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Is suicide a sin if the person is not mentally competent to be responsible?

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  • Is suicide a sin if the person is not mentally competent to be responsible?

    It is well accepted today that the cause of the majority of suicides is mental illness. Yet in most of Judaism, Christianity and Islam suicide is considered self-murder in many if not most cases.

    The Bible does not specifically address suicide as the sin of self-murder, but nonetheless it is widely forbidden.

    Even though Islam condemns suicide in the scriptures, many justify suicide bombing as martyrdom.

    The Baha'i Faith condemns suicide, and considers suicide a tragedy, but allows considerable leeway on the circumstances of the suicide, and allows for the contemporary behavioral science understanding of suicide as a mental illness.

    This more a discussion of the different views and changing views in churches and other beliefs facing the issue in the contemporary world. The problem is the tragic rise of suicides throughout most cultures of the world.
    Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
    Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
    But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

    go with the flow the river knows . . .

    Frank

    I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

  • #2
    I am skeptical that many would assume "mental competency" is in the same category as the mental illness underlying most suicides: Depression. A depressed person is still responsible for their actions.

    Comment


    • #3
      The Greek word translated as "sin" is hamartia, which means missing the mark. Suicide in any circumstance has to be said to miss the mark.
      "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

      Comment


      • #4
        This is a tough one, and hits way too close to home.

        I've known suicide "victims" who were so desperate and confused that they saw no way out, and tragically ended their lives. This is often referred to as a "permanent solution to a temporary problem".

        I've also known of at least one case of suicide where the guy was a crackpot who wanted to inflict pain and suffering on his family.

        The bigger picture, to a Christian, is - was the person saved?
        "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
          This is a tough one, and hits way too close to home.

          I've known suicide "victims" who were so desperate and confused that they saw no way out, and tragically ended their lives. This is often referred to as a "permanent solution to a temporary problem".

          I've also known of at least one case of suicide where the guy was a crackpot who wanted to inflict pain and suffering on his family.

          The bigger picture, to a Christian, is - was the person saved?
          Most people who commit suicide aren't mentally well, so I think people (probably well meaning people) are likely to use this as a "loophole".

          I saw somebody argue for universalism online recently by arguing that you would have to be crazy not to accept Jesus, and the courts don't hold insane people responsible for their crimes, therefore everybody goes to heaven. I could see this going in the same direction.
          "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by LeaC View Post
            I am skeptical that many would assume "mental competency" is in the same category as the mental illness underlying most suicides: Depression.
            Suicide would in that case be a simple matter of succumbing to an illness, a proposition that I find reasonable.
            sigpic1 Cor 15:34 εκνηψατε δικαιως και μη αμαρτανετε αγνωσιαν γαρ θεου τινες εχουσιν προς εντροπην υμιν λεγω

            Comment


            • #7
              It depends on the magnitude of their disability. The circumstances would mitigate some of the person's responsibility if there was an issue of mental competency. Some clinically depressed people use medication to cope with the pain, and they may accidentally give themselves an overdose and we'd never know, we could assume they intended to kill themselves.
              "Some people feel guilty about their anxieties and regard them as a defect of faith but they are afflictions, not sins. Like all afflictions, they are, if we can so take them, our share in the passion of Christ." - That Guy Everyone Quotes

              Comment


              • #8
                I remember a debate IRL about whether the people.jumping from a very tall high rise building because an explosion and fire had left them no other way were imcompetent meaning they had to be desperate enough kill themselves.

                Some said no, Some said yes.
                Watch your links! http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/fa...corumetiquette

                Comment


                • #9
                  I'm wondering why we put suicide into a different category than any other sin.

                  Not to be crass, but if a person who is a Christian (not just CINO) has heart attack and dies while having adulterous sex, does he go to hell?
                  Maybe this gets down to OSAS -- what sets suicide apart from other sins, obviously, is that it's a final act, after which no repentance can be made.

                  I would note, however, that there would appear to be a huge difference between somebody who took too many pills because of excruciating pain as opposed to somebody who willfully and with malice ended their lives to inflict pain and suffering on family and friends.

                  And I'm kinda surprised nobody brought up Samson.
                  "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by KingsGambit View Post
                    I saw somebody argue for universalism online recently by arguing that you would have to be crazy not to accept Jesus, and the courts don't hold insane people responsible for their crimes, therefore everybody goes to heaven. I could see this going in the same direction.
                    This reminded me of Paul Little's account of a student coming to him at the end of one of his talks, and telling Little "you have successfully answered every objection I've ever had about Christianity".
                    Little responded, "that's great, so you're ready to accept Christ as your savior?"
                    The student told him "no", which prompted Little to clarify "but you just said I've answered every objection, and you're not ready to accept Christ?

                    The student replied, "no, it would mess up the way I'm living".
                    "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by shunyadragon View Post
                      It is well accepted today that the cause of the majority of suicides is mental illness. Yet in most of Judaism, Christianity and Islam suicide is considered self-murder in many if not most cases.

