Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Will people who commit suicide go to Hell?

Question I have a question that I've been holding onto for a while. I remember a while back at camp, when it was the 'question' part of mass, someone asked if suicide was wrong, and Father Paul said that yes, it was the worst sin you could ever commit. I'm not suicidal (not even close!), but I've had a couple thoughts about that. Like, if someone had lived a good christian life, but they struggled with depression or something, and couldn't see any way out other than suicide, would God send them to hell just because they weren't thinking clearly? To me, it doesn't seem to make sense. I've had some issues with depression, and I know how it can really cloud your mind and twist everything around, and I don't think God would do something that horrible to someone who just wanted an escape. what do you think?


Suicide is what is called a 'grave sin'- this means that it is a very serious sin, that if other conditions are in place, would make it a mortal sin. A mortal sin is a sin so serious that it cuts off your relationship from God. If you die in a state of mortal sin, you go to Hell. Of course suicide is not just a grave sin, but one that kills you as well, so it may be one that sends you straight to Hell.

In order for something to be a mortal sin, though, 3 conditions must be met. 1. It must be grave matter. 2. The person sinning has to have full knowledge of what they are doing. 3. The person sinning must have full control over what they are doing. (Full consent)

So if someone is intoxicated, or depressed, or something, they may not have full knowledge and full consent. Like you said, depression can 'cloud your mind and twist everything around', so while suicide would still be a grave sin no matter what, it may not be mortal sin. So probably not everyone who commits suicide goes to Hell. What we have to remember is that God is merciful, way more merciful than any of us would be, and that He sees all the details of the situation. So what we have to do is entrust people to his mercy.

Incidentally if you or anyone you know is ever considering suicide, the right thing to do in that case is to get help, even if it means compromising your friendship with the individual!

1 comment:

  1. The real question here is why would God send anyone to hell? Think about it, the eternal torment of even 1 person in hell creates a level of suffering greater than the combined suffering of all the Jews that were tortured and killed during the Holocaust. If god allows even 1 person to suffer this fate s/he is a moral monster of a scale that would make Hitler blush.

    Please don't think that anyone chooses to go to hell or God has no choice but to send someone to hell. As Epicurus wrote hundreds of years before the alleged time of Jesus:

    "Is [God] willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then is he malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?"