Is suicide an unforgivable sin?
Recently I have received more questions than I wish to count about the eternal destiny of those who commit suicide. Therefore, this question has been moved to the top of the "Got Questions?" queue and we'll look at what the Bible says about suicide.
In addition to asking if suicide is an unforgivable sin, the reader wrote, "I can't find anything in the Bible about suicide. I found Judas' hanging himself ... but nothing else. Am I overlooking it? I have heard two preachers preach very different messages about suicide." And another reader asked, "When a person commits suicide, do they go straight to hell like most churches teach?"
Let me begin by saying, I don't believe that most churches teach a person goes straight to hell if they commit suicide (although there are some churches that teach or imply that). In fact, this is not something that is often addressed in most churches, and yet with the increasing rate of suicide it needs to be addressed. Just last week, CBS News reported these findings:
The suicide rate for girls and young women in the U.S. continues to rise at a pace far faster than for young males.... The report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said there were 5,178 suicide deaths among young people aged 10 to 24 in the U.S. in 2012. Suicide was the second leading cause of deaths in that age group, after accidents. The suicide rate increased for young people of both genders since 2007. And it remains three times higher for young males than young females. But the female increase has been steadier. Suicide rates for younger people have varied over the years, with a recent upward trend starting around 2007. There were 4,320 suicide deaths in 2007; the toll was 5,264 in 2013. Suicide rates for older adults tend to be higher, in the range of 15 or 20 per 100,000. Since 2007, suicide rates have increased for older age groups, too.