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Suicide, heaven and hell


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#21 Justin Farr

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Posted 08 February 2008 - 03:34 AM

If all the Saints of the Orthodox Faith agree on this issue... then why question the Holy Spirit who enlightens its Saints? Forgive me sounding harsh, but I'm only trying to clarify that they do this because this is how the Church has been guided by God Himself.


I am just trying to understand why God.... did.... enforced... this rule... thing. The same reason why I still constantly question Old Testament sacrifices. I just don't seem to understand.

#22 Moses Ibrahim

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Posted 08 February 2008 - 03:35 AM

I am just trying to understand why God.... did.... enforced... this rule... thing. The same reason why I still constantly question Old Testament sacrifices. I just don't seem to understand.


What old Testament sacrifices?

#23 Justin Farr

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Posted 08 February 2008 - 03:37 AM

If all the Saints of the Orthodox Faith agree on this issue... then why question the Holy Spirit who enlightens its Saints? Forgive me sounding harsh, but I'm only trying to clarify that they do this because this is how the Church has been guided by God Himself.


What old Testament sacrifices?


Um... the poor animals and such they would sacrifice to God.

#24 Yuri Zharikov

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Posted 08 February 2008 - 03:39 AM

Why cause the family even more grief? There loved one killed themselves, and the family is going to bury the body anyways. Why cause more grief? Why not a proper funeral.

I told one of my atheist friends about this (it probably wasn't the wisest thing to do...) and she replied: Because they're Orthodox and no matter how much most Christian churches preach tollerance and forgiveness, Christian clergy is generally the most intolerant and unforgiving thing on earth.


Read the texts of the burial service and you will see that everything said there will not be true about a suicide. A priest will be standing there and lying to God... what is the point of that?

In the Lord, Yura

#25 Moses Ibrahim

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Posted 08 February 2008 - 03:48 AM

Um... the poor animals and such they would sacrifice to God.


Did not Christ eat fish... did not God give man dominion over the animals? Did not God send pigeons or chickens or whichever I cannot remember rite now, but did He not send them to the Jews as food for them to hunt who wandered in the middle of nowhere (desert) with the Holy Prophet Moses? Did not Christ allow the demons to enter the herd of pigs which drowned in the river from the demoniac man? There are hundreds of instances, yet why is it so hard to except that this is the allowed or is the will of God?

#26 Yuri Zharikov

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Posted 08 February 2008 - 03:57 AM

Um... the poor animals and such they would sacrifice to God.


If they did not sacrifice to God they would be sacrificing to demons, probably not only animals but their sons and daughters - this is what their neighbours did. God did not need the blood of goats and oxen, but the Jews needed something to keep them focused on God, not to forget Him and perish.

In the Lord,
Yura

#27 Amy

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Posted 08 February 2008 - 04:37 AM

Justin Farr:

I told one of my atheist friends about this (it probably wasn't the wisest thing to do...) and she replied: Because they're Orthodox and no matter how much most Christian churches preach tollerance and forgiveness, Christian clergy is generally the most intolerant and unforgiving thing on earth.


...just wanted to address this: my hope, Justin, is that you shared Christ with your friend. It is Christ who saves, not the clergy. I have some experience with atheists and you are correct, that to share your misgivings only feeds their arguments. It is Holy Scripture that condemns suicide. You cannot point a judgmental finger at the Church for upholding Truth; in fact, you should rejoice in it!

I hope your friend is seeking Truth; you may be the light of Christ in her life.

"There would be no need for sermons if our lives were shining; there would be no need for words if we bore witness with our deeds. There would be no pagans, if we were true Christians" - St. John Crysostom

#28 Angela V.

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Posted 08 February 2008 - 09:24 AM

Justin,

In the Old Testament they sacrificed animals. But in the New Testament Christ was the ultimate sacrifice.

The reason we cannot take our lives, is because God has given us the gift of life. Therefore taking your own life, it is like giving His gift back. How would you feel if a gift that you have given to someone you love, gets thrown back to you?

Yes, our church do not bury someone that has committed suicide. (unless they are not in there right state of mind) but only God knows that.

+Angela

#29 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 08 February 2008 - 02:51 PM

The difference between a suicide and a martyr is fear. The suicide fears the pain or consequences in this life and fears that even God cannot help him or her. The martyr is saying that their love for God overcomes their fear of death. The suicide fears life more than death, the martyr fears neither life nor death, because of their faith in God.

Generally speaking, the Church cannot condone the use of the sacraments such as burial rites for a suicide. This is because a suicide is essentially saying "my problems are so big that even God cannot help me." This is not an attitude that the Church would want to encourage. But we leave it up to God to judge this person and their particular circumstance because in many situations they are the only two parties who know what was really going on at the time.

I said "generally speaking" because many bishops will allow exceptions if the person in question was determined not to be "in their right mind" or of a rational mind, incapable of making a rational decision. This is one of the reasons we have bishops, to make such decisions in a God-pleasing and not self-pleasing manner.

