Meditations on suicide


Fellow sufferers, they tell us their god is omnipotent, and they limit this ability to doing those things that are logical. To kill oneself is logical. My question then is, can their god kill himself?

About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

62 thoughts on “Meditations on suicide

  1. john zande says:

    Now that’s an interesting question to pose. If you follow Christianity then the answer is yes… god already had himself killed, which was a suicide as he could’ve clearly gotten out of it, being “god,” after all.

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    • makagutu says:

      That poses a small problem even to Christianity. They will have to chose one, either the son of god chose suicide by centurion or god killed himself. To want to have it both ways I think is trying to even stretch theology.

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      • emmylgant says:

        Why is killing oneself logical? Help me out here 🙂

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        • makagutu says:

          Let me pause a question. Would you think it illogical to kill yourself when faced with a life that would lead to you dying in a way that you haven’t lived? For example, if you were captured by a band of rogues who would abuse you in every possible way before you killing you and you had a chance to kill yourself before the ordeal, would you wait to be abused or you’ll die as you have lived, with dignity?

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          • Persto says:

            Wait… I thought you were pointing out that God killing himself is not logically impossible nor logically contradictory, therefore God could and may kill himself. It seems obvious all the problems this could cause the theist. Is this what you are saying?

            Regards

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      • john zande says:

        I’d love to see a rabid theist trying to answer this quandary.

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        • holly says:

          I can’t imagine a theist being stumped by this one. They see god as separate from the physical realm. Outside of time…can such a being who is considered eternal die? No physical body…how will there be pain or death? But the ability to experience human / physical form through an avatar of sorts would appears to make sense for an all powerful being.
          to Allowing another to kill this human avatar when one has then ability to stop it but chooses not to, would certainly appear suicide

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      • The idea/questions here are ‘would’ an omnipotent being kill itself and ‘could’ an omnipotent being kill itself.

        The should part is clear, so could is the problem. This is all hypothetical since there are no such beings that we know of. Since there nothing to stop such a being the could should be clear or would be if omnipotence were possible.

        The would part: According to the books of Moses the omnipotent being in question tried to create playmates but fucked up the experiment multiple times. He even got angry about it and punished people for not being perfect as he wished them to be. Clearly YHWH is capable of anger and happiness so should also be capable of depression. I’m going to posit that such a being would kill itself if it thought this the way to end misery. Clearly this must have happened as there is not trace of such omnipotent beings anywhere to be found. This begs the question: Can YHWH be killed? If the answer is no we have a problem. If the answer is yes then call me executioner.

        If YHWH cannot be killed and will exist eternally there is no reason at all for him to be loving toward anyone, ever. There is no known motivation for such a being to create life which cannot be said to be selfish. Just a little further down this path and we can cross off the sentiment that ‘god is love’ pretty safely.

        No matter what omni-xxxxxx you attribute to a being, it will lead to a failure of logic. In YHWH’s case he would know the moment of his death and live his entire existence knowing it. It’s a conundrum.

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        • makagutu says:

          I think YHWH absconded duty a long time ago. There is no need for an executioner as it is, but should we need one, I know we can count on you.

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          • You know what, knowing that you could pull the trigger to end a life is a tremendous and terrible thing. You at once validate what you see as valuable in life and invalidate any value of life at the same time. In the case of YHWH? Not a problem. I’d take him/it/she out. I’d do it if for no other reason than to prove that we humans are as good as gods of our ancestors imaginations, more powerful, and yet foolish enough or wise enough to destroy those that pretend to the throne.

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  2. Mike says:

    I don’t know if God can kill himself, but I truly hope so. Maybe also leaving his will readable to everyone like: “You’ve all been fooled suckers”

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  3. emmylgant says:

    So, killing oneself is logical in circumstances where death is probably the outcome anyway, just the way one dies becomes the (logical) choice if I understand correctly.

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    • makagutu says:

      You understand correctly.

      Well I chose a worst case scenario in this matter to show that there are reasons to kill oneself, but anytime a person has a reason to kill themselves, I think it is logical to do so. But then even if we decided to live it out, it still leads to death. So to chose to kill oneself, is to be, so to speak, god!

