The ultimate and absolute evil

New Warhorn Media post by Nathan Alberson:


This was a great episode with a needed word. As someone who’s been delivered out of mental illness and spared in spite of my own worst impulses on this matter in the past, it’s refreshing to see a strong condemnation of suicide.

I don’t know how to explain it very well, but having been there - diagnosed bipolar many years ago - I have less sympathy now for the people who bang on the “suffering from mental illness” drum. From what I’ve experienced of it, “suffering from mental illness,” even if it happens to have a genuine root biological cause or pathology, tends to be exacerbated by pathetic self-indulgence, a particularly insidious form of slothfulness, and a cultural echo chamber that romanticizes all of it.

The “freed from suffering” bit makes my skin crawl. I learned that if I had committed suicide, my little brother would have found my body. My beautiful children would not exist. I’d have never met my wife. Chesterton is, of course, right. Suicide is a condemnation of everything and the absolution of self.


The “freed from suffering” bit is just plain evil.


So, in the aftermath of a suicide, how do we pastor the families and friends - and especially if the family concerned is a Covenant family?

This has been a real, live, issue in the church I go to, where last year the daughter of one of our leaders, aged in her mid-twenties, took her own life. The Sunday morning at church that this was announced was nightmarish.

Start by tactfully and clearly and seriously condemning self-murder. The sinfulness of the action is universally testified to across Scripture and church history, and family members left behind are (usually silent) witnesses. This can be done while demonstrating compassion to the dead and his family, although it’s likely many weak brothers and sisters as well as watching worldings and pagans will go ballistic over any slightest condemnation of the sin.

So hone your faith and speak the truth, remembering that, among other things, suicide is very contagious. An excellent and short book showing how the entire church responded to suicide until our own universal-victimhood-of-all-men age is Princeton prof Samuel Miller’s The Guilt, Folly, and Sources of Suicide: Miller-Suicide.pdf (301.8 KB)