Re: Suicide (was PCA statement on end of life decisions)

From: Robert Schneider <>
Date: Mon Apr 04 2005 - 17:04:02 EDT

If I met a person who is suicidal, I would try to talk him out of it and ask him if I can help him get to a person who knows best how to help such a person. I would direct him to a 24-hr. calling service, and I would contact a local service that could help him. If he allowed, I would hold that person and offer whatever physical and spiritual comfort and encouragement that I could. I would do whatever I could to persuade him not to act upon whatever has driven him to this state.

What are the reasons that people commit suicide--outside of someone, say a spy in wartime, who could take his own life so that an enemy could not extract information from him? I have to think, on the basis of experience (e.g., students of mine who have taken their own life) that most people who commit suicide are in deep despair, mental anguish and/or pain, or other dire straits. I think that catechectial or dogmatic answers (mortal sin, punished by hell, etc.) do not address either intention or situations that may drive one to take one's own life. Take, for example, the true story of a young man who was a devout Mormon, who discovered his homosexual orientation as a teen, and believing from the teaching of his church that he was in a state of sin; and having tried without success to change his orientation, and suffering the interior and social effects of this awful situation which were tearing him apart, in anguish took his own life. If there is blame here, where does it lie?

Therefore, I leave judgment to God, knowing that God's "property is always to have mercy," as the Prayer of Humble Access puts it. I cannot believe that those who are driven by such situations as I just mentioned to take their own lives will be kept for eternity in some further state of punishment, bereft of God's healing embrace. If we believe that life continues after physical death, why can't we also believe that one may also then prostrate ones self, so to speak, before the Throne of Grace in regret and contrition, seeking the love and peace not experienced in life--and receiving it?

Bob Schneider
  ----- Original Message -----
  From: Iain Strachan
  Sent: Monday, April 04, 2005 3:00 PM
  Subject: Suicide (was PCA statement on end of life decisions)

  Just thought there should be some questions perhaps to focus the discussion rather than a general trawl for views ...

  (1) Is suicide the same as murder? (as indicated in the PCA statement in the link posted by jack)
  (2) Is suicide a "mortal sin" (instant ticket to Hell, as my Buddhist friend suggested).
  (3) If you were confronted with someone who was very suicidal, would you try to talk them out of it, or accept that was the way they feel? Or both? What if such a person was also a Christian? ( yes, this situation is currently true in my life).

Received on Mon Apr 4 17:05:17 2005

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