What the Church is ultimately saying is that we do not know what happened between this person and God, so we leave it to His mercy as to their ultimate fate. The burial service is not "magic". Many saints died without a proper burial, only God knows how many. It is not "Christian ground" or rites that make a saint or save a soul. These things are more for the living than for the dead. Indeed, the burial service, as others have said, are a lesson to the living in righteous living so that we might stand "... blameless before the dread judgement seat of Christ."

Some of us have looked into that deep dark pit of despair and contemplated simply jumping in. But it is simple things like knowing that I wouldn't receive an Orthodox burial and that I would be a source of shame for my children that kept me from that brink at one time.

#30 Demetrios

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Posted 08 February 2008 - 07:14 PM

I believe it depends on how we perceive life. Theosis is our attempt in collaboration with god to become the image of Christ. This includes wanting an eternal existence. When someone willingly separates from Gods energies. They are choosing death over life. This isn't gods judgment.
The person that commits suicide is the one making a decision to remove himself from the salvation, Christ has offered. By doing so. they have chosen death over life.

#31 Jason Adams

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Posted 02 September 2008 - 03:58 AM

Justin,

In the Old Testament they sacrificed animals. But in the New Testament Christ was the ultimate sacrifice.

The reason we cannot take our lives, is because God has given us the gift of life. Therefore taking your own life, it is like giving His gift back. How would you feel if a gift that you have given to someone you love, gets thrown back to you?

Yes, our church do not bury someone that has committed suicide. (unless they are not in there right state of mind) but only God knows that.

+Angela


Quite frankly Angela these type of arguments I have been hearing from many Christian sources and they don't seem to be valid to me. Are we better that God? We are certainly not, and when we give a precious gift to someone we love and this person rejects that gift we are hurt but we don't throw our loved one into a burning pit for that transgression against us do we?

Please don't take it personally, as I don't want to offend anyone.

Also, can anyone enlighten me why we equal killing with suicide? To me it means different things. The Ten Commandements forbid killing and the Israelites killed many people on God's orders. There must be different kinds of killing?

If I am harsh or stupid let me know please so that I stop asking questions.

JA

#32 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 02 September 2008 - 10:38 AM

Quite frankly Angela these type of arguments I have been hearing from many Christian sources and they don't seem to be valid to me. Are we better that God? We are certainly not, and when we give a precious gift to someone we love and this person rejects that gift we are hurt but we don't throw our loved one into a burning pit for that transgression against us do we?


Nobody here is saying that. We are simply saying that the Church believes the suicide is in God's hands and only He knows where that person will ultimately end up. We don't throw anyone into a burning pit.

Also, can anyone enlighten me why we equal killing with suicide? To me it means different things. The Ten Commandements forbid killing and the Israelites killed many people on God's orders. There must be different kinds of killing?


There is NO "good" kind of killing. The intentional ending of a human life by another human is sin, even when it becomes unavoidable.

It depends on how you define "suicide". Not renouncing God in the face of the threat of death might be called suicide by some. Their actions resulted in the loss of their own lives, but we call these people martyrs, not suicides.

The WHY matters. Nobody is denying that. But the Church, in good conscience and with a firm understanding of its responsibility, must do what it can to make sure people understand that suicide is NOT a proper action for a Christian to take, and its available options to reinforce this are very limited

Nothing wrong with questions. Keep seeking answers, that is how you learn.

Herman

#33 Misha

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Posted 02 September 2008 - 10:57 AM

St Domnina with her daughters

St. Domnina was a woman with two daughters named Verine (St. John Chrysostom called her Vernike, or Berenice) and Prosdoce. Leaving their home and family, they settled in Edessa on the plain of Mesopotamia.
St. Domnina’s husband was a pagan and took the women to Hieropolis in Syria. When the soldiers stopped to rest and eat, they became drunk with wine. Taking advantage of this opportunity, the women fled and were drowned in a nearby river.
According to St. John Chrysostom, Domnina stood in the middle of the river and pulled her daughters under the water with her because she was afraid that the soldiers were going to rape them. St. John praised Domnina for her courage, and Berenice and Prosdoce for their obedience.


Saint Pelagia (october 8th) was a virgin of fifteen years, who chose death by a leap from the housetop rather than dishonour. She is mentioned by st.Ambrose (De virg. iii. 7, 33; Ep. xxxvii. ad Simplic.), and is the subject of two sermons by st John Chrysostom.

Who can be absolutely sure about what a human being ,who killed him/herself ,had in mind when he commited suicide?
P.e. if someone has an uncontrollable tendency to abuse children and prefers to kill himself than to continue this way of life,who can blame him?

I think these people need our prayers more than anyone else.It's easy to judge but it's hard to pray from the heart for someone in a difficult position.

#34 Ryan

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Posted 02 September 2008 - 11:50 AM

In Orthodox catechisms I have seen, the commandment is usually interpreted as forbidding , in a civil sense. It does not forbid necessary done in defensive wars. According to Met. Philaret's catechism, it also does not forbid capital punishment, assuming that the judgment has been just.

