Modern Myths: Suicide Is a Viable Option

“But he who sins against me wrongs his own soul; all those who hate me love death.”

— Proverbs 8:36

Explore with me one final modern myth: “Suicide is a viable option.” Dr. Arthur Caplan, the director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Biomedical Ethics, says that the most significant bioethical event in our country’s history “is not artificial hearts; it’s not grandmothers who give birth to their grandchildren. It is the matter of doctor-assisted suicide because it is a break from a two-thousand-year-old tradition that says [in the words of the Hippocratic Oath] doctors cannot harm.” We can’t tell what harmful actions will follow in the wake of doctor-assisted suicides. We can trace the atrocities of the Holocaust to a small beginning: the blurring of the line between physicians healing people and killing them. As serious as this subject is, it has generated its own class of humor. Picture this: A cartoon shows a doctor’s waiting room full of elderly patients with their crutches, canes, and wheelchairs. The nurse steps cheerily to the door and announces, “The doctor will kill you now.”

Advocates for doctor-assisted suicide call it “death with dignity.” But that watered-down term masks the reality that this practice is self-murder. Charles Hodge of Princeton Seminary put it this way, “Suicide is … self-murder in the sight of God … We have no more right to take our own life than the life of another … It is a crime which admits of no repentance and consequently involves the loss of the soul.”

If you have lost a friend or loved one to suicide, let me hasten to make something clear. I believe that a Christian may fall prey to intense, overwhelming despair and could, in such a mental state, commit suicide without forfeiting his or her soul. But for the most part, as Hodge says, “Suicide is most common among those who have lost all faith in Christianity.” Remember that God has given you your life as a precious gift. Cherish and preserve it whatever difficulties come your way.

“Let us not be cowards, deserting our posts, flinging
back thanklessly in the face of God the gift of life.”