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      • emmylgant says:

        I should think that omnipotence would remove the source of suffering rather than remove itself. Omnipotence wipes out death which is the absence of power in nonexistence.

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        • makagutu says:

          That would mean that the omnipotent god is capable of suffering and maybe, just maybe fears to die to the extent of removing death?

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          • emmylgant says:

            Omnipotence can suffer if it wants to. It can endure all maners of suffering if it wants to. ..But I don’t see how it can be killed, no matter the suffering. Omnipotence implies success in removing anything and everything that is a problem, that is, anything that interferes with said omnipotence.

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            • makagutu says:

              The question is would the omnipotent kill itself? If I understand you correctly though, you are saying it wouldn’t have need to do so since it would have taken away the suffering.

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              • emmylgant says:

                Yes, that is how I see it.

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              • holly says:

                would suicide be logical without pain, suffering, aging, or death ?

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                • makagutu says:

                  if such was the state of our lot, I don’t think the question of death would arise and by extension of suicide.

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                • Persto says:

                  Yes, it would be a logical possibility, but the real question is would it be practical?

                  Regards

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                  • makagutu says:

                    Do you think if there was no death, would we have a word for it in our vocabulary?

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                    • Persto says:

                      It depends. Are we saying that death *cannot* happen? Or death does not happen but theoretically could happen? If the former, then I see no reason for thinking or even knowing about death–hence no word for it– unless, if one believes in the Divine, we have been divinely predestined to be aware of death but never die. However, if the latter, then I think there would be a word for death.

                      Of course, we are imaginative beings so perhaps in both cases one could ruminate on the state and nature of non-life and, thereby, create a word for death.

                      Regards

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                    • makagutu says:

                      Lets take a hypothetical situation where death does not and could not happen.
                      I see if there is non-life around then somehow, a word would be developed to represent that state of not being.

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                    • holly says:

                      Interestingly enough we have words for eternal life…even though as far as we know that does not exist…
                      so the opposite scenario would seem to be possible…We are quite imaginative beings…

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            • makagutu says:

              I don’t think it would be possible for omnipotence to suffer. It wouldn’t know what it means to suffer, and as such would not in a real way identify with the suffering.

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      • Suicide is also the final word or edge case in free will. I know the arguments against that statement or thought, but sacrificing your life for any reason is the antithesis of any theory of why we exist. It can be done with a friend or a congregation but when it’s done alone we know that free will was involved. Any plan for existence that has yet been offered does not include validation of suicide. Everything says do not kill yourself. Yet, it happens.

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        • emmylgant says:

          Thank you, I stopped short of going into the free will area.

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        • makagutu says:

          I thought it would come to the question of free will. I think we stand on opposite ends of this question, so I will not go into it in the present case.

          I agree with you that the will to live is universal. It is not unique to an individual, but is true for all. To kill oneself is to rebel against. The question asked, is why continue to live a miserable life when death will come any way.

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          • Doesn’t that question then beg ‘what is the meaning of life or purpose’?

            If it is supposed that there is an afterlife, early death would mean a faster admittance to heaven. The doctrine that you cannot top yourself to get there is nearly an admission that there is no such thing. It is said that believers try harder than non-believers to remain in this life.

            The certainty of no afterlife makes the decision to end certain misery early an easy choice. For the believer this means forfeiting heaven. It is not kind to force one to live in misery just because you think they will not make it to heaven.

            There is no reason to continue in certain misery. There is no purpose here but to experience and in doing this make your own purpose. If all continued experience will be misery and pain, the fun time is over. Time to throw in the towel. I have had this happen in my family and believe that my understanding is genuine rather than simple conjecture.

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  4. nannus says:

    I think omnipotence is self-contradictory. Not being able to do something is not illogical, but being omnipotent is. Can an omnipotent being do something he/she/it cannot do? If no, he/she/it is not omnipotent, If yes, he/she/it is not omnipotent. It is an illogical concept.

