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Christian Suicide

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  • Christian Suicide

    In a Christian-only thread, a member here said that a Christian commiting suicide probably sends that person to hell because it is a final rebellion against God. I think the issue is more complicated than that, since, if the suicidal person actually believes in God, he'd know that flipping God one last bird would hardly earn him escape from his personal torment. It's also fairly obvious that Christians aren't immune to mental illness. My dad was no Christian, but his suicide was a clear expression of a rampaging case of bipolar.

    "Christian suicide" is also kind of a strange thing to posit. I'd ask this poster how the term Christian suicide is coherent at all if the act itself and all its antecedent thoughts would clearly indicate an absent faith.
    Last edited by whag; 06-17-2015, 04:06 PM.

  • #2
    Originally posted by whag View Post
    In a Christian-only thread, a member here said that a Christian commiting suicide probably sends that person to hell because it is a final rebellion against God. I think the issue is more complicated than that, since, if the suicidal person actually believes in God, he'd know that flipping God one last bird would hardly earn him escape from his personal torment. It's also fairly obvious that Christians aren't immune to mental illness. My dad was no Christian, but his suicide was a clear expression of a rampaging case of bipolar.

    "Christian suicide" is also kind of a strange thing to posit. I'd ask this poster how the term Christian suicide is coherent at all if the act itself and all its antecedent thoughts would clearly indicate an absent faith.
    I would posit that the Christian who commits suicide is too wrapped up in his or her own thoughts to notice that he/she is "flipping God one last bird." I agree that Christians are not immune to mental illness - the woman I know who committed suicide was bipolar.
    Enter the Church and wash away your sins. For here there is a hospital and not a court of law. Do not be ashamed to enter the Church; be ashamed when you sin, but not when you repent. St. John Chrysostom

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    • #3
      Originally posted by whag View Post
      In a Christian-only thread, a member here said that a Christian commiting suicide probably sends that person to hell because it is a final rebellion against God. I think the issue is more complicated than that, since, if the suicidal person actually believes in God, he'd know that flipping God one last bird would hardly earn him escape from his personal torment. It's also fairly obvious that Christians aren't immune to mental illness. My dad was no Christian, but his suicide was a clear expression of a rampaging case of bipolar.
      whag, You have this unfortunate tendency to read into other people's posts ideas that do not quite line up with what they've actually stated. There are nuances to my words like "liable to judgment" that, in my view, are not a 1:1 corollary to something like "probably sends that person to hell". Perhaps there is no distinction to you, but I believe that, however slight, there is. Also, I do not believe that rebellion necessarily implies "flipping God one last bird". My exact words were,

      They do it, in a way (and maybe not consciously), as a protest to God for being created at all. "Why was I born? I never asked for this!" Its a final act of rebellion to destroy that which does not belong to us, but to God.


      Again, perhaps you're incapable of understanding the distinction, but I believe that one exists. Unfortunately, I lack the communicable ability to make that distinction more plain than I have. When I wrote it, I thought I had expressed myself clearly, but apparently not.

      "Christian suicide" is also kind of a strange thing to posit. I'd ask this poster how the term Christian suicide is coherent at all if the act itself and all its antecedent thoughts would clearly indicate an absent faith.
      This was precisely my point. I do not, in the end, believe that "Christian suicide" is a coherent concept. If being "Christian" says something about one's faithfulness in Christ, then the act of suicide implies something else about one's faith position.

      I don't want to get into a debate about such a sensitive matter here in Apologetics 301 (like the broader problem of evil, I believe there are both logical and emotional elements to tackling this subject). So if you have issues with what I've pointed out above, I'm probably not going to spent much time defending or expounding on it. I was comfortable discussing the subject in Christianity 201, because I assumed that the people I was discussing the issue with were coming at this topic from the same general presuppositions. The only reason I post here is to clarify my position. And again, this is an unfortunate routine with you. You can't not seem to read into what people say, adding your own twist never imagined by the person you're quoting.

      All that said, I'm sorry to hear about your father. Do you believe that his suicide, in some way, helped lead to your current disbelief in God?

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      • #4
        You're right. There was more nuance to what you said, but we probably won't learn anything by discussing it here. I'm interested in the factors that lead Christians to kill themselves, so I wanted to bring it up here. Also, like OBP said, Christians aren't immune to the ravages of mental illness, and that has interesting implications. My father's family was devoutly JW and discouraged him from treating his sickness with medicine. Something in your responses hinted that you believe severe depression is spiritual (or a component of it, whatever that means), so it made me want to respond.

