I was wondering what philosophical/theological argument could be mustered
in favour of the proposition that people should not commit suicide. A bit
of background to the question might help. From a secularist perspective,
surely we are ultimately going to die anyway. Our lives will necessarily
end with a certain degree of pain and suffering in the mean time, why
should we not minimise the pain? If the attainment of the most pleasure
was all that counted then surely an overdose of something such as heroin
would solve that. Also the only reason we do not commit suicide is most
liekly our evolutionary history that has programmed us to value life, but
if the impulse to live is reliant on a contigent genetic and social code
then why should I obey the impulse? From a theological perspective, if I
were to assume that I was lost, would the case be any different from that
expressed above? Jesus remarked that many people wouldn’t make it into
heaven (cf. Luke 13:24). Also remarks about salt being unable to regain
its saltiness Mark 9:50 and Luke 14:34 may indicate that despite attempts
to live a Christian life we are unable to be saved – Pauls comments about
there only being one death on the cross for our sins also applies. Now
given the worst case senario where we feel certain we are lost, why should
we attempt to delay judgement? A further consideration would be the
calvinistic theology of predestination. If we are not amongst the elect
and we can evidence this through our reprobate lives, post acceptance o
Christ, then is there any reason to submit to our biological and social
programming? Now I understand that not everyone holds to calvinism, but it
seems that whatever theological persuasion you hold to it makes no
difference (bar universalism.) The book of Ecclesiastes also provides
food for thought on both the theological and secular perspectives. Why
should we persist in life when all is meaningless and if we do not have
God? Everything we achieve is but a chasing after the wind, water flowing
into the sea and returning from whence it came. If there is no point in
life then why arbitrarily manufacture one? I would be interested in your
thoughts on this matter.


I am not a philosopher and this web site is not intended to answer
philosophical questions, so I will let you do your own research on that.
However, let me address the theological and biblical implications of
suicide. I believe it is fair to say that virtually all conservative
theologians and exegetes of the Bible will agree that suicide is sinful.
The ten commandments include the well-known command against killing. It is
interesting to note that the Bible never actually has a specific
commandment prohibiting the killing of oneself. Perhaps it is so
obviously sinful to take one’s life that God did not feel the need to
mention this special case of murder. It is my understanding that in
virtually every case, suicide is the ultimate self-centered, selfish act.
In virtually every case, when a person takes their own life they bring
untold suffering on those close to them. Suicide is wrong and it is
sinful. I definitely do not agree with Roman Catholic teaching on
suicide. The Catholic Church has taught that suicide is a “mortal sin.”
In other words, those who die at their own hands are guaranteed to go to
hell. I believe that to kill oneself is a sin just like any other sin.
In other words, it may be sinful to take ones own life, but God is
gracious and will forgive the sin of a Christian who, contrary to biblical
admonition, kills him or herself.

You list some logical reasons that a person may feel justified in
committing suicide. I say that no amount of logic can change biblical
truth. In other words, we can present a logical case in favor of lying or
of stealing or of adultery. Such logical arguments do absolutely nothing
to change what the Bible says. Human logic cannot trump what the Bible
says. Yes, I agree that the Bible says most will not make it to heaven.
This cannot justify taking one’s life. Yes, it is true that all will die
some day, but this does not make it OK to take our own life, any more than
it justifies the taking of the life of another. Yes, it is true that
suicide can reduce pain, but then so will drunkenness and drug addiction.
The ends do not justify the means. Now, it is my opinion that we ought to
be particularly sensitive and understanding of people in the extreme agony
of terminal illness. I am not prepared to declare suicide OK in such a
case, but I believe the Christian approach should be compassion, not
judgment on a terminal patient in extreme who takes the desperate measure
of taking his or her life.

I definitely do not agree with your argument based on Mark 9:50 and Luke
14:34. Jesus is not declaring here that certain people are doomed from
birth to go to hell. You should read this passage in its context. Jesus
is telling us that once we are saved, we should be sure to continue to
pursue righteousness, or we may lose our salvation. Either way, to
support a doctrine of suicide based on these passages makes absolutely no
logical sense. If you fear you are not in a saved position with God, you
ought to read the Bible and respond in faith to Jesus so that you can be
saved. As it says in 1 Timothy 2:4, God wants all men to be saved and to
come to a knowledge of the truth.

You make another argument: “Also the only reason we do not commit suicide
is most likely our evolutionary history that has programmed us to value
life, but if the impulse to live is reliant on a contigent genetic and
social code then why should I obey the impulse?” I do not believe this
argument for a moment. To be honest, I doubt that you believe this
argument either. I believe that there is a God and that the Bible is
inspired by God. If this is true, then your argument is proven wrong. If
you want to believe the atheist that we just happened, and that life is
meaningless, that is up to you, but I obviously reject this argument. I
suppose that if you are an atheist, there is little to argue against
suicide. However, we at Evidenceforchristianity are obviously Christian
and absolutely reject such humanist/atheist arguments. It is up to you.

Here is another of your arguments: “Now given the worst case senario
where we feel certain we are lost, why should we attempt to delay

Forgive me if this sounds too strong, but I will have to admit that this
is just about the most illogical argument I have ever heard. If you
believe in God and in the possibility of being lost, you ought to turn
toward God, put your faith in him, obey the Scripture and be saved. Your
argument is sort of like saying. “I am broke. I do not want to be broke,
but because I am broke, I will choose to stay broke, even though I do not
want to be broke. I simply cannot believe you accept your own reasoning

Your last argument is based on predestination/Calvinism. Well, I do not
for a minute accept Calvinism. Predestination is not biblical. God wants
all men to be saved. The very idea of predestination is an insult to
God. It is in direct opposition to many clear teachings of the Bible. We
were born with free will and with a choice of whether or not to serve
God. I suggest you do a search in the question and answer part of the web
site on the word predestination. Having said that, even if you believe in
predestination, this would still be a completely illogical argument for
suicide. Let us imagine that Calvin is correct. I disagree, but let us
grant this false premise. Even if he were correct, if you respond to the
grace of God,
put your faith in him, and become a Christian, that will
prove that you are one of the elect. Therefore, predestination is a
completely illogical basis for supporting suicide.

On Ecclesiastes, Solomon does not tell us that life is meaningless. What
he does say is that life based on worldly pursuits of money, fame,
knowledge and all the other purely human pursuits is vain. You should
read the conclusion of the book. Solomon concludes that man’s place and
duty is to fear God and keep his commandments. If you will respond to the
grace of God and to the love of God, and turn your life over to him, your
life will no longer be meaningless. Jesus is the Good Shepherd. He came
to give you life–life to the full (John chapter 10). What Solomon said
in Ecclesiastes is true, but in the big picture, if you will respond to
the love of God, your life will be transformed from meaninglessness to

Bottom line, your comments show me that you have not read the Bible
carefully and understood its meaning. I suggest you get hooked up with a
Bible-oriented church, study the Bible with members of that church and get
your life right with God. If you do so, I guarantee that you will have a
brand new perspective on life. If you need a suggestion of a church to
become involved in, please let me know. I can probably help you with that.

John Oakes

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