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Christianity and suicide

Updated: Feb 9



*


Imagine that a baby is born in the early hours of the morning, baptised by noon, and dies the next day.


That baby is as sure to be in heaven as Jesus himself—it is impossible to know, within the Christian framework, if he is in heaven; but if you can be sure anybody is in heaven, it is that baby.


It has had its original sin washed away, been received into the Church, and has had no time to commission any new sins.


The logical implication from this fact is that for the Christian it is good to die as soon as possible.


I worked out what the negative feeling I have in churches is—it’s death. Christians worship death—with as much torture and pain along the way as possible, so as to make you more like Christ on the cross.


The ultimate Christian ideal is not to exist, not to exist forever and ever—because, unlike the reincarnation that predominated before, their heaven is static, as death is imagined to be static for the modern atheist (a hint that Christianity is the father to modern atheism—both think in static terms).


The basic tendency not to want to exist has been present in Christianity from the start—the desert anchorites, the monks and nuns, the Gnostic sects that said the world was made by an evil God and that we should not reproduce, the Catholic priests; and, latterly, after Protestantism, sects like the Shakers which died out because they never had sex.


So Christianity has always had this element in it, to quote Philip Larkin:


“Man hands on misery to man.

It deepens like a coastal shelf.

Get out as early as you can,

And don’t have any kids yourself.”


A favourite poem from my adolescence—Larkin being “an agnostic, an Anglican agnostic, of course” (aka a standard member of the Church of England, and so a definite cultural Christian if nothing else).


**


So this is why Christianity has such a strict prohibition on suicide—it makes perfect sense to kill yourself as soon as possible, given what Christianity says about the world.


Other religions, Stoicism, for example, which also held there was one God, and had many proto-Christian elements, were fine with suicide.


The Roman aristocrat, defeated in some civil war, slits his wrists in a warm bath in a noble and aristocratic death—but today his memory only survives in Sicilian mafia dons who are invited to do just the same in their Neapolitan bathrooms, complete with bevelled edges, “Don Anontio, it woulda be da ’onourable thing to do…given current circumstances…You knowa whatta do, capisce?”


That honourable, aristocratic death—and the mafia is an honour society, of sorts—was extinguished by the Christian view that “the slaves of God” could not end their lives when they chose.


It’s a contradiction that St. Augustine understands, himself being a dabbler in various sects and a foe to the Gnostic sects that preach extinction. So Augustine mostly says throughout his works that life is a terrible trail of tears, sex is the worst thing about it, and that it’s all just suffering suffering suffering.


However, at the end of The City of God he appends a list of all the beautiful and enjoyable things about the world—beaches, sunsets, fine spiced foods, inventions, horses, pet dogs, sports, and, nay, even the faces of beautiful women (and he’d seen a few—more than the faces, in fact).


But this list feels tacked on, given that the rest of his work, for thousands of pages, harps on about misery, misery, misery, pain, pain, pain, sin, sin, sin. But, of course, if he just says that then he’ll be engaged in a form of Gnosticism, or he’s like a proto-Shaker…so he has to add a list of everything beautiful and enjoyable in the world at the end—and God wants us to enjoy all that.


This gives Christianity, which is really Catholicism, its Protestant splits, its schizoid properties: everything about the religion says that the worst thing in life is sex, it’s the cause of all problems—and life itself is a vale of tears. Logical conclusion—taken up by desert anchorites, Catholic priests, and certain Gnostics—don’t reproduce. And, if you’re really consistent, just kill yourself and go to the kingdom of heaven right now. And yet, that is absolutely forbidden—and, in fact, you should go forth and multiply.


Jews like Yoram Hazony will often verbally parade their large families, practically the 14th tribe, for your delectation—but that’s fine, they’re a worldly people, they can engage in pride, pride in their progeny. But for a Christian to feel proud that he has children….well, aside from pride being a Luciferian sin, the existence of your children proves you had lots of sex (and we suspect you probably enjoyed it too, you sinner).


The New Testament cancels the Old Testament, or technically, completes an aufheben where the old law is both cancelled and incorporated into the new law at the same time—and yet, so far as practical concerns go, Christians have to reach back to the Old Testament, which is basically pagan, nay polytheistic, to justify “go forth and multiply” and also to justify war and anything worldly (Nietzsche liked the Old Testament, because it’s full of life, it’s pagan—and I prefer Proverbs and Ecclesiastes to anything in the New Testament).


