Unsettled Christianity

Gloria Dei homo vivens – St Irenaeus
May 4th, 2015 by Joel Watts

Suicide – A Defence by Simon Critchley

Joel Watts
Watts holds a MA in Theological Studies from United Theological Seminary. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians, as well as seeking an MA in Clinical Mental Health at Adams State University. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).


2 Responses to “Suicide – A Defence by Simon Critchley”
  1. Know More Than I Should says

    If someone were to ask me for the bottom line of Critchley’s comments, it would be: Suicide is what one does when one doesn’t have anything else better to do.

    At the same time, Critchley left out at least two important points.

    One is that suicide may be less about the value of the individual than it is the worth of the society. While this might broadly fall under the rubric of a protest, it covers a broader spectrum than the typical act of protest.

    In fact, large numbers of suicides may be more an indictment of the culture than of the individuals living — or dying — therein.

    The other is suicide clusters can be contagious. This is particularly terrifying to a leadership trying to pacify the masses.

    Taken together, both of Critchley’s omissions can reflect badly on those in positions of power and wealth.

  2. Know More Than I Should says

    One of the more interesting possibilities for discussion is how — both politically and theologically — the gift of life became the rightwing’s commandment for life at all cost.

    As Critchley points out, gifts can be refused — at least according to Western thought. However, commandments (the “Thou shalt” and the “Thou shalt not”) are obligatory. Example include the rightwing’s temper tantrums over abortion, birth control, and euthanasia.

    An equally intriguing prospect is how — from the rightwing perspective — life suddenly becomes disposable if it becomes something that annoys conservatives. Examples include homosexuality, Islam, etc.

    Of particular interest — from a political-theology perspective — is why homosexuals deserved to be stoned, but adulterers get either a free pass or a slap on the wrist.

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