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    • makagutu says:

      I agree with you that omnipotence is contradictory and an illogical concept.

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    • Persto says:

      I am not sure your logical riddle causes problems for the Christian understanding of God. The fact that God cannot create a stone which is too heavy for God to lift, or your version of that query, is not a serious issue. It just forces the Christian to restate their simple statement about God’s omnipotence in a more complicated way: “God can do anything that does not involve a logical contradiction.” Danger averted lol.

      Makagutu’s post is a very clever one indeed because he creates a situation that challenges God’s omnipotence in a manner that is not logically contradictory so as to avoid the re-definement of God’s omnipotence that allowed me to skirt right around your logical puzzle.

      Regards

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      • nannus says:

        I agree that this will not impress Christians. I see this as logical gimmicks that are not really interesting. Musing about how many angels fit on the tip of a needle is something for scholastic philosophers. Actually, I am not really interested in the Christian (or any other) religion. But thinking about such things can be relaxing while drinking a glass of wine in the evening or a mug of coffee in the morning. 🙂

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        • makagutu says:

          Of course this question wouldn’t interest theists simply because to most if not all of them the question of suicide is wrong since it is god who gives life and takes it. They are therefore not the target audience for this type of question.

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          • holly says:

            I believe the right do die the way one wants to…is a part of dignity of life. I rather found Dr Kevorkian a bit of a hero instead of the criminal/villain he was made out to be..
            (that is my personal thought on suicide)

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        • Persto says:

          I understand, brother. Although, I find all of this stuff immensely interesting lol.

          Regards

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  5. Persto says:

    You are right, of course, that there is no logical contradiction in God killing herself. God must have the ability to kill herself. Yet there is obviously a deeper issue here, concerning the character of God. Can we ever imagine God wanting to do this?

    In my mind, for many in the Christian faith (we are talking about the Christian God, correct?) God could do anything–but chose to redeem mankind. We see here the important idea of divine self-limitation–the notion that God freely chooses to behave in certain ways, and in doing so, places limits on divine action.

    So, returning to the question: can God do anything? The commonsense answer would be simple and straightforward, If God is omnipotent, then God must be capable of doing anything, even killing herself. Yet Christian theology insists that God’s omnipotence is to be set within the context of God’s nature–that of a righteous and faithful God, who wouldn’t abandon Her creation–in the eyes of the Christian, God is necessary for the continuance of life–for some whimsical or arbitrary reason.

    Regards

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    • makagutu says:

      Hey Persto, always good to hear from you. Hope you are doing well.

      Yes for the purpose of this argument we would use the monotheistic god since the deists have no problem with god creating the universe and dying thereafter. But the Christian, if he insists that Jesus is god, can’t say god can’t die. All they can say is god chooses to die to redeem mankind but we will ask what does this redemption mean?

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      • Persto says:

        Hi Makagutu, I am quite well and I hope you are doing well also. Thank you for asking, btw.

        I agree that God can kill herself, but, viewed from a Christian theological perspective, God would not kill herself, whimsically or arbitrarily because that would be contrary to her nature, as Christians understand it. Of course, one could follow Aquinas, who noted that it was not that God could not do such things; it was that such things could not be done– if that makes sense to you.

        As for Jesus dying, from my understanding, God was still alive when Jesus died, in fact, God’s being alive was absolutely necessary for Jesus’ resurrection because God is the one who raised Israel’s Jesus from the dead. I feel this may lead to a discussion on the doctrine of the Trinity lol.

        As for what humanity’s redemption means, I think most Christians would say that it is about God conforming the believer or non-believer to the likeness of Christ through the process of renewal and regeneration brought about by the Holy Spirit.

        Regards

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        • makagutu says:

          Am well my friend, work and rest occupy almost the same amount of time in my days.

          In other discussions with Christians, they say Jesus is god, so it would be a bit of a problem to really get away from this problem, unless they say they are polytheists.

          Other Christians believe redemption happens in the nether world, that they will be close to god, in a sense then I don’t think the redemption is meant for us while we are here. What do you think?

