My daughter returned from a trip with friends and had to listen to christian radio on the way. She lost interest in Easter; it’s about suicide! Our family had to somehow recover it as a spring holiday. An excuse for feasting, lots of protein, consuming our last home raised ham, curried tofu, green beans, potatoes, and being together as family.
Why would churches be against suicide except for a prophet who claims to be the son of god? How could it be a suicide if Christ knew he would be alive anyway? How is suicide bad if the next world is with god as claimed? How would he be giving up his son if he knew he would become alive or if there were some sort of autonomy-connection-awareness within the triune god? Wars and ostracism have been committed based on the appealed veracity of these distinctions. It’s also why faith of immortality cares less about the truth of it but rather the hope for it. It can’t possibly make sense and that’s its value. To be beyond reason. You can’t easily argue the absurd from within.
The meme that Christ desired to be crucified to redeem the sins of all humans is the cornerstone of christian faith for most. It is what separates the old from the new testament. In order to redeem the Judaic text, the old testament, and not blame Jews for allowing Christ to be killed, Christ has to allow himself to be killed in passive suicide. This has many troublesome issues only the faithful can support. It would have been much less interesting if Christ had stabbed himself to death. The grotesque images of Christ bleeding on a cross resonate deeply. Far beyond the merit of the act. Yet suicide is contagious and becomes its own problem.
The act of living may require more courage than suicide. But for the sake of a good story Christ had to die and the church needed a Paul to create and spread the memes. It is the idea of sacrifice that counts and not how much sacrifice it really is. Confabulating son and father, mortality and immortality, just adds icing to the cake. Think of how a small gesture like taking out the garbage, or doing the dishes, or working late adds to a relationship. Once trusted the gifts need not be so great.
Just how courageous was Jesus? Most men and women would give up their life for their families. Soldiers routinely give up their lives for the group or just for the idea of bravery and courage, to be boldly brave. Terrorist attacks show how individuals will risk all to save the group when if they were passive they most likely would not be harmed. Again and again we have examples of how people will sacrifice themselves for others they do not even know, strangers even. It’s hard to know who really is a stranger; we all know more strangers than friends and family now.
Would you kill yourself for six friends, 10, 20, 100 or 1,000? If you knew you could stop global warming would you commit suicide? Would you let yourself go when the lifeboat is too full to hold even just one more or would you swamp the raft? Would you jeopardize your life on a Everest climb by attempting to rescue another disabled climber?
Over and over I hear and read of stories of bravery and courage where the degree of cost, the importance of success, are far less than that of Jesus. If what he believed was true his suicide was a no brainer and hardly merits slight respect. I would bet that nearly everyone would commit suicide if they knew they were saving their entire community. The real question is who would not commit suicide for their family of life?
Jim Newman, bright and well www.frontiersofreason.com