Fact a Day: September 19th - Ankerberg Theological Research Institute, John Ankerberg Show

Fact a Day: September 19th

The Facts on Near-Death Experiences (Harvest House, 1996) p. 11

 

Do NDEs decrease or increase suicidal tendencies?

 

If the final loss of hope is a primary reason for suicide, it could be expected that the intensely meaningful nature of the NDE would, at least temporarily, alleviate the problem. Life may be considered much less of a burden if people believe that heaven is guaranteed at death.

We still believe that the NDE can lead to suicide—and may do so in more cases than we are led to believe. First, the social climate surrounding death is far more liberal than a generation ago. There is not only an increasing acceptance of euthanasia but, in some quarters, a move toward the acceptance of suicide as a person’s right, regardless of the reasons given. Second, the NDE message communicated to many is that “God” or the “being of light” is entirely nonjudgmental; therefore, there are no final or ultimate consequences even for suicide. Third, NDE researchers who argue that suicide should not be considered because it prevents “opportunities for growth” generally mean that it prevents opportunities for growth in this life. Thus, if life is too miserable for a person, and there are no penalties for suicide in the next life—indeed, only endless opportunities for growth—then, given the blissful portrayal of the NDE, on what logical basis would a despondent person not consider suicide? Couldn’t one assume it would be much more preferable to kill oneself if it gets rid of the pain and leads to residing forever in heaven? At the very least, a person might consider it to no longer continue to live in the torment of this life over which they have no seeming control.

*For full documentation, please see The Facts on Near-Death Experiences.

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