commited suicide and I don't believe that at that time in his life we was being selfish, but I do believe he wasn't thinking about the consequences for his family.

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  • Ancient Hebrew Poetry is a weblog of John F. Hobbins. Opinions expressed herein do not reflect those of his professional affiliations. Unless otherwise indicated, the contents of Ancient Hebrew Poetry, including all text, images, and other media, are original and licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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