- Love and Liberty
Suicide - The Result of Selfishness
The topic of suicide is heart wrenching. It is commonly referred to as the result of selfishness. Perhaps this is true, but whose selfishness?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) WISQARS Leading Causes of Death
Reports, in 2019:
Suicide was the tenth leading cause of death overall in the United States, claiming the lives of over 47,500 people.
Suicide was the second leading cause of death among individuals between the ages of 10 and 34, and the fourth leading cause of death among individuals between the ages of 35 and 44.
There were nearly two and a half times as many suicides (47,511) in the United States as there were homicides (19,141).
National Institute of Mental Health – (Click here for the full article)
According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention,
Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US
In 2019, 47,511 Americans died by suicide
In 2019, there were an estimated 1.38M suicide attempts
The rate of suicide is highest in middle-aged white men.
In 2019, men died by suicide 3.63x as often as women.
On average, there are 130 suicides per day.
White males accounted for 69.38% of suicide deaths in 2019.
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention - (Click here for the full article)
While people with good intentions look for answers to the problem of suicide, not everyone agrees on where the problem lies. I came across an article that states, in part:
"It may not be a coincidence that during this period of increasing suicide rates, the influence of Christianity has been declining in America. Fewer Americans claim to be Christians than ever before, and fewer yet know much about what Christianity teaches. As the impact of Christianity decreases in America, I believe our suicide rate may continue to
increase. Why? Because the primary goal for most of us in a post-Christian nation is happiness rather than holiness;
success rather than significance."
(J. Warner Wallace - Why Suicide Rates May Rise as Christianity Wanes | Cold Case Christianity)
It is not my intention to attempt to discredit this individual, for it sounds like he has good intentions in his focus on holiness as opposed to happiness, and we may agree more than we disagree, but still, I would like to make a few observations here. First, I do not believe that America is a “post-Christian” nation, because I believe that the idea of a Christian nation is a myth. Second, if one were to believe the polls, and I caution people against putting much stock in such things, while it may be true that fewer people are professing to be Christians in America, the problem is not that fewer people are professing to be Christians, but how prevalent the mindset has been that mere professions of faith qualify as a person being a Christian. Sure, many claimed to belong to the accepted religion of their peers in America’s past, but this is not the same as being a follower of Christ. Even when one examines the “good old days” in America, when Christianity was supposedly thriving, the presence of nationalistic idolatry, senseless wars, Jim Crow laws, etc., seems to provide us with a different picture than some would have us to believe about how “good” things used to be. Many iniquities have been committed in history, within various nations, by people that claim to be Christians. In America, where a self-serving and materialistic “Christianity” abounds, professing Christians that love to be comforted in their sins are apt to accept that a profession that one is a Christian is sufficient for salvation, and that obedience to Christ as Lord is optional. “They profess that they know God, but in their works they deny him.” As a result, we live in a nation that is filled with false professors of Christianity, and the less of these we have, the better. Let the numbers of professors shrink, I say, so that the lines between Christianity and false profession will be clearly drawn. In short, I do not believe that fewer Americans claiming to be Christians is a problem when it comes to society’s ills. That so much has been deemed “Christianity” in times past, and still is today, is the problem.
True Christianity gets crowded out by “happiness” preachers and churches, “antinomian” preachers and churches, and by “statist” preachers and churches. God’s moral laws are optional, so they think, but not the laws of their preferred politic party. Obedience to the Lord is not necessary, so they think, but those who do not abide by their politics should be killed, imprisoned, or ostracized. As a result, these “preachers” and “churches” do not influence people toward God, they in effect influence people toward a god made in their own image. As statolatry has grown in America, the influence of Christianity has waned. As dependence and obedience to government have increased, the control of government has increased. The state does not operate on the principles of love, holiness, mercy, or hope, yet professing Christians have been more than willing to trust people’s physical, emotional, and mental needs to the institutions of the state, instead of to the churches that are keeping themselves separated from the state and are obeying the principles of the Word of God.
