What, committing suicide makes you immune to criticism? Suicide has become fashionable. Enough.
A young man, not of my flock, asked to see me. That was his question: “Do you think he is going to hell?” “What do you think?” I replied. “It’s logical,” he answered. The pain is in his eyes was intense. He had lost his best friend. – John Hobbins (here and here)
Traditionally, suicide has been seen as the unrepentant sin. It was rarely spoke of and if so, only in hushed and somber tones. I was taught first that the death of a person, regardless of suicide, was a somber tone and to never speak ill of the dead. I was also taught that suicides went straight to hell – and it is often characterized as such in popular media.
A decade ago now, I was in a Religion in Society (Sociology) Class arguing the point that we are born with instincts – sin – against the professor who said that we are born rather with the ability to adapt and that no instincts were natural. My point was the self-preservation instinct which humans tend to have. His counter was suicide. Not to be out done, my return was that suicide is often self-preservation. When the person sees no way out, when he or she is in such desperation as to have the devil in their mind win, when the world is black, and no hope remains, the only method of escaping is suicide.
There are times in which I think that in the suicide of a young man, it would have been more fashionable if community pastors had done their job – and in reaching out, they might have very well saved a life instead of doing their ‘job’ and allowing a teenager to become a judge of a soul.
I often wonder if people actually read the bible:
But on the judgment day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The fire will show if a person’s work has any value. If the work survives, that builder will receive a reward. But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss. The builder will be saved, but like someone barely escaping through a wall of flames. (1Co 3:13-15 NLT)
Note that it speaks of works, not of life. Note as well, that it leaves Christ as the judge.
Is it the job of anyone to declare that a suicide is in hell? I have no issue in calling a sin a sin – I believe that sins are real and that sometimes, you have to call such things as such, but can we then use that duty to undermine what God might have done unbeknown to us? Is there Scripture to prove that first a suicide sends people to hell and second that we are allowed to say who is in hell or not?
Regarding suicide, I am reminded on a story from early Christian history. Not baring that her and her daughters were about to be raped, she and her daughters committed suicide:
A certain holy person,— in soul admirable for virtue, in body a woman—who was illustrious beyond all in Antioch for wealth and family and reputation, had brought up in the principles of religion her two daughters, who were now in the freshness and bloom of life. Since great envy was excited on their account, every means was used to find them in their concealment; and when it was ascertained that they were away, they were summoned deceitfully to Antioch. Thus they were caught in the nets of the soldiers. When the woman saw herself and her daughters thus helpless, and knew the things terrible to speak of that men would do to them—and the most unbearable of all terrible things, the threatened violation of their chastity, — she exhorted herself and the maidens that they ought not to submit even to hear of this. For, she said, that to surrender their souls to the slavery of demons was worse than all deaths and destruction; and she set before them the only deliverance from all these things—escape to Christ.
They then listened to her advice. And after arranging their garments suitably, they went aside from the middle of the road, having requested of the guards a little time for retirement, and cast themselves into a river which was flowing by. (Eccl History VIII.12)
Surely, then, it is ‘logical’ that this woman and her daughters are visiting with the Rich Man right now with no hope granted to them from Augustine on and assumed only before him.
I do not believe in euthanasia or that suicide is a viable option for the sane, temporary or otherwise; I do not believe that anyone should say it is logical for someone to be in hell not knowing the conditions of the person or being God himself.
I believe that human life is important – and it is our job not to condemn people to hell, but to keep them from going there.