Can’t get any worse than this.
I’m referring to a story in The Times called ‘Dignitas founder plans assisted suicide of healthy woman‘ where the founder of a Swiss clinic for assisted suicide, Ludwig Minelli, is quoted saying:
- that suicide is a “marvellous opportunity” that should not be restricted to the terminally ill or people with severe disabilities
- that anyone who has “mental capacity” should be allowed to have an assisted suicide, claiming that it would save money for the National Health Service.
- “We should have a nicer attitude to suicide, saying suicide is a very good possibility to escape.”
Have you reached the end of your tether? Do you want to end your life? Do you want assistance?
Here is the assistance that I can give you, and it cost more than the kind the likes of Ludwig Minelli can offer:
Suicide is not the answer. It will not give your soul rest. You might find that you have exchanged one kind of hell for one worse.
If you want true rest for your soul, there is one way only. Listen to this:
“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My load is light.”
This is the invitation of Jesus who also said:
“I have come that they may have life and have it more abundantly.”
If you think you have used up all your resources, you are wrong—you have this invitation to abundant life left; you have just to accept it. May God bless you.
Perhaps you can clarify your thinking by adopting this perspective: The only reason why you think the Bible tells you correctly how to interpret the complex problems of human existence must be because you find the Bible’s doctrines a convincing exposition of human life. But this means that your ultimate criterion for deciding what is sensible is whatever explains human life well. This insight opens the possibility of admitting that there are other possible ways of interpreting life which might turn out to be more instructive and illuminating than the Bible, so you can never close off your critical faculty and confine it within the simple fairy tales developed by Eastern Mediterranean culture two to three thousand years ago.
So try just for a change, as a starting point, looking honestly and courageously at the uninterpreted, real, concreate, tangible feelings and facts of human life and seeing what conceptual framework explicates these best. Then you will see a whole panoply of possible interpretations of reality, including Freudian psychology, Marxist materialism, French existentialism, Schopenhauer’s pessimism, Protagoras’ relativism, etc. The Bible would also represent one of these possible frameworks of understanding. But I think if you start afresh and compare all these approaches to the real, visceral feelings and tangible realities of human existence and misery, I think you will see that the Bible is quite weak and dogmatic in its answers compared to other, more critical and rationally pellucid approaches.
One way to see the Bible as a human cultural product rather than as the product of the infinite mind of God is to ask why God sacrificing his Son should somehow reconcile God and mankind and remove the sundering of mankind caused by original sin. If someone today were to injure you, say by denting your car, it would do nothing to reconcile you and the injurer by the injurer denting his own car! Instead, by modern cultural usage, you would require that he pay for the damage he caused, and this would settle accounts between you. But in the ancient Mediterranean world, it was a human custom that injuries could be repaired, not by paying for the damages caused, but by sacrificing goats and other animals the injurer owned as a symbolic apology by the injurer to the person injured. This seems idiotic today, but two thousand years ago it was considered the ‘obvious’ way to repair an injury. Because of this foolish cultural custom among humans, the humans who wrote the Bible thought that God sacrificing his only begotten Son must also repair the injury between humans and mankind, but by logic and modern reasoning, this is just stupid, since how does the death of God’s Son negate the injury of original sin committed by humans? So from this you can see that the central doctrine of the New Testament is irrational, and can be made sensible only by putting it in the arbitrary and ridiculous belief system of the Mediterranean culture of two thousand years ago, which means that the idea does not come from the universal mind of a rational God.
That should bring you up to the starting gates so that you can start thinking about human life seriously in terms of what it really is, rather than in terms of ancient myths.
ahhh… the MEN who wrote the bible obviously have not yet seen the collapse of Feudalism. Anyway, let’s not get into that. I’m not a Bible scholar.
You wrote: “If everyone believed that they owned themselves, and took that to its logical conclusion, they would all be a law unto themselves, and we would end up with a ridiculous and monstrous problem in our hands.”
However did you come to this conclusion? To me it’s fuzzy thinking. Those who own themselves would be accountable for their own actions, and therefore, they would take greater care in their OWN actions.
If God gave free will, then there is NO DUTY to live. Death is a freely exercised choice. One may choose death over a gulag, or being forced to serve an evil master, with no alternative. In any case, a truly voluntary suicide is beyond moral evaluation even – it’s a choice made, a personal choice.
You ask: “However did you come to this conclusion?”
Just as you are no Bible scholar, I am no scholar about matters outside my circle of knowledge either. I cannot even think, without including God in every equation of life. For instance, when I read your comment, I realized that even what each of us defines as monstrous would be different. Those who are not sound in mind and body could not be trusted with their own selves. They would perish. Without God in the picture, this may not seem like a bad thing, that the weak and unfit are done away with, and the earth is left with only the ‘best’ of human beings. Whereas, with God in the picture, this is an abhorrent thought.
You say: If God gave free will, then there is NO DUTY to live . . .
You ask me, a Christian, to reason about free will, I will try to respond. But as I said, our perspectives are so different, and we are no scholars in the other’s field, and so we will probably find it hard to make sense to one another. But there is no harm in trying.
Christians believe that human beings are given a free will. In other words, we can make choices. Christians also believe that in God alone is absolute good and perfection. So Christians measure the health and goodness of their choices by their keeping with the will of God as revealed to us in the Bible.
OK, so we have free wills, but there is a problem. Here, I need to factor ‘tendencies’ into the equation. Because we are utterly sinful, our tendencies are terribly warped. So in this warped state, what we do with our free wills is not in keeping with God’s will. But when our lives are touched by the Lord Jesus in a phenomenon that the Bible calls regeneration, we are transformed spiritually and our tendencies are corrected. In this state our free wills can make healthy choices, health being measured by how aligned it is to God’s will. The first response of a healthy free will is faith in the Lord Jesus.
It is as if a pig is changed into a sheep. The pig would choose to wallow in the mud, but the sheep’s tendencies cause it to make different choices. Free will is influenced by our tendencies.
To a ‘regenerated Christian,’ what I have just said will make perfect sense. But to others, it might seem as if Christians are more enslaved to God than free.
I think we must leave this argument here, agreeing to disagree. May God bless you.
so tell me. Who owns you? Because only if your life is not your own that your personal decision to end the life which IN YOUR OWN OPINION not worth living be disregarded.
Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment. I do not know you or what your attitude is when you write this. But the comment is worth publishing and replying to.
If everyone believed that they owned themselves, and took that to its logical conclusion, they would all be a law unto themselves, and we would end up with a ridiculous and monstrous problem in our hands.
I believe that God owns all His creation, and He is completely sovereign. Psalm 24:1 says, “The earth is the LORD’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.” He has given us a will of our own and holds us responsible for our choices. The study of the interplay between our wills and God’s sovereign will is a fascinating study, which is beyond the purview of this discussion.