The Old Testament sequence of wars and massacres is certainly disconcerting. The battle of Jericho, for instance, was basically an act of mass human sacrifice, if it really happened (some modern archaeologists argue that it couldn't have happened). I have seen these events interpreted as spiritual allegories. I think a basic attitude of the Fathers is that the Old Testament world showed the impossibility of humanity living up to God's commandments, the cruelty of the fallen world, and the need for a savior.

#35 Jason Adams

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Posted 02 September 2008 - 08:02 PM

In Orthodox catechisms I have seen, the commandment is usually interpreted as forbidding , in a civil sense. It does not forbid necessary done in defensive wars. According to Met. Philaret's catechism, it also does not forbid capital punishment, assuming that the judgment has been just.

The Old Testament sequence of wars and massacres is certainly disconcerting. The battle of Jericho, for instance, was basically an act of mass human sacrifice, if it really happened (some modern archaeologists argue that it couldn't have happened). I have seen these events interpreted as spiritual allegories. I think a basic attitude of the Fathers is that the Old Testament world showed the impossibility of humanity living up to God's commandments, the cruelty of the fallen world, and the need for a savior.


It is true that it is impossible to live according to God's commandmends on the social level. The society has to punish crimes etc. What is really disconcerting for me is that God ordered some of genocides like the destruction of Amalekites that Saul was ordered to perform and failed (king Agag). Also God ordered king David to kill the descendants of some person (can't remember now who he was) and these poor souls were "impaled before the Lord" a really cruel death comparable to crucifiction.

If these killings were somehow justified suicide may in many cases be justified too. I have an impression that we don't have enough imformation to be able to judge anyone especially those committing suicide. Eg depression is now considered a mental disease but was not even recognised to as late as 19th century(I might be wrong here). So, deeply depressed person commits suicide and his/her family is further punished by the Church because nobody recognises that the person was "out of mind"

Shouldn't we be more forgiving?

#36 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 02 September 2008 - 09:55 PM

If these killings were somehow justified suicide may in many cases be justified too. I have an impression that we don't have enough imformation to be able to judge anyone especially those committing suicide. Eg depression is now considered a mental disease but was not even recognised to as late as 19th century(I might be wrong here). So, deeply depressed person commits suicide and his/her family is further punished by the Church because nobody recognises that the person was "out of mind"

Shouldn't we be more forgiving?


The position of the Orthodox Church on suicide is not about "forgiving" or "not forgiving". That is in God's hands and that is all the Church really says. The goal of the Church is salvation, not simply making people "feel better". Saying that suicide is "justified" sends entirely the wrong message. This is why it is better for the wisdom of the Spirit-led Church to decide these things than what happens to pass for popular psychology at the time, unlike some other churches.

As one ex-Anglican said (G. K. Chesterton): "Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about."

Herman the Pooh

#37 Jason Adams

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Posted 03 September 2008 - 12:08 AM

The position of the Orthodox Church on suicide is not about "forgiving" or "not forgiving". That is in God's hands and that is all the Church really says. The goal of the Church is salvation, not simply making people "feel better". Saying that suicide is "justified" sends entirely the wrong message. This is why it is better for the wisdom of the Spirit-led Church to decide these things than what happens to pass for popular psychology at the time, unlike some other churches.

As one ex-Anglican said (G. K. Chesterton): "Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about."

Herman the Pooh


If I seem to be arrogant, forgive me please, this is certaily not my intention.
I remember many instances when the church (not Orthodox Church though) was very strict - not allowing the person to be buried in the "holy soil". The family was devastated and the young ones were put off Christianity certaily for a long time if not for ever.

My point is that if there are various opinions about the matter shouldn't we err on the forgiveness and love side? "The new commandement I give you, love each other so that people know that you are mine" (free transcription)

Jason

#38 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 03 September 2008 - 12:50 AM

If I seem to be arrogant, forgive me please, this is certaily not my intention.
I remember many instances when the church (not Orthodox Church though) was very strict - not allowing the person to be buried in the "holy soil". The family was devastated and the young ones were put off Christianity certaily for a long time if not for ever.

My point is that if there are various opinions about the matter shouldn't we err on the forgiveness and love side? "The new commandement I give you, love each other so that people know that you are mine" (free transcription)

Jason


I suspect that is part of the reason we have bishops. That is why they get to wear the funny hats. Hopefully they can make that call with Godly discernment as the situation requires. "We" are not bishops.

#39 Jason Adams

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Posted 03 September 2008 - 01:36 AM

I suspect that is part of the reason we have bishops. That is why they get to wear the funny hats. Hopefully they can make that call with Godly discernment as the situation requires. "We" are not bishops.


Thank you Herman. And, I am glad I am not a bishop and I will never be :)

#40 Chev. James R. Weber KGCT

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Posted 04 September 2008 - 04:56 PM


Also, can anyone enlighten me why we equal killing with suicide? To me it means different things. The Ten Commandements forbid killing and the Israelites killed many people on God's orders. There must be different kinds of killing?

JA

It forbids Murder not killing.




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