It does not matter if fewer people are professing to be Christians in America, for that is not necessarily a bad thing. I wish that more of the imposters would claim their true allegiance, whether it is to sin, self, Satan, or the state, so others can clearly see how many are giving a false impression of what Christianity is. The US would benefit from the imposters of, and substitutes for, Christianity being exposed. On one hand we have those who are permissive, claiming that since God is love, sin should be excused. On the other hand, we have those who are like the Pharisees. They thank God they are not like other people are, and they seek to keep others under their self-righteous control. Professing Christians will point to Romans 13 as justification for enforcing their agendas because it references the punishment of evil doers, but few fail to realize how they themselves are promoting evil by their statolatry. Heads of State and governmental bodies have caused more harm to humanity than any other entity on earth. Yet in America, Christian benevolence and intervention have been crowded out by American politics, both liberal and conservative. The government has the power it has because professing Christians have aided in its growth. Rather than sacrificing for the good of others, they support government programs and government enforcement of nearly everything.
This crowding out of true Christianity (by the state and by false Christians), I believe, is what has led to (among other problems) an increase in the suicide rate. The blame lies at the feet of preachers and churches whose god is political power, rather than the God who is love. Professing Christians will cry out “Romans 13, Romans 13” to show that justice belongs to governments, but who can deny that human governments are responsible for the majority of the world’s injustices? Government institutions have not taken the place of the Lord’s churches in God’s design, though some seem to believe they have.
Government institutions do not have a message of hope. They do not promote hope. They do not teach mercy. They declare you criminal without hope. They get to decide who the model citizens are. They promote themselves as peoples’ saviors from poverty, inequality, and discrimination. They know best. Not the churches, or the fathers. Murder in the womb is fine, but murder on the street is wrong. Marriage is what the government says it is, not the Church. Wives and mothers are discriminated against, so the government says, when people claim the Bible says they should be keepers at home. American sons and daughters can be mandated to receive injections into their bodies that the government says is best for them, they can be drafted into the state’s military so the state can impose its unholy will upon other nations, and they can be forced to share restrooms with those who claim their gender identity is the opposite of their biological sex. In short, thanks to the ever-increasing dependence on the state, the government now owns us all (or so they think). The loving, holy, long-suffering, forgiving, consistent, merciful Lord is not God. The government is god. With all of its inconsistencies and tendencies to destroy lives and families, it is god. Go against what the government says is right or wrong and you are doomed. Resist government indoctrination and you are a rebel.
I cannot help but think that there is a correlation between the growth of a heartless government, as it reaches its tentacles around every part of the lives of Americans, and the increase in suicides. As I initially stated, people claim that suicide is a selfish act, and generally speaking, I agree. But do we really know what was going on in that person’s mind when he or she decided to pull the trigger, or to intentionally overdose, or to cinch the noose? What selfishness has gone on around them that would make them feel like there is no hope? What selfish behavior did they see from their husbands, or wives, or children, or friends? Did they struggle with mental issues that made them think they were evil and had no hope? Did they commit sin and see themselves as unforgivable? Were they grieving over the unfaithfulness of a spouse? Yes, they failed in a sense. But who failed the ones who committed the suicide? I believe that an increase in suicides is just as much (generally speaking) due to the selfishness of the people around them, as it is the individuals who left their problems in the hands of someone else. Some people may say, well that is someone trusting in man and not God. This is an ignorant mindset. From the beginning of creation, God has used people to help people. Time after time we see that God expects us to intervene in the lives of those that are hurting, whether the pain is physical or mental. Man has an enormous part to play in the world when it comes to the well-being of those around him. God’s message of hope is meant to be shared by those who believe it. “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Romans 10:14) “Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.” Notice that man is expected to turn the sinner from the error of his way. We are called to be co-laborers with God in the world in which we live. Love (seeking the well-being of others) is the fulfillment of God’s moral law. “Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2)
Instead of heaping criticism upon those who have committed the act of suicide, we should all look to see how much the selfishness of those around them may have contributed to it. Do we seek to be like the Good Samaritan that stopped to help a man in need? Or are we too busy with our plans and activities to care? Why are many churches more like “God and country” social clubs than lighthouses for the Kingdom of God that preach against sin and selfishness? Do you really think that sinner-comforting churches are going to turn the tide when it comes to suicide? We should be preaching hard against sin and telling people of the loving mercy of God for those who repent. Instead, preachers and churches are making excuses for sin and supporting Christless government programs and methods to address problems such as mental agony. Churches should have professionals that can deal with these problems from a Christocentric perspective. “Just pray about it” or “just get right with God” is not the end-all be-all solution. People need help. People need hope. I believe the greatest preventative of suicide is hope. What that looks like in certain situations may have some differences from one person to the next, but hope is the key. It does not come from the state. It does not come from selfish preachers and churches. It comes from the Lord Jesus through his sacrificial servants.