Suicide Article on Statistics and Causes

What does the Bible say about Suicide?

Not much. We know that Saul and his sons committed suicide by falling on their own swords. This is looked at in the Bible as a negative act. We also know that the Bible places a high value on life…so high a value that death is said to be the last enemy of the Lord to be defeated.

So how are Christians to think about suicide?

First, we must remember that Jesus came to give life. He also gave his life so that we would not face spiritual death. God created humanity for life. He breathed life into Adam and created from the man. God gives us life so we can share in the blessings of existence.

Second, suicide is actively bringing about physical death. Some Catholics have argued that those who are Christians and commit suicide lose their salvation. This does not seem to be supported with Scripture. But it does highlight that Christians are not to look favorably upon suicide as a way out of our problems in the here and now.

Third, death was introduced to the world in the garden by the devil. This makes death demonic at its very core. Because death is demonic and because Jesus came to give life, we as Christians have a responsibility to preserve life however we can.

Therefore, Christians are to help those who are contemplating suicide. Whenever we see someone thinking about ending his or her life, we have a responsibility to reach out and help the person.

This certainly means praying for the person, but requires that we do more than pray. We must actively help the person get medical help. We must be willing to sacrifice our time, our schedules, and our pleasures to ensure the safety of the one who is struggling to survive.

We must also remember that some struggles are the result of our minds not functioning properly. This is a result of the fall. Because our world is broken, we find that our minds are also sometimes broken. We must reserve judgment about those who have committed suicide. We cannot often know whether or not a person was in control of his or her cognitive faculties when the event occurred.

We can however, reach out and extend comfort to those who are affected anytime someone chooses to end his or her life. There are always people affected who are still around.

This week, think about how you can be a beacon of hope to those hurting around you. Pray and ask God to show you how you can be involved in a ministry that helps those struggling to hang on to life. Ask God to help you recognize the signs in anyone you know who may be thinking about suicide so that you can take the appropriate steps to help before it is too late.

Just War and Self-Defense

In our last post we looked at what the Bible has to say about murder. In this post we ask ourselves what the Bible has to say about War and killing in Self-Defense.    

Exodus 22:2-3 reads, “If a thief is found breaking in and is struck so that he dies, there shall be no bloodguilt for him, but if the sun has risen on him, there shall be bloodguilt for him. He shall surely pay. If he has nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft.”

In other words, one who kills a thief in the midst of his crime is not guilty of murder.

Romans 12:19 reminds us that there is a difference between vengeance and self-defense: “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”

Augustine argued that when we kill someone who is trying to kill us, we do so because we value our lives more than we value the life of the other person. While this may be true in the moment, the idea of taking a life is always a weighty decision.

While one is justified in taking a life in order to save a life, one should not take a life if there is no real threat to another’s life.

This leads to questions about taking lives in war and weather or not war is ever justified. According to Just War Theory: 

War is morally justified if:

  • It is declared by a legitimate authority.
  • It is fought for a just cause.
  • It is fought with the right intention (not to inflict needless injury).
  • It must be fought as a last resort.
  • There musty be real and certain danger that cannot be avoided apart from war.
  • There must be a reasonable probability of success.
  • The end must be propositional to the probable harm (the end should not cause more evil than good, and the good resulting in the end of the war must be better than the state of things prior to fighting the war).
  • The methods of warfare must be proportional to the end being achieved (more deaths than necessary will not be brought about to achieve the end).
  • It is wrong to intentionally kill any noncombatants (children, the elderly, civilians). The fighters must be able to discriminate between the combatants and the noncombatants.

 If a war is fought with these ideas in mind, it may be justified and even necessary to stop evil.

Scripture does give governments the right to declare war and commands Christians to be subject to the governing authorities.

What are your thoughts on War and Self-Defense?


Hitchcock Film

What does the Bible say about Murder?

Quite a bit actually, and it won’t take long to convince any reader that Christians believe murder is wrong.

In Exodus 20:13 it reads, “You shall not murder.” This verse is part of the 10 commandments.

Leviticus 24:17 states, “Whoever takes a human life shall surely be put to death.” This verse is part of the law used for governing the people. It is clear that the government has authority to end a life if it deems necessary.

In Matthew 5:21-26, Jesus takes the original command given in Exodus and expounds on it. He says, “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison.”

Jesus tells his hearers to let go of their anger, to not hate other people. He goes so far as to say that if someone is at the alter (getting ready to worship God) and remembers that he or she has wronged another person, then the person must go and ask for forgiveness and then come back to the alter.

Hitchcock’s Rear Window with Jimmy Stewart

When we search for the significance and meaning of this passage, we are reminded that Jesus knows that when we are at odds with other people it affects how we can relate to God. He wants our fellowship with God to be unhindered, thus he commands us to also be at peace with other people.

We can be as destructive with the things that we say as we can when literally taking someone’s life.  Has anyone ever said something to you that made you feel like you were being stabbed? Probably so, and if you haven’t, then you will.  I want to encourage you to be peaceful in your words and kind in your speech.

Of course these passages lead to questions about self defense, abortion/infanticide/euthanasia, war and just war, and even the death penalty. Over the next few weeks I hope to discuss these issues in more detail. For now, let us be slow to anger, quick to forgive, and certain to use our words for building up others instead of bringing them down.

Are All Religions True?

“All religions are not the same. All religions do not point to God.  All religions do not say that all religions are the same.”-Ravi Zacherias in Jesus Among other Gods

We have all heard it said that all religions lead to the same destination, they just follow different paths to get there. The problem with this is that it is simply not true.

All religions at their core are exclusive. Each religion claims certain truths about reality that are in conflict with truth claims of other faiths.

Christians believe that Jesus is the only way to salvation. Believing in his death alone can bring about the results of salvation.

While all religions cannot be true, people can in fact choose what they want to believe. They have the right to follow whatever path they believe to be true. This idea is referred to as Religious Liberty. People have the right to decide for themselves what to believe and what religion to practice. However, no one has the right to force their religion upon others.

In addition to not having the right to force religion upon others, secular humanists and atheists have no right to force freedom from religion upon others. This kind of practice is in violation of basic human rights.

Can we coexist?

While we may not agree that all religions are equally valid (in fact, logically they cannot all be of equal value), we can agree that people from any religious group should be free from persecution (unless the religion is breaking laws). We can also agree that we can have civil discussions about our different beliefs with the goal of sharing perspectives and not creating tension and resulting in arguments.

We can co-exist, but not in the sense that we affirm the validity of all faiths, only in that we affirm that people have a right to choose their faith path.

We are all responsible for what we believe, even if not all paths lead to the same end. We are responsible for what we believe, even if we believe in a lie.

If you believed a lie, would you want someone to tell you?