So it’s split: life is terrible, a curse, sex the most terrible activity—but you must never kill yourself and you must have as many children as possible, which means to expose yourself to the risk of enjoying sex as much as possible, which means to expose yourself to the source of sin, and also to expose many more people, your children, to the possibility of eternal damnation.


In my view, the desert anchorites, the anti-life Gnostic sects, the Catholic priests, the monks and the nuns, and the Shakers are the most perfect Christians. The real Christian wants to die as soon as possible—and, in fact, the Christians did have a legitimate way to kill themselves for a few hundred years, martyrdom.


The problem was that their fanatic martyrdom led them to win—and then there were no more chances to martyr themselves, no legitimate suicide method (until they started to burn each other in the wars of religion).


***


Christianity, the body of doctrine formalised in about 450 AD, then carried on into splits by Protestantism, always walks this thin line—almost everything it says is that life is a curse, everything around you is a temptation to sin and enter eternal damnation, but that, nonetheless, there are beautiful and enjoyable things (which God wants you to enjoy). The religion is loaded mostly towards the bad, but includes a glimmer of light—just to keep the faithful in the game (but the serious people become priests, monks, and nuns).


It’s a difficult line to walk—the Christian has to celebrate the beauty of the union of man and woman, yet, really, I’m surprised they don’t do as the Jewish sect where men have sex with women through a white sheet with a small hole in it, since that is more in the Christian spirit (very safe for your soul). Yet, despite the fact reproduction is the source of all woe, you must reproduce as much as possible.


In the end, it overbalances one way or the other, people just go back to a paganistic “it’s all God’s beauty” or back to total life termination—and so as Christianity falls apart you get sects like the Shakers who preach extinction of the human race, because Christianity is the religion of death (eternal peace, eternal stasis—for the sceptic, there is no difference between the Christian heaven and death; now, I know there is an afterlife, but, even so, the Christian afterlife is conceptualised as total stasis—ecstatic stasis, for sure, but stasis like death nonetheless).


You also see in Protestants the move towards birth control, and this is, once again, the Christian desire to negate life turned rational—Catholics are too pagan in that they want people to have <sotto voce> “lots of sex”.


The English Protestant with 2.4 children looks down on the Irish Catholic with seven children—“Caught in Popish superstition, quasi-pagan, irrational—rejoicing in carnal knowledge under the pretext of Christianity. Unfortunate souls lost to Christ and his true Church”.


Christians are always against “the superstition”—except their own.


Extinction Rebellion is a Christian heresy, a Protestant movement, a protest movement—just so far gone it looks pagan.


The Christian view is not unique to world religions or philosophies—Schopenhauer would agree, the Jains (who aim to starve themselves to death rather than harm a living creature) would agree, the Buddhists would agree (the sensuous Muslims, on the other hand, caution you to only have carnal enjoyment of your four wives and your slaves—more than that is concupiscence).


The more intelligent people are, the less they reproduce—because they become conscious as to the degree that life itself is a curse (“Never to have lived is best, ancient writers say,” so says Yeats in his Oedipus at Colonus, a poem about the depopulated ruins of Greece—“a brief kiss goodnight, and quickly fade away,” it should add).


What is different about Christianity is that the sect that formed it, the Catholics, didn’t have the courage of their convictions. The desert anchorites, certain Gnostic sects, the Shakers—these groups practice the purest Christianity, total renunciation. But the Christians tell you everything is terrible, a chance to go to hell, but you must absolutely not kill yourself and must reproduce as much as possible.


The Buddhist might lift stones as a rational exercise to negate his ego, to die to this world, but a Christian would lift stones to inflict pain on himself for the sake of pain—to be like Christ, which is to be in pain, and to remember that all life is a crucifixion (you turn into what you worship, the cross).


Christianity celebrates pointless suffering for an unknown goal, it’s not like a rational asceticism that you find in Buddhism—a procedure to negate the ego—rather, it’s pain for the sake of pain because you worship the God of pain, and there may or may not be a reward for that (frankly, it’s likely to be more pain). Further, if you inflict pain on other people, you make them more like Christ—so that is also good.


Did Jesus kill himself? He knew he would die, being omniscient, and did nothing to prevent it—took actions to ensure it would happen. For the love of the world! And if I killed myself for love of you, would that be acceptable? If I riled you up on purpose so that you killed me, would that be suicide? Life is total pain, but you must stick with it no matter what—and bring more life into it to suffer in its turn, in an act that is likely to damn you to hell…


Jesus was suicide by cop. Selah.
















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