I had a female friend who tried it because of the abusive relationship she was in. She was so abused, she had learned to hate herself. But she couldn’t bring herself to leave him. So I… ummmm… forced the issue.
This is a great question in that it shows that the way you view ethical issues s almost ALWAYS a matter of “faith.” And I’m defining faith there as a belief for which we do not have empirical proof. With that definition, when you say, “When we die, we simply cease to exist” I can call that your “faith.” Because you can’t prove that is what happens in a laboratory. There is no empirical/scientific proof. Thus, your belief that we cease to exist is just as unprovable as my belief that there is a heaven and a hell. And so we both are acting on faith.
With suicide, the faith issue is “How did we get here?” If the answer is that we exist as a matter of a long-shot random chance, that life is a cosmic accident without any planning or thought put into it, then it is absolutely ok to kill yourself. Why wouldn’t it be? It might become morally iffy if others were dependent on you. But if that wasn’t the case, then yes. Go ahead and kill yourself.
Now, let me point out, there is no way to prove that we exist because of random chance. Never mind the fact that you can’t prove all aspects of evolution. Even if you could, you couldn’t prove that there ISN’T a God behind it all.
So you have three points if you hold this view:
A) I believe life exists because of random chance and therefore,
B) man is master of his life, and therefore
C) man can do whatever he wants with his life.
That’s logical. But you must admit that point A is a matter of “faith.” There is zero way for you to prove that life exists because of random chance.
Now, let’s take the other belief. If you believe that there is a God who created man, either quickly or through the long process of creation, that changes things. There is a Creator/created aspect to things now. If I was created by God, my body really isn’t mine. It’s his until he tells me he cedes it over to me to do with whatever I want. That line of reasoning goes.
A) I believe that life exists because God created it, and that in fact life cannot exist without God’s providence, therefore
B) I believe that man is not the master of his life, but that God is the master. Man’s life was endowed with a purpose given to it by life’s Creator, and therefore
C) Man cannot do whatever he wants with his life. Man has a moral and ethical obligation to conform his life to the purpose for which the Creator granted that life.
Again, that is logical. But I can’t prove point A, and therefore the entire flow of logic is predicated on a matter of faith.
An application of point C - that man can’t do whatever he wants with his life - means that life cannot be taken unless God grants permission. It’s a nuance many people miss. Idiots will sarcastically say, “How can you Christians be against abortion but for the death penalty?” Simple. God doesn’t allow for abortion. It is the murder of the innocent. God does allow for the execution of criminals. The Bible say the government (but not individuals) has the right to do that as a punishment for violation of the Law. So it is simple really. If God gives you permission to take a life, be it animal (hunting) or human (self-defense, criminal death penalty, etc.) it is killing. The Bible doesn’t forbid killing. But if you take life, animal or human, when God HASN’T given you permission, the Bible calls that murder.
God has not granted people the permission to kill themselves.
Therefore, I am against assisted suicide and suicide in general, because I believe that we are not masters of life. We are creatures. You don’t have the right to destroy something you didn’t make, and you did NOT make life.
But again, I’m predicating that on a faith belief. However, if your opinion is the opposite of mine, so are you.
I can respect it if you completely disagree with me. If you think we should allow assisted suicide, that’s fine. I will totally respect your opinion. What I will not respect is if you say that my belief is silly, because it is a matter of faith, where your belief is more “reasonable.” Nooooooooo. Your belief is based on faith notions too. That’s ALWAYS the case with ethics.
Great question! Thanks for asking.