        Originally posted by Adrift View Post
        All that said, I'm sorry to hear about your father.
        That's an insincere platitude, though, as would my saying "thanks."

        Originally posted by Adrift View Post
        Do you believe that his suicide, in some way, helped lead to your current disbelief in God?
        No. The event left scars, for sure, but didn't contribute to my rejection of religion. I don't believe Christianity (and Islam, Mormonism, Scientology, Watchtower, etc.) mainly because it has an unbelievable plot and cast of characters.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by whag View Post
          Something in your responses hinted that you believe severe depression is spiritual (or a component of it, whatever that means), so it made me want to respond.
          Yes, I believe that severe depression has both a psychological and spiritual element.

          That's an insincere platitude, though, as would my saying "thanks."
          I'm sorry that you feel that way. My platitude was sincere whether you believe it or not.

          No. The event left scars, for sure, but didn't contribute to my rejection of religion. I don't believe Christianity (and Islam, Mormonism, Scientology, Watchtower, etc.) mainly because it has an unbelievable plot and cast of characters.
          Ok.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by One Bad Pig View Post
            I would posit that the Christian who commits suicide is too wrapped up in his or her own thoughts to notice that he/she is "flipping God one last bird." I agree that Christians are not immune to mental illness - the woman I know who committed suicide was bipolar.
            That sounds consistent to me. I suspect that some Christians hold the belief that the mind is the only organ that can't physically break down like the rest of the body, and that's why they perceive suicide always as an act of rebellion they'll be judged for.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Adrift View Post
              Yes, I believe that severe depression has both a psychological and spiritual element.



              I'm sorry that you feel that way. My platitude was sincere whether you believe it or not.



              Ok.
              You know what I meant. Saying that you're sorry for someone's loss, especially after expressing bizarre views on the "spiritual"!component of mental breakdown, comes off as a platitude.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by whag View Post
                In a Christian-only thread, a member here said that a Christian commiting suicide probably sends that person to hell because it is a final rebellion against God. I think the issue is more complicated than that, since, if the suicidal person actually believes in God, he'd know that flipping God one last bird would hardly earn him escape from his personal torment.
                Personally I feel these kinds of questions are moot. We believe in a God who is omnibenevolent and omniscient. Surely it is safe to leave questions about what God does to people after they die to God. Do some people think that God will take a vote at that time? Omnibenevolent and omniscient = best possible judge. Let's stick to questions about what we should do in life, rather than about what God should do afterwards.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by GakuseiDon View Post
                  Personally I feel these kinds of questions are moot. We believe in a God who is omnibenevolent and omniscient. Surely it is safe to leave questions about what God does to people after they die to God. Do some people think that God will take a vote at that time? Omnibenevolent and omniscient = best possible judge. Let's stick to questions about what we should do in life, rather than about what God should do afterwards.
                  I think that's precisely why Christians shouldn't call suicide tantamount to murder. Adrift presumes too much from woefully limited experience. Better to just not speculate about it if you really don't know what you're talking about.

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                  • #10
                    Whag, I don't think that the watchtower society is a good example of Christianity. I can understand why a group posing to represent perfection in Christianity and accurate interpretation would leave such a bitter taste. I am sorry for you. And I am sorry for the loss of your dad. I understand mental illness well. no one is immune to it. The same factors that cause an Atheist or a Hindu to commit suicide drive a Christian to it. Mental illness doesn't single anyone or any group out.
                    A happy family is but an earlier heaven.
                    George Bernard Shaw

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Catholicity View Post
                      Whag, I don't think that the watchtower society is a good example of Christianity. I can understand why a group posing to represent perfection in Christianity and accurate interpretation would leave such a bitter taste.
                      I agree. Conversely, I've also known some JWs who were good people. My father wasn't a JW, but his family still had tremendous sway over him. They ultimately influenced him to not take his lithium and avoid therapy.

                      Originally posted by Catholicity View Post
                      I am sorry for you. And I am sorry for the loss of your dad. I understand mental illness well.
                      I appreciate that because I've read your posts on it. I know you have a deeper understanding of it than some here. I'm aggravated by those who pontificate about the spiritual causes of mental illness who have no idea what they're talking about--Christians from my wife's family mainly. I feel that you're sincere because you've been quite candid about your experience with it. I appreciate your candor and divulging your experience. Mossy seems to have had similar experience with depression, too.

                      Comment

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