A Bible Perspective on Suicide

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Bert Perry's picture

When it is stated that "suicide is caused by personal failure", we ought to add something; suicide also seems to be related at times ("triggered" is probably not the right word according to psychiatrists I know) to great personal injury that is often not related to one's own sin.  For example, two people are known to have taken their own lives after Larry Nassar's crimes.  No sin on their part in that, and that distinction needs to be made very clear.

There is also the well-known reality of some organic causes of depression like postpartum depression leading to suicide.  So unless we're willing to say a woman sinned by having her husband's baby, we've got to start making that clear as well. 

There is also, as far as I've read, very significant evidence that isolation is related to suicide.   

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

TOvermiller's picture

Bert, thank you for sharing. However, I do believe that the article recognizes these things. For instance, it does not state that "suicide is caused by personal failure." I used the word provoked not caused to avoid making a statement as strong as you have intimated. Furthermore, under this point the article focuses on personal failure, not personal sin per se. Then, it says this: 

"Be aware that suicide, though often affected [not necessarily caused] by spiritual factors such as these, can be complicated by physiological factors of various kinds, not all of which are the result of sinful choices. Substance abuse (alcoholism, cocaine, marijuana, etc.), certain legal medications (with side effects), post-pregnancy for some women and depression of any kind may all heighten the risk of suicide. And since I am not a medical doctor, I cannot offer any advice about these things."

Again, thank you for sharing. I do trust that the article does indeed recognize the very concerns which you have raised.

Thomas Overmiller
Pastor | StudyGodsWord.com
Blog & Podcast | ShepherdThoughts.com

Jim's picture

  • View 1: It's a mental health issue (think secular psychiatry / psychology) [probably a majority view in our secular society. [there is no "sin" ... everything is a disorder - The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  • View 2: There are sinful thoughts (eg hopelessness) that are a result of Christian immaturity or wrong choices
  • View 3: A middle view: acknowledging true mental health issues plus acknowledging man's sinful nature. Eg Postpartum depression (my wife struggled with this after baby # 3)

Really all of counseling can be seen in the three views!

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On suicidal triggers and specifically Anthony Bourdain. Were their girlfriend issues - see this?!

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There is a good (IMO) wiki on suicide ... see for example advocacy of suicide. In some cultures it is noble! (as crazy as that is?!)

Consider Masada: The Jewish rebels had set all the buildings but the food storerooms ablaze and had killed each other, declaring "a glorious death ... preferable to a life of infamy."

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I thoughtful philosophical quote on suicide was offered by Albert Camus

Despite his opposition to the label, Camus addressed one of the fundamental questions of existentialism: the problem of suicide. He wrote, "There is only one really serious philosophical question, and that is suicide. Deciding whether or not life is worth living is to answer the fundamental question in philosophy. All other questions follow from that." Camus viewed the question of suicide as arising naturally as a solution to the absurdity of life. In The Myth of Sisyphus,Camus seeks to identify the kinds of life that could be worth living despite their inherent meaninglessness.

In the tribulation men will seek suicide but fail: "And in those days people will seek death and will not find it. They will long to die, but death will flee from them." Revelation 9:6

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I have a relative that has told me on multiple occasions - "if I ever get cancer, I'm going to kill myself!" He's an atheist and his worldview dictates his choices.

 

B Keprta's picture

Shakespeare posed this question.  My great grandfather committed suicide by placing a shotgun under his rib cage and manipulating the trigger with his toe or a stick, don't know.  I believe he had a tumor that was causing him great physical pain beyond which he could no longer endure and he wanted to avenge his pain on the tumor as he took his life; this was 1916, prior to current medical advances in pain management and treatment of tumors.  I believe that psychological pain can be much worse in some instances than physical pain, not to mention spiritual pain and a sense of loneliness. ( For the non-Christian suicide may seem a viable option; imagine all three coming together in a "perfect storm"). For the Christian, some of whom I have known to take this option, it seems to me to be an act of total despair that becomes overwhelming to the point where suicide occurs. Yet Christians should never enter into such a lack of faith (despair), but still if one is lead away into areas of non-Christian behavior (drugs, alcohol, etc) and erroneous ideation.  Even in the case of drugs, etc, where reasoning is impaired one is still responsible for  making  the wrong choice to engage in that behavior. the final judgment in such cases lies with God as we cannot know the true condition of one's heart.  In any case, I think suicide should never be an option for a Christian.

Bob Keprta