Is suicide always a sin in Anglican thought

Discussion in 'Philosophy, Truth, and Ethics' started by Andy Cothran, Jul 20, 2012.

  1. Andy Cothran

    Andy Cothran Active Member

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    I understand the delicate nature of this question and in case anyone wonders i am not asking from the standpoint of one who is suicidal ..On the surface it seems like the answer to this question is absolutely ..But i am talking about those who do so while suffering the effects of mental illness or some other type of illnesses .. that impairs their judgment ,, i am not asking if they go to hell my own view is that they do not but what i am thinking about is the issue of sin .. Is something that might be a direct result of illness considered sin in Anglican thought ..? thank you .
     
  2. Scottish Monk

    Scottish Monk Well-Known Member

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    Andy...

    A few months ago, a friend of mine who is suffering from a terminal illness (Parkinson's Disease) asked me indirectly for my help in assisting him in suicide. In very direct words, I told my friend I could not assist with his suicide. Today, my friend is still living.

    Since that time I have have done some reading on suicide and euthanasia (assisted suicide). What I found is the church is very quiet on this subject. The catholic church and certain evangelical ministers appear to be the most vocal on the consequences of suicide. The third link below presents recent trends toward suicide prevention in The Episcopal Church, but says nothing about the spiritual consequences of suicide. The Roman Catholic position on the spiritual consequences of suicide has historically been that suicide is a mortal sin that will not be forgiven, sending the soul to hell. The evangelical position appears to be just the opposite, particularly those following the Calvinist and Baptist doctrine of eternal security (once saved, always saved). For some evangelicals, salvation includes the forgiveness of sins, all sins--past, present, and future.

    Below are four links. I am sorry that I could not find much in the way of any Anglican statements on the consequences of suicide. Perhaps other forum participants can be of more help.

    ...Scottish Monk

    Christian Views of Euthanasia and Suicide (Religion Facts, no date).

    Another View: Is Suicide the 'unpardonable sin'? (Fred Meeks, Baptist Standard, 2002).

    Faiths Rethink Stance on Suicide (Religion News/Carter Center, 2000).

    Euthanasia and assisted dying (BBC: Religions, 2009).
     
  3. Andy Cothran

    Andy Cothran Active Member

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    Scotish monk i am sure this will be quite helpful i appreciate youre post and the links ..
     
  4. UK Anglican

    UK Anglican Member

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    I have a mental illness myself and as a teenager suicide was something I seriouly thought about and very nearly acted on. I thought this was a sin and I was going straight to hell (at the time I didn't care, but thats another story) and so I will tell you what someone told me.......Suicide while under the influence of a mental illness is not a sin because the person considering the action is not of sound mind and not fully accountable for there actions, so God will take this into consideration, if the person dies.
     
  5. Toma

    Toma Well-Known Member Anglican

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    When I was an atheist & had a suicidal moment, the entire Cosmos seemed a hopeless, black void of worthlessness. How can a person be said to be sane in such a state? Then again, it is sin that warps us - we must hold ourselves accountable...
     
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  6. UK Anglican

    UK Anglican Member

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    A person in such a state cannot be held accountable for there actions, and it is not sin which drives them, I was suicidal for a while and just felt like I wanted to die for years but it wasn't sin that made me like I was, it was something out of my control, I am not going to go into why in detail here, but in part, I have an addiction to self-harm this is not a sin but it is something which is difficult to control, it doesn't mean I am far from God it just means that I suffer with something which makes you have to work harder to acknowledge the good and I always knew God was there, but my point is that you can feel God's presence, you can live a positive christian lifestyle and still feel like your worth nothing.
     
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  7. Jeff F

    Jeff F Well-Known Member

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    Lately it seems there have been several threads relating to difficult questions that only God can answer, still born salvation, suicide, etc. If we can't find the answer in scripture, I have little hope that an electronic forum could provide anything but a plethora of opinions. May we commit these questions to God in prayer, waiting expectantly for an answer.:blush:

    Jeff
     
  8. UK Anglican

    UK Anglican Member

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    You are quite right, although it helps some people to know that other people suffer or have suffered in the past with simular problems.:) they don't feel so alone with there problems especialy if they feel God has not answered them.
     
  9. Jeff F

    Jeff F Well-Known Member

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    I would encourage you to have a heartfelt discussion with your Priest and/or accountability partner, not this forum!;)

    Jeff
     
  10. UK Anglican

    UK Anglican Member

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    :( I wasn't trying to use this forum to discuss my personal problems, frankly I wouldn't do that, but I was trying to use my problems to explain my point - obviously not very well! :(
     
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  11. Jeff F

    Jeff F Well-Known Member

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    No worries friend. I understood it didn't involve you, it's just that I hold scripture and the church much higher than this forum. I take the words of Isaiah's prophecy very seriously, and truly believe it has practical applications.

    "For unto us a son is born, unto us a son is given: and the government will be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor" Isaiah 9:6

    Jeff
     
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  12. Joan Lucia-Treese

    Joan Lucia-Treese Member

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    I agree. I was taught that there were conditions for committing sins. First; Knowing the act is a sin. Second: Wanting to commit the sin. Third: Actually committing the action. If all three components don't answer "yes," then a sin is not committed.
     
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  13. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    UK, I too had a brush with that same darkness in my early twenties. I spent nearly 3 years in the pit of severe depression. If not for the grace of God and the love of my wife, I would have committed suicide long ago. It's a dark place indeed. I believe that God is a perfect judge and knows our hearts and minds better than we ourselves. The bottom line: God is merciful, God is love. A bruised reed he will not break.
     
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  14. UK Anglican

    UK Anglican Member

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    This is as it should be, but this forum is for people who share the same faith and others interested in the faith to talk about matters of faith, this could be on any subject and just because the subject happens to be difficult does not mean it should be ignored.:)
     
  15. tyciol

    tyciol New Member

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    Is it possible to go to heaven if you commit suicide? I was reading about the Rehtaeh Parsons case in the news recently and noticed the funeral was being held in an Anglican church. If she did die on purpose, could she still be cleansed of sin by Jesus?

    Leah Parsons says she thinks it was a feigned attempt (cry for help) that wasn't intended to be carried through on, but happened accidentally. If that is the case could she go to heaven?
     
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  16. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    Hi tyciol, that's a good question. Personally, I can't know anyone's heart but I trust in God's mercy in tragedies like this.God's word says this about salvation and damnation: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." Faith, not works, saves a person and lack of faith, not works, ultimately damns a person. Let us pray that even in her darkest moments, she held onto the faith.

    Welcome to the forum!
     
  17. Old Christendom

    Old Christendom Well-Known Member

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    Faith alone justifies but it is also true that a saving faith generates good works.

    Taking one's life is a serious sin, though. Let's hope for the best in these situations.
     
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  18. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    Very true, but perfection is not possible this side of Glory.