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          • Persto says:

            Yes, work and class–the never-ending story, right, comrade? I am glad to hear you are well.

            Yes, it is my experience that few Christians do really understand the Trinity. Of course, Augustine of Hippo said, “If you can fully grasp it, it’s not God.” I fear he is right. I take my understanding of the Trinity from Irenaeus and Tertullian. Irenaeus called the Trinity ‘the economy of salvation.” He insisted upon distinct but related roles for the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We must remember that at the time Gnostic critics were arguing that the creator God or OT God was separate and inferior to the redeemer God or NT God. Even Marcion argued that the OT God was merely a creator God, and totally different from the redeemer God of the NT. For Marcion, the OT was to be shunned and Christians should focus their attention upon the NT. Of course, Irenaeus vehemently opposed all of this.

            In Irenaeus’ mind, God was the uncaused cause, the invisible, the uncontained, one God; Jesus was the Son of God, Word of God, whose duty was to restore the fellowship between God and humanity; The Holy Spirit was poured out in a new way on humanity with Jesus’ death and resurrection in order to renew humanity throughout the entire world in the sight of God.

            Irenaeus’ theological stance makes it clear that the idea of the Godhead is that each person or entity is responsible for an aspect of the ‘economy of salvation,’ in the words of Irenaeus.

            Tertullian echoes Irenaeus by arguing that ‘substance’ unites the three aspects of the economy of salvation; person is what distinguishes them. For Tertullian, the three persons of the Trinity are distinct but not divided; different but not separate.

            So, God, while part of the Godhead is not Jesus, yet Jesus is also part of the Godhead. Of course, most people call Jesus God, which is correct for Christians, but, still and all, God, at least the creator God, is not Jesus, but they are both the Godhead, which is one God.

            I think the redemption is meant for the here and now and the hereafter. This life, in Anselm’s phrase, is a soul-making process. A life in which free beings, grappling with tasks and challenges of their existence in a common environment, may become ‘children of God’ and ‘heirs to eternal life.’ And, following Kant, humans are commanded by the moral law to be morally perfect. Because ought implies can, we must be able to reach moral perfection. But we cannot attain perfection in this life, for the task is an infinite one. So there must be an afterlife in which we continue to make progress toward this ideal. Thus, from my perspective, we are redeemed in Christ by striving towards spiritual perfection in this life and we are rewarded with an afterlife, so we can achieve perfection.

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            • makagutu says:

              In the second council, I thought one of the contentious questions to be answered was on the divinity of Jesus? That there was the group, who didn’t think him the son of a deity and the other group, the majority, who were pushing for the divinity of Jesus.

              I gave up trying to understand the trinity, it is one of those things that do not make sense, at least, in my honest opinion. Maybe somebody thinks differently about it.

              Is the Christian trying to be perfect here or is wishing for a world of bliss in the nether world?

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              • Persto says:

                Partially true, Arius and his followers would be some of those who would claim that Jesus was inferior to and distinct from the creator God. However, no one questioned whether Jesus was the Son of God or even whether he was divine, at least in some fashion. It was a question of whether Jesus was the creator God or not.

                “Is the Christian trying to be perfect here or is wishing for a world of bliss in the nether world?”

                I am sure the answer to this question would vary from Christian to Christian, but I would think that it is probably a little of both.

                Regards

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  6. Mordanicus says:

    God has already committed suicide, the direct result of his death was the big bang. The reason why god killed himself was simply that he couldn’t stand any longer the boredom, loneliness and emptiness of his existence; so he decided to put an end to it. However by committing suicide he created our universe. Or: god is death, long live the universe!

    Of course I don’t believe the above, but this “creation” story makes much more sense than the garbage which creationists wants to sell us.

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    • makagutu says:

      That story of creation is more sensible than the one given by creationists of whatever type.
      In the Vidas, I hear they say that the beginning of the universe was a mistake or something close to that.

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  7. […] a while ago in a post I did ask if it was possible for god to commit suicide. I want to revisit the post but I want to […]

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