                      The Bible does not specifically address suicide as the sin of self-murder, but nonetheless it is widely forbidden.

                      Even though Islam condemns suicide in the scriptures, many justify suicide bombing as martyrdom.

                      The Baha'i Faith condemns suicide, and considers suicide a tragedy, but allows considerable leeway on the circumstances of the suicide, and allows for the contemporary behavioral science understanding of suicide as a mental illness.

                      This more a discussion of the different views and changing views in churches and other beliefs facing the issue in the contemporary world. The problem is the tragic rise of suicides throughout most cultures of the world.
                      People that commit suicide are usually miserable or suffering from one thing or another and would rather not be in such a situation in which they would even consider such a solution as killing themselves. Calling it a sin as if they are doing something that they desire for themselves in disobedience of a Deity is wrong. It's not something that they actually desire for themselves. The sin is whatever it was that brought them to that point in the first place whether it be due to themselves, {the circumstances of their lives, to nature, or to god.} Ultimately, whether it is a sin or not a sin in the sense of it being a good or a bad thing, no one can say, because it's personal, and no one will ever know, even the victim themselves will never know, if it was in the their best interests or not to end their lives at that point. How can putting an end to suffering be called a sin? It could just as soon be called merciful.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by JimL View Post
                        People that commit suicide are usually miserable or suffering from one thing or another and would rather not be in such a situation in which they would even consider such a solution as killing themselves.
                        Ya think?

                        Calling it a sin as if they are doing something that they desire for themselves in disobedience of a Deity is wrong.
                        For the most part, I'd agree, except where they're doing it specifically as an act of revenge or to purposely inflict irreparable harm on family and friends.

                        It's not something that they actually desire for themselves. The sin is whatever it was that brought them to that point in the first place whether it be due to themselves, {the circumstances of their lives, to nature, or to god.}
                        Often, but obviously not always, it's a result of bad decisions they've made, like drinking or gambling or 'sins' which, of their own free choice, put them in the undesirable condition in which they find themselves.

                        I would hasten to add that sometimes it's excruciating pain from an illness, or mental problems not their own, or.... I don't think there's a "one size fits all".

                        Ultimately, whether it is a sin or not a sin in the sense of it being a good or a bad thing, no one can say, because it's personal, and no one will ever know, even the victim themselves will never know, if it was in the their best interests or not to end their lives at that point. How can putting an end to suffering be called a sin? It could just as soon be called merciful.
                        Sometimes we can know, but I'd agree that many times, it remains a mystery, and an agonizing one at that.
                        "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          It was a quiet Christmas Eve, going into early evening, and I had just readio'd dispatch that I'd be 10-7, taking my meal break.

                          Dispatch responded, "negative, 731, report of loud noise, possibly a gunshot at [location]" The location was a quiet neighborhood nearby my location, where we very rarely got any calls.

                          I responded with another officer en route, and called "out of the car" on reaching the address. I noted a black 69 Chevy Chevelle SS in the driveway, "nose in", rear of the vehicle at the sidewalk near the street.

                          I approached the vehicle, and looking into the passenger's window, there was what appeared to be a teenage male (by the way he was dressed) in the driver's seat, a shotgun between his knees, barrel up, and [I'll skip the details - he had obviously inserted the barrel of the gun in his mouth....]

                          I called for a shift commander and a coroner, then immediately had to deal with a distraught mother who arrived on scene from home, who, for obvious reasons, became quite hysterical. The teenage boy had parked his vehicle in his father's driveway (mom and dad had separated, this was his rent house) and "done the deed".

                          After the body was removed, and our detective was finishing up, I noticed a piece of notebook paper on the floorboard on the passenger side, with some blood splatter on it.

                          I'll never forget the emotions that swept over me as I read, "I just needed a friend".
                          "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            If it weren't for the Resurrection of Jesus, we'd all be in DEEP TROUBLE!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by JimL View Post
                              People that commit suicide are usually miserable or suffering from one thing or another and would rather not be in such a situation in which they would even consider such a solution as killing themselves. Calling it a sin as if they are doing something that they desire for themselves in disobedience of a Deity is wrong. It's not something that they actually desire for themselves. The sin is whatever it was that brought them to that point in the first place whether it be due to themselves, {the circumstances of their lives, to nature, or to god.} Ultimately, whether it is a sin or not a sin in the sense of it being a good or a bad thing, no one can say, because it's personal, and no one will ever know, even the victim themselves will never know, if it was in the their best interests or not to end their lives at that point. How can putting an end to suffering be called a sin? It could just as soon be called merciful.
                              I very much disagree with your conclusions. Your neglecting the issue of mental illness. Suicide cannot be generalized as a sin, nor a merciful conclusion in most cases.
                              Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
                              Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
                              But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

                              go with the flow the river knows . . .

                              Frank

                              I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

                              Comment

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