People through the ages have asked, why does one commit or attempt suicide, especially someone that has so much to live for. Suicide occurs across all racial and social groups. Sometime during our lives someone who has attempted or committed suicide will touch us all. .
Just exactly what is suicide, Webster's defines suicide as the act or an instance of taking one's own life voluntarily and intentionally especially by a person of years of discretion and of sound mind. The oldest known reference to suicide is Egyptian. (Flanders 1991) There are seven suicides in the Old Testament, none of which are criticized in that document. (Flanders 1991).
Throughout history our perspective toward suicide has changed many times. In the New Testament, The suicide of Judas seems to be condoned, it is mentioned without comment in Matthew as a sign of his repentance. (Flanders 1991) It wasn't till much later that the church claimed that Judas's suicide was a greater sin than was his betrayal of Jesus Christ. (Flanders 1991).
Early Christianity was strongly attracted toward suicide, perhaps because the act was often indistinguishable from martyrdom, and, "even the death of Jesus was regarded by Tertullian, one of the most fiery of the early Fathers, as a kind of suicide. He pointed out, and Origen [another major early Christian theologian] agreed, that He voluntarily gave up the ghost, since it was unthinkable that the Godhead should be at the mercy of the flesh."1.
Through the years as Christianity became the dominant religion, the views of suicide changed, from acceptance during Jesus Christ's time to becoming a religious sin. (Flanders 1991) Perhaps the ultimate irony was the execution of people for the crime of attempting to commit suicide. (Flanders 1991) Today we have come far beyond this where as we make an effort to save death-row criminals when they attempt suicide while waiting to be put to death.