In view of the recent tragic death of Rick Warren’s 27-year-old son, Matthew, perhaps we should give some deep consideration to the nature of suicide and the oft-asked question: Is suicide the unpardonable sin? But before diving into the deep end of this devastating topic, please pause and pray for the Warren family, as well as for others who have lost a friend or family member in a similar fashion.
Statistics can often deceive and be used to prove just about anything. But these don’t lie. They are sobering and serious (from the Associated Press, Public Health Service).
There are four male suicides for every one female; however, at least twice as many females as males attempt suicide.
Sixty percent of all people who commit suicide kill themselves with guns.
Guns are now used in more suicides than homicides.
Women are more likely to use drugs or poison than violent means; men are more inclined to use a quick, violent means of suicide such as a gun or hanging.
500,000 Americans survive suicide attempts each year.
Of those who commit suicide, only 25% are determined to have been mentally ill.
Of those who commit suicide, 80% warned someone that they were contemplating doing so.
The highest suicide rates are among people ages 35-49 and people 65 and over.
The suicide rate on American Indian reservations is 5x the national average.
The Bible doesn’t say much about suicide, other than to record the occurrence of six incidents where a person takes his life. In none of these is an explicit moral evaluation or judgment rendered: the case of Abimelech in Judges 9:50-57; the case of Samson in Judges 16:28-30 (although some are not convinced this is suicide in the strict sense of the term); Saul and his armor-bearer in 1 Samuel 31:1-6 (2 Samuel 1:1-15; 1 Chron. 10:1-13); Ahithophel in 2 Samuel 17:23; Zimri in1 Kings 16:18-19; and Judas Iscariot in Matthew 27:5. It is wor