EXCERPT-Christians don’t believe that by throwing your life away, you simply get another brand new one. For Christians, the choices you make now have eternal implications. The things you do now, the relationships you make, the loves and joys and sufferings you share: these aren’t merely cast aside in death like so much worthless baggage on the way up above. The “you” you make yourself into here and now is preserved and glorified in eternity—if there is any “you” left after the chipping away and diminishment that you cause by your sins.
Moreover the Christian message of a resurrection from the dead rescues us from a very serious and very bleak emptiness that we should not take lightly: that’s why it’s such “Good News.” Not to take death seriously as a very substantial evil—one that can only be overcome by an overweening goodness of an entirely unexpected type—is not only to live in a foolish, life-denying illusion, it is also to falsify everything the Scriptures tells us about the evil of death. It is to indulge in what might be called a type of “cheap grace.” Death in the Scriptures is not a good thing; it’s the enemy that came about because of our sin and from which we can only be rescued by the most powerful force in the universe: indeed, only by the very Creator Himself.
And yet I suppose it’s inevitable that, as the culture moves further away from any belief in a Creator (even while, oddly and incoherently, continuing to hold onto belief in things like angels and the afterlife), we’ll continue to see more people choosing suicide. When people no longer believe in a god to whom they owe their life, they will often enough decide that it is “theirs” to do with as they please—including end it.
The Epicureans in the ancient world were of this sort. They judged that belief in the gods and the afterlife (at least they were consistent in seeing the relationship between the two) was foolish. Their creed was “maximize pleasure and minimize pain,” so when the pain or discomfort of life got too great, one simply ended it. Their opponents in the philosophical world, the Stoics, criticized them for this because, like Socrates, they thought a person owed a debt of gratitude to the city that had given him birth, raised and educated him; thus to end one’s life in this way without any consideration of the debt of service one owed to others was both sad and selfish.