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Thread: Is suicide a sin if the person is not mentally competent to be responsible?

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    tWebber shunyadragon's Avatar
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    Is suicide a sin if the person is not mentally competent to be responsible?

    It is well accepted today that the cause of the majority of suicides is mental illness. Yet in most of Judaism, Christianity and Islam suicide is considered self-murder in many if not most cases.

    The Bible does not specifically address suicide as the sin of self-murder, but nonetheless it is widely forbidden.

    Even though Islam condemns suicide in the scriptures, many justify suicide bombing as martyrdom.

    The Baha'i Faith condemns suicide, and considers suicide a tragedy, but allows considerable leeway on the circumstances of the suicide, and allows for the contemporary behavioral science understanding of suicide as a mental illness.

    This more a discussion of the different views and changing views in churches and other beliefs facing the issue in the contemporary world. The problem is the tragic rise of suicides throughout most cultures of the world.
    Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
    Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
    But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

    go with the flow the river knows . . .

    Frank

    I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

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    tWebber
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    I am skeptical that many would assume "mental competency" is in the same category as the mental illness underlying most suicides: Depression. A depressed person is still responsible for their actions.

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    Professor KingsGambit's Avatar
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    The Greek word translated as "sin" is hamartia, which means missing the mark. Suicide in any circumstance has to be said to miss the mark.
    For what was given to everyone for the use of all, you have taken for your exclusive use. The earth belongs not to the rich, but to everyone. - Ambrose, 4th century AD

    All cruelty springs from weakness. - Seneca the Younger

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    See, the Thing is... Cow Poke's Avatar
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    This is a tough one, and hits way too close to home.

    I've known suicide "victims" who were so desperate and confused that they saw no way out, and tragically ended their lives. This is often referred to as a "permanent solution to a temporary problem".

    I've also known of at least one case of suicide where the guy was a crackpot who wanted to inflict pain and suffering on his family.

    The bigger picture, to a Christian, is - was the person saved?
    Every problem is the result of a previous solution.

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    Professor KingsGambit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cow Poke View Post
    This is a tough one, and hits way too close to home.

    I've known suicide "victims" who were so desperate and confused that they saw no way out, and tragically ended their lives. This is often referred to as a "permanent solution to a temporary problem".

    I've also known of at least one case of suicide where the guy was a crackpot who wanted to inflict pain and suffering on his family.

    The bigger picture, to a Christian, is - was the person saved?
    Most people who commit suicide aren't mentally well, so I think people (probably well meaning people) are likely to use this as a "loophole".

    I saw somebody argue for universalism online recently by arguing that you would have to be crazy not to accept Jesus, and the courts don't hold insane people responsible for their crimes, therefore everybody goes to heaven. I could see this going in the same direction.
    For what was given to everyone for the use of all, you have taken for your exclusive use. The earth belongs not to the rich, but to everyone. - Ambrose, 4th century AD

    All cruelty springs from weakness. - Seneca the Younger

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    tWebber tabibito's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeaC View Post
    I am skeptical that many would assume "mental competency" is in the same category as the mental illness underlying most suicides: Depression.
    Suicide would in that case be a simple matter of succumbing to an illness, a proposition that I find reasonable.
    1 Cor 15:34 εκνηψατε δικαιως και μη αμαρτανετε αγνωσιαν γαρ θεου τινες εχουσιν προς εντροπην υμιν λεγω

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    tWebber hamster's Avatar
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    It depends on the magnitude of their disability. The circumstances would mitigate some of the person's responsibility if there was an issue of mental competency. Some clinically depressed people use medication to cope with the pain, and they may accidentally give themselves an overdose and we'd never know, we could assume they intended to kill themselves.
    "Some people feel guilty about their anxieties and regard them as a defect of faith but they are afflictions, not sins. Like all afflictions, they are, if we can so take them, our share in the passion of Christ." - That Guy Everyone Quotes

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    42nd Mojave Year DesertBerean's Avatar
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    I remember a debate IRL about whether the people.jumping from a very tall high rise building because an explosion and fire had left them no other way were imcompetent meaning they had to be desperate enough kill themselves.

    Some said no, Some said yes.

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    See, the Thing is... Cow Poke's Avatar
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    I'm wondering why we put suicide into a different category than any other sin.

    Not to be crass, but if a person who is a Christian (not just CINO) has heart attack and dies while having adulterous sex, does he go to hell?
    Maybe this gets down to OSAS -- what sets suicide apart from other sins, obviously, is that it's a final act, after which no repentance can be made.

    I would note, however, that there would appear to be a huge difference between somebody who took too many pills because of excruciating pain as opposed to somebody who willfully and with malice ended their lives to inflict pain and suffering on family and friends.

    And I'm kinda surprised nobody brought up Samson.
    Every problem is the result of a previous solution.

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    See, the Thing is... Cow Poke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KingsGambit View Post
    I saw somebody argue for universalism online recently by arguing that you would have to be crazy not to accept Jesus, and the courts don't hold insane people responsible for their crimes, therefore everybody goes to heaven. I could see this going in the same direction.
    This reminded me of Paul Little's account of a student coming to him at the end of one of his talks, and telling Little "you have successfully answered every objection I've ever had about Christianity".
    Little responded, "that's great, so you're ready to accept Christ as your savior?"
    The student told him "no", which prompted Little to clarify "but you just said I've answered every objection, and you're not ready to accept Christ?

    The student replied, "no, it would mess up the way I'm living".
    Every problem is the result of a previous solution.

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