“I have now come to the conclusion that suicide is an absolutely selfish act. I am personally fed up with soldiers who are choosing to take their own lives so that others can clean up their mess. Be an adult, act like an adult and deal with your real-life problems like the rest of us.” — Major General Dana Pittard

Suicide As Selfishness

Confronted with strong criticism, Maj. Gen Pittard quickly retracted his above statement, but the question remains, “why do people commit suicide?’  Is it really an act of cowardice?  To be certain, not everyone on the path of depression will perform the same act of violence.  Dennis Prager writes;

Regarding the first question, unless suicide is committed as a result of terrible and unrelenting physical pain — especially if one is suffering from a terminal illness — or a person knows that he is about to be tortured, most suicides are selfish acts. This is said with no lack of compassion for the terrible psychological suffering that people who commit suicide experience. But compassion does not negate the fact that suicide is usually a selfish act. An army colleague of General Pittard told CNN that one reason the general wrote his blog post was that he had just attended the funeral of a man, one of his soldiers, who had killed himself at home on Christmas Day. Among the suicide’s horrific effects on the soldier’s wife and two young daughters was their permanent inability to ever again celebrate Christmas with anything but pain.

So if suicide is, in some instances, an act of selfishness, then the dark shadow of Cho Seung-Hui’s murder-suicide at Virginia Tech exposed a morbid tendency toward the ultimate act of egoism—Murder-Suicide. It is the desperate act of people who live a linear life, reject the Creator and wrongly think they own the rights to their body.

Murder-Suicide is the ultimate act of selfishness, because it assumes each life exists to serve its own end.

Murder-Suicide is the ultimate act of self-hatred, because it denies the beauty of living and attempts to create meaning in death.

I did a quick scan of the news and in just a few minutes I was able to compile a list of 33 news stories, all occurring within the last 7 days, and every one from a different state of the Union.

AK: “16-year-old student in custody after making threat”
AL: “Teen’s Facebook Post Leads To Lockdown At Ala. School”
AZ: “Threats could cut attendance at Tempe school”
CA: “School Threats Widen in SoCal”
CO: “School threats surge following Virginia Tech tragedy”
DE: “Clayton taking no chances following school threat”
FL: “Bomb scare at West Port gripped parents with fear”
GA: “School security: Days of ‘denial’ over”
ID: “Bus driver arrested in bomb threat against Filer schools”
IL: “School threats come as governor touts safety plan”
IN: “2 Lafayette students go to court for school threats”
KS: “School Threats Prompt Warning Letters”
LA: “Bogalusa school threats”
MA: “Investigation into school threats continue”
MI: “Slew of threats to schools in Michigan spurs warning”
NC: “School security added in Orange County”
ND: “Facebook threats lead to arrest”
ND: “Seven North Dakota State University buildings in Fargo were evacuated”
NH: “Threats keep high school students home”
NJ: “Bomb note ends school day”
NM: “School threats fray raw nerves”
NY: “Two Long Island schools respond to school threats”
OH: “Threats Close Toledo School”
OR: “Willamette High School in Lock-Down for Student Safety in Eugene …”
PA: “School Threats Result in Teen’s Arrest”
SC: “Threats land high school student in jail”
TN: “Threats of violence disrupt 2 schools in Nashville, Brentwood”
TX: “Pottsboro police react to school threats”
UT: “School evacuated after bomb threat”
VA: “Several Valley schools shut down after bomb Threats”
WA: “13-Year-Old Charged In Tacoma School Threats”
WI: “Police to Deal with Latest School Bomb Threats”
WV: “More Than 100 Students Go Home After Gun, Bomb Scare …

But on closer examination, selfishness is only a symptom of a much larger problem.

Suicide As Loneliness

Humans are social creatures, and when we live in isolation, we can hurt, we can suffer, and we can become damaged.

Our world shuns the existence of God, teaches children they are nothing more than sacks of flesh and bones, and the product of the meaningless cycle of evolution. Why then are we shocked that so many look up to Cho, Klebold, and Harris as heroes? These are men who, in their own mind, found a way to give meaning to a hopeless existence and create a legacy beyond the grave. Their seemingly independent acts of violence have created a religious convocation devoted to the gospel of Murder-Suicide. Why then are we surprised that so many people find hope in the contemplation of a murder-suicide? Is not every attempt to live life without God a form of suicide? Does not God warn us that, “the mind set on the flesh is death?”

Anyone who refuses to accept Jesus as Savior, chooses for himself a slow and painful death.

Any man or woman who lives without God lives a life of daily suicide; a slave to his own morbid passions that draw him ever deeper into living-death.

Proverbs 11:19
The one who is rooted in righteousness will attain life, but the one who pursues evil chases after his own death.

Dr. J.R. Miller is a Professor of Applied Theology and Leadership & Dean of Online Learning at Southern California Seminary. Outside work, he is a church planter. Dr. Miller has a diverse educational background and authored multiple books on church history, biblical theology, and Leadership. Joe and his wife Suzanne enjoy the sun and surf with their 3 sons in San